Even though most of us know that sugar causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other serious problems, it’s difficult to stop eating and drinking it because we crave it. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D, author of the book Beat Sugar Addiction Now!, explains to Newsmax Health how sugar does its damage and suggests ways to kick the sweet habit.
Americans eat too much sugar—18 percent of the calories we consume come from sugar, Dr. Teitelbaum says. That’s contributing to not only heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other physical ailments, but it even affects mental health, impacting mood, behavior, and even contributing to depression.
Dr. Teitelbaum’s research for his book has led him to conclude that there are four types of addictions to sugar: fatigue induced, stress induced, the kind brought on by an overgrowth of yeast in the gut, and another related to menopause.
People with the first type are exhausted and reaching for a pick-me-up. “Think of it as an energy loan shark: It’s a good way to get a quick fix but then you pay double down the line,” he says.
The second type is affected by fatigue related to adrenal “stress-handler” glands and it spurs moments of irritable hunger. “So [people] get what I call these feed me now or I’ll kill you moments,” he says.
An overgrowth of yeast in the gut that consumes sugar results in a chemical signal causing sugar cravings, he says. With the fourth type related to menopause, sufferers feeling anxious and depressed use sugar to treat their shifting moods, he says.
One way to cut out a large amount of sugar in your diet is to eliminate soda, which can contain three-quarters of a teaspoon of sugar per ounce, he notes. Skipping fruit juice, which also has a lot of sugar, is important, too.
“Instead, have the whole fruit,” he says. “Eat an orange or two, no problem.”
And while you might think indulging in any chocolate would be a no-no, Dr. Teitelbaum says depriving yourself of the treat is not the way to go. Studies on chocolate eaters have shown reduced risk in strokes and heart attacks and improvement in circulation.
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