Occam’s Razor: Cutting Sugar Down to Size

I look at sugar addiction through a brain chemistry filter – which brain chemicals are triggered by sugar and how those chemicals affect behavior, appetite, emotions, and mental state.

I’ve been doing it for a long time – over 20 years.

Yet I frequently come in contact with “big” theories:
• that we crave sugar because we want to fill ourselves with sweetness, since we have none in our lives
• that attachment to sugar goes back to childhood traumas
• that we reach for sugar when we’re really reaching for love
• that we need to dig deep to find the root of the sugar problem and clear it before we can quit successfully.

It exhausts me, and makes me doubt those explanations.

I confess that it also makes me doubt myself and my methods. Why? Because most of the explanations I find for sugar addiction run in these emotional directions.

What’s Occam’s Razor – and What’s It Got to Do with Sugar?

As a principle for problem-solving, Occam’s Razor advises us to select the simplest solution, the one with the fewest assumptions, the fewest “mini-theories” to complicate things.

In my experience, the brain chemical explanation for sugar tends to be neat. “This is your brain on drugs” kind of neat.

No analysis of personalities, past lives, traumas, why your cousin was mean to you at the last family gathering and why that made you binge on brownies. No self-improvement programs. No emotional baggage.

Just “here’s what sugar is doing to you” and “here’s what you can do about it.”

Without the brain chemistry piece, even the methods for getting rid of sugar cravings tend to be convoluted. Or at least ineffective.
• Take deep breaths.
• Ask yourself what you really want.
• Eat some sugar slowly and savor it.
• Eat some sugar, then have something that’s good for you. (Really? Chocolate, then broccoli?)
• Find healthy substitutes.

That last one bothers me most because it keeps people in the sugar trap. Making foods taste sweet by using “better” sugars isn’t really the solution to a sugar addiction.

I’ve ranted against trending sugars – agave syrup, coconut sugar, dates, maple syrup, monukka honey and others – but most nutritionists give in to the popular view. They offer recipes for brownies, cookies, cakes made with these various “healthful” sugars.

I recently reacted strongly to an article that stated, “Those sugar cravings never really go away, do they?”

Yikes. Of course, they do! Completely.

But they won’t (and can’t) go away when you’re always eating – and constantly looking for – the latest so-called healthful alternative to sugar instead of just… getting over it.

Occam’s Razor for Sugar Addiction: Simpler Than Psychoanalysis and New Sugar Obsessions?

It IS simple. Fix the brain chem thing. Get past your sugar addiction, don’t turn it into a different addiction. Eat to stay healthy. Your cravings go away. You feel fantastic.

From there, you can analyze your emotions and behavior patterns to your heart’s content. It will amaze you, however, how many of those things clear up when you simply loosen the grip of sugar on your brain. Seriously.

Occam’s Razor slices through the complicated nonsense and leaves an effective answer.

It works for sugar addiction, too.

In this case, the simplest solution lies in brain chem. The complex emotional layers become secondary. Not unimportant, mind you, but not necessary to analyze and re-hash before fixing the sugar problem.

And that’s why I love working with foods and brain chemistry. It’s Occam’s Razor at work.

Lowering Blood Sugar Levels – The Fast Way to Do It

Often associated with diabetes, blood sugar plays a very important role in one’s state of mind and physical health. Sugar level irregularities in the blood can have negative repercussions, affecting not just the joints and knee caps but also the major organs of the body such as the heart and the kidneys. Apparently, there is a need to regulate blood sugar levels, and there are a number of ways (both natural and not) you can regulate sugar levels.

In chronic diabetes or Type I diabetes, the management of choice in lowering blood sugar levels is insulin. Insulin breaks down excess sugar and stores sugar in the form of energy, correspondingly decreasing the levels of sugar in the blood. Insulin is not to be administered without doctor’s advice.

Type II diabetics may do well with natural means to regulate blood sugar levels. In many cases, engaging in exercise and embarking on a diabetic diet (one that is low in sugar and carbohydrates), are enough to keep the levels of sugar from spiking.

Drinking lots of water is always a good idea, whether you are a diabetic or not. However, the need to hydrate is more urgent and apparent when you are a diabetic. Dehydration can cause a series of problems that can aggravate the condition of sugar levels in the blood, resulting to further damage.

While it is only natural to be concerned when your blood glucose levels are on the rise, know that there is help available, but as it is, you must have the discipline to proceed with any diabetic management. You cannot go jogging a couple of times in a given week then spend the next week on the couch, or go on a strictly diabetic diet for 3 days and then eat all the rice you can eat for the next 4 days, and then expect your blood glucose levels to decrease instantly. It doesn’t work that way, and it never will. If you want visible results in a short time, then you really have to commit yourself to doing the program consistently.

5 No-Fail Tactics For Eradicating Sugar Cravings

If you have great intentions of eating healthy… but get sidetracked by sweets… you’re not alone!

According to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD author of Beat Sugar Cravings Now!, the average American eats about 150 pounds of added sugar each year in processed foods and drinks. That’s more than 7 times the amount Americans ate two centuries ago in 1820!

Sugar is in just about everything we eat from salad dressings, to cold cuts, to pasta sauce. Even if you avoid cookies, you may be getting too much of this sweet stuff unbeknownst to you.

And this isn’t sweet news for our health…

Sugar weakens immune cells. And sugar can cause your body to age prematurely. It binds with proteins in your body through a process called glycation. Glycation damages your body’s tissues, robbing you of vitality and health.

