Make no mistake, sugar is a legitimate addiction. Our bodies build tolerance to it over time, requiring more and more of that sweet taste to satisfy. We have sophisticated systems in place to make us crave sugar, and it’s ubiquity in processed foods make it difficult to avoid.
You’re probably ingesting way more sugar than you realize, hidden away in the processed “shortcut” foods you use to cook (tomato sauce, broth, sauces), in your quick snacks between meals, and in your beverages. Even if you aren’t exhibiting diabetic symptoms, you could be slowly building up resistance to insulin and paving the way for diabetes.
Sugar is a tough habit to beat, but the damage it inflicts on the body is highly reversible! If you’re taking steps to cut down or eliminate your consumption of added sugars, these tips will help ensure your success!
Sleep: Calorie-Free Energy
One of the most effective ways to reduce your dependence on sugar is to give yourself a little more energy to work with each day by sleeping a little longer or a little better. As you cut out sugar, you’ll likely find this is a positive feedback loop, where the less sugar you eat, the better you sleep and the less sugar you feel you need!
Learn Sugar’s Aliases
Trying to eat processed foods without also eating sugar is really tough. This is partially because of all the other names sugar goes by on food labels, including: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, and many, many others. Even “natural” sugar sources like concentrated fruit juice, maple syrup, coconut sugars, and honey need to be limited.
Walk It Off
Often sugar cravings are caused by stress and boredom more than hunger. You can often head these cravings off by channeling that energy somewhere else — like a walk! Plus walking helps undo some of the past damage of sugar on your system. If you’re genuinely hungry, grab a handful of berries and some almonds and get outside anyway.
Don’t Replace with Artificial
Outdated wisdom held that it was safe to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, but there’s more and more evidence coming in showing this is counterproductive and extremely dangerous. Not only are artificial sweeteners linked to countless health problems, but they also trick your body into thinking they’re getting sugar without actually delivering. That’s a recipe for more cravings.