Quash Sugar Cravings With Tea
Next time you’re having a hard to ignore the sweet-tooth attack, fix yourself a cuppa tea. Mint, ginger, cinnamon, and Chai teas will all help you fend off those longings by hitting that “sweet spot” without sugar overload, explains Brown. And with so many varieties, it’s hard to get bored. If you need to sweeten it up, add just a teaspoon of honey , which is a bit healthier for you than straight sugar or sweeteners.
Phase : Drastically Reduce Carbs
Time: 3 to 4 weeks
Why: When you reach this point, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself! You have eliminated the sugar-rich, empty calories from your diet. At this point, you should start to see and feel a change: you have fewer withdrawal symptoms and more energy, and there is a noticeable difference in the way that you look and feel about yourself.
While you have already reduced your intake of simple carbohydrates, like sugars from beverages, you still have to tackle complex carbohydrates, like breads, pastas, and rice. Both simple and complex carbohydrates affect your blood sugar in ways that can detract from your weight loss. If you eat them in excess, you will soon be craving other foods, often those that are high in sugar or largely consist of other carbohydrates.
Eating too many carbohydrates is like putting yourself on a roller coaster your blood sugar zooms up shortly after you eat, then goes crashing down after a short time. Before you know it, youre hungry because your body quickly digested the food youre craving more, and so the ups and downs continue. There is a way to get off of the roller-coaster ride and take control: reduce your intake of any carbohydrates that you abuse, and by abuse, we mean eating them not necessarily because you need them due to hunger, but because you want them to feel normal and to avoid the awful feelings associated with the withdrawal syndrome.
Cravings Can Be Conquered
Everyone has a weakness. Mine is chocolate. I absolutely adore it but the addiction has always been a source of irritation. Ive lost count of the number of times Ive tried to give it up . I knew this craving wasnt going down without a fight. My olfactory system went into overdrive and I could sniff out chocolate from a superhuman distance. Within a week , the mental battle had dissipated.
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Sarah Wilson: How To Quit Sugar
The latest UK guidelines say that we should halve the amount of added sugar we eat. Adults are advised not to eat more than 30g of ‘free’ sugars a day, which is roughly seven sugar cubes. Children should have less than this. To put this into context, just one can of a regular fizzy drink represents an adult’s daily allowance of added sugar, as most contain 6-8 teaspoons.
Official health advice is now to give children water, not juice or squash at meals, and fruit juice may lose its 1-a-day status in future, with people being encouraged to eat a piece of fruit instead.
Sarah Wilson cut back on sugar for two weeks and just kept on going because she felt so much better. We asked her how she did it, what she eats now and how we can do the same…
Wondering how much sugar you should have in a day? Looking for a sweet alternative or want to know your fructose from your sucrose? Find out more in our sugar hub.
How To Actually Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet
So you want to go on a sugar detox. Smart idea. Quick refresher: Sugar has been tied to weight gain, depression, and increased risk of pretty much every disease and reducing your intake is suggested by every health professional worldwide.
While nixing sweets from your eternal future sounds overwhelming, even cutting out sugar temporarily for a ‘sugar reset’ can help you kick the habit and find an overall healthier relationship with sugar in the long term, says Harley Pasternak, celeb trainer and co-founder of Sweetkick.
For those who consider themselves addicted, there’s good news: It’ll only take about two weeks off sugar for the cravings to quit, says Drew Ramsey, M.D. assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University who studies how nutrition affects mood disorders.
And if you make it a month, for most people that means theyve found a sustainable way to eat sugar-free. But a lot of people relapse in the third or fourth week, he adds. Your best bet: Go in with a game plan.
Here are some general rules to make cutting back on sugar easier on your brain and body.
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Tips For Cutting Back On Added Sugar
If youre used to regularly eating sugary foods like cake, ice cream, sweetened breakfast cereal, candy, and cookies and regularly drink sugar-sweetened beverages, it may take time to reduce your reliance on added sugar.
For some people, cutting all forms of added sugar from their diet is helpful. However, others may find this method too extreme.
Fortunately, even making small changes to your sugar intake can significantly affect your overall health. Follow these helpful tips to slowly reduce your added sugar intake over time.
The tips above can help you slowly cut back on added sugar and improve the quality of your overall diet.
