New research shows that eating a doughnut, a cookie or a chocolate bar could be affecting your brain the same as if you'd just taken heroine or cocaine! The addictive behaviors seen in alcoholics are eerily similar to those found in sugar addicts. In fact, many recovering alcoholics will switch from alcohol to sugar when kicking the bottle.
It turns out, some of us may have brains that are genetically wired for addiction. Genetically, we all have different capacities for pleasure. For some, it only takes a little of something to stimulate the pleasure and reward centers of our brain. For others, it takes more and more stimulation to get the same reward, resulting in addictive and compulsive behaviors of all sorts. Lots of people believe these sorts of addictions are due to a moral failure or lack of willpower, but the truth is that you may just be wired that way.
The good news is that even if you've got that low-pleasure gene, you don't have to succumb to food addiction. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, a few changes to your diet can reprogram your brain and help you kick that sugar addiction.
Balance Your Blood Sugar
Research has shown that low blood sugar results in low blood flow to the brain, and that leads to bad decisions—like grabbing a handful of mini chocolate bars from the receptionist's desk every time you pass by. Keeping your blood sugar stable can help stave off cravings and poor choices. To balance your blood sugar, eat a high protein breakfast, enjoy frequent and small meals every three to four hours, include protein with every meal, and stop eating at least three hours before bed.
Go Cold Turkey
If you think you're addicted to sugar, Dr. Hyman's best advice is to go cold turkey, elminate all sugar and artificial sweetners from your diet. The same way a smoker can't have just one cigarette, if you're really addicted to sugar, you can't have any of it in your diet.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Research shows lack of sleep can increase cravings, and sufficient sleep can release calming hormones. Strive for seven to eight hours every night, really.
Take Your Vitamins
A good supplement can help ensure that your diet isn't deficient in any key nutrietnts, like vitamin D, which can help regulate your appetite and omega 3s, which help control insulin levels.