7 Steps to Break Your Sugar Addiction
When your sugar craving hits, and there’s nothing in your cupboards, do you make a trip to the grocery store especially to buy a sugary snack? Are sweet treats the most effective reward system you know? Do you have a secret “emergency sugar stash”? Have you tried to cut back on sugar in the past only to rebound with a vengeance?
If any of these resonate with you, you may have an addiction to sugar, and this is what you can do to kick the sweet stuff once and for all.
Poll: What’s Your Vice?
What’s the sugary treat you just can't resist?
7 Steps to Cure Your Addiction to Sugar
1. Don’t quit all at once
Many sources say that the most effective way to quit sugar is to cut it all out immediately. While that may work for some, slowly cutting sugar out of your diet is a much less daunting task and will help your body adapt more comfortably. You may experience fewer withdrawal symptoms this way.
For example, if you like to put four sugars into your daily coffee, you can start by reducing down to three, then two, then one, and then down to zero. If chocolate is your vice, learn to enjoy a 70% dark chocolate that has less sugar and milk. Soon, you may find that you prefer dark chocolate over the sickly sweet taste of milk chocolate.
2. Stay away from artificial sweeteners
When you put something sweet into your mouth, your body is expecting calories and will prepare to process them. So, if you swap out real sugar and ingest zero-calorie artificial sweeteners instead, you’re confusing your body by giving it something sweet and yet provides zero energy. But since your body has prepared for an energy boost, your cravings will increase as your body continues to search for that energy that never came.
If the only way you’ll drink water is of the flavored variety, opt to add fruit and berries for flavor instead of syrups made with artificial sweeteners.
Dehydration can often be misconstrued as hunger or a craving for sugar.
3. Exercise more
Sugar makes you feel happy and makes your brain produce a pleasure chemical called dopamine. This is partly why sugar is so addictive. So, when you’re trying to cut sugar out of your life, try doing some moderate exercise every day. Exercise makes your body release endorphins that will help you feel energized and in the zone without the added calories.
Instead of chowing down on that Snickers bar, put on your running shoes and go for a jog around the block, or even do some yoga.
4. Eat throughout the day
Speaking of keeping blood sugar levels stable, never skip meals when trying to cure your sugar addiction. If you’re prone to snacking, choose to eat multiple small meals throughout the day instead of your usual three major meals. When you’re constantly putting nutritious food into your body, you won’t give yourself time to think about that candy bar sitting in your desk.
Eating healthy, home-cooked meals can be challenging when you’re constantly on the go, so learn to plan your meals and snacks. Cook in bulk. Spend one day every week to cook for the whole week, portioned them into labeled Tupperware and stick them in the freezer. That way, you’ll have ready-made meals throughout the week.
5. Drink water
Dehydration can often be misconstrued as hunger or a craving for sugar. The daily recommended amount of water we should drink in a day is about 6-8 glasses. So, make sure you keep a bottle of water close by. Take a few sips whenever you get a craving for sugar and see if that feeling doesn’t go away. But if it turns out that your hunger is real, go for a healthy snack like a boiled egg that will keep you full for longer while keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
How many major meals do you eat a day?
6. Learn to read labels
Just because something doesn’t taste sweet doesn’t mean that it's free from added sugar. Pasta sauce, condiments, bread, salad dressing, and even savory biscuits can contain added sugar. So, learn to read the nutritional information on the back of packaged foods. If sugar is anywhere in the top 5 of the ingredients list (or even anywhere on the list), move on. The closer an ingredient is to the top of the list, the more of it the product contains.
7. Get more sleep
Sugar is a quick source of energy for your body, so when you’re tired, your body craves sugar just to keep you functioning at normal levels. If you’re having a hard time controlling your cravings, consider taking a nap or reexamine your sleep schedule. Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Eat Your Way to Better Health and Weight Loss
When detoxing from sugar, your taste buds will adjust, and you’ll start to enjoy foods that are naturally sweet. In fact, foods with added sugar will become too much or even downright nauseating. When you get to that stage, celebrate with a delicious glass of fruity water because you’ve done it. Without your addiction to sugar, the extra pounds you’ve been trying so hard to get rid of will melt away on their own.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2017 KV Lo