Research has shown that foods containing high amounts of simple carbohydrates, like sugar and white flour, affect the chemical balance in your brain. These foods increase the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel calmer, more confident, and more relaxed.
When the sugar level in your blood goes down again, as it does shortly after a high-sugar snack, your serotonin levels also goes down. This will cause you to feel nervous, irritable and stressed, so you reach for another snack. This up and down rollercoaster in moods can lead to sugar addiction, without you even being aware of it.
It’s impossible to maintain a healthy weight loss diet if this cycle has actually become a full-blown sugar addiction. To see if you’re addicted to sugar, take the following quiz:
– How often do you eat high-sugar foods, noodles, bread or pasta? Is it every day, or even many times a day? Could you imagine a day without these foods?
– What are your comfort foods? When you feel down or depressed what kind of foods appeal to you? Does stress or depression lead you to the breadbox or cookie jar?
– Do you find potato chips, crackers or popcorn in your grocery cart, even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t buy any snacks? Can you imagine watching your favorite TV show or going to a movie without having a snack?
– Do you actually feel a bit uneasy or defensive if someone suggests that you may be eating too much sugar? Do you think you could cut down any time you wanted to, but just haven’t decided it’s worth it yet? Do you find it difficult to stay on any nutritious, healthy diet because you start obsessing about a candy bar or sandwich?
– Do you feel “strange,” or slightly woozy, about the same time every day? Do you “fix” your uncomfortable symptoms with a trip to the candy machine, or by grabbing a muffin at Starbucks?
– Do you sometimes feel bloated or get indigestion after eating certain foods, but still eat them anyway?
– Do you have any difficulty sleeping, or wake up around 3 am? Do you often feel lethargic, moody or depressed?
If you answered “yes” to two or more of those questions, you’ve probably tried at least one diet in the past. Even if you manage to lose some weight, you probably gain it back, because you unconsciously crave sugar. A healthy diet is almost impossible to maintain until we overcome the addiction, since sugar has lots of calories, but almost no nutrients. If you conquer your sugar addiction, you’ll have a much better chance of losing weight and regaining your natural vitality.