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Are you addicted to sugar?

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Article by Lyn Craven

Lyn Craven Profile | Email | Website
Lyn Craven Lyn Craven - ND. DMH. DRM. DBT. DPT. Reg. Trainer Cert IV
Specialising in all Female Health & Reproductive Disorders, Digestive/Bowel problems, Chronic Backache, RSI, carpel tunnel,
Stress management, Natural healthy vision and support for Glaucoma
Corporate Health Consultant - Naturopath
Advanced Bowen Therapist, Reiki/Energy Practitioner
Meditation Facilitator & Freelance writer.
Bondi - Sydney
Australia 2000
0403 231 804

Sugar Addiction.                                          


People who crave sugar and consume daily quantities of sugar/sugar-laden confectionary of any type will eventually create a number of health disorders.  Aside from obesity, sugar can trigger headaches/migraines, acne, bowel problems, candida/thrush overgrowth and hypoglycemia can and often does result, which if allowed to continue without treatment or change of diet can manifest into late on-set diabetes.


Here are some symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia known as low blood sugar

  • hunger
  • shakiness
  • nervousness
  • sweating
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • difficulty speaking
  • anxiety
  • weakness

What is reactive hypoglycaemia?


Reactive hypoglycaemia (RH) occurs when blood glucose drops below normal levels.  Glucose is an important source of energy for the body, which we obtain from food.  Carbohydrates are the main dietary source of glucose such as rice, potatoes, bread, tortillas, cereal, milk, fruit, and sweets are all carbohydrate-rich foods.  However, it is important to select high complex carbohydrates and avoid all refined processed foods, which contain chemicals, as these will trigger another attack.


After a meal, glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the body’s cells.  The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which helps the cells use glucose for energy.  When you take in more glucose than the body needs, the body stores the extra glucose in the liver and muscles in a form called glycogen.  The glycogen is used for energy between meals and extra glucose can also be changed to fat and stored in fat cells.  Fat can also be used for energy.


When blood glucose begins to fall, glucagon—another hormone made by the pancreas—signals the liver to break down glycogen and release glucose into the bloodstream.  Blood glucose will then rise toward a normal level.  In some people with diabetes, this glucagon response to hypoglycaemia is impaired and other hormones such as epinephrine, also called adrenaline, may raise the blood glucose level, however with diabetes treated with insulin or medication that increases insulin production and glucose levels can’t easily return to the normal range.


Some people have deficiencies in certain digestive enzymes and hormones in particular those associated with the pancreas, stomach, liver and duodenum. 


I have observed with some cases that the craving and hunger often appears worse from noon to approximately 3.30pm.  Interestingly, according to Chinese medicine the small intestine is most active and stimulated energetically and physically between 1pm and 3pm.  In situations like this it could be an underlying genetic weakness/inadequacy whereby the person may not assimilate nutrients efficiently and can present with symptoms of RH.


How to manage reactive hypoglycaemia:


RH can happen suddenly with many people and the healthy way to manage it would be to consume some of the following:


Ø  Protein such as fish, eggs, poultry, legumes, tofu

Ø  Brown rice

Ø  Yogurt – plain with no sugar or fruit added

Ø  Avocados

Ø  Generous helpings of steamed/stir fry vegetables – at least 5-6 per meal

Ø  Plenty raw salad which stimulates digestive enzymes

Ø  Use olive oil with salads and vegetables


Eating up to 6 times a day, grazing over 2-3 hour intervals is ideal for stabilising low blood sugar.  When you go too long without eating you will experience a plummet in blood sugar levels instigating sweet craving and hunger, along with some of the symptoms quoted.  Often people think the term “low blood sugar” requires someone to ingest sugar – this is wrong.  To do this will increase the blood sugar level quickly, but you will find a rapid plummet within the hour and a feeling of brain fatigue will manifest with further sweet cravings, and so the cycle goes on and on where people reach out for the chocolate biscuit again.


If left untreated, RH can get worse and cause confusion, clumsiness, or fainting.  Severe hypoglycaemia can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.  Managing RH with diet and regular exercise can prevent someone counteracting late on-set diabetes.

Some people may not have the sweet craving yet still present with all the other symptoms.  They may have curbed the need for sweet confectionery’s and chocolates for instance but the metabolism is still failing.  Insulin resistance can still be present (now known as metabolic syndrome or syndrome X), wherethe body cannot use insulin effectively.  Insulin is needed to help control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the body.  If you have insulin resistance, your body doesn't respond to insulin, and blood sugar cannot get into cells.  As a result, the body produces more and more insulin.  Insulin and blood sugar levels rise, affecting kidney function and raising the level of blood fats, such as triglycerides.

