How To Stop Eating Sugar
If youre like most Americans, you eat more sugar than is good for you. But its entirely possible to eat less sugar without sacrificing much if any of the pleasures of eating. Surprising as it may sound, many people who have cut back on sugar say they find their new eating habits more pleasurable than their old ones. This guide will walk you through why sugar matters, how you can make smart food choices to reduce sugar consumption, and how you can keep your life sweet, even without so many sweets.
Swap Refined Carbs For Fat
When we opt for a low-fat diet, we are more often than not choosing to replace a flavorful, moist, and satiating food with another flavorful substitute: usually a refined carbohydrate . Our bodies digest simple carbs very easily, which in turn creates a craving for more sugar in attempts to energize the body once again. This yoyo-ing deprives our body of maintaining equilibrium and is totally unsustainable.
Healthy fats serve the body well and aid in hormonal balance, boost the metabolism, and regulate blood sugar. Eating a source of healthy fat along with or in place of a carbohydrate will slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream, preventing undesirable sugar highs and lows and curb sugar cravings. Healthy sources of fat include nut butters, avocados, eggs, coconut oil, and high-quality animal protein such as wild caught salmon.
Pro tip: Try adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee or our High Fat Morning Glory Coffee. It helps to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you alert and focused.
Sugar Addiction And Mental Health Issues
Sugar addiction is linked to anxiety and depression. Excessive intake of sugar has been shown to potentially contribute to depression, whether it is a pre-existing condition or one that is actually created by the excessive sugar itself. Part of the reason for this is because foods that are rich in sugars and carbohydrates actually interfere with the neurotransmitters that help stabilize an individuals mood.
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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth The Natural Way
So with the elimination of refined sugars as well as artificial sweeteners, you may be wondering what CAN you use to appease those sweet tooth urges from time to time? The answer is simple: nature!
Referring back to our early ancestors, its worth noting that sugar as we know it wasnt always the go-to sweetener for beverages, desserts, and everyday flavorings.
Raw honey is the oldest form of sweetener used by civilizations around the world, and while that may not be a feasible option in the case of a full-blown sugar overhaul, you can still take a page from similar alternatives that are still in use today.
The spice rack is a fantastic place to start in finding tasty, sugar-free alternatives to keep you on track. Cinnamon, vanilla bean extract, ginger, anise, nutmeg, and cardamom are some of the oldest flavorings used to sweeten up dishes, pastries, and drinks.
You can add these to your coffee and cereals or incorporate into baking for a subtly sweet taste with zero calories, crashes, and other harmful side effects.
In addition to your natural sweetener arsenal, citrus zest adds a refreshingly fruitiness to desserts and sparkling water beverages.
Have Protein For Breakfast
Cravings are much harder to manage if you let your blood sugar spike in the morning, only to drop again a couple hours later. Incorporating protein in your breakfast is part of the important game plan for controlling appetite throughout the day. Consuming some form of protein at every meal, especially breakfast, increases satiety and has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. This improves our appetite control and can help prevent us from reaching for a sweet snack mid-morning and will keep mindless munching at bay throughout the day.
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Cravings Can Be Conquered
Everyone has a weakness. Mine is chocolate. I absolutely adore it but the addiction has always been a source of irritation. Ive lost count of the number of times Ive tried to give it up . I knew this craving wasnt going down without a fight. My olfactory system went into overdrive and I could sniff out chocolate from a superhuman distance. Within a week , the mental battle had dissipated.
Keep Your Meals Diverse
Make sure you incorporate all food groups when you prepare a meal. According to Nutrition Stripped founder, McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN, people don’t realize they’re what they’re missing in their meals and it could be detrimental. “I’ve found in my practice that often people crave sugar because of generally imbalanced diet as a whole,” she says. “At mealtimes, they might be missing out on enough fiber to keep them physically full or can be lacking enough protein to keep them satiated, or enough healthy fats. All the macronutrients work together to keep our blood sugars stabilized and keep us satiated so we need them all.”
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Dr Frank Lipman On Sugar
As a serious sugar addict still struggling with my addiction I know first hand how difficult it is to get off sugar, and to stay off it. Part of the reason its so hard to kick the habit is that over time our brains actually become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption. Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override ones self-control and lead to addiction.
