That vanilla latte or afternoon chocolate fix might seem harmless. But all of that added sugar adds up over the course of the day, which adds up significantly over the course of a lifetime. Our bodies were not designed to cope with the 20 teaspoons of sugar that the average American consumes on a daily basis, let alone the 11,862 cups of sugar (Yuck!) that adds up to over the course of a lifetime.
In fact, a diet high in sugar has been linked to a number of serious health issues, from tooth decay and weight gain, to diabetes and fatty liver disease. Harvard Medical School researchers have even found evidence that a high-sugar diet increases the risk of fatal heart disease.
Here’s the problem though: We know too much sugar is bad for us. But trying to reduce the amount of sweets we eat isn’t easy.
For many of us, giving up sugar seems all but impossible. We can break the habit for a few days or weeks. But before we know it, we’re back to snacking on sugar throughout the day.
If you’ve struggled to kick your sugar habit, you’re not alone. Americans today eat more than 120 pounds of sugar each year, and it’s hard to escape the constant temptation of sweets.
But avoiding temptation can only do so much; sugar actually reprograms your brain and creates its own intense cravings.
Research shows that, when consumed in excess, it reprograms our brains. How? Eating sugar triggers the production and release of addiction-forming chemicals in the body. These chemicals activate feelings of pleasure, relaxation and comfort. Over time, the brain learns that the body needs sugar to function.
In other words, sugar addiction is very real. In fact, several studies have shown that sugar is as addictive – if not more – than street drugs like cocaine and heroin.
That’s serious stuff! No wonder it’s so difficult to cut sugar from our diets.
But willpower alone isn’t enough to cure our sugar addictions. The reason is that sugar addiction is rooted deep in the unconscious mind. Our subconscious has developed positive a deep attachment to sweets.
Without untangling and reframing these associations, we aren’t getting to the root cause of our sugar habit.
Hypnotherapy offers a solution for reversing these subconscious urges. Through hypnosis, you can begin to examine how your subconscious views sugar and provide it with new information to change habits.
How Sugar Takes Over Your Body
Sugar addiction doesn’t happen overnight. It develops over many years. Yet, there’s some compelling science to what’s actually forming the addiction.
Sugar hijacks your body’s biochemical systems, and when we eat a lot of sugar, the body’s natural mechanisms to control cravings gets thrown out of whack. In particular, an excess of sugar affects the production of three important biochemicals:
Serotonin. When you eat refined sugars, your body produces and releases serotonin. Serotonin helps to control mood and relieve pain. Over time, the subconscious mind learns to associate sugar intake with feelings of comfort, reduced pain and/or calm. This complex biochemical process can therefore explain one reason stress causes weight gain – we use sweet, sugary foods to comfort ourselves.
Dopamine. Sugar addiction also disrupts the brain’s production of dopamine. Dopamine generates the feelings of pleasure we experience after eating a sugary snack like ice cream. But over time, the brain builds up a tolerance. Therefore, you need to consume more sugar to achieve the same sense of pleasure, which reinforces this cycle of addiction.
Ghrelin. When you’re hungry, the body releases ghrelin, a chemical that tells the body it’s time to eat. Stress and lack of sleep can cause overproduction of ghrelin. But here’s why ghrelin can reinforce your sugar cravings; people who are hungry instinctively seek out high-sugar, energy-dense foods. The problem is that a lot of sugary foods and drinks like soda have been shown to actually spike ghrelin levels.
Re-learning How to Listen to These Signals. Hypnotherapy for sugar addiction works by unlocking how the subconscious interprets these natural signals. During hypnosis, you move beyond the rational, conscious mind. This is the level of consciousness that we experience on a daily basis, these are the thoughts that we “hear.”
By moving past the conscious mind, though, we can begin to decipher what is actually compelling us to eat sugar, i.e. the subconscious. The subconscious is the automatic-thinking that drives our habits, reactions, and emotions.
Are You A Sugar Addict?
Sure, people call you a sweet tooth, but are you truly addicted to sugar? Although there is no fool-proof test you can take to give you a definite answer, there are a few tell-tale signs that reducing sugar might help.
