By Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS, Holistic Nutritionist and Personal Trainer
Determine whether or not you could benefit from a sugar break with this quiz and some tips for how to stick to it!
Do you love having something sweet in your day? If you’re reading this, I’m guessing the idea of cutting back on sugar has occurred to you before. It can be challenging at times but your body and mind deserve a break.
Making a mindful decision to have something with added sweetness from time to time can be OK. But, if we aren’t careful it can sometimes get out of control. Answer these 5 simple questions to see if you might need to take a break from sugar.
1. After you’ve finished a healthy balanced meal, do you still crave something sweet?
A healthy balanced meal will include carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and water– all the things your body needs. If your body wants something sweet after you’ve met its needs, there are some wires being crossed.
Craving something sweet after a meal is linked to the body craving a dopamine response. When we eat something sweet, sugar floods the brain with the hormone dopamine in the reward centre are of the brain. The brain understands this signal as pleasure, and wants it again and again. Over time, the brain is flooded with dopamine and starts to shut off dopamine receptors. So we need more and more sugar to get that same feeling. Taking a break from added sugar can help to calm down this need for dopamine.
2. Do you need to have a glass of wine or sugary treat to unwind at the end of the day?
Sugar is also often used as a way to manage our emotions. If you really feel you need something sweet, whether it’s food or alcohol, to help you unwind, that’s a sign you’re using it to help deal with things like stress or anxiety. When you take a break from sugar, it can help you develop healthier habits for how to unwind and manage your feelings.
3. Do you have sugar cravings that MUST be met, i.e. you just have to have some sugar right now?
If you have those ‘gotta have it’ sugar moments it’s possible your blood sugar is unbalanced, causing those big instant cravings to happen. They are most common during that mid-afternoon ‘slump’ feeling. Balancing your blood sugar will help remove these intense cravings from your life.
4. When you have something with added sugar, does it make you feel bloated or gassy?
Sugar also affects your digestion. The bad bacteria in your gut love sugar and feed on it. If you feel bloated or gassy after eating sugar, it’s possible you have an overgrowth of the bad kind of bacteria, and may have a candida issue. Taking a break from added sugar, and focusing on gut healing, will greatly help to alleviate your digestive troubles.
5. Does the idea of giving up added sugar for a time prompt a heck no-type strong response in you?
If you have a viscerally strong reaction to the idea of taking a break from sugar, it’s a sign your body is really hooked on sugar. Your brain loves how it makes you feel, and you need to help yourself out by taking a break.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions it may be time for you to take a break from added sugar. Sugar can really mess with your body and your brain, and when you feel a lack of control over it, that’s a sign that you may need a break and a chance for the body to reset.
My suggestion is to take 30 days to go added sugar free; that means no sugar, no alcohol, no natural sweeteners; just fruit is ok to have. I’m currently doing a 30 day sugar free challenge online – look me up for tips and guidance on how to do the sugar break. You will be amazed at how much better you feel – your mood, sleep, energy and weight will all improve. Questions? I’m available for a free 15 minute phone consultation anytime just book online at www.darouwellness.com. You can find me on Instagram @realliferevolition and on Facebook @realliferevo.
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone has the same struggles with sugar. If you feel you’ve found your balance, here are a couple great reminders for healthy moderation.
- Limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks per night out. For many women, after two drinks, it is hard to make sensible choices.
- Avoid appetizer trays, unless you can settle on veggies with hummus, a little good quality cheese or sushi rolls.
- Just because it’s free food, you don’t need to eat all of it!
- Stay on a healthy routine at home – over-compensate for nights out with green smoothies, big salads and lots of fresh foods.
- Choose quality over quantity. If you are offered an excellent quality chocolate, then definitely enjoy it, but skip the poor quality candies on your co-worker’s desk.
Additional resources for moderation:
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