Sugar addiction is no joke, our brains can rewire themselves to crave sugar. Most people know the negative consequences of eating too much sugar and want to eat less, but when cravings and withdrawal symptoms take control, reaching for the sweet stuff can be irresistible.
Before discussing how CBD can help curb these cravings, lets take a closer look at what sugar is and how it can hijack the brain, and turn into addiction.
A Spoon Full of Sugar…
Despite having little to no nutritional value, sugar is the most popular ingredient added to American foods. Processed foods such as ketchup, spaghetti sauce, cereals and candies contain the highest levels of sugar. Soft Drunks are the highest source of added-sugar in the American diet – one can of soda contains about 11 teaspoons of sugar!
Sugar goes by many different names, making it easy to hide how much sugar is truly in products. Some of the most common names for sugar include Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Lactos, Maltose, Molasses, Sorghum Syrup and Sucrose.
The average American eats 19 teaspoons of added sugar a day – which health experts say is way too much. Eating too much sugar causes spikes in blood sugar and drains your energy, it increases your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, anxiety and depression.
Sugary foods are very desirable because of the powerful impact they have on the reward system in the brain, this system is known as the mesolimbic dopamine system. Dopamine is released by neurons in this system in response to a rewarding event.
Drugs such as nicotine and cocaine also activate this reward system, causing the release of dopamine, which leads to intense feelings of reward that can results in cravings and addiction.
Sugar addiction can be in response to emotions, such as anxiety, depression, stress, sadness, boredom or anger. If you eat a lot of sugar, you reinforce this reward system, which makes you want to repeat the behaviour again, as it feels good – this can make it difficult to stop the habit.
Because of the powerful influence sugar can have over behaviour, cutting it out of our diets can be difficult. If we try to quit eating a high sugar diet “cold turkey” we can experience withdrawal effects.
Withdrawal symptoms may include depressed mood, anxiety, changes in sleep patterns, concentration issues, cravings, headaches, nausea and fatigue.
The length of these withdrawal symptoms varies, some people can quickly adjust without sugar, others may have severe cravings and find it too hard to resist sugary foods.
How CBD Can Help
If you smoke or eat pot, there is a good chance you’ve encountered the “munchies” where you crave sweet or fatty foods. THC is what gets you “high’ when using cannabis, it is also responsible for these food cravings. In contrast, CBD has the potential to promote a healthy appetite and reset addictive behaviors such as binge eating and craving unhealthy foods. Products that are high in CBD and low in THC can curb cravings of sugary feel good foods.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a regulatory system responsible for maintaining homeostasis – the body’s ability to keep a state of internal balance, enabling all systems and organs to function optimally together. Within the ECS there are receptors known as CB1 and CB2, which can be found in almost all major parts of the body. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that the body produces naturally. When endocannabinoids bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors they allow for two-way communication between cells – when something is out of balance signals are sent to the ECS to help correct it through a wide range of biological functions.
The ECS activity in the central nervous system regulates your food intake. When you feel hungry your ECS sends signals to your hypothalmus – the part of the brain that helps to regulate appetite – letting you know its time for your next sweet snack. If the body lacks endocannabinoids your hunger regulation system may be out of balance leading to unhealthy eating habits. CBD has a similar molecular structure as endocannabinoids and can restore homeostatic balance in this system which can reduce appetite.
The ECS also regulates your mesolimbic dopamine system (the reward system in the brain that is responsible for habit and addiction). CBD can interact with this system to modulate emotional processing and block conditioned addictive behaviors and cravings.
Additional Benefits of CBD
As mentioned above sugar addictions can be in response to emotions such as stress, depression and anxiety. These are common mental health conditions that can have lasting effects on a person’s health, social life, ability to work, and overall well-being. Lots of people turn to sugary sweets when they feel stressed, anxious or depressed to make them feel better. Many studies have shown CBD oil to be an effective treatment for each of these conditions.
Research has also shown that lack of sleep can increase sugar cravings in an attempt to boost energy levels. Studies suggest that CBD can help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
Its important to remember that CBD Oil should be used in addition to other positive changes to your lifestyle. Introducing mild to moderate exercise, and stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation will greatly benefit your chances of reducing your sugar intake .
Recommended CBD Dosage
The dosage needed will vary from person to person depending on your weight, body chemistry and tolerance – this makes it difficult to figure out the proper dosage which is commonly between 2mg and 80mg. The best way is to start small and build up slowly to get the desired effects. You can try starting with 1 or 2 mg and add 2mg per day.
Food for Thought
Sugar has little to no nutritious value. It’s addictive and damaging to our health and well-being if eaten in excess over long periods.
By awakening cannabinoid receptors found throughout your body, CBD can bring balance to your mind and body; helping reset unhealthy behaviors. It has the potential to rewire the brain, reducing the desire to eat and to regulate appetite. With less hunger and cravings, this can help us eat less sugary foods.
CBD can also address the emotional responses that turn people to sugar in the first place; such as stress, anxiety, depression and lack of sleep – if you feel better in general, sugar can lose it’s appeal.
Taking CBD daily on top of making some positive life style changes can help reduce, or eliminate sugar completely from your diet.
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