Learn to Read Food Labels
You’d be surprised how easy it is for big companies to hide sugar in their food products. It’s in almost everything we eat! One of the best ways to curb your sugar addiction is to figure out which foods you eat on a regular basis have a ton of sugar in them and slowly begin to weed them out of your diet. Learn to read a food label because it tells you exactly how much sugar is in food, even meats!
Don’t Quit Cold-Turkey
Very few people can successfully quit a bad habit cold-turkey. You know how it goes. You quit eating sugar for a few days, maybe even a week, and then someone offers you cookies. Next thing you know, you’ve eaten twelve, and you sure don’t feel too good. The simple solution? Wean yourself off slowly. It’ll help prevent your binge relapses.
Don’t Go to the Grocery Store Hungry
Going to the store hungry always leads to you buying twice as much food as you planned to. It’s bad for your wallet and your waistline! If you’re trying to avoid buying sweet foods, though, the dangers are even worse. Make sure you’re not hungry when you go to your local grocer.
One of the best ways to stop eating sugar is to swap out your sugary snacks for healthy ones. For example, eat foods that aren’t pure sugar, like vegetables, which have other vitamins and minerals in them. This will help your body absorb the sugar in a healthy way. Berries are another great snack that are low on the glycemic index. Try drinking seltzer waters like La Croix and Bubbly to break your soda addiction.
Eat More Protein
Another great way to quit eating sugar is to pretend to be a bodybuilder. No, we’re not talking about five-hour gym sessions and kale smoothies. Just eat more protein. A lot of it. It’s a complex energy source that will leave you feeling more full for a longer time than sugar does. Specifically, eat protein at breakfast. Your sugar cravings will drop dramatically.
Stay Away from Fast Food
You know fast food is unhealthy. We don’t need to tell you that, but you may not know how much sugar is in fast food. A Big Mac has a third of your daily sugar intake, and a shake has twice your recommended daily intake. Eat at home if you really want to break your addiction.
Think sugar is the only way to make bland food exciting? Think again. Adding cinnamon will not only add the flavor you need, but it’ll also help curb your sugar urges. It’s a very nutritious spice with a lot of benefits. A great one is the spice’s ability to help regulate your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is an easy way to help you get over your sugar cravings.
We know, we know. “30 minutes of exercise five days a week is good for us, blah blah blah.” You’ve heard it all before, but when was the last time you hit the pavement? Studies have proven that 15 minutes of moderate exercise can help your sugar cravings. Your brain is aching for the release of the feel-good chemical that sugar gives it: dopamine. Guess what else releases dopamine? Exercise. Try it next time you’re hit with a craving.
Drink a Glass of Water
Our bodies don’t always convey thirst well. One way they do ask for water is with hunger cravings. If you’re feeling snacky but not quite hungry, your body could just be asking for water. Drink a glass and see if your craving goes away.
Eat a Small Dessert
It's all about balance. Other cultures, like France, allow you to eat whatever you want as long as the portions are controlled. It's alright to eat something sweet every now and then as long as you don't consume too much. Choose something small like a small parfait instead of a large slice of cake. Also, balance it with a healthy meal instead of something heavy and bulky.
Change Your Scenery
Sometimes we cave to our bad addictions out of habit. If this is the case, do your best to establish new habits during your weak moments. For example, if you crave sugar while binge-watching your favorite sitcom, don’t binge-watch your favorite sitcom. Watch an episode or two, then do something else. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to cave to your bad habits.
Add Some Honey to Your Diet
Processed sugars are bad. Honey is lower on the glycemic index and comes with a host of other benefits. High-quality honey is an antioxidant and antiseptic, so it can help fight off illness. Honey may also be able to lower triglycerides. The trick to this is to not eat too much. A tablespoon is alright as long as you watch your sugar content throughout the day.
Eat Before You Get Hungry
If you’re anything like us, you reach for your sugary snacks when you get hungry. The simple solution to this? Eat your healthy meals or snacks just before you get hungry. You won’t have those sugar cravings like you used to!
Get Better Rest
One big reason why many of us crave sugar is because we’re tired. We’ve got terrible sleep habits! To combat our drowsiness, we reach for the instant (And short-lived) energy boost that sugar gives. If you want to stop craving sugar, make sure you’re getting enough rest.