Here are some tips to help you beat the side effects and avoid or at least limit some of the symptoms related to cutting sugar out of your diet.
Switch From Sugar To Raw Honey
If you find it hard to stomach a natural sweetener, grab some raw honey from your farmers market or health food shop to add to coffee you make at home. Make sure to buy raw honey that is straight from the hive and has not been processed. Even if you buy your coffee, these days many coffee shops have good quality honey on hand to sweeten coffee.
Generally, if youre used to having 2 teaspoons of white sugar, try swapping it with 1 ½ or 2 small teaspoons of raw honey.
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Learn And Recognize All The Different Names For Sugar
Now that you know which ingredients to look for, don’t stop there. There are over 56 different names for added sugar including:
- cane sugar
- brown sugar
- sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltoseor any word ending in “-ose”
Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. So, the closer these sugar ingredients are to the beginning of the list, the more of that sweetener is used in the food.
If several forms of sugars appear on the label, think twice about making it a regular addition to your diet. Sometimes, manufacturers will use several forms of sugar on the label to prevent a single source from appearing close to the beginning of the ingredient list. In this case, check the nutrition facts panel to see just how much sugar is in the food.
To find out exactly how much added sugar, look at a similar, unflavored version of the product you’re interested in buying and see how they differ. For example, if a serving of plain oatmeal has 1 gram of sugar and a flavored version has 16 grams, it’s safe to assume you’d be consuming 15 grams of added sugar. When it comes to candy and sweets, assume all of it’s the added variety.
Why I Need To Avoid Sugar
Im a middle-aged woman, so Ive had time to learn a few things about myself. One of those things is that Im never going to be a skinny person. Its not that I couldnt develop the discipline to eat only steamed broccoli for the rest of my life. I just dont care enough to do it. Ive got short, dumpy Irish potato farmer written all over my genetic code, and Im fine with it.
What I DO care about is avoiding:
Sugar threatens to make all of these horrors come true.
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Be Mindful Then Distract Yourself
Its easy to mindlessly grab a handful of sweets when you pass a candy bowl, or automatically reach for the breadbasket when out for dinner. The trick is to think about everything you eat before it goes in your mouth. Do you really want it? Do you really need it? If you find that the answer to both questions is no, and that instead youre responding to a craving, take a moment to acknowledge the feeling: Inhale a slow, deep breath, and then remind yourself of your goals and that cravings always pass.
Once youve tuned back in to the present, distract yourself. You might read a good book, listen to a podcast, or scroll through social media. Even better, take a short, brisk walk: A study in the journal PLoS One found that a 15-minute walk significantly reduced participants urge to eat a sugary snack compared to a control group.
Be Aware Of What Youre Drinking
We walk around with something to drink all the time Ansel says. And more often than not, those drinks have tremendous amounts of sugar. Even if you dont drink soda or juice. Iced teas, sweet coffee drinksthey can have more sugar than a soda. If you have to have your tea sweetened, buy the unsweetened stuff and add your own, smaller serving of sugar to it. Or sprinkle cinnamon over your coffee in place of some of the sweet stuff. Or add a ton of ice to whatever youre about to drink. That will slow you down, it dilutes the drink, and you wont feel deprived Ansel says.
Do aim to get the sugar out, but dont stress about it so much along the way . If theres a spectrum of healthy eating, most of us are at one end and healthy is at another. Just to get to the middle would be amazing.
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Why Do We Crave Sugar
There are many reasons why we go for sweet things.
That appetite may be hardwired. “Sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high,” says Susan Moores, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced by rewarding ourselves with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldnt we crave sugar?
The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we over-consume, something thats easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. And Americans do overconsume, averaging about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.
Youll Become More Mentally Sharp
Want to increase mental productivity and improve cognition? Stop eating sugar. Once you do, youll find how much more focused and clear your mind becomes. Brain health is sabotaged when youre addicted to sugar, and then act on your addiction.
A 2014 study published in Nutritional Neuroscience explains how a high-fructose diet causes hippocampal insulin resistance while also exacerbating memory deficits. Another study published in Molecular Neurobiology found a link between sugar consumption and negative changes in the brains frontal cortex changes associated with additional cognitive problems. If you want to stay sharp and on top of things, especially as you age, stop eating sugar. Your mind will reward you in spades.
