Sugar may be tasty, but it is also extremely dangerous to the human body. As this informative TED video explains, sugar is extremely addictive, so it can be very hard to kick the sugar habit to the curb.
Use these 10 tips to stop your sugar addiction before it is too late.
Try a Sugar Detox to Cut All Cravings
If you are really serious about quitting sugar, a detox is the best way to stop craving sugar. A study by Bartolotto found that when test subjects avoided sugar for a few weeks, most desires for sweets went away entirely.
It might seem easier to slowly taper off sugar intake, but this just keeps you addicted for longer. The Bartolotto study found that after just six days, most people no longer felt a desperate craving for sugar.
Satisfy Your Body With More Fats
Nutrition writer Sarah Wilson explains that the human body naturally craves sweet, fatty foods because these ingredients are high in calories. However, now that we are no longer cavemen who are at risk for starvation, this craving mechanism can just cause a sugar addiction.
To satisfy deep-seated desires for caloric foods, pick fatty foods instead of sugary ones. Fats are just as satisfying as sugar, but they cause far less issues. Healthy fats like cheese, tuna, or eggs all help to keep you feeling full and satiated without causing blood sugar spikes.
Use Other Sweeteners to Fill Sweet Cravings
The danger of sugar is not simply that it is high in calories. As renowned expert Dr. Lustig explains, it is the fructose sugars in common table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup that cause problems by altering how the body metabolizes energy.
If you absolutely need something sweet, it is better to try making treats with xylitol or other low or zero fructose options. Items that get their sweetness from glucose are easier for the body to process. Ingredients like vanilla and cinnamon also seem sweet and tasty without containing sugar.
Drink Water or Tea to Avoid Hidden Sugars
Beverages are one of the biggest dangers when you are trying to figure out how to quit sugar. Most people realize that soft drinks and energy drinks are loaded with sugar, but many are surprised to learn that even supposedly healthy items have excessive sugar.
Fruit juices, sports drinks, and pre-sweetened herbal teas are big culprits. For example, one glass of apple juice can contain 12 teaspoons of sugar, and a lot of this sugar is added sugar instead of naturally occurring sugar. Therefore, you should stick to water, tea, and coffee instead.
Enjoy Naturally Sweet Items to Get Sugar Without Health Issues
Fruits might contain some fructose, but research from the University of Berkeley finds that it is in a different, easily digested form. Because fruits contain so much fiber, the body digests it slowly instead of getting blood sugar spikes. Therefore, fruit is an excellent choice when you want a sweet treat.
High fiber and high nutrient fruits like blackberries are particularly beneficial, but even starchier items like apples and bananas are far better for your body than a piece of candy. These naturally occurring sweets are easier on your body.
Destroy Chocolate Cravings With Magnesium Supplements
When people stop eating sugar, one of the only sweets that they continue to crave is chocolate. However, this desire is not due to the tasty goodness of chocolate. Instead, nutritionist Caroline Pearce has found that it is often due to magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium is an important mineral that is regulates many important functions in the body, yet many Americans do not get enough. This can lead to an overwhelming desire for chocolate, but it can actually be satisfied with spinach, nuts, and other high-magnesium foods.
Cook Your Own Food to Avoid Added Sugars
Sadly, almost every type of pre-prepared food, ranging from frozen pizzas to Chinese takeout is cooked with a lot of sugar. Restaurants and food production factories add sugar because it makes their customers crave their food.
The only way to avoid all of this excessive sugar is to start cooking for yourself. You can add a lot of flavor from spicy, salty, sour, and creamy condiments without increasing your sugar uptake. It might take a little extra time, but it is definitely worth it.
Steer Clear of Fake Sweeteners That Just Increase Cravings
For a long time, people thought that artificial sweeteners were the answer to the sugar problem. However, new research is showing that zero-calorie sweeteners like aspartame just cause more problems. It can actually make you eat more overall.
According to Dr. Decotiis, the issue is that the brain receives hormone signals that sugar is coming, but then the energy boost from sugar never actually appears. This just makes people feel like they need more sugar and calories later on.
Skip Condiments to Avoid Accidentally Eating Sugar
One of the biggest sources of hidden sugars is actually condiments because these prepackaged sauces contain excessive amounts of added sugar. For example, tomato sauce is roughly 50 percent sugar, so eating a hamburger could actually expose your body to sugar.
Other condiments that contain a lot of sugar are barbecue sauce, salad dressing, and honey mustard sauce. Try to stick to condiments like soy sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar that do not contain added sugar.
Get Support to Make It Easier
Quitting sugar is always harder when you are doing it alone. Instead of trying to nobly turn down sweet treats when all your friends and family are eating them, try to find a sugar-free buddy who will join you in the process.
When you have support from someone else, it is easier to stay positive and reach your goals. Having a partner will give you someone who can encourage you and share sugar-free tips with you.
Saying Goodbye to Sugar
It might be difficult, but by making smart substitutes and detoxing from sugar, you can finally stop relying on this dangerous and highly addictive substance. If it seems to difficult to cut back entirely at first, feel free to just start lowering sugar levels by doing one or two items on the list.
Even minor changes that decrease your sugar intake can reduce your risk of developing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many other health problems. If you start cutting back on sugar today, you can quickly have a positive impact on your health for the rest of your life.