Why is it so hard to give up sugar? Did you know that sugar is seven times more addictive than cocaine? We know how difficult it is to give up an addiction to drugs, now imagine giving up an addiction to food. We have to eat to live. We need food for our fuel, body functions, thinking, moving and breathing! Without it, we die. Therefore, kicking a habit that is part of our normal activity, such as eating, can be very difficult.
How can we break the cycle? When you eat, you stimulate your body to breakdown the food into its smallest parts. These nutrients are then carried throughout our body to where it is needed. High carbohydrate foods such as: soda, candy, chips and cookies — get broken down quickly. We then get hungry shortly after, craving us to eat more carbohydrates. When we consume greater amounts than we need, particularly of carbohydrates, our body repackages and stores them as fat. By eating less sugar, you can help your body burn fuel more efficiently, lose weight and increase energy levels. It’s a balance of nutrients, hormones, quality and quantity! Practice these healthy habits and watch the cravings go away, the pounds come off and you will truly feel good!
Here are some tips to break the sugar cycle:
Don’t drink your calories. Your body is efficient at taking sodas, energy drinks, fruit drinks and other sweetened beverages and not recognizing the number of calories taken in. You can then eat a normal sized meal and have consumed significant amounts of carbohydrates. These beverages also contain one of the worst sugars in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup which loves to wreak havoc on the liver.
Eat real fruit instead of packaged desserts. Fruit is naturally sweet, has vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Packaged snacks/desserts have added sugar and other carbohydrates, unhealthy trans-fats, lots of calories and no fiber and are what we call “empty calories”.
Say “Yes” to a variety of healthy snacks. When you get a craving, try these snacks instead of sweets/junk food. Nuts, celery with peanut butter, boiled eggs, fresh veggies with dip, avocados, cheese, whole grain breads with almond butter, apples with cheese or plain Greek yogurt with berries.
Listen to your body. Are you hungry or thirsty? Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger. So, before you eat, drink a glass of water. Want seconds? Wait 20 minutes before taking a second helping or getting dessert, as our brains need 20 minutes to register fullness.
Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat and drink. Looking back or writing it down can be a deterrent for poor choices and a motivator for good ones.
Try dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has a lot of anti-oxidants and is lower in sugar than milk chocolate and most sweets. 1oz. is a serving and may help you get through the cravings.
Savor the flavor! Try 77% or greater and eat it slowly.
Take a walk. Go outside and get some sunshine, make Vitamin D and boost your mood! After all, the sweets we crave are often a way to make us feel better.
Don’t go shopping hungry. Our cravings can take over when we shop hungry, so make sure you eat before you go.