The Bitter Truth About Sugar

Why We Crave Sweets

by Brandy Hickman


A Collaboration with Brigitte Factor To Get The Scoop On Sugar and Tips for Quitting Sugar


CHEMICALLY CRAVING SWEETS 


A mother’s breast milk is sweet. The sweet flavor is deeply nourishing to us as babies. Unfortunately, as we grow, we are given or get the wrong types of sweet flavor like sugar, refined starches, excessive amounts of carbs, and candy. Generally, the more processed and refined, the sweeter and less nutrient-dense it is.


If you find that you are craving an abundance of sweet foods all the time, this is an indicator that your body is deficient in nutrients. Our sweet cravings and taste can actually guide us to what our bodies need. We may need more protein, good fats, or fiber. Unfortunately, when the craving hits, we don’t give our body the right food types to fill that craving with the right nutrients. This starts a downward trend to a hypoglycemic state (low blood sugar). Low blood sugar can lead to irritability, lack of attention, shaking, or sweating (and if you’ve ever tried to kick sugar, this sounds familiar).


When we are having cravings, our cells in our brains are screaming for glucose to function. If we feed our bodies the wrong, nutrient-void types of glucose (i.e., sugar) to fulfill that craving, it sends our blood sugars on a roller coaster ride. Your blood sugar will spike initially but then drop without proper nutrients, leading to this cycle of craving.


The sweet taste is a dopamine hit to our brain. A high intake of sugars desensitizes your taste buds, so we may end up taking in a lot more sugar than we realize. Because of this, we want to limit the intake of all sugary foods and drinks.


  1. Women should consume no more than 6tsp of added sugar/day.  This is 24 grams of added sugar/day.

  2. Men should consume no more than 9tsp of added sugar/day.  This is 36 grams of added sugar/day.

  3. Children should consume around 3tsp of added sugar/day.  This is 12 grams of sugar/day.

  4. The average American consumes well over 20 tsp (80 grams) of added sugar daily!


Labels:  

Always read your labels and try to stick to real food that is minimally processed. A good rule of thumb is food that has less than 5 ingredients and ingredients that you recognize. The FDA regulates labels to include added sugar separated from what is naturally occurring in the food. Take a look at your labels.


Alcohol sugars:  

Sugar is sugar if it is too much. It is reinforcing the need for more sweets, so limiting overall consumption is important.  “Some alcohol sugars that are natural are a good choice overall for blood sugar, however in larger amounts can disrupt the micro-biome and are not recommended for folks who have gut issues,” according to Brigitte Factor. I personally like Monk Fruit Extract, Sweet Drops Stevia, and Swerve in small amounts every once in a while.


Natural Sweeteners 

Brigitte states, “Raw and the least processed is the best choice when it comes to natural sugars. But again, sugar is sugar to our palate, brains, and pancreas.”


Read about different Natural sugars here and how to convert them into your cooking:

Natural Sweeteners handout 


Artificial Sweeteners 

“[The long term effects] is a big unknown.” Brigitte comments.   Our bodies get confused by artificial sweeteners, and they mess up our taste senses. I am not willing to take that risk of what they could be doing.

10 TIPS FOR QUITTING SUGAR

  1. Define what you are quitting

  2. Get support/Involve your family and friends.

  3. Get it out of your house.

  4. Know how to read labels

  5. Give it time

  6. Eat out less

  7. Skip the replacements

  8. Try eliminating all together for a period of time.

  9. Be gentle with yourself.

  10. Stay well-fed in life – treat yourself to non-surgery activities. We are craving sweetness in life.  Take stock of the joy in your life.

Brandy Hickman, Inspired Nutrition and National Board Certified Health Coach

Brandy Hickman, Inspired Nutrition and National Board Certified Health Coach, leads sessions with authenticity and speaks from the heart. She shares her passions for mindfulness and spiritual connection in all aspects of life, from our food to our thoughts to our relationships.

Brandy helps women discover if their plates are too full OR just filled with things that don’t nurture, bring joy, and inspire them. She challenges women to have a different mindset and think differently about doing less and having more.

www.brandyhickman.com (417)861-6682 | brandy@2bwellspringfield.com

Brigitte Factor, MS, FNTP, BCHN

Brigitte Factor is Certified in Holistic Nutrition, holds a Master's in Chemistry, and works as an adjunct Bioclinical Science Instructor.

With over a decade of researching nutrition, yoga, and functional medicine, her mission is to educate families about real food's healing power and real love. Her area of expertise is the gut-brain connection and helping clients improve gut and brain function. She works virtually with clients worldwide.

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