For starters, withdraw symptoms when may indicate that the body has become physically addicted to sugar. A few common sugar withdrawal symptoms include:
- Fatigue, crashing in the afternoon
- Mood swings, irritability
- Trouble sleeping
How Hypnosis Can Help You Overcome Sugar Addiction
We’ve talked a little bit about the conscious and subconscious minds. But here we’ll go into a little more detail to help you understand how they operate, and how hypnotherapy enables you to change yourself from within.
- Conscious vs. Subconscious Mind: The “conscious” mind is what we’re most familiar with. It’s the thoughts you have on a daily basis, the voice you hear in your head. Your conscious mind is rational, it’s always seeking to explain and justify the world around you. The subconscious, or unconscious, mind, on the other hand, works in the background and it’s fully automatic. When you touch something, you don’t have to “think” about how it feels. Instead, your subconscious mind informs you instantaneously based on your memories and sensory inputs.
- The Critical Mind: If we know sugar in excess has adverse health consequences, why don’t we just give it up? That’s an important question. The conscious mind is rational; it’s constantly looking for reasons to justify habits. That’s why you can accept that you need to reduce sugar, but struggle to overcome the urge. The conscious mind might say: “Well, I’ll just have one piece of chocolate tonight.” The habit, though, is being kept in place at a deeper level – buried in the subconscious mind. That’s why so many self-help programs that focus solely on reframing conscious thoughts are ineffective. They’re not getting to the root of the problem.
- Reframing Your Subconscious Thoughts: Your subconscious is programmed through repetition. You eat sugar, you feel calmer and more relaxed, and over time, it learns that, “Hey, sugar is something I need in order to feel better.” Sugar in your morning coffee might be associated with that caffeine jolt. A rich dessert may be associated with relaxing before bed.
Hypnotherapy empowers you to update their subconscious thinking. At the subconscious level, you might consider sugar a friend who’s always there to pick you up. But through hypnosis, you can untangle these positive associations and reframe the thinking with new information.
What to Expect from a Hypnosis Session for Quitting Sugar
What Does the Research Say?
Overcoming sugar addiction requires commitment and dedication and some compelling research has shown that hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for addiction.
One of the most compelling studies was conducted by Dr. Alfred Barrios, and it compared hypnosis to psychoanalysis. For the meta-analysis, Dr. Barrios looked at more than 1,000 articles and studies on hypnosis and psychoanalysis, in particular looking at the efficacy of each treatment. Dr. Barrios found that:
- Psycho analysis had just a 38 percent recovery rate after 600 sessions.
- Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, achieved a 93 percent recovery after just SIX sessions.
Many other studies have found hypnotherapy to be effective for a range of behaviors similar to sugar addiction.
A 1992 meta-analysis, for example, looked at statistics from more than 70,000 adults who had given up smoking. The results found that hypnotherapy was nearly 15 times more effective than quitting cold turkey.
Similarly, a variety of studies have examined the relationship between hypnotherapy and weight loss. A 1996 study conducted by University of Connecticut researchers looked at a variety of weight loss interventions, including relaxation training and visualization. Some study participants also received hypnosis in conjunction with these treatments.
The participants who received hypnosis on top of another invention lost more weight than 90 percent of those who did not. And these participants kept the weight off for 2 years after therapy.
Hypnotherapy Is a Powerful Tool That Requires Commitment
Congratulations for starting your sugar reduction journey with the use of hypnosis! Hypnosis is a powerful tool. It can empower you to make real positive change in your life. But like any self-help tool, it requires commitment.
True, you might experience surprisingly powerful improvements from a single hypnotherapy session. But for long-term results you have to dedicate the appropriate amount of time in order to achieve your goals. For most, quitting sugar is a challenge, no doubt about it. Sugar is everywhere hidden in foods we would never imagine, and it’s likely become a part of your daily life. So one session won’t likely be enough. Remember that six sessions is about the norm to see 93% improvement, and subsequent follow-up sessions could be in order down the road.
But the good news is that hypnotherapy is unlike a lot of other therapies. It doesn’t require sheer willpower or an impossible-to-keep diet.
Instead, it can help you get down to the real cause of your sugar addiction – which lives inside the subconscious mind – and empower you to reshape how you think about sugar. In other words, hypnotherapy is a great treatment for addiction because it treats the cause, not just the symptoms.