Take Your Vitamins
When your body has a deficiency, it starts craving foods. Sadly, sugar can trick our bodies into thinking it’s something that will fix our deficiencies. Because of this, we start craving it, and then our bodies start to rely on sugar to meet those deficiencies. Try taking a multivitamin while you wean yourself off of sugar. It should help a ton.
Learn the Different Names
Sugar can go by a lot of names. There are over 50 different names for sugar that marketing companies use to keep you buying. Some of those include dextrose, fructose, sucrose, galactose, dextrin, ethyl maltol, maltodextrin, barley malt, fruit juice, and molasses.
Consider Natural Sweeteners
Natural sugars are a good choice for those that want to choose a low glycemic index option. Stevia, erythritol, and allulose are three options that won’t raise your blood sugar while still tasting sweet. It may take some getting used to, but it’s certainly worth the swap.
Be Cautious of Sauces
Sauces are packed with sugar. Chili, pesto, mayo, and ketchup also all have sugar. Check the label before bringing it home. If you’re eating out, be cautious since some sauces can have a lot of sugar without actually tasting sweet!
Eat Foods with Good Fats
Eating healthy fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can help curb the cravings for unhealthy carbs, like sugar. Eating more healthy fats could help keep you from wanting sugary snacks. Try to eat nuts and avocado throughout the day.
Be Careful with “Healthy” Foods
Healthy foods aren’t always so healthy. Health smoothies, juices, and shakes are often loaded with sugar. Naked’s Green Machine has a shocking 53 grams of sugar, which is twice your daily value! As always, read the label and pay special attention to the amount of sugar in the product and the ingredients. Don’t just assume something is healthy because the label says so.
Make Your Own Desserts
When you make your own desserts, you can add whatever ingredients you want. This means you can leave out sugar altogether, or you can substitute it for a natural, low-glycemic option. You can even make a cake with stevia instead of actual sugar—have your cake and eat it too!
Remove Sugary Foods from the House
Along with changing your habits, get rid of any sugary snacks and sweets in your home. Nothing is worse than temptation. If your family doesn’t want to cut down on sugary foods, ask them to keep them in another area of the house, so you’re not tempted to sneak a bite here and there.
Rethink Your Drinks
Americans are notorious for drinking our calories, and that also goes for sugar. Sodas, smoothies, coffee, and teas usually have sugar, especially if it’s purchased pre-made. Coffee and tea are even strong enough to cover the sugary taste. Ask for unsweetened drinks when out or make everything at home. As a note, it’s also cheaper made at home!
Search for Unsweetened
Drinking soy milk doesn’t always equate to a healthy alternative. Many cow milk alternatives have tons of sugar, and that’s precisely why you should search for “unsweetened” products. You may be surprised how many items have unsweetened versions! Tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, and bread are three items you can find unsweetened, making your sugar detox much easier.
Be Wary of Ace-K and Maltitol
Ace-K or acesulfame potassium is one of the most common artificial sweeteners on the market. It’s in most diet sodas, and it’s not great for everyone. It can cause serious inflammation, which could make you feel worse. Maltitol is another one to look out for. It can cause inflammation in some, but the real danger is eating too much. You’ll likely spend your afternoon in the bathroom if you do.
Temptation is everywhere in a supermarket, but the checkout area is the worst place of all. Nothing but sweets and snacks! While self-checkouts still have these products, you’ll spend less time waiting in line, meaning you’ll have less time to decide if you need that Milky Way or not.
Make Special Requests
Don’t be afraid to make special requests! The worst the waiter can say is no. Most waiters, waitresses, and baristas are happy to accommodate your requests as long as they aren’t too extreme. Many people are also choosing a sugar-free lifestyle, so you won’t be the “odd one out.”
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods cut costs in one way or another. Sugars, like high fructose corn syrup, are pretty cheap and add flavor without increasing the cost. Overall, a healthy diet and lifestyle requires avoiding processed foods, so this is a good place to start.
Don’t Buy Low-Fat Labeled Foods
Just because it says “low-fat” doesn’t mean that it’s “low calorie” or “low sugar.” Take a look at low-fat milk or yogurt next time you’re at the store. The low-fat version almost always has more sugar than the full-fat version. Choose full-fat instead of low-fat, especially with dairy products.
Join a Support Group
Whether it’s a buddy at work or a Facebook support group, talking to people that have chosen a similar lifestyle is everything. They’ll usually have tips on how to curb sugar cravings or suggest products that are sugar-free and delicious. Just be careful. Not everything you read on these groups is scientifically accurate, so do your own research if something seems too good to be true.