Have Protein For Breakfast
Cravings are much harder to manage if you let your blood sugar spike in the morning, only to drop again a couple hours later. Incorporating protein in your breakfast is part of the important game plan for controlling appetite throughout the day. Consuming some form of protein at every meal, especially breakfast, increases satiety and has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. This improves our appetite control and can help prevent us from reaching for a sweet snack mid-morning and will keep mindless munching at bay throughout the day.
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.
Have A Savory Breakfast
Get this: Having a sweet breakfast will set you up for all day long sugar cravings, says Brown. Yes, that means saying sayonara to your sugar-sweetened coffee and sugary cereal. Sorry! Though that may sound plain awful, it doesn’t have to be. Sprinkle cinnamon into your coffee or sweeten a low-sugar cereal with slices of fruit. Better yet, opt for a savory morning meal: Whip up a veggie omelet or top your oats with ground pepper, cheddar, scallions and a fried egg instead of fruit and honey. These filling, satisfying meals will help you stay on the road toward low-sugar success!
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Steer Clear Of Processed Meats
“Processed meats, like deli meat, bacon, and sausage, often have added sugar. You can look for better brand alternatives like Simple Truth Organic, Applegate, or Plainville Farms. Some of these brands do still have products with added sugar, so you still have to be careful and read labels. The other option is to skip the processed meats altogether. Cook a chicken breast and slice it for sandwiches or wraps, or use your own seasonings to make breakfast sausage.”
Jennifer Smith, RD, CLT
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.
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Increased Focus And Mental Clarity
The first 2 weeks felt like I was bit hazy. I had a few nights of poor sleep and some long days at work during this time, but this felt different to the usual feelings of tiredness. After about 2 weeks something changed. I snapped out of my haze and suddenly felt more focused with more mental clarity than Ive had in a long time. Im guessing I went through a bit of a sugar detox.
Appetite And Hunger Will Decrease
Leptin is a key hormone that regulates appetite. It tells the brain when to eat, when to stop eating and when to speed up or slow down metabolism. But when obesity and insulin resistance are present, research suggests the body produces less leptin and doesn’t use it as effectively. Improving glucose management slowly restores leptin activity in the body, and cutting out added sugars is a key component for making this happen.
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Read Food Labels And Watch Out For Hidden Sugar
When I first started paying attention to what I ate, I was reading the food labels and searching for the word sugar in the ingredients. When I didnt find it, I would feel so proud that I was purchasing something that was sugar-free.
Little did I know that sugar has many nicknames!
Just because you dont see the word sugar in the ingredient label doesnt mean theres none added. Sugar is available under several different forms, and its unfortunately up to us the consumer to know this. Below is a list of natural and artificial sugars.
- Maltodextrin, mannitol
- Sorbitol, sorghum, xylitol
My suggestion is to first cut out all artificial sweeteners from the products you buy. Unlike the natural sugars, they offer zero nutrients and the long-term effects on your health are often unknown.
While natural sugar is a better choice than man-man sweeteners, it still raises your blood sugar and can lead to long-term insulin resistance. If you do purchase an item with natural sugars in the ingredient list, make sure it doesnt belong in the first 3 ingredients listed on the label.
Since ingredients are listed in order of the most predominant to the least, you dont want sugar to be a main ingredient youre eating!
Now that you know the different names of sugar, in what foods is it added to?
If you think its exclusively added to sweet foods, think again! Added sugar can be hidden in many savory foods. Examples of this are tomato sauces, ketchup, pesto and soups.
Shop On A Full Stomach
It’s true what they say: Out of house, out of mouth. Seems simple enoughuntil you’re actually in the grocery store. To ensure you’ll have the restraint to stop eating sugar, have a small snack before you leave the house. Experts say that when we’re shopping hungry, we’re far more likely to lose sight of our dietary goals and load up on unhealthy, sugar-laden eats.
