A new year is a fresh start during which you can focus on health and lifestyle goals. Kicking your sugar addiction will jumpstart your weight loss, increase your energy, and boost your overall wellness.
A seemingly innocuous substance, research shows that sugar is an extremely addictive substance that wreaks havoc on the body. Processed food is now a staple in the average American’s diet and almost always includes copious amounts of unnatural ingredients and sugar. A dependence on sugar often sneaks up on people.
There are dozens of sugar-related diseases and disorders, including diabetes, obesity, dementia, cancer and heart disease. These conditions cause a great deal of pain and suffering and dramatically decrease lifespan.
Aside from serious health conditions, sugar can also lead to osteoporosis, poor dental health, aging skin, fatigue, cravings, lack of mental focus, and more. Even though the benefits of eliminating or drastically decreasing the amount of sugar you consume are bountiful, it isn’t always an easy process to omit sugar from your diet—after all, you are addicted.
Kick the Habit
To slowly phase out of a sugar-heavy diet, understand the various forms you take in sugar. Check food labels and look for names like corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, sucrose, and maltodextrin. These are some of the more common “sneaky” names for sugar that can be hiding in food. If they are listed near the top of the ingredients, they comprise a large portion of that product.
Many people find that it is much easier to stop sweets cold-turkey. When you eat something sweet it causes a spike in blood sugar, followed by a spike in insulin, which tells your body to store fat. The insulin spike then causes your blood sugar to drop quickly, which triggers your hunger. If you reach for something else sweet to satiate the hunger, your blood sugar spikes again, and you are on the blood sugar/insulin rollercoaster. If you keep from spiking your blood sugar in the first place, you won’t crave sugar as readily.
The most difficult part of eliminating sugar can be dealing with cravings. Anticipate your cravings and have a plan in place to combat them. For example, if you know that every time you go to the movies you want a soda, bring a carbonated water instead that will satisfy the craving. Once you are no longer addicted to sugar, you will find your cravings will drastically decrease.
Kicking the habit may involve using a less harmful sweet substance for a time until you feel that you can stop sweetening your food and beverages completely. Look for sugar alternatives like honey, coconut palm nectar, or Stevia. These can work as a bridge to help get you out of the habit of eating high glycemic foods, but you must eventually stop these as well. Fruit can be a good alternative to sugary foods; however, fruit does still contain sugar even if it is natural so eat only one serving of fruit paired with a healthy amount of vegetables in your diet.
Cutting down on sugar can be difficult depending on your addiction and natural sweet tooth; yet, you’ll soon enjoy more energy, focus, and increased lifespan.