When the cravings strike, it can feel like you’ll never have the willpower to fight back. Put the odds in your favor. Try these 9 Tips To Cut Back On Sugar!
Why Should I Cut Back?
It’s been proven that sugar can lead to general inflammation in the body, and several diseases such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, dental problems such as cavities, and much more (1, 2, 3, 4). The average American eats over 150 pounds of sugar per year (5). Here are some ways to reduce your sugar intake and improve your health:
Most of us are hardwired to love sugar, because it releases the reward chemicals in our brain. Its pleasure that people are addicted to, not the dessert itself. If you can just take a small bite and stop, that’s one thing. If you can’t stop scarfing down the sugary foods, you’re in the danger zone.
SEE ALSO: 7 Tips For Better Gut Health
1. Stop Drinking Soda And Sugary Drinks
Energy drinks, soda pop, so-called sports drinks, and fruit juice drinks are loaded with extra sugar. Yes, even fruit juice. The reason being that all the healthy parts of the fruit are stripped away, and concentrated into a tasty super sugary liquid which incidentally is no healthier than drinking a regular soda (6).
Some better drinks to consider include:
- Water– It costs next to nothing, and is what your body needs at its most basic level.
- Tea – Tea tastes great with a lemon wedge. Make sure its unsweetened.
- Coffee – Coffee helps boost metabolism and reduce blood sugar.
- Fruit water – This is where you allow the fruit to sit in the water and release its flavor naturally.
2. Eat a piece of fruit
Instead of downing a Jamba Juice and telling yourself its healthy for you, try eating fruit that hasn’t been processed. It will help you curb the sugar cravings, while cutting down your sugar intake dramatically. Not to mention all the vitamins and minerals inside will give you a great antioxidant boost (7).
3. Avoid Stress
I know what you’re thinking. Easier said than done. But if anything triggers a craving for sugar, its stress. Sugar will give us a short boost in pleasure chemicals, and give us the illusion that the stressful things in our lives can be cured by eating. Not to mention that stress usually removes our abilty to moderate the amount we eat (8).
4. Get Good Sleep
5. Avoid Secret Sugary Condiments
Ketchup and barbeque sauce are notoriously high in sugar, and many people don’t think twice about slopping it on their food. Take a look at the label to make sure it doesn’t contain boatloads of sugar. A single tablespoon of barbeque sauce can contain up to 7 grams of sugar, that’s nearly 50% sugar! Opt for different herbs or spices to flavor your food instead: mustard, rosemary, chili powder, pepper are some healthy alternatives.
6. Go For A Run
Exercise can be a good alternative when you are thinking about those donuts. It releases feel good endorphins which will curb the feelings from a sugar craving. In fact it helps reverse compulsive behavior of all sorts (11).
7. Check the Ingredient List
Sugar has been added to nearly every product we can think of when it comes to food. The reason? Its cheap and its popular, and if it’s hidden, we don’t think twice about eating it. The good news is that it is required by the FDA that added sugar be labeled in grams, and percentage of daily value. Food manufacturers use all sorts of sneaky code names for sugar:
- Agave nectar
- High fructose corn syrup
8. Change Your Diet
If you’re having trouble avoiding sugars, you may want to replace the processed carbs with higher amounts of protein and fat. Its been shown that eating a proper amount of protein and fat helps keep you full longer, and is important in managing blood glucose levels (12), (13). Meat, fish, eggs, whole milk, avocados are all good options here.
9. Don’t Keep Desserts In Your Home
This might be one of the most effective options, because if its out of sight, its easier to keep it out of your mind. Not to mention, when you go searching for sugar, it just won’t be there. Making it less likely you’ll drive to the store just to get a fix. Try keeping some low sugar foods in the house to help you out when you get a late night sugar craving.