Make Your Own Salad Dressing
When food manufacturers strip the fat out of salad dressings they replace it with sugar and salt. The result? A waist expanding salad topper that doesn’t have the healthy fats you need to absorb the vital vitamins from the superfoods in your bowl. Keep calories and sugar in check by sticking to two tablespoons of an olive-oil based dressing like Bolthouse Farms Classic Balsamic Olive Oil Vinaigrette, and be sure to steer clear of varieties that use honey, sugar, concentrated fruit juice soybean or vegetable oils. They aren’t doing your body any favors. Or better yet, make a low-sugar dressing yourself!
Figure Out What Usually Drives You To Sweets So You Can Interrupt That Cycle
Lofton recommends identifying the chain of behaviors that leads you to eat sweets. Maybe it’s that you work from home, get stressed or bored, walk to the pantry, and grab cookies.
You could break that chain at the very beginning by working from the library instead where the cookies aren’t available. Or you could remove cookies from the pantry so that when you walk over to it, there aren’t cookies to grab. Or you can put in place the practice of responding to being bored or stressed by giving yourself 20 minutes of watching Netflix.
Notice How Crazy Sugar Makes You Feel
If youre having a hard time changing your habits and keeping sugar out of your life, do tip number four and notice how crazy sugar makes you feel.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that sugar hijacks your brain, and that is true. When you eat sugar, it causes the release of a chemical called dopamine that activates the reward center of the brain in much the same way as addictive drugs like cocaine. So, there is a reward for eating junk food because it causes a quick boost to your energy level and mood. However, this boost wears off, causing a crash that leaves you scrambling for another fix.
Its not a good experience when you feel controlled by food. Just stopping and noticing how much sugar is robbing you of your focus and peace of mind can be enough to regain some self-control, helping you to pass it by.
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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. 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, which have fiber and nutrients your body needs.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high,” says Susan Moores, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, MN.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced when you reward yourself with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldnât we crave sugar?
The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we overdo it. Thatâs easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. And Americans do overeat it, averaging 17 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.
Instead Drink More Water
H2Oh, yeah, baby. The good stuff.
Wake up and drink two large glasses of water to help flush out your system and lower blood glucose levels. Its especially important when you might be dehydrated after a big night out .
When youre dehydrated, the volume of blood decreases, and the blood glucose remains the same. This means more of your blood consists of sugar in other words, the concentration of sugar is higher.
Dehydration can also impair blood sugar control. So make sure youre drinking enough water. We explain how to work out your ideal water intake here.
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May Lower Your Risk Of Depression
What we eat may affect how our brain functions, thus impacting our mood. For example, eating healthy diets that emphasize fish, whole grains, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms.15
Several studies also suggest that sugary beverages are linked to a higher risk of depressive symptoms and depression. This may be because too much sugar can be addictive: When you eat it, your brain releases endorphins and dopaminehormones that make you feel good in the moment. Over time, this can impact your mood.15,16
However, other studies have found no relationship between sugar intake and depression risk. More research is needed to examine how sugar can affect your mood.15,16
You May Sleep Like A Baby
If its loaded in sugar, your midnight snack may rob you of the ability to get good nights sleep, Dr. Hyman says. People can develop low blood sugar and get night sweats if they have a sugary snack before bed, he says. Eating sugar before bed can also supercharge stress hormones, which leads to trouble sleeping. What happens when you stop eating sugar? You will get higher quality zs within two or three days of kicking the sugar habit, he says.
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Get Rid Of Sugary Cereals
Even healthy-sounding cereals are packed with sugar. Kellogg’s Cracklin Oat Bran, for example, has 19 grams in a cup! That’s more than what you’d find in a bag of Pretzel M& M’s! Next time you hit the supermarket, look for a box with less than 6 grams of sugar per serving that provides a hefty dose of fiber. Some of our go-to healthy cereals include Fiber One Original Bran Cereal and Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Wheat ‘n Bran . Add natural sweetness and flavor to your bowl by pouring in some fresh berries or shredded, unsweetened coconut for a healthy breakfast!
How To Cut Down On Sugar In Your Diet
We Britons really do eat too much sugar: 700g of the sweet stuff a week. That’s an average of 140 teaspoons per person.
Added sugars, such as table sugar, honey and syrups, shouldn’t make up more than 5% of the energy you get from food and drink each day. That’s about 30g a day for anyone aged 11 and older.