Excess sugar can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

It also may be as addictive as major drugs like heroin.[1]

Now, to be fair, craving sweetness is not always a bad thing. Our simian ancestors depended on sweet fruits for easy energy.

The real problem is that our craving for sweet is too easily catered to in this day and age. Where natural scarcity put some limits to our sugar consumption in earlier generations, these days we can eat sugar to our heart’s content. It’s so easy to get some!

Fortunately there are some tactics you can use to keep your sweet tooth in check…

Sugar Cravings Crushing Tactic #1: Eat high-protein meals frequently

Sugar cravings can often be due to dips in blood sugar levels. Slowly-digested proteins help stabilize the level of sugar in your blood, quelling the urge to get some sugar in you.

This is particularly critical in the morning, when you serve up breakfast. After a long fast while you were sleeping, your body reacts more dramatically to any sugar you feed it. Remake your breakfast to focus on proteins, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grain carbs – like a scrambled eggs, spinach and avocado sandwich – and you’ll get your day off to a great start.

Sugar Cravings Crushing Tactic #2: Eat fruits to get some sweetness

While fruits can contain a lot of sugar, their fiber helps slow down your body’s absorption of sugar so you are less prone to sugar highs and lows.

But just to be clear, fruit juices don’t cut it. Don’t get deceived by the juicing fad. With juices you lose out on most of the fiber in fruits, leaving your body vulnerable to a sugar overload.

If you prefer to slurp your fruit, make use of the whole fruit and try a smoothie. Add some sugar-moderating veggies and proteins, and the sweetness in your fruit will go down even slower.

Sugar Cravings Crushing Tactic #3: Invite some bacteria inside

Thanks to overuse of antibiotics and germ-killing soaps, we’ve done serious damage to our internal ecosystem – the helpful probiotic bacteria that are a part of our digestive system. As these bacteria dwindle, often the yeast, candida, takes over inside of us. Candida is notorious for causing us to crave sugar – its favorite food.

To bring your bacteria count back to a healthy number, consider taking a probiotic supplement. And feed these bacteria well with their favorite food – prebiotics. Chlorella is a terrific probiotic-boosting prebiotic.

Sugar Cravings Crushing Tactic #4: Attend to your hormones

In women, sugar cravings can sometimes be linked to our hormonal fluctuations. By mediating these shifts with some hormone balancers – like licorice root tea, eleuthero or raspberry leaf – we can help our body recover its hormonal balance… and reduce our craving for sweet.

Sugar Cravings Crushing Tactic #5: Sleep

We turn to sugar instinctively when we need an energy hit. Unfortunately, while sugar can give you a temporary lift, it drops you hard soon after.

Instead of turning to sugar to wake up, get moving. Exercise is one of the best energizers. Or drink some clear water.

And finally, get proactive about feeling tired. If you’re craving sweets, check yourself to see if you really need an earlier bedtime or a nap instead.

Crush Your Sugar Cravings And Charge Ahead!

All these tactics work. But bottom line, they all work better when you shift your perspective in one fundamental way:

Don’t see cutting down on sugar as deprivation. See it as a gift to yourself. And this gift includes more energy, a sharper mind, a better mood, a slimmer you, stronger immunity and better health overall.

You’ll be amazed at how sweeter life can be when you cut down on the sugar.

Reducing your sugar intake is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Put these 5 tactics to work and you’ll discover some delicious treats life has in store for the healthier you!

Sources:

[1] Avena NM. Examining the addictive-like properties of binge eating using an animal model of sugar dependence. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Oct;15(5):481-91.

Dental Health Is Directly Related to Overall Health

The lifestyle which we live has a direct impact on the health of our mouth, teeth and gums. What we eat and drink has a direct effect on our teeth and gums. This is the reason why many dentists will suggest you to drink soft drink using a straw and also to avoid any acidic foods. Today we discuss about how our overall health is interrelated to the health of our gums and teeth.

You maintain your overall health by eating healthy foods and drinks. Foods which are rich in vitamin are considered good for your overall health and also for your dental health. However as we grow we change our eating habits and other day-to-day habits. We start consuming acidic foods which directly impact the enamel and stains our teeth. We start consuming soft drinks which again has a direct effect on our enamel. Apart from the food that we consume, we also feel that doing certain things such as smoking, piercing our lips or tongue and drinking excessive alcohol makes us look cool. However the result is different. Smoking leads to tooth loss, gum disease and many other problems related to dental health. With piercing oral infections become common and also leads to chipped tooth. The effect of piercing does not just stop with these two problems. It might also lead to gum recession which eventually leads to tooth loss.

Sugar is yet again another cause of tooth decay and an important threat to our dental health. Sugar is present in our foods which lead to plaque. This plaque then teams up carbohydrates and leads to the formation of acids. The acid breaks down the enamel and eventually leads to tooth cavities. If the infected tooth is not treated it will lead to tooth cavities becoming deeper resulting in pain and might even lead to tooth loss.

While we are grown up it at times becomes difficult for us to keep a track of what we are eating. Practically we just cannot calculate the amount of sugar present in our food. However there is one thing which is under our control. We can ensure that our mouth is being cleaned regularly as this maintains proper dental health. No matter what you eat and drink you should brush twice in a day followed by flossing. Many of us are not aware that ideally you should brush for two minutes. You will be surprised to know that not many of us last that long while brushing. Apart from brushing and flossing you should visit your dentist twice in a year. This will keep you updated about your dental health and will also help the dentist to detect whether you are suffering from any dental problem or not.

Staying upbeat with your health has a psychic effect as well. A healthy body will always be filled with positive energy and happiness. So it becomes imperative for us to maintain our dental health and healthy body.