I’M ADDICTED TO EATING SWEETS
Q I have very weak willpower and can’t seem to keep off sugar. I seem to be addicted to eating sweets. I’ve tried a lot to control the urge but seem to be failing.
AYou speak like an addict! Sugar is a socially accepted drug. Research shows it has the same hormonal effect on your brain that dopamine and other drugs have.
Most often, with sugar it’s not about your willpower. It’s about the chemical reaction it induces in your body. Sugar makes your body want more of it and no matter how hard you try, if there is a chemical imbalance in your body, you will start to give in after a few hours or days. When you go off sugar and cigarettes, you will experience headaches, anxiety pangs and dizziness. However, the good news is there is a way to break this habit. One really effective way to do this is to control your insulin levels. These go berserk when you have sugary food or drink. But insulin remains stable and steady under the influence of fat.
So if you start to eat more protein and fat from foods like eggs, nuts, butter, coffee and avocadoes, your insulin remains stable allowing you to not experience the rush.
It is going to be far easier for you and your body to say no to a piece of chocolate cake or biscuits when your insulin is stable. Start by evaluating how much of your diet is sugar and refined carbs, and start to rectify the balance gradually rather than cutting sugar off completely.
Go for a 60:40 ratio to begin with and keep refined sugar intake restricted to only one meal in the day. Small consistent changes in your macronutrients is the answer, not controlling your willpower.
RASHI CHOWDHARY is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop