Face Your Sugar Cravings Head
The first step in being able to say no to sugar is to face that you have a problem. In the same way, an addict must own up to the fact that control has been lost.
We know its not easy to fix a sugar addiction since we are surrounded by sugar everywhere. Plus our society tends to enable this form of addiction.
Lets face it, we celebrate with sugar, we use it to comfort ourselves and others. Just think of how a crying child is often given a lollipop to attempt to quiet them down.
Is it possible to say no to sugar if we surround ourselves with high-carb foods? Dont you agree that it would be easier to pass a temptation if it were not always nearby?
Would we ask an alcoholic to just be strong around a liquor cabinet? Of course not. Yet we somehow feel that its easy to be surrounded by trigger foods and to just learn to say no. Unfortunately, for someone with food addiction, it can be very challenging.
After all, we still need to eat and we still will have to be around family or friends who consume high carb foods. Unlike other addictions where you break off toxic relationships, thats not really an option when it comes to an addiction to food.
Why Detox From Sugar
While carbohydrates are an important part of the average persons diet, sugar isnt necessarily the healthiest way to get them. Sugar is known to set off a chain reaction that increases insulin levels and sets you up to crave more of it later, without providing the kind of satiety that foods high in protein, fat, and fiber do.
Sugar may also increase inflammation in the body, which can lead to health problems down the line . Eating a diet high in sugary foods can also promote pathogenic bacterial growth a serious no-no if you struggle with things like digestive issues, leaky gut, or urinary tract infections. Weaning yourself off of sugar can help limit your cravings for sweet things, stabilize insulin levels, and improve your overall health.
Consider The Carb Content Of Restaurant Meals
Eating out can be challenging during the initial stages of a low carb diet or after deciding to really downgrade your carb intake.
Even if you order meat or fish with no breading or gravy, youll typically get a starch on the side, such as potatoes, rice, pasta, or bread. These starches can add 30 or more grams of carbs to your meal, depending on the portion size, which is often large .
Keep an eye on portion sizes when ordering a meal from a restaurant , and consider ordering a side salad to increase your fiber intake to help you feel fuller quicker .
Ordering extra vegetables to offset larger servings of potatoes, pasta, rice, or bread when eating out can save carbs. Taking home half the carb portion of the meal can also help.
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Why You May Wish To Extend Your Detox:
Deciding to do a longer detox or adopting a prolonged low-sugar or no-sugar diet could help you improve your health beyond simply targeting sugar. You may realize that you finally need to correct other lifestyle choices that cause fatigue, like poor sleep hygiene, or even take a look at your hormone levels in a screening with your doctor.
Restructuring your daily meals for longer than a week can help you realize that sugar might not be totally to blame for all of your sluggish behavior. Sassos says making a longer diet change can push you to also prioritize getting enough sleep each night, and also work on ensuring you’re properly hydrated each and every day. “Getting enough sleep and drinking enough water are often neglected,” Sassos says. “No one prioritizes this in their routine, and yet they’re the simplest things that you can do for your body for overall health and to wardoff sugar cravings.”
Eat Lots Of Leafy Greens Protein And Healthy Fats
Kale, collard greens, and spinach are your best friends right now. They will help alkalize the body and give you a high dose of nutrients like Vitamins K, C, and A, which are stored in the liver, one of the bodys major detox organs. Theyre also chock full of fiber, necessary to keep you full when youre cutting carbs and flushing sugar out of your system.
Of course, those antioxidant-packed greens are important, but youll also need to up your protein and healthy fat consumption . Since youre eating fewer carbs when you remove sugar from your body, youll need those other key macronutrients to fill you up. Out of all the macros, protein keeps you satiated for the longest, and then healthy fats like omega-3s help slow digestion, making sure you feel fuller for longer.
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Why You Should Do A Sugar Cleanse
You might be experiencing those blood sugar spikes and then the sugar crash or energy level dip, or the GI symptoms caused by inflammation from sugar in the gut microbiome, which may lead you to question how to flush sugar from your system. The first step in cleansing sugar from your body is focusing less on refined carbs and sugars. That way, you naturally focus more on real, whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, gluten-free grains, and high-quality, pasture-raised meat and seafood, if you eat animal products. Eating fewer processed foods allows for a greater percentage of the diet to include real clean foods, which can help improve digestion, lower inflammation, and boost your energy and mood, too.
