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Sugar = Heroin. How to Cut Your Addiction

What's the Big Idea?

Whether you think Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent proposal to ban large sized sodas in New York City is government overreach, or not going far enough, this is incontrovertible: sugar is bad for you. Not only is it bad for you, it's as addictive as heroin.

And yet, the good news is that you don't have to wait for government action to take control of your own health. The bad news is it's not always easy. You have to go cold turkey. 

So argues Dr. Mark Hyman in his book, The Blood Sugar Solution, which presents ten ways you can cut food addiction "by regulating your hormones, by using food as medicine, by changing the information going in your body and upgrading your biological software." 

Watch the video here:

What's the Significance?

Upgrading your biological software is not about willpower, says Hyman. "It’s not about being weak-willed or emotionally crippled or needing to go to therapy to overcome your bad eating habits." If you treat food as medicine, what you need to do is actually work with your biology. In other words, Hyman says you need to think of food as information. "If you put the wrong information in, you're going to create the wrong signals and cravings.  If you put the right information in, you can shut those off very quickly and change your biological addiction almost over night."

So how do you put this into practice. Hyman's advice is very straightforward and actionable:

1. Eat three meals a day
This means breakfast, lunch and dinner, and two snacks.  

2. Have a balanced meal with protein, fat and good carbohydrates
Quality is important. Eat real food, not processed food. For breakfast, have eggs or a protein shake. For lunch and dinner Hyman says you want to create the "perfect plate." Here's what that means:

That's half of your plate as unlimited refills on non-starchy vegetables, like salad fixings, asparagus, broccoli, green beans.  One quarter is lean protein.  It could be nut proteins, vegetable proteins, beans or seeds or it could be lean chicken or fish.  And on the other side, you could have one-quarter of whole grain, brown rice, black rice, quinoa or maybe a sweet potato.  

The diet Hyman describes will "balance your blood sugar, keep your hormone levels even and prevent the spikes in insulin and shut off the sugar cravings." But again, he said this wouldn't be easy and you really have to go cold turkey. You can't just gradually reduce the amount of sugar you intake. Artificial sweeteners? Not a good idea. 

Hyman says you have to go cold turkey for at least a week and see what happens.  

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

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