We all know that sugar isn’t healthy for us. Fruits have natural sugars but because of fiber, vitamins and other nutrients, our bodies process it differently than added sugar.
Natural sugar in fruits have positive effects on health as well, Unless you have diabetes, you shouldn’t be avoiding it. Also, you won’t get diabetes from eating natural fruit.
Added sugars however, affect our bodies in different way and besides putting us at risk of getting health issues, it also causes weight gain.
How does sugar cause weight gain?
Sugar itself isn’t terribly high in calories for 48 calories per tablespoon. However we don’t just eat a tablespoon of pure sugar a day, do we? 🙂 in many processed foods sugar is used in extremely large quantities. It is also often mixed with fat which creates the most dangerous substance for gaining body fat. It’s recommend to not eat more than 25 grams of sugar per day for women and 39 grams for men. One can of coke, many Starbucks drinks, and one Snickers bar have approximately around 36-40 grams. So it adds up very quick, especially that sugar is in hidden foods as well such as bread, chips, crackers, and things that are not necessarily sweet.
To avoid hidden sugar it’s the best to eat healthy, whole diet, and as little of processed foods as possible, checking ingredients on everything you buy.
If only it was easy to stop eating sugar!
Sugar is addictive, and that’s why despite recent “whole” and “health food” craze Rice Krispies are not going out of business.
How can you help yourself get rid of those sugar cravings?
Try these tips to get on sugar free lifestyle change!
1) Start with substitutes
Not all of us can go “cold turkey” and stop consuming sugar all together. What I found helpful is to have healthier substitutes. So far the healthier sugar substitutes researched are stevia, monk fruit extract and honey. First two have no calories and great for baking. Many healthier prepackages foods do not contain sugar such as protein powders /bars, sweet snacks and ice cream. I also recommend dry fruit as it is also sweet and has some benefits. Another option is to drink naturally sweet teas. There are some artificial sugar substitutes I don’t recommend such as aspartame and sucralose. Research shows it may cause cancer and other health issues.
2) Eat more of a “real” food
Why do you want that sweet snack? You could be simply hungry or thirsty. Eat an avocado, handful of nuts, fruits for your snacks and you might change your mind about candy. Drink lots of water.
3) Don’t go on low carb. Yep, you read it! Low carb isn’t for everyone. If you’re used to eat tons of carbs a day and then you try surviving out of fat and protein…you’ll most likely fail. First, just reduce unhealthy carbs such a candy and chips, replace it with healthy foods. Eat brown rice, boiled white potatoes and sweet potatoes, vegetables and fruits, And if you really want to give that diet a try, do it after some time so your body adjusts to less carbs.
4) About adjustment period: it does take some time to stop craving sugar. I wish it was done in a day! But it takes around 3 weeks to fully stop craving it. And the tricky part: once you eat it, you’ll crave it again! So some kind of willpower is needed and again, next day after eating sugar replace it with healthy substitutes and you’ll slowly adapt to no sugar again.
5) Often, cravings are created from boredom. Get up and take a walk or do something when you feel like it’s coming.
6) Before periods, many women feel like eating sweets. Make sure you eat lots of healthy carbs and if you can’t resist, dig in – it happens. It is however easy to make it a habit so keep your eye on it. Exercise helps to prevent sugar cravings in general especially before periods, and some supplements I’ll list below.
7) Supplements such as zinc,l -glutamine been shown to reduce sugar cravings. Take them at least for a month to see results.
8) Get sleep! Sometimes, it’s easier said than done, but it is important for you to lead a healthy lifestyle to avoid sugar cravings. When you’re tired, your body is lacking on energy and so you’re craving for a temporary sugar fix that will keep you up.
Hopefully these tips will help you to avoid sugar and get yourself healthy!