Have you met your Sugar Demon yet?
Myths about sugar
1 I’ll just have one…
The Reality: One time is never enough! There is always a second biscuit, piece of cake, square of chocolate, piece of fruit (yes even the natural sugars are sugars!)
2 I’ll have the sweet treat now and then go to the gym/walk to compensate
The Reality: you have the sweet treat – but never go for that walk..
3 It’s natural sugar in fruit so I can have loads of it
The Reality: you end up eating much more sugar than if you’d had a chocolate biscuit!
4 I deserve a treat
The Reality: you might do – and it doesn’t have to be sugar!
5 I’ll just have a little then I’ll stop obsessing about it
The Reality: you keep on thinking about it – and eating more and more of it
My Sugar Demon story
I met my sugar demon recently although I had convinced myself I had a healthy relationship with sugar. I don’t
regularly eat refined sugar (except the odd cookie or cake when visiting friends) and usually snack on dried and fresh fruit.
As an avid experimenter of different foods and the effect they have on my system I have become fairly sensitive to the changes.
I had been doing a gentle 30 day cleanse and on day 11-13 I completed a short 2 day complete fast so my system was fairly clean and sensitive. This took me to Day 14 and I was beginning to consume juices as part of the post fast diet. These juices are freshly made at home with a basic high street juicer. I started with a watermelon juice. Wow! It tasted so sweet! And so my senses were reset to crave more sweet!!
Later on without realising it I made apple juice and later still a carrot and apple juice. All very simple and I felt great drinking them. I used a spoon to savour the drink and the taste.
During the day I felt I just wanted another sweet juice but later that night I was trying to go to sleep and I just felt like I was cloudy and hazy. Not tired at all although I hadn’t eaten food.
I was writing my daily journal with the list of food and drink I had consumed that day and I realised every juice was a sweet juice! I could have mixed up the fruit with vegetables or only had vegetable juices once or twice a day but for some reason there was little voice suggesting the sweet taste so strongly I didn’t even think about the vegetable juices. (Myth 3 alive and kicking)
Once I had confirmed the sweet taste, this is all I wanted again and again. I didn’t feel I was making the conscious choice rather following a suggestion.
Hello Sugar Demon!!!!
I decided to put that demon away and gave myself the rest of the cleanse (two weeks) without any sugar at all. Only vegetable juices and soups before adding raw salads. It took a while to put that demon to bed.
What about the cravings?
Cravings are normal and can often be the body’s mechanism for requesting nutrients to help it function and heal. However our diets have changed so much that we cannot identify what we actually need. In this case I was fasting and cleansing and my body was craving energy that my mind turned into the need for sugar and sweetness. But the sugar was not what my body needed, it was water and nutrients.
Sugar is one of those tastes that we will never be able to forget but we can learn to manage it. Often the cravings are not even for sugar. They are often signs of being thirsty, so first have a glass of water, or it may simply be hunger, so eat some good savoury nutritious food first, then if you have checked everything and it is still the sweet taste desired then go for it! As long as you have eaten and drunk water the effect of the sugar rush will be gentle on the system, there won’t be a high and a low.
Sugar, depression and anxiety
It is really important to deal with your Sugar Demon if you are suffering from any anxiety or depression related problems. The desire to feel ‘normal’ or better means there is a little high from blood sugar rising but then this feeling has to return to ‘normal’ and unfortunately the blood sugar drop goes below the original mark making us feel even more depressed. This leads on to eating more sugar to avoid the dropping feeling. This cycles not only adds to the mental clouding but if there is no movement and burning off of the energy it will get stored and eventually turn into fat, possible adding to the depressive symptoms.
Don’t forget the exercise
The other important thing if eating sugar is to make sure you are going to do something that gets you moving and using the energy the sugar is providing. The energy has to be used or stored. If the energy builds up this can lead people having outbursts like anger or violence, upset, but also laughter! The trick is management.
Managing the Sugar Demon
Cut the sugar down for a bit and test it out for yourself. If you stop instantly then it is common to feel detox symptoms including headaches, low energy, irritability so it is often better to cut it down slowly. These symptoms are normal and after the first few days it will not be noticeable. Eating fruit is a good way of counteracting the effects of sugar withdrawal. The fibre in the fruit together with the sugar mean the body digests the actual sugar more slowly and therefore the energy release is more gradual, the blood sugar doesn’t spike so quickly, the pancreas doesn’t need to counteract the blood sugar with releasing insulin as drastically therefore the energy released is gradual and longer lasting.
There are many resources out there regarding sugar content and some have been produced by or for the sugar industry and give an inaccurate view of the real dangers of sugar consumption.
Below are just a few links from sources giving information for the good of our health.
Why is Sugar so Addictive?
Trust me I’m A Doctor – Should I avoid Sugar?
How to cut down on sugar in your diet