We know sugar is addicting. The food industry knows it too and that’s why most processed foods contain sugar. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up for consuming too much sugar. Our taste buds, hormones, and brain chemistry have all been hijacked. Having an occasional sweet treat is not what is causing health risks, it’s the habitual everyday sugar consumption and cravings that are the problem. How do we stop the cravings and break the sugar habit? Read on for effective strategies to try.
Quit Sugar Cold Turkey
This might seem like a miserable strategy, but hear me out. It might not be as difficult as you think. Tell yourself you are going to do it for ten days. For ten days remove all processed foods, sugar and sweeteners. Also stay away from grains and starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Focus on eating protein, healthy fats, and vegetables at every meal. Stock up on healthy treats such as berries, nuts, and celery sticks with almond butter. Eating healthy fats, proteins, and high fiber foods will provide your body with the essential fatty acids, amino acids, and micronutrients it needs to remain in balance and stop cravings. After ten days of eating like this you’ll be amazed by how much your sugar cravings have gone down or disappeared.
Break the Sugar Habit Loop
If you think about your consumption of sweets you’ll probably realize you’ve established some sort of routine. I always crave sweets after my meals. I think this has been ingrained since my childhood. My mother often provided some sort of dessert for us after our meals. It was always something I really enjoyed and looked forward to. To break this routine, I try to distract myself by either getting outside or making a phone call after my meal. I’ve also exchanged the sugary dessert for a small bowl of fruit. Figure out when you are most tempted to eat sugar and break the routine. For example, if you can’t drive past the gas station or bakery without stopping, find a different route or make that stop, but choose something that is healthier.
Consume Sugar in Moderation
Consuming sugar in moderation is really the end goal. A relatively easy way to accomplish this to wean yourself off your daily consumption of sugar. The sweeter the food we eat, the more desensitized our taste buds become to the sweet taste. Gradually cutting back on the amount of sugar we take in daily will re-sensitize our taste buds. Slowly cut back on the sweetener in your coffee, and choose snacks lower in sugar. Instead of eating every sweet treat that you come across, tell yourself you can indulge in your favorite treat once a week. Or allow yourself three bites of that sweet taste a day. That’s three bites of dessert or three small pieces of chocolate. Remember, if you are consciously trying to avoid the hidden sugars in processed foods then a little indulgence every once in awhile is ok.
Hydration & Sleep Reduce Sugar Cravings
Making sure you are well hydrated and get good quality sleep can help you battle sugar cravings too. When you are dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce glycogen as easily. This might cause your body to give you a craving to get glycogen from food. Also, just one bad night’s sleep can leave your blood sugar levels like that of a pre-diabetic. Bad sleep is also bad for your will power. Make sleep a priority so you can make better decisions and aren’t battling sugar cravings.