Sugar Free In Just One Month
If you know youre ready to put sugar behind you for good then check out our successful challenge and all the folks that have succeeded in removing sugar from their life right here
When was the last time you went a day without sugar? Most likely, you have never even thought about that until the question was just posed to you. It is apparent that sugar has slowly and quietly become Americas leading addiction. So much so that a majority of the foods that we eat contain sugar in one form or another and most of us arent even aware of it.
With all of that said, what exactly is sugar addiction and how do you know if you are addicted to sugar?
Like any other addictive substance, sugar affects the pathways in the brain, which in time cause dependence and addiction. In fact, studies have shown that sugar actually activates opiate receptors. In addition, it also affects the reward center in the brain. This, in turn, can produce compulsive and addictive behaviors similar to that of traditional drug or alcohol abuse.
Individuals who suffer from a sugar addiction will find themselves compelled to eat sugary foods or drinks even if they do not want to, are full, or are attempting to eat healthier. If you want to stop eating sugar, it is not simply a matter of an individual enjoying the sweet taste of these foods. Instead, it stems from an addiction, the brain, and the bodys cravings for sugar.
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Anxiety And Addiction To Sugar
This is no different for sugar and anxiety. However, this link is becoming more widely known for quite some time. A major cause for an increase in anxiety and panic disorders is weight gain, and part of what is driving this weight gain is excessive sugar intake. Beyond this, eating too much sugar will result in an individual becoming overstimulated, which can result in heightened anxiety.
For those individuals with a history of anxiety disorders, too much sugar can result in more panic or anxiety attacks. It also results in a vicious cycle of depression and anxiety, fluctuating with the amount of sugar that they eat.
Many physicians and psychiatrists suggest that you limit or avoid foods that are high in sugar if you want to get your depression and anxiety under control . Yet limiting your sugar intake can be difficult. It takes research and help in order to figure out just how much sugar you are currently eating and how you can best wean yourself off of this pervasive and tasty substance.
Foods That Can Fight Sugar Cravings
Sugar cravings are extremely common, especially among women.
In fact, up to 97% of women and 68% of men report experiencing some sort of food craving, including cravings for sugar .
Those experiencing a sugar craving feel a strong urge to eat something sweet and can find it difficult to control themselves around food.
This can lead to binge eating or over-consuming calories, sometimes on a regular basis (
Luckily, there are things you can do to take the edge off.
Here are 19 foods that can help you fight your sugar cravings.
However, swapping out the junk food for some fruit when you feel like something sugary could give you the sweet hit you need and stop your craving in its tracks.
Fruit is naturally sweet but also contains lots of beneficial plant compounds and fiber, allowing you to have your fix and keep it healthy .
To make sure it hits the spot, eat fruits that are slightly higher in sugar like mangoes or grapes.
If youre also hungry, try adding some yogurt to your fruit to make it a more satisfying snack.
Summary Fruit contains sugar, along with lots of healthy nutrients and plant compounds.
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Why Do We Crave Sugar
There are many reasons why we go for sweet things.
That appetite may be hardwired. “Sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high,” says Susan Moores, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced by rewarding ourselves with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldnt we crave sugar?
The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we over-consume, something thats easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. And Americans do overconsume, averaging about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.
Is Sugar Addiction Real
Imagine an alien came down to Earth to do a survey for the intergalactic community. What would he report back?
All humans, whether young or old, consume copious amounts of a substance that is slowly killing them. They put it in their food, they put it in their drink, they advertise it on the small square box in their living rooms. They know its bad for them, yet they cant seem to stopwe must never let this reach our planet!
The truth is, sugar addiction is very real. It has a similar chemical affect on our brains as recreational drugs, such as heroin, do. Every time you consume sugar, the pleasure centers in your brain reward you with a little dopamine hit.
But you dont need science to prove that to you. How often when youre feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, do you reach out for some Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream? Sugar makes you feel good, which is why cravings can be even more difficult to kick.
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Eat Protein And Fiber At Each Meal
We all know how important protein is to our diet, but making sure we have enough at each meal is also helpful for staving off sugar cravings. “Eat protein and fiber at every meal! This is the most important tool you could have on your plate,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, and author of The Diet Detox. “Both protein and fiber help to slow down the absorption of sugar to prevent any blood sugar spikes which would make you crave more sugar. Plus, they help keep you fuller longer, leaving you more in control over your food choices and less likely to dive into that cupcake!”
