You’ve probably already read at least a dozen articles talking about all the bad things sugar can do to your body. You like we already know that sugar and lead to weight gain comic ratings, suck your energy and leave you feeling terrible overall
The bottom line is you know that you need to quit sugar but how do you go about doing it without going through the sugar cravings that so many people face when quitting sugar? Well, the good news is you can be done by following these 13 tips.
1. Examine the root issue
This is the big one nobody really likes to talk about. We all admit that many of us overeat or turn to sugary desserts when under high levels of emotional stress, but when was the last time you actually examined the emotions that might be making you overeat? The truth is you’ll never be able to make lasting lifestyle changes if you’re not tackling the root cause.
2. Watch for secret sugar
Yogurt and oatmeal can be healthy but instant oatmeal packets and flavored yogurt have insane amounts of sugar added. The processed version of a certain food pretty much always has a lot of added sugar to make up for taste lost in the processing (and to make the food more addictive).
3. Be wary of fruit
Speaking of secret sugar, fruit contains a crazy amount of sugar. Stick with fruit that has a high water content such as oranges or watermelon. In fact, watermelon is so good for it’s low sugar content that there are entire diets dedicated to it!
4. Change your dessert desires
Dark chocolate is really good for you but it’s also an acquired taste. Luckily it is a taste you can actually acquire. Start by buying partially dark chocolate and work your way up to 90% dark chocolate. Eventually you won’t even be able to stand milk chocolate anymore.
5. Eat healthier fats
Healthy fats provide a significant amount of energy that you might otherwise want to get from sugar. Foods high in healthy fats also tend to have lots of other nutrients as well.
6. Work on your sleep habits
A good sleep will give you the energy you need to get through your day without massive sugar cravings and the willpower to turn away from the sugar cravings you do have. It will also speed up your metabolism so you can maximize the benefits of your new diet.
7. Boost your serotonin
Serotonin is a chemical your brain produces which is closely related to mood. Increase your serotonin by adding a few handfuls of chia seeds to your daily diet and you should notice a marked improvement in your mood. And remember, staying happy helps you avoid those comfort food cravings.
8. Start drinking tea
If you’re having a really hard time giving up sugary drinks, consider switching to fruity teas. You can buy loose leaf tea in pretty much any flavor you can imagine at a specialty shop and many fruit teas taste almost as good as juice. Just make sure you like the tea enough to drink it unsweetened.
9. Change your mindset
Changing your definition of dessert is part of this but there’s a lot more to it. Don’t think about cutting back on sugar or restricting what you eat. Focus on the positive aspects of what you’re doing, not the negativity of having to give something up. If your think cutting sugar out is a fun challenge rather than something you absolutely must do for your health you’re a lot more likely to stick with it.
10. Go for good bacteria
Many people don’t know that you need a mix of good and bad bacteria in your body; It’s completely natural to have a bit of both. In fact, “good bacteria”, known as Probiotics, located in the stomach and digestive system can help to offset and reduce your sugar cravings. In terms of how you go about finding foods that are rich in healthy bacteria, look no further than common foods such as banana, honey, garlic and asparagus.
11. Is it your emotions?
Some people indulge in too much sugar due to emotional eating. Stress and loneliness are among the most common causes of overeating and typically, when we feel like binge eating it is with unhealthy foods. Of course, unhealthy foods are also often high sugar. To treat the issue, try relaxation, which might include journaling, getting out for a walk or meditation. Finding something that can help to reduce stress, or keep your mind occupied and pass the time between main meals is a great strategy for not overeating on the bad stuff!
12. Don’t fall for marketing tricks
Advertising agencies and big brands have become very skilled at fooling us into thinking unhealthy foods are actually good for us. One of the most common advertising tactics that brands and agencies employ is labelling products as low-fat, especially dairy products. Of course, just because something is low in fat and branded as healthy, does not mean that it is low in sugar. In fact, they say nothing about the sugar content, but fool you into thinking it’s low in sugar because we automatically assume the use of the word “healthy” in marketing means it is healthy overall!
13. Try some substitutions
One of the final ways to beat sugar for good is to get used to consuming sugar alternatives. The good thing about these alternatives is that they help to offset sugar cravings and over time, you grow to enjoy them as opposed to just eating them out of obligation. The real key to using sugar alternatives to finally beat sugar, is hanging in there during the initial stages while your body adapts. Get over the initial hump and you’re basically home. Let’s take a look at three great sugar alternatives:
Honey is quite possibly the best sugar alternative. It’s a completely natural product, rich in probiotics which help to reduce sugar cravings, as well as providing you with a sugary hit. It’s also known to have fantastic antibacterial and immune system boosting properties so it’s a sweet hit of goodness.
Maple syrup isn’t the cheapest of alternatives, but it is a great sidekick to honey, full of health benefits, and certainly a better option than sugar! Maple syrup does have a taste of its own and for some people it’s a little strong and therefore you won’t use it as often as honey, but it’s worthwhile having a jar handy.
Stevia is the most common product used as a replacement for sugar. No doubt it has its critics and it’s certainly not as good for you as honey, but it still significantly better for your body than sugar. The best advice when considering the use of Stevia is to use it as required, but not more than required and we’re possible, turn to honey, maple syrup and of course the other strategies with discussed above to beat your sugar cravings once and for all!
Holly Nunan is a mother of three daughters aged four, six and eight. She’s an Exercise Physiologist with a passion for exercise, fitness, raising healthy children and natural and alternative remedies. Holly is the chief editor at UpcomingHealth.com, with a simple mission to help each reader that visits her website to take away one new piece of healthy information!