Sugar Blues…Why do we sing them?

Sugar BluesHave you ever wondered why you are hungry at 10am, after you have consumed a nutritious breakfast of coffee and a bagel?  Do you really understand the science behind why you feel like closing your eyes and resting your head on your desk at 3pm?  Has 2:00am become your body’s natural time to wake up and let your mind race?

If any of these applies to you, well then my friend you are singing the Sugar Blues.  Sugar Blues is a term health coaches use to describe the roller coaster ride of sugar highs and crashes throughout the day and night.  These extremes in blood sugar present symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, moodiness, hunger, sleeplessness, weight gain and more sugar cravings.   That’s right, sugar IS addictive and creates a pattern of behavior that most of us do not attribute to our diet.

Sugar, in its many different forms, has been found to cause or contribute to most major diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and more.  Sadly, the average American consumes 142 pounds of sugar per year!  According to the CDC, on average 1 in 4 Americans are diabetic.  The CDC also found that 12.5 million children are clinically obese and 16 percent of all American children are overweight.  WHY are we doing this to ourselves?  We may be living longer but we certainly aren’t living healthier.

Do you eat cereal for breakfast?  Do you drink soda? Do you crave “just one” chip? Just a few M&M’s?  Did you know that 1 cup of raisin bran contains 5 teaspoons of sugar?   Are you aware that your 20oz soda is like pumping 15 teaspoons of sugar into your veins?  Food companies understand and create the perfect combination of salt, sugar and preservatives that trigger cravings and the physical need for more!  We are left defenseless, hungry, moody piles of fatigue unable to focus on our task until we get the next fix…… and crash again in a few hours!


I hear you out there saying, “Yep, that’s me!” and I’m here to tell you how to get off this roller coaster:

 1)     Turn off the TV!  Our brains work on a cue-urge-reward cycle and watching commercials for our favorite fast foods or desserts serves as the cue to trigger our cravings.

2)     DON’T KEEP IT IN THE HOUSE!  Simply put, if it’s not there, you can’t eat it!

3)     Get a good night sleep!  Hunger increases 25% when we are tired.  When we fill that hunger with sugar, we spend the day going up and down filling up our tanks with sugar, crashing and refueling again to beat the sleepless night before.

4)     READ THE LABEL!  Understand all the names for sugar:  Brown sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, turbinado, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), crystallization fructose, sucrose, dextrose, glucose, lactose, maltose, Sorbitol, mannitol, malitol and xylitol

5)     Crowd it out!  I always tell my clients not to deprive themselves but promise themselves that dessert after they have eaten 1-2 cups of something whole and nutrient dense like fruits and vegetables.  By crowding out the bad stuff and adding the good stuff, your cravings will diminish and eventually fade away.

6)     Nourish your body with non-food items like loving relationships, healthy work environments, hobbies, and exercise.  When our lives are not balanced, we often look to food to comfort us.

7)     Seek help!  Nutritionists, registered dietitians and health coaches are trained to deconstruct your cravings and determine what your body is really calling out for!

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