Water From An Air Up Bottle
Its been reported that 16 million Brits want to reduce their sugar intake but are struggling due to a lack of alternatives, which is why we love the clever water bottles from Air Up. Using a specific technology called retronasal smell, Air Up bottles contain a scent pod that fools your brain into thinking youre tasting a flavoured drink when youre drinking water.
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Deprivation Tastes Better With Friends
If youre going to give up sugar, its definitely worth bringing in reinforcements. Knowing that Id have to fess up to a friend if Id fallen off the wagon was a great motivator. It was helpful to be able to share sugar-swap discoveries, celebrate making healthy food choices and commiserate together through the detox symptoms.
Start To Remove Sugar From Your Home
It all needs to go. Otherwise, it will be there for you when youre feeling week and just want to give up. If you dont have it, you wont eat it. Donate, give away, or throw away all processed sugar from your home. That means sugary cereals , candy, cookies, granulated sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. You wont be needing those anymore.
A note on fruit juices. Yes, they are made from from fruit. NO, they arent good for you. Believe it or not, they actually contain the same amount of sugar as a can of soda. While the sugar is natural sugar, not added sugar, it still is a show to your system and is too much sugar to be combining at one time. Instead, opt for eating a piece of fruit instead of drinking what is essentially 3-4 pieces of fruit very rapidly.
Also check your condiments, pasta sauces, fruit juices, barbecue sauces, breads, and so on for lurking sugar. Youll be surprised with just how much hidden sugars youll find. There are so many ways to make the foods you love WITHOUT refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup.
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Stock Up On Healthy Snacks
Life is unpredictable, and quite often when things get in the way, you need a solid plan B.
Making sure you keep lots of healthy snacks around the house, and in your handbag, is crucial to sticking to a low-sugar diet.
Some quick and easy snacks you can try are:
- Canned fish
- Apple and peanut butter
- Dark chocolate
Then, when motivation is low and youre stuck in the trenches, you can reach for one of these to tie you over until dinner.
Better Relationship With Sugar Consumption
When I couldn’t have the spoonful of ice cream after dinner or the cookie “because it’s Tuesday,” I quickly realized that I was haphazardly consuming sugar. I could manage to make these splurges fit within my calorie goal, but that meant I was giving up better sources of calories, like calcium-rich dairy or fiber-rich whole grains.
I also wasn’t recognizing the hidden sources of sugar that were sneaking into my diet and adding unnecessary calories either. A lot of soups, salad dressings and prepared meals list sugar, in some form or another, on the ingredient list.
I realized early on you could easily say, “But I don’t eat a lot of sugar” and be entirely oblivious to how much you eat every day.
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Go For Portion Control
Because sugar addiction is biologicalnot emotional as is so often thoughtthis might not work for everyone. Many people can’t live by “three-bite rules,” but that doesn’t mean there’s any harm in trying. “A good way to do this is to buy higher sugar foods in single serving sizes to help with portion control in the moment,” Paul says. If you don’t have more than four Oreos at home, you can’t eat more than four Oreos.
We Become Conditioned To Need Something Sweet To Feel Complete Or Satisfied And Continue To Self
In stark contrast to this clinical assessment is the fact that, for most of us, something sweet is a symbol of love and nurturance. As infants, our first food is lactose, or milk sugar. Later on, well-intended parents reward children with sugary snacks, giving them a treat, turning a biochemically harmful substance into a comfort food. We become conditioned to need something sweet to feel complete or satisfied, and continue to self-medicate with sugar as adults, using it to temporarily boost our mood or energy. But as any addict knows, one quick fix soon leaves you looking for anothereach hit of momentary satisfaction comes with a long-term price.
The bottom line is that sugar works the addiction and reward pathways in the brain in much the same way as many illegal drugs. And, like other drugs, it can destroy your health and lead to all sorts of ailments including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, and premature aging. Sugar is basically a socially acceptable, legal, recreational drug, with deadly consequencesand like with any drug addiction, you have to have a flexible but structured plan to beat it.
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