Fighting off the Cravings
The research is in, and there’s little denying it – sugar is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it seems to be pretty addictive.
The problems with sugar are actually numerous. First off, it’s not at all helpful to your dieting efforts. When sugar isn’t burned off, a lot of it gets stored as fat. This is why it’s important to watch for low-fat and fat-free foods, as they often add extra sugar to make up for the loss of flavor.
Sugar also disrupts your blood glucose levels, messing up your energy levels throughout the day and leadings to cravings and hunger spikes. In the worst of cases, too much sugar in a diet can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. There’s even evidence that it can increase your risk of certain types of cancer.
All around, the stuff is bad, especially when it’s in its most processed forms. On top of the drawbacks, it also contains no nutritional benefits. Although sugar cane in its natural form contains vitamins and nutrients, these are all stripped in the refinement process.
The Challenge: Ditching Sugar for Good
There’s one other important factor to consider here – ditching sugar is no easy task! You really have to commit to it, because the stuff is pretty addictive. Some studies even show that it affects your brain in the same way as other addictive drugs.
On average, it typically takes a couple of weeks to beat the sugar cravings. You can still enjoy fruits and other whole foods that contain natural sugars, but the goal is to remove everything that contains added sugar.
If you’re up for it, here are 7 tricks to ditch sugar cravings and boost your health:
1. Watch Out for “Health” Foods in Disguise
I’ve already alluded to this one, but you really need to check your labels before purchasing fat-free and low-fat health foods. In most cases, processed sugars have been added.
Some of the worst contenders to watch for on labels include:
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Cane Sugar
- Corn Sweetener
- Corn Syrup
- Dextrin and Dextrose
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Palm Sugar
2. Avoid Sauces & Dressings
Unfortunately, most prepared sauces and dressings are full of added sugars. Watch your labels closely, and try to make your own dressings if you can. Check out mu Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes for some easy ideas.
3. Go for Full-Fat Dairy
In line with the above thinking, you should avoid low-fat dairy products for the same reasons. This may sound counter-intuitive to a healthy diet, but full-fat dairy is actually more filling and satisfying, which cuts down on overeating and helps you beat the cravings!
4. Enjoy Your Fruit Whole
You don’t need to cut out the fruit, but you do need to cut out the fruit juice and dried fruit. This stuff is packed full of sugar without the added health benefits of all the fiber – an important ingredient that actually helps you lose weight. So keep it healthy, and keep it whole.
5. Eat More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are great ingredients to include on a healthy diet, especially when you’re removing the sugar. Healthy fats like the omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil, avocadoes, and almonds help keep you feeling full and add a lot of flavor to your meals. The added bonus? They also boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat! Take a look at The 5 Best Healthy Fats for Weight Loss here.
6. Stick to the Basics
By focusing on whole ingredients that are rich in vitamins and minerals, you’ll ensure that your body gets the nutritional support it needs, making it easier to go without the sugar. Lots of vegetables are the best place to start, and add flavor to your meals with natural herbs and spices. One bonus tip within this one is have a glass of water as soon as your craving starts to unravel in your head…water is incredible in filling you up and making sure the thirst is not the real cause of the craving.
7. Be Patient!
Although the worst of it will be over after a couple weeks, it can still take up to a couple months before you’re completely over your old habits. So stay committed, focus on your health, and live your sugar free life to its fullest. Your energy, your weight loss efforts, and your workouts will be better for it!
Looking for another radical change to your eating habits? Check out my article on Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight.
Have any questions or feedback about these 7 Tricks to Ditch Sugar Cravings? Please leave a comment below…