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Day : Watch The Booze
Red wine may have phytochemicals, but the truth is that when we drink alcohol, it turns to sugar in our bodies. If you decide to have a drink, stick to a 12-ounce light beer, a small glass of wine, or one shot of distilled spirits sans mixers. Most mixerseven tonic watershave added sugar or are fruit juicebased, so avoid those. Instead, opt for a fun mocktail like sparkling water and a splash of fruit juice and herbs.
You’ll Decrease Your Diabetes Risk
Studies have shown that high sugar consumption especially of sweetened beveragescan increase the odds of developing the disease. Scientists explain this in large part by the weight that people gain when they consume lots of calories in the form of nutritionally empty sugar. Being overweight or obese is often accompanied by problems with blood sugar control and reduced sensitivity to insulin that leads to type 2 diabetes.
Cutting added sugars makes it easier to manage weight and to keep blood glucose levels within healthy parameters, both of which lower your diabetes risk. This stems from the fact that added sugars help to fuel a cyclical cascade of effects that cause metabolic and hormonal changes to increase risk of diabetes. Added sugars contribute excess calories excess calorie intake leads to weight gain weight gain, along with higher blood glucose levels from consuming added sugars, leads to insulin resistance insulin resistance leads to more weight gain.
But the reverse is also true. In three large prospective observational studies of almost 200,000 American men and women published in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers found that people who replaced one daily sugary beverage or fruit juice with water or another type of unsweetened drink had up to a 10% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. So, cutting added sugars is a key factor in stopping this cycle and slashing your risk.
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What Happens When You Cut Down Sugar From Your Diet
Studies have shown that when you stop eating sugar, it can have a similar effect on your body as to when people get off drugs. You may see withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, exhaustion, brain fog, irritability, etc. Some people even experience digestive issues. However, with time, your body adapts to it. In the body processes, nothing really changes. Your body continues to burn calories for energy, but there are fewer or no extra calories to store as fat since the sugar is one of the main sources of calories that the body receives.
Q So Is Too Much Fruit A Problem In The Uk Were Being Advised That 10
Sarah: I eat seven to eight portions a day, mostly veg with only a couple of portions of fruit. I believe in dense nutrition, meaning I try to eat the most nutritionally-packed foods all the time, so that I always benefit from what I eat. The fruit thing is a bit of a fixation for people, who say but I really like it, and I say that the reason you like it is that youre addicted to sugar. Id advise people to continue eating whole fruit, but avoid large fruit salads, and grapes which are packed with sugar.
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Your Skin’s Aging Process Will Slow
Cutting out excess added sugar and keeping blood glucose within healthy parameters may slow the rate at which skin ages. A high-sugar diet leads to the production of AGEs , and AGEs are associated with acceleration in the skin’s aging process. In fact, research suggests that decreasing sugar intake may slow the aging effects that AGEs have on skin aging by up to 25%.
You’ll Lower Your Risk For Depression And Cognitive Decline
Improved psychological health is another perk to expect when you cut out sugar. This is because higher intakes of added sugar are associated with a significantly greater likelihood of experiencing episodes of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Researchers think this stems from inflammation in the brain that is triggered by sugar’s higher glycemic index, but it’s important to point out though that research suggests that the intake of added sugars, not natural sugars or total carbohydrates, appears to be the primary driver.
Cutting down on sugar can help keep your memory sharp as you age, too. In a 2020 cross-sectional study of 3,623 Americans 60 and older published in the journal Nutrients, researchers found an association between high sugar intake and the presence and severity of memory impairment. Some research suggests this could be because of elevated inflammation in the brain, leading to memory problems in the hippocampus. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseasetwo conditions sugar has also been linked tohave been tied to cognitive decline as well.
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Switch To Natural Zero
There are several artificial sweeteners on the market that are totally free of sugar and calories, such as sucralose and aspartame.
However, these artificial sweeteners may be linked to imbalances in gut bacteria that can lead to poorer blood sugar control, increased food cravings, and weight gain. For this reason, it may be best to avoid artificial sweeteners too (
They are all naturally derived, although they do go through some processing before they arrive at your local grocery store. Still, research on these sugar alternatives is ongoing.