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Sugar Is In Everything
No, seriously. I thought I knew this when I read this article on deceptively sweet health food. Hidden sugars blah, blah. But no, really. Sugar is in everything. I learned to read nutrition labels even closer than I had been, which helped me make healthier choices. And thats a habit I can take with me beyond this month-long experiment.
Swap Marinara Sauce For Fresh Tomatoes
There’s really no need to add sugar to tomato sauce because, well, the fruit is naturally sweet. But that doesn’t stop food manufacturers from loading their cans to the brim with the stuff. Since store-bought tomato sauce is often made with things like dehydrated tomatoes and cheap oils, they rely on the sweet stuff to amp up the flavor. Your best bet? Switch to a no-sugar-added option like Ragu’s No Sugar Added Tomato Basil or combine chopped fresh tomatoes with olive oil and spices in a frypan to create a quick pasta topper right on your stovetop.
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Swap Refined Carbs For Fat
When we opt for a low-fat diet, we are more often than not choosing to replace a flavorful, moist, and satiating food with another flavorful substitute: usually a refined carbohydrate . Our bodies digest simple carbs very easily, which in turn creates a craving for more sugar in attempts to energize the body once again. This yoyo-ing deprives our body of maintaining equilibrium and is totally unsustainable.
Healthy fats serve the body well and aid in hormonal balance, boost the metabolism, and regulate blood sugar. Eating a source of healthy fat along with or in place of a carbohydrate will slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream, preventing undesirable sugar highs and lows and curb sugar cravings. Healthy sources of fat include nut butters, avocados, eggs, coconut oil, and high-quality animal protein such as wild caught salmon.
Pro tip: Try adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your morning coffee or our High Fat Morning Glory Coffee. It helps to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you alert and focused.
You’ll Have More Energy
An increase in overall energy is one of the more immediate perks you may notice and is largely due to experiencing fewer highs and lows in blood sugar. While sugar may give an initial rush and burst of energy, what follows is a major drop in glucose, leaving you tired, lethargic and a little hangry. Replacing those added sugar calories with complex carbs, as well as foods with natural sugars and fiber like fruit, provides a longer, steadier supply of energy. Also adding to this energy may be the fact that you’re getting longer, more restful sleep, an effect seen in individuals who consume less added sugar and more fiber.
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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.
Want To Eat Less Sugar Try This Instead Of Quitting Cold Turkey
Nutrition pros share their top tips for cutting back on sugar the healthy way — without leaving you craving the sweet stuff.
Sugar is quite addictive, but reducing the amount of it in your diet can improve your health.
Eating more fresh foods, drinking more water and getting more exercise — these are all common goals when it comes to getting healthy. But one of the hardest habits to kick? Eating too much sugar.
Cutting down your sugar intake is a simple way to improve your diet and health overall — but it’s certainly not easy. Consuming too much sugar, especially added sugar, is linked to health risks like heart disease, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and chronic inflammation. If you think that you’re consuming more sugar than you need and want to cut back, doing so is a smart move for your long-term health.
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Health authorities like the US Office of Disease Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend that you should get no more than 10% of your daily calories from added sugar each day . Another way to look at that amount is to limit your sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams total. You’ll want to keep track of how much sugar you actually add to your food and drinks, but also what’s in prepackaged food or food from restaurants.
Quitting sugar cold turkey can seem like the best option, but it may not work in the long run.
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Eat More Healthy Fats
“Replace sugary foods with healthy foods that contain good fats. When you feel that you crave sweet foods, stop the thought in your mind, and think about some healthy snacks, like an avocado, a hard-boiled egg, a piece of good cheese, some nuts, or any food you like that’s not pure sugar or carbs.”
Water From An Air Up Bottle
Its been reported that 16 million Brits want to reduce their sugar intake but are struggling due to a lack of alternatives, which is why we love the clever water bottles from Air Up. Using a specific technology called retronasal smell, Air Up bottles contain a scent pod that fools your brain into thinking youre tasting a flavoured drink when youre drinking water.
