A symptom of the pandemic that spread to a lot of people is sugar addiction. Whether you used comfort foods to cope with the stress of the year or were just too close to the kitchen while working from home, it's contributed to pandemic weight gain -- a popular topic of conversation as people emerge from a year of staying mostly at home.
ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Shad Marvasti says that sugar high triggers our dopamine response -- a feel-good surge -- and then our bodies start to crave it.
Even indirect sugar intake becomes problematic as Dr. Shad says 64% of the American diet is processed foods that contain refined sugars and little fiber so our bodies don't release it.
To help the weight gain, he says to eat more whole foods and add proteins and healthy fats like sunflower seeds, avocado, and olive oil.
"The problem with sugary foods is it's a rollercoaster. You get that energy... it goes up, then you get that crash. But, if you're eating more healthy fat you're not going to get that. Healthy fat and protein will give you that course that goes like this -- steady," said Dr. Shad who adds that will also keep you feeling full longer.
Other tips are to read product labels and avoid added sugar, especially in products you might not expect like sauces and beans.
If you can kick sugar out of your diet for 21 days, Dr. Shad says that's all it takes to change your palate and build the habit of eating healthier foods.