Sweet Craving (RH) Treatment


Herbal remedies and homeopathic’s are used successfully in balancing the blood sugar levels and diminishing the sweet craving.  Often there is a lack of Chromium and possibly other mineral deficiencies.  B Complex is essential nutrient to bring on board and all foods containing cane sugar and glucose should be eliminated including drinks. 


The sweet craving is a common thing to manifest during a woman’s menstrual cycle, since the hormonal fluctuations will affect the pancreatic hormones and if she is low in vital nutrients the craving becomes quite intense, often normalizing once the period commences or after bleeding.


It is easy to manage RH if you are dedicated to a healthy fresh food diet and take appropriate natural remedies to counterbalance any underlying discrepancies your metabolism presents with.


Alcohol is the quickest way to get sugar to the brain, it crosses the blood brain barrier and therefore we often see alcoholics experiencing sugar craving.  The amino acid Glutamine is helpful here, but in all cases the underlying reason for craving confectionaries and sugar must be addressed along with the alcoholic addiction.


Organic cocoa is rich in minerals including chromium.  However non organic cocoa crops that are sprayed with pesticide are bitter in taste and often packaged with cane sugar to sweeten, this then affects mineral content.  Since organic cocoa contains some minerals and chromium chocolate equates to this, but only if you purchase unsweetened dark bitter chocolate with no preservatives or artificial sweeteners.  Look for chocolate that contains fructose (from fruit), this is a healthier alternative.  However, I stress to limit ingestion if you suffer from RH since the smallest piece could trigger an attack again.


We can obtain sufficient sugars in fruits and some vegetables; we do not need to ingest cane sugar.  Many packages foods being sold in the market place contain sugar when there is no need to – such as soups, baked beans, white bread etc.


To continually “feed” our taste buds with sugar is not only creating an addiction but adulterating the true taste of the food you are eating.  Once you become acquainted to the natural taste of the food you eat without added cane sugar your taste buds will normalize and you will no longer crave the processed cane sugars.  Honey can be used in the place of sugar, but one does not require a large amount of honey either.


Since the liver is responsible for metabolizing all that we eat is it any wonder that it becomes tired and inefficient when you consume chemicalised sugar in your foods. 


People with IBS will experience looser bowel action when they consume cane sugar, they need to eliminate it completely, likewise anyone suffering thrush/candida/fungal infections – all these thrive on sugar.


The sugar cane straight from the field is perfect to chew and on and suck out the juice.  The natives in Central America use to do this and clean their teeth with the sugar cane.  They had strong healthy white teeth.  Explorers from the West encountered this sweet cane and took it back to their homeland.  Over time Europeans experimented with the sugar and it has been refined many times, containing chemicals to make it white.  The Molasses that comes from the sugar initially is probably the only thing I would recommend.  It is rich in minerals and vitamin B but once the processing and refining takes place and you gravitate from dark brown sugar, to brown sugar, to “raw” sugar, to white sugar etc, you have lost more and more nutritional value.  In fact, sugar will leach vitamins B and minerals – especially zinc from your body!  So why include it in your daily diet?  You don’t need it!

When sugar is metabolised, it bypasses many parts of the digestive process, and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, raising the blood sugar level.  It also produces a sharp rise in insulin, which is used by cells to absorb the sugar.  Not only this, but sugar also causes the brain to release the chemical serotonin, boosting a person’s mood, and causing a mild feeling of happiness.  Any wonder why people feel happy and comforted when they eat chocolate!  As humans, we have been seduced by sugar; once by behaviour-receiving it as a reward, and second, that it actually produces some physical feelings of euphoria.  Our bodies know that when we taste the sugar, that feeling of contentment and rush of energy is about to happen.

If mood swings and depression affect you, then these issues need to be addressed and treated since sugar will make you worse after your quick “lift”.  Herbal and homeopathic remedies can stabilise mood swings by resolving the underlying cause.  If serotonin levels are low then amino acids or SAD powder supplements are administered that contain L-tryptophan.  However I must advise you to consult a professional naturopath/therapist otherwise you could make matters worse.

I am available for private consultations including after hours phone and skype consults for those who live too far away from Sydney.  Please call me to arrange.

I recommend a book called “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty.

Lyn Craven is a Practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki Therapist, Meditation Teacher, and a Corporate Health Presenter/Consultant.  Helping people manage stress and resolve repetitive injuries, back pain, achieving greater balance, more energy and healthier lives.  Lyn is a health researcher/writer of various topics for Health magazines and has produced a meditation CD assisting people manage stress.  She runs a private practice in Sydney and conducts workshops in Sydney & Sunshine Coast.  She can be contacted on 0403 231 804 or Website


15 Jul 2013

Article/Information supplied by Lyn Craven

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.