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Replace It Neutralize It And Break It For Good
Soda might not be your thing. Maybe its frozen yogurt or Hot Tamales. Perhaps its sugar-filled flavored lattes.
Whatever it is, you may want to cut back on the amount of added sugar youre consuming on a daily basis. If youre not a quit-cold-turkey type of person, try to replace the habit as often as possible with a lower or no-sugar option youre less emotionally attached to.
Maybe swap for a flavored sparkling water or fruit-infused water before you jump down the soda wormhole. Gradually replacing means youre gradually neutralizing. The goal is to break the habit once and for all.
Being consistent is key. For example, if youre used to drinking soda twice per day, first work on cutting back to once a day, than once every other day, and so on until soda isnt a part of your typical diet. Same goes for other sugary foods like candy, sweetened breakfast cereal, and ice cream.
Youll Feel Lighter Brighter And Happier
Sure, eating your favorite cake or ice cream may make you feel better in the short term, but over the long haul, your mental health can take a beating. Did you know that eating too much sugar is linked to depression? The underlying chronic inflammation that happens when we eat a high-sugar diet negatively impacts our brain function one of the reasons we get blue with too many sweets.
A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate sugary foods with a high glycemic index increased their risk for depression. Another study published in 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports found that men who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar every day increased their risk for depression when compared to men who ate less than 40 grams each day. Just consider a small child after eating their Halloween or Easter stash. They often turn from little angels to pesky devils! If you want to eat to beat the blues, youll want to stop eating sugar especially if youre prone to depressive states.
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Foods Dont Taste Sweet Enough
If youve noticed that foods dont taste as sweet as they used to, or if you need to add sugar to foods to make them taste good , it could be that youre getting too much sugar to begin with.
If youre trying to make healthier choices, say by switching from flavored yogurt to plain yogurt, the difference will be more noticeable.
You train your brain to expect a very high level of sweetness, and when youre used to that, it can be harder to feel satisfied with foods that are less sweet because youre primed to expect the high sweet levels, Cording says.
If youre replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners in your diet, you may also want to give it a second thought. A lot of these sugar substitutes are so much sweeter than actual sugar so it tricks our brains into expecting this insanely high level of sweetness, Cording says. This can increase sugar cravings overall.
Don’t Rely On Artificially
Though turning to artificial sweeteners may seem like the go-to move when cutting back on the real stuff, don’t be fooled! Splenda, Sweet n’ Low, diet soda and sugar-free candy aren’t any better than the real deal. What’s worse, some research, including a report in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine and a separate American Journal of Public Health study both found an association between fake sugars and weight gainnot loss.
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Understand The Difference Between ‘naturally
Before you freak out and throw out everything sweet in your kitchen, take a moment to fully understand the official sugar recommendation and the difference between added sugar and naturally-occurring sugar.
- Naturally-occurring sugar: Fruits, veggies, and plain dairy products have naturally-occurring sugar that shouldn’t overly concern you. Because fruits and veggies contain other digestion-slowing nutrients like fiber and healthy fats, your body doesn’t process the sugar as quickly as it would a cookie or a Twix bar. In other words, the sugar in apples and peppers won’t contribute to weight gain and diabetes like a soda will.
- Added sugar: The FDA defines “added sugars” as all sugars that are added during the processing of foods. This includes sugars from syrups, honey, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.
To remind you, the official recommendation is to cut back on added sugars, not all sugar. Beginning in January 2020, the Nutrition Facts Panel will have a column dedicated to added sugars, which will make it easy to detect which foods are high in added sugar.
Because some manufacturers will have until January 2021 to add this “added sugar” line, make sure to know how to calculate added sugar on your own. Naturally occurring sugars and added sugar are clumped together under “sugar.” This is particularly confusing when you’re buying things like flavored yogurt, which contain both types of the sweet stuff. So when in doubt, read the ingredients list.
The Worst Warning Signs You Should Stop Eating Sugar Immediately
There are a shocking number of foods for sale in America that contain entirely too much sugar and are best avoided or at least eaten only on rare special occasions. Because sugar, unfortunately, given how tasty the stuff can be, can be really bad for you in excess. As in bad enough that it has both acute and chronic health implications. And bad enough that your body may well be giving you warning signs that you really need to stop eating sugar.
