Consuming too much sugar has been linked to several dangerous health conditions, which is why more and more people are attempting to rid themselves of their sugar addiction.
Too much sugar in one’s diet can lead to more than just weight gain – diabetes, inflammation and even heart issues can arise from too much sugar in the diet.
Though quitting sugar may sound like an easy task, it is actually far from it. Sugar is added to almost every processed food on the market, hiding in even some of the most “healthy” foods.
Below are 10 tips to guide you on your way to quitting sugar for good!
10 Tips to Help You Quit Sugar
1. Make a plan
Giving up sugar isn’t easy, but it will be even harder if you try to do it without making a plan first. Are you going to give up sugar cold turkey? Are you planning on weaning yourself off sugar day by day? The answers to these questions should all be based on you and your own plan for success in quitting sugar.
2. Journal during cravings
Cravings are common for everyone who tries to give up sugar. These cravings are due to the addictive elements of sugar, which leave the body craving more and more.
Instead of giving into these cravings as soon as they hit, try sitting down and journaling first. Write down how you are feeling and what could have happened during the day to lead to the sugar cravings.
More often than not we can discover that our cravings are an emotional reaction from an event that occurred during the day that has caused unresolved feelings.
3. Prepare for withdrawal
Like with any addiction, sugar withdrawl is likely to occur when you start to wean yourself off of it. These withdrawl symptoms don’t occur in everyone however, as it depends on the amount of sugar you’ve been consuming each day and for how long.
Some symptoms include:
Withdrawal symptoms may have you reaching for the closest bag of cookies, so be prepared to combat the cravings and symtoms of withdrawal. Try journaling during the cravings or take a walk outside and take a few deep breaths of fresh air when the withdrawl symptoms start to creep in.
4. Read Food Labels
Sugar is a sneaky ingredient. In fact, sugar shows up in many foods that you might not even think of, such as sandwich breads, salad dressings and even peanut butter.
Become familiar with nutritional stats and start reading food labels in order to catch all of the sneaky ways that companies use sugar in their products. It is also important to learn the different names of sugars, as it can show up as numerous different ingredients.
Some names for sugar include:
- high fructose corn syrup
- barley malt
- rice syrup
There are over 50 types and names of sugar that can be used on a food label. Do your research and read all of your food labels before including them in your new sugar-free diet.
5. Replace processed sugars with natural ones
Sugar isn’t actually all that bad for you, especially when the sugar comes from a natural source. These natural sugar sources such as fruit and even honey contain many beneficial nutrients for the body including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
While processed white sugars are void of any nutrition, naturally occuring sugars such as the ones found in fruit are naturally rich in many beneficial compounds. Replace artificial and processed sugars with naturally occurring ones to not only help to wean you off processed sugars but to also boost your overall health!
6. Drink plenty of water
Water is one of the healthiest things we can put into our bodies. Not only do our bodies need it in order to function properly and survive, but proper hydration is also key to many important functions such as our metabolisms and cravings.
Though water won’t chase away every sugar craving, adding lemons, limes or even mixed berries to fresh water can help to combat the cravings while also keeping you hydrated.
7. Avoid processed foods
Sugar is a common ingredient in processed foods to add in flavor, texture as well as improve shelf life. Even foods that may be deemed as healthy can be packed with hidden sugars.
Yogurt, for example, is typically thought of as a healthy snack due to its protein content.
Most often, however, yogurts are packed with artificial chemicals, flavors and sugars in order to make them more appealing. This takes the “healthy” aspect right out of yogurt. Avoid processed foods when you can and opt for the unflavored or unsweetened varities of foods that you just can’t live without.
8. Create delicious sugar-free options
One of the simplest ways to quit sugar is to make sure that you have suitable sugar-free alternatives on hand for when a craving does hit.
These sugar-free options shouldn’t be the processed, store-bought candies or cookies like we mentioned above, but should instead be something that is made at home with just a few simple ingredients.
9. Cut back on alcohol
Alchohol doesn’t just contain sugar but it also contains no nutritional value.
Even non-fruity drinks contain sugar, but if you can’t imagine life without alcohol opt instead for “light” or “low-carb” varieties.
Though red wine does contain a healthy amount of antioxidants, it is also high in sugar. Ask instead for a spritzer, which is a mix of seltzer water and wine to cut down on the amount of sugar you are consuming.
10. Avoid artificial sweeteners
Though artificial sweeteners were made to be a healthy substitute for sugar, they are far from it.
In fact, many artificial sweeteners cause adverse side effects that can be potentially harmful to your health.
Studies have also shown that artificial sweeteners may actually prompt the body to crave sugar even more – not the outcome you are looking for when you are trying to kick the sugar habit!
Quitting sugar isn’t easy, but you don’t have to battle against sugar and its negative health effects forever. Grab control of your sugar cravings and quit sugar today with the above tips!