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Add Only Half The Sugar You Normally Use
Back in university, I remember a friend offering to buy me a cup of coffee. He asked me what I wanted in it, and I told him 2 packs of sugar.
He joked that I wanted the diabetic combo.
While I knew he was kidding, it made me realize that maybe adding 2 packs was a bit of an over kill.
If you have the same habit as I did, consider adding only 1 pack of sugar the next time you have a coffee. You can do this for a week or two, and then decrease that amount by half again until you cut it out completely.
Here are other ways of cutting down on added sugar:
- If you usually pour maple syrup on your pancakes, drizzle melted nut butter on top. Peanut and almond butter have a natural sweetness to them and provide that rich texture that will leave you feeling super satisfied. Plus, it contains healthy fats and proteins that will keep you full and prevent sugar cravings.
- When baking, cut the sugar in the recipe by 1/3 or half. Often, you wont even notice the difference. You can also experiment with adding cinnamon, nutmeg, or other flavorful spices. Vanilla and almond extract is also a great choice to enhance the flavor of your recipe.
Sugar Cravings Will Decrease
Frequent intake of sugary foods and beverages fuels more cravings. This is because sugar triggers the release of dopamine, which stimulates the brain’s reward center, similar to how addictive drugs impact the brain. Because of this, it’s not unusual to experience mild withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, anxiety and greater-than-normal sugar cravings for a few days when you cut sugar out. Ride this out for a few days though, and cravings for sugary, high-carb foods will begin to decrease significantly. To minimize side effects, consider cutting added sugar intake back gradually rather than going cold turkey.
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You’ll Be Less Likely To Get Sick
Chronic, low-grade inflammation has been linked to nearly every major disease of lifestyle and aging, including arthritis, G.I. disorders and metabolic syndrome. Studies in mice have found that high sugar intake changes the balance of bacteria in the gut, increasing the type with pro-inflammatory properties. The evidence in humans is sparse and still emerging, but a 2018 systematic review of 13 studies with more than 1,100 participants showed that all types of added sugars ratcheted up levels of C-reactive proteina key marker of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is an unhealthy and abnormal immune reaction in the body that leads to an overworked immune system, and added sugars are a key diet component known to exacerbate this type of inflammation.
On the flip side, a study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that a decrease of around 23 grams in daily added sugar intake was associated with a significant reduction in C-reactive protein. Cutting out added sugars can help minimize existing inflammation, as well as preventing new inflammation. This improves overall immune function, so the body can effectively fight off pathogens, reducing your susceptibility to illness.
Use Applesauce When Baking
If homemade baked goods are your dietary kryptonite, we get it. Warm, gooey cookies are hard to say no to and even harder to stop eating once you’ve started. The goods news is, simply swapping out sugar for unsweetened applesauce can save you hundreds of calories! While one cup of the white stuff has more than 770 calories, the same amount of applesauce has about 100. Depending on how big your cookies are that could easily save you between 20 and 80 calories a pop! While we don’t endorse eating cookies in excess, if your sweets have been healthified, eating one or two extra likely won’t do too much damage to your waistline.
Note: If you’re swapping out sugar for applesauce, a 1:1 ratio works fine but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup.
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Be Careful With Healthy Processed Snack Foods
Some processed snack foods have a health halo. They seem healthy at first glance, and words like wholesome or natural may be used in their marketing to make them seem healthier than they actually are.
Surprisingly, these snacks can contain just as much sugar as chocolate and candy bars.
Dried fruit is a great example. Its full of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. However, it also contains concentrated amounts of natural sugar , so you should moderate your intake to keep from overdoing it (
Save those sugary breakfasts for special occasions and try these low sugar breakfasts instead:
- oatmeal sweetened with fresh fruit
- Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
- egg scramble with cheese and veggies
- avocado on whole grain toast
Choosing a low sugar option with plenty of protein and fiber at breakfast will also help you feel full until lunchtime, preventing unnecessary snacking .