I Quit Carbs And Sugar And Here Is What I Learned
A quick word on diet and exercise from a slightly overweight unhealthy guy
I dont know jack shit about health. Im not qualified to tell you about it. I like to party my ass off, and eat the best of everything. Depending on who you ask, Im 10 to 20 pounds overweight.
I do have some unique health related experiences though. In particular, I have quit 99.5% of white carbs and and sugar in total for about 3 months of my life, on 4 separate occasions. Although there are countless vegans, juicers, fasters, vegetarians, paleos, etc, among us, Ive met very few people who have 100% dropped the carbs for a month or more.
Just real quick, heres what I mean by carbs for the purpose of this article. Its not technically the case that Ive ever stopped consuming carbohydrates. When Im quitting carbs, I mean Im quitting: bread, rice, pasta, brown rice and brown bread, cakes, tortillas, crackers, pizza, cookies, cakes, chips, pure sugar, soda, sugar drinks, french fries, potatoes and anything that fits that basic profile. You could say the middle of the grocery story. Yeah I know, all the good stuff.
When I quit those things, here are some of the things Ive experienced:
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Eat At Least One Serving Of Dairy In The Early Afternoon
For most people, sugar cravings hit between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The tryptophan in dairy will trigger your brain to feel calm the way sugar does, so you can stave off cravings before they hit.
Best sources of dairy:
- One and a half ounces of hard cheese like cheddar, Swiss or Parmesan
- A cup of Greek yogurt
Effects Of Sugar On The Body And Brain
The most immediate effect sugar has on your body is through your blood sugar. When you eat things like simple carbohydrates in the form of bread, cookies, soda, candy, or anything containing table sugar, it enters the bloodstream quickly, causing a spike in the sugar content of your blood. When this happens, your body experiences a sudden energy high and your pancreas kicks into gear and releases insulin to balance out blood sugar. As your body clears the sugar in your blood, this leads to the infamous sugar crash when your energy dips. Constantly put your body through this cycle and your pancreas goes into overdrive, leading to diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Sugar overconsumption also feeds the bad bacteria in your gut. Your gut is made up of trillions of bacteria and what you eat influences which bugs are in control. Sadly, bad bugs thrive on simple carbs, especially sugar. When you eat too much, youre promoting the growth of candida and yeastboth of which cause brain fog, rashes, digestive issues, and more.
Overloading on sugar and refined carbs can also cause inflammation. Short term inflammation is a good thing when your body is repairing a cut or a broken bone, but chronic inflammation, the kind that comes from a poor diet, can have serious health implications. Its associated with depression, heart disease, and eczema, among other things.
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Is It Worth It In The Long Term
Visualizing the long-term consequences of snacking or otherwise indulging can help some people to curb cravings.
These consequences may include:
- health risks
- feeling reduced levels of energy and happiness throughout the day
This exercise can also help a person to see the big picture and remember why they are dieting or trying to restrict their intake of certain foods.
Stress can play a role in hunger cravings, and long-term stressors can cause some people to crave foods that are sugary or more calorie-dense.
Finding ways to reduce stress may help to eliminate cravings.
Simple means of reducing stress, such as taking regular breaks from work, or even taking a few deep breaths, can help the body to refocus and calm the mind.
It may also help to try mindful stress-relieving practices, such as:
- breathing exercises
Ways To Remove Sugar From Your Diet
To remove sugar from your diet is a great way to improve many health problems. Sugar has made its way into everyday items that you dont even associate with sugary food, and many Americans are overeating sugar. Most of us are consuming 2230 teaspoons that is about 88120 grams of sugar each day. It is substantially higher than the recommended limit, i.e., six teaspoons for females and nine teaspoons for males.
Once in a while, we all have turned to a decadent dessert, bought packaged processed food for convenience, or ate out to reward ourselves for a hard work day. Sugar cravings are common, and you probably have heard of the term sugar rush, which is what happens when we consume a large amount of sugar on an empty stomach. The sugar goes right to our brain.
Eating sugar fuels every cell in the brain which programs it as a reward-seeking behavior. To remove sugar from your diet is going to take intentional eating and planning.
