Are You a Sugar Addict?

“Sugar is as addictive as tobacco or alcohol—and one of the toughest habits to kick because it’s a staple of the standard American diet,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction. “The average American adult consumes 140 pounds of sugar and white flour each year!”

There are four “types” of sugar addiction, according to Dr. Teitelbaum. Which category do you fall into?

Type 1: The Engergy Loan Shark

You are chronically exhausted and hooked on quick hits of caffeine and sugar.

Type 2: Feed Me Now or I’ll Kill You

When you’re “hangry,” it means life’s stress has exhausted your adrenal glands.

Type 3: The Happy Ho-Ho Hunter

Sugar cravings may be caused by yeast overgrowth—and manifest as chronic nasal congestion, sinusitis, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Type 4: Depressed and Craving Carbs

Your hormones are off-balance; sugar cravings are caused by your period, menopause, or andropause.

Some of us might rarely crave sugar, more of us probably bounce between a couple of the aforementioned categories, and still others may identify with solely one type of addiction—but whatever the case, it’s pretty safe to say we’ve all felt hangry, sad, or stressed, and solved our emotions via cake doughnut or caramel macchiato.

“Sugar addiction contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and a plethora of other medical problems, and in day-to-day life it can just make you feel miserable,” says Dr. T. We hear that! Here are his top eight tips to conquer the craving.

>> 1. Remember: Pleasure is good. The key is to enjoy your sugar when you do treat yourself, as opposed to simply feeding addictive cravings.

>> 2. Chocolate is a health food—if you aim for the raw, dark variety—but it’s not low-calorie. Go for quality, not quantity.

>> 3. Address the underlying cause of you sugar addiction. If you don’t, you are likely to be both very unpleasant to be around while you try to cut out sugar (hello, withdrawals) and to fail.

>>4. Create healthy energy when you are feeling fatigued—instead of reaching for a quick fix from sugar. Begin your morning with a good vitamin-rich drink or smoothie. Try adding a 5-gram scoop of ribose powder; research has shown that ribose increases energy an average of 61 percent after three weeks, and this simple drink will turbocharge your healthy energy.

>> 5. If you get irritable when hungry, the fatigure of your adrenal “stress handler” gland is likely driving the sugar cravings. Increase your salt and protein intake, and drink a cup of licorice tea each morning.

>> 6. Conditions like chronic sinusitis or irritable bowel syndrome may be a result of yeast overgrowth—and the driving force behind your sugar cravings. Treating the candida and taking a good probiotic can be very helpful for all of this.

>> 7. Depression and anxiety later in life—in your 40s or 50s—may be caused by estrogen or testosterone deficiency, in which case bioidentical hormones can be very helpful.

>> 8. Stevia can be an excellent sugar substitute for those who like the taste (plus, it’s much sweeter than regular sugar, so you can use less). Beware that brand matters! Use brands that are filtered, such as Body Ecology or Stevia. TrueVia and Purvia are also excellent natural sweeteners.

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