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Ever Wonder If You've Got A Low-Key Sugar Addiction?

Here's how to know if you've got more than just a sweet tooth.

Wellness

Here's the thing about sugar. Did you know that it helps to fuel your brain and red blood cells? That reason alone is why, automatically coming to the ultimate conclusion that sugar is the devil, is not a totally accurate one. According to many health experts, we need somewhere around 6 teaspoons of sugar a day while men require about 9. Problem is, an average cup of juice can give you all of the sugar you need for the day and let's be honest—many of us are well over tripling that amount, just with our breakfast alone. In fact, I actually read that most of us consume somewhere around 20 teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis. This is why, many health experts believe, that sugar addiction is at an all-time high; that it's an epidemic.

Thing is, because sugar is so much a part of our lives (remember carbs turns into sugar once we digest 'em), how can you know if you're someone who simply has a "taste" for sugar or you're someone who is a full-on addict? That is actually what we're gonna touch on today—some pretty telling signs that you've low-key got a sugar addiction, quite possibly without even noticing it.

8 Signs You Have A Sugar Addiction

You Have Constant Cravings

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One sign that a sugar addiction may be a very real issue in your life is, you never seem to be able to get enough of it. I mean, no matter how much candy, juice and carbs (more on that in a sec), you consume, you can always take in more.

The reason why this happens is because, when you binge on sugar, that actually causes your blood sugar levels to tank because the insulin in your body will push the sugar into your cells in order to prevent sugar-related damage. And when your sugar levels are low, you end up wanting to eat more of it as a direct result.

Kinda crazy, isn't it?

You Can Never Get Enough Carbs

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Carbs are a vital energy source; there's no doubt about that. But when you eat them, your digestive system actually converts that food into glucose, which is sugar. Unfortunately, because carbs typically don't have enough fiber or protein in them, your body is unable to slow down how quickly carbs are able to turn into sugar and, without protein and fibrous foods, you can find yourself craving carbs all the time (which basically means you're craving sugar all of the time). By the way, foods that are high in carbs that work against you include cereal, desserts, canned fruits, chips, bread and fast food. High carb foods that are actually good for you include quinoa, oats, bananas, sweet potatoes, blueberries and apples.

Your Energy Levels (and Moods) Are a Roller Coaster Ride

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While caffeine is sho 'nuf a stimulant (a drug, in fact, because it is something that stimulates your nervous system), I once read that sugar is a "false energizer" because, right after it gives you a surge of energy, it can cause you to lose it just as fast. Not only that but because sugar can also have your blood sugar levels all over the place, it can give you some pretty nasty mood swings as well. So, if "roller coaster" would be a good word to describe how you feel most of the time, that's another indication that you just might have a sugar addiction.

Whenever You Don’t Eat “It”, You Feel It

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Whenever someone tells me that they don't have a caffeine addiction but then turn right around and say that the reason why they need 2-3 cups of coffee in the morning is because they will have a killer headache if they don't, I'm often like, "Umm…yeah. That means you've got an addiction going on." The same thing applies to sugar. If when you try and go a few days without it, you notice that you're feeling extremely drained, nauseated, you've got muscle discomfort, headaches or even that you can't sleep much or well—all of this points to your body going through mild withdrawal symptoms.

This is why, if you are trying to consume less sugar, it's best to wean off of it slowly. It's also a good idea to keep in mind that the withdrawal symptoms usually don't kick in until 24-48 hours after you step away from sugar (some people say they actually do feel anything until they're two weeks in) and typically last between 2-14 days.

You’re Bloated Often

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It's pretty common for us to get a little bloated, right around our period. That's because, when our progesterone and estrogen levels shift, leading into our menstrual flow, our body's cells start to retain both salt and water.

Well, did you know that something else that can trigger bloating, pretty much right after you eat, is sugar? That's because sugar has a way of disturbing the balance of our digestive tract once it ferments into our system. As a result, sugar is able to feed the bacteria in our digestive system which can cause bloating (and eventually yeast infections too).

Plus, 80 percent of our immune system is in our gut, so that's just one more reason to limit your sugar intake.

When You Miss a Meal, It’s a BIG Deal

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While it's definitely a good idea to eat three square meals a day (because it can help to give you the energy that you need while preventing you from overeating or binge-eating unhealthy foods), our bodies are actually designed to be able to go hours without feeling like we're gonna die (or kill someone) if we don't eat something. Problem is, when you're a sugar addict, you feel like you need to be eating something all the time; especially salty foods which is a heads up that your body isn't receiving all of the nutrients that it needs.

Again, you need to eat a good breakfast, lunch and dinner. But if you happen to miss one of those meals and it's got you literally climbing the walls, well—you already know what I'm about to say. Right?

You’re Suddenly Packing on Body Fat

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Here's something that you may or may not know. Were you aware of the fact that your body stores up energy in its fatty tissue? And here's the thing—since it takes fatty tissue a significant amount of time to break down into energy, that's why eating sugary foods creates bulges where you may not want them to be (this is also why it's so much easier to put on weight than it is to lose it). Not only that, but sugar also gets stored into your muscles in the form of glucose too. Until your body feels like you need to use that stored up energy, it will keep it in the form of fat—whether you like it or not.

You’re Exhausted

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One more. Some of you might remember when a huge news story broke that sitting all day, for months at a time, had become "the new smoking" when it comes to what it does to our health. The reason why is because a sedentary lifestyle affects out posture, blood circulation and breathing—and all of that can result in major health issues up the pike. Well, to that, if you haven't been moving about (or exercising before or after work), you know that you've been consistently getting no less than six hours a night and still, no matter what, you feel worn out 90 percent of the time, this could also be a sign that you're a sugar addict. When your system is reliant on large amounts of sugar in order to give you the energy that you need, if you're not consuming it, your energy levels drop which makes you want to go to sleep.

How To Curb Your Sugar Addiction

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So, what if you happen to see yourself in any of the signs of sugar addiction that I just shared? First, as I briefly already mentioned, going cold turkey isn't smart. Since you've still got to earn a living—and going through sugar withdrawals can make you moody as hell—it really is best to ease off a little bit at a time.

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Don't put extra sugar into or onto your food.
  • Have only 1-2 glasses of un-water drinks a day (the rest of the time, drink water only).
  • Go totally without fast food.
  • If candy is your thing, get some dark chocolate that is made up of at least 65 percent cocoa.
  • When you crave sweets, opt for protein instead (it will help to curb the desire). Some good protein snacks include peanut butter, coconut, unsweetened Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, tuna, pumpkin seeds and almonds.
  • Read food labels before making a purchase (because remember, you need less than 25 grams a day).
  • Have a slice/piece of something sweet rather than several.

Having a sugar addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. However, the reason why it's so important to take this seriously is because, too much sugar increases your chances of having heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, experiencing breakouts, becoming depressed and, of course, gaining weight.

A little sugar is cool. Just make sure not to overdo it, OK? Being addicted to anything is problematic, so choose your foods (and drinks) wisely.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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