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You Can Quit Your Sugar Habit
Quitting sugar is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Youll feel better, slash your risk of developing many diseases, and make room in your diet for more nutritious and satisfying foods. So why not get started right now?
It wont necessarily be easy, but its not complicated with these tips at hand. Approach quitting your sugar habit one day at a time, and before you know it, you wont even want to eat those sweet treats anymore.
The Pros And Cons Of Going Cold Turkey
A cold-turkey approach is the quickest way to quit the sugar habit, but it may not be the easiest. If youve built up a dependence, youll probably have some withdrawal symptoms, and that can make for a rough couple of weeks.Strong cravings are the most common symptom. You might also get headaches or feel fatigued and irritable.
The upside? Most peoples cravings subside within a few weeks. If you can ride out the withdrawals, quitting cold turkey is the fastest and most efficient way to get the sweet stuff out of your system.
The downside? Sticking to the plan is essential a single dessert can undo all your sugar-free progress, and youll have to start over from day one.
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Realize Whats Going On
As sugar floods your bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin to control blood glucose levels. This suppresses the fullness hormone leptin, which makes your brain give you the green light to grab more candy. Glucose is rapidly digested, and your spiked dopamine and blood sugar levels fall quickly. The crash depends on the person. It can be 15 minutes to a couple of hours after eating, says Bontempo. Your instinct is to eat more sugar to get another jolt of energy, but its really important to resist. Once your willpower bank is tapped, it becomes increasingly challenging to make healthy choices. Here are more scary things too much sugar does to your body.
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.
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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.
Dr Frank Lipman On Sugar
As a serious sugar addict still struggling with my addiction I know first hand how difficult it is to get off sugar, and to stay off it. Part of the reason its so hard to kick the habit is that over time our brains actually become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption. Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override ones self-control and lead to addiction.
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Have A Spoonful Of Peanut Butter
After a sugar binge, you may want to swear off all calories. However, eating food with other nutrients helps ward off that undesirable sugar crash caused by quick digestion. A spoonful of peanut butter or handful of nuts gives you fat and protein to slow digestion, says Jennifer Powell Bolton, PhD, RDN, a professor of nutrition at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Or try hummus with vegetables, which have fiber that helps slow the absorption of simple sugars. Not sure if youre nearing the limit? These are the nine clear signs youre eating too much sugar.
Phase : Reduce Hidden Sugars
Time: 1 to 2 weeks
Why: Dressings, sauces, and condiments may seem to merely add some flavor to your food, but they often add sugars that can work against you. A small amount of some condiments can add whole grams of sugar to your meal. Furthermore, we usually dont use only one packet of sweet-and-sour sauce or ketchup instead, we douse our food in these sugar-rich add-ons. Consequently, you might think that youre doing all you can to reduce the amount of sugars youre consuming, but that might not be the case if you continue to eat foods with hidden sugars.
Note that there are many foods that appear to be diet foods that actually might be bad to eat for your new eating plan. Many foods labeled as diet, low-fat, or no-fat replace the fat content with more carbohydrates. We tend to see low-fat and think this is a healthy option, but if low-fat is a synonym for high-sugar, then it is clearly a no-no.
There are also products on the market now that are labeled sugar-free, which appeal to people who are either diabetic or trying to restrict their sugar intake. Proceed cautiously with these products as well. While these products may indeed be sugar-free, they may still contain a lot of fast-metabolizing carbohydrates.
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Deprivation Tastes Better With Friends
If youre going to give up sugar, its definitely worth bringing in reinforcements. Knowing that Id have to fess up to a friend if Id fallen off the wagon was a great motivator. It was helpful to be able to share sugar-swap discoveries, celebrate making healthy food choices and commiserate together through the detox symptoms.
The Pros And Cons Of Slowly Cutting Back
If cravings tend to get the better of you, you might prefer to slowly wean yourself off sugar.
The upside? This method takes longer, but it lets you avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Youll still have cravings, but theyll typically be more manageable.
The downside? If you choose this approach, its important to measure your sugar intake accurately. Figure out how much sugar youre eating every day, and cut back a little bit every day or every week. If youre not sure how to pace yourself, try cutting back by one teaspoon a day, the equivalent of one packet of sugar.
Heres how it works:
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