According to the American Heart Association, an adult woman in good health should eat no more than 25 grams of sugar per day, which amounts to about six teaspoons of sugar and 100 calories, while a healthy adult man should have no more than 36 grams of sugar daily, which is nine teaspoons or 150 calories worth of the stuff. Here’s the problem: each of the following treats contains more than that amount in a single serving:
- A bag of Skittles
- A can of Sprite
- A bag of Hostess CupCakes
Each of these sweets can be very easy to consume without giving them a second thought. So how do you know if you are consuming too much sugar? Here are nine warning signs to watch out for.
Plus, if you’re looking to make more healthy changes, check out Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.
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Are You Addicted To Sugar
Its not hard to come across sugar in most parts of the United States. Soft drinks and other sugary foods are often one of the first things that pop into your head when you think of sweets. However, its important to remember that sugar doesnt have to be a part of your diet. This includes things like fruit juice and other sugary drinks. There are plenty of different reasons why you might want to cut back on your intake of sugar. One reason is that sugar is added to many foods that you might eat on a regular basis. This can add unnecessary calories to your diet. Some people also claim that sugar makes you crave it more often. Cutting back on sugar is a great way to save money. This is because many sweets are high in sugar, even if they are packaged in smaller portions. For example, a sugary cookie might contain about 5 grams of sugar, but you might only be able to eat half of it. Cutting back on sugar means youll be able to eat cookies, cakes, and other treats without feeling too much of an urge to indulge.
What To Do If You Eat Too Much Sugar When You Have Diabetes
These five things can help if youve overdone it on the sugar, according to a dietitian.
So youve overdone it on the sugar. Weve all been thereweve all gone a little too hard at the dessert table, or the donuts at work, or the nighttime bowl of sweet cereal. Youre not alone in that. But, since you have diabetes, the consequences can be a bit more intense, and its important to take action to get your blood sugar stabilized. Dont worrythis dietitian is going to walk to through some steps you can take to recover from a sugar overdose.
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Cold Turkey Vs Gradual Elimination Of Added Sugar
Both the cold turkey method as well as a longer term elimination of added sugars are outlined in the book.
We introduce the strategies you will need to successfully reduce sugars to a healthy level. We also provide step-by-step details for a 7-day and a 28-day plan to rightsize sugar. A Sugarproof child is one who can still enjoy sweet treats but knows how to avoid overdoing it.
Some families may want to go with the gradual plan for rightsizing sugar. Chapter nine is where youll find all of the details to help you implement this challenge with your family.
If youd like to participate in the 28-Day Challenge, Ill be kicking one off soon. Grab a copy of Sugarproof and join me!
Step 1 is to decide on your approach. Will you drop some hints to your family and see how they react? Or will you quietly and discreetly eliminate and stop replacing the foods in your home that contain added sugars?
Unless your children have expressed a desire to cut back on sugar it might be better to go stealth mode. An even longer-term approach would be to stop buying anything with added sugars. Also, stop buying sugars and just buy other types of snacks such as cheese, nuts, veggies, and fresh fruits. This includes maple syrup and other healthy sweeteners.
There are plenty of strategies, tips, and ideas in the Sugarproof book and the website. Will you join me for the 28-Day Challenge? If youre in, Id love it if youd let us know in the comments below.
About the Authors
Be Wary Of Relying On Healthy Versions Of Stuff Like Paleo Cupcakes Or Black Bean Brownies
Sometimes, this works great. Maybe you hit on a recipe that hides veggies in something, and has less sugar, and makes you happy in the way that you were seeking. Thats a win, says Scott-Dixon. However, she adds that when we know something is healthier, we tend to overeat it or justify sketchy food choices later on. Like: Well, I had that healthier muffin, so now I can have a pizza.
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Natural Sugar Vs Added Sugar
To our bodies, sugar is sugar. Much of what we eat has a mix of naturally occurring and added sugars. The reason we care about added sugars these days with processed foods crackers, breads, yogurts isnt about the type of sugar, but how much and how its delivered.
The reason sugar from a chocolate bar gives me a sugar high and the same amount of sugar from an apple doesnt has to do with the fact that the apple has fiber and other nutrients that help my body break the sugar down slowly. The chocolate bar, on the other hand, might as well be a needle in my vein. Its a direct hit, and our bodies dont always have the ability to process all that sugar at one time.