Sugar! The sweet ingredient that we all love and love to hate! Although I am a big fan of eating natural sugars found in fruits and unrefined grains and whole foods, I am not a big fan of eating refined sugar and sugar alcohols as they are generally unhealthy. Sugar can lead to diabetes, weight gain, metabolic problems and heart disease amongst other things. I went searching for tricks to quit sugar and conquer sugar cravings!
The average person consumer 22 to 25 teaspoons of sugar per day! How? As it turns out, sugar is hidden many of the products we consume including ketchup, cooking sauces, dairy,and processed meats like turkey bacon. For many people sugar is addictive and difficult to give up… and with its presence in many of our foods, no wonder it is so hard to quit sugar!
In writing this post, I began researching ways to quit sugar and found some very smart tricks and advice (including some things I picked up from THIS challenge!).
Below I’ve compiled a list of 10 tricks to quit sugar for good:
- Start reading your labels: First and foremost you need to identify the hidden sugars in your foods. So start reading your label and pay extra attention to that ingredient list (watch out for sugar substitutes such as aspartame and xylitol). If it has sugar listed, then put it down and walk away! Best way to quit sugar is not to have it in the house to begin with!
- Keep healthy snacks (like ones recommended on this meal plan) on hand and visually around you: One of the most effective ways of quitting sugar is to replace it with natural, healthy sugar such as the ones found in fruit. Clean out your cupboards of junk food and replace it with healthy snacks such as fresh berries, nuts, natural nut butters, sliced apples, pears and kiwi fruit. Make sure to prep your snacks and leave it VISIBLY around you! You are more likely to reach for a healthy snack when it’s on front of you!
- Eat more protein and fibre: Protein and fibre keep you feeling full and satiated so make sure to eat these often and with every meal including your snacks. Admit tingly, I even have a hard time doing this, but have noticed that my blood sugar is much more stabilized when I eat protein and fibre.
- Eat OFTEN: You will be much less likely to reach for sugar if you keep your blood sugar stabilized! So make sure to eat every 3 to 4 hours! Keep lots of healthy snacks such as a cup of popcorn, sliced apples with peanut butter, boiled egg or raw berries around you and munch on these! Make sure not to starve yourself!
- Eat more sour foods: Like kimchi, grapefruit, limes or tamarinds! Sour foods hit the spot in a different way and are much healthier! So add them to your diet!
- Add more spices: Open up your pallet and add spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and chilli flakes! You will be surprised of how much you will enjoy having more and different flavours added to your food!
- Drink more smoothies and raw, cold pressed juices: Juicing and shakes are a great way to get protein, vitamins, minerals AND natural sugars into your body! Make sure to make your own from whole fruits and veggies or buy COLD – PRESSED juices that are preservative and additive free. (Most juice sold in grocery story contain minimal amount of fruit and lots of water and sugar! So again, read your labels and only buy cold- pressed, raw juices)
- Keep a sugar journal: Do you get sugar cravings at the same time every day? Do you crave sugar late at night only? It’s important to identify when you have cravings and also WHY. Perhaps you are stressed out at work or home…. if so, recognize it! If you know you crave sugar at 3 pm every day, make sure to keep yourself occupied with another activity like a word puzzle or brisk walk during that time. If you are eating sugar to deal with emotions, best to start talking to a trusted friend or counselor.
- Team up: Join a challenge online (like the Flat Belly Challenge here!) or make a bet with a friend! Studies have shown you are more likely to be successful at health goals when you do it with others! Announce it on your social media and let others keep you accountable! Keep a calendar and commit to a 21 or 30 day challenge and count down till you get there! Remember it does take some time to change a bad habit!
- Add more natural sugars: Reach for a bit of agave, stevia, or coconut sugar! I do think natural sugars can be equally addictive if consumed excessively but if you really can’t go “cold turkey” I would start by replacing table sugar (including cane sugar and brown sugar) with natural alternatives such as organic agave. Add a tablespoon in your morning oatmeal with some chia seeds and 1/2 cup of fresh fruit. Try adding stevia to your coffee.
Remember as with any other habit, it will take some time to quit sugar and form new, healthy habits. But your health worth the withdrawals. Use these tricks, give yourself a deadline, be persistent and before you know it you will have conquered your sugar cravings!