It starts with the Halloween candy and ends with the Christmas cookies. Or maybe it ends with Valentine chocolates. Does the season of sugar ever really come to a close?
Gwyneth Paltrow and Integrative Physician Dr. Frank Lipman talked about sugar addiction in this week's GOOP newsletter, telling it like it is about the ultra-addictive sweet stuff.
Here's what Gwyneth had to say:
In the past generation we’ve seen the amount of sugar we consume grow exponentially. Until recently, we had been eating sugar mainly found naturally in foods. It was used as a treat or in small quantities and was never a problem. But today, over a third of the calories we consume come from sugar or white flour, which is highly refined and acts just like sugar in our system. Our bodies cannot cope with such an enormous load. Sugar gives you an initial high, then you crash, then you crave more, so you consume more sugar. It’s this series of highs and lows that provoke unnecessary stress on your adrenals. You get anxious, moody (sugar is a mood-altering drug) and eventually you feel exhausted.
And as we already discussed on Beauty Is Wellness, sugar is an enemy of your skin, stealing moisture, causing inflammation and making it difficult for the body to repair collagen.
"Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override one’s self-control and lead to addiction," said Dr. Lipman, who gave a few of his personal tips for coping with sugar cravings.
A few of my favorites:
Choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its original form, the less processed sugar it will contain. Food in its natural form, including fruits and vegetables, usually presents no metabolic problems for a normal body, especially when consumed in variety.
Have a breakfast of protein, fat and phytonutrients to start your day off right. Breakfast smoothies are ideal for this. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since you’ll have cravings all day. Eating a good breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings.
Don't substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar.
Become familiar with sugar terminology. Recognize that all of these are sweeteners: corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, molasses, turbinado sugar and brown sugar.
Drink lots of water. Sometimes drinking water or seltzer water can help with the sugar cravings. Also sometimes what we perceive as a food craving is really thirst.
What sugary foods are the hardest for you to avoid around the holidays (remember that white pasta and white breads count too)?
Would it be easier for you to say no to refined sweets if you could imagine that your choice was helping your skin and the youthfulness of your complexion? Think of limiting sweets as another anti-aging secret!