The average American consumes more than 150 pounds of sugar every year and new research has shown that sugar can be biologically addictive, causing you to crave more as you consume more.
If you’re tired of feeling sick and overweight, sugar is more than likely the culprit and the good news is you can break this sugar habit within 10 days if you’re willing to take action.
#1 Avoid Processed Foods
Did you know that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine? In a 2013 research study from Connecticut College, they had found that Oreos could be just as addictive as the drug after observing how the cookie affected the rat’s brain and behavior. Eating sugar artificially stimulates a part of your brain known as the nucleus accumbens, the region responsible for producing dopamine, which pleasures the neurotransmitter. As these levels drop, you will start to feel “down,” craving the sugar feeling again.
The goal here is to avoid all processed foods, the food commonly found in the center of the grocery store. If it’s boxed or wrapped, there’s a good chance it will contain sugar, but to make sure, carefully examine the ingredients to see what’s inside. Slowly taking these processed foods out of your diet can significantly lower your sugar intake.
#2 Avoid Anything with the “No Fat” Label
Fat, yes, is something that tastes really great, just like sugar. While those “no fat” labels can look appealing, it really isn’t great for you. Here’s why: The product will be fat-free, but what you don’t realize is that it will have sugar, and commonly, sugar will be the first, second or even third ingredient. For example, a fat-free pudding or peanut butter can have more sugar than its “fat” product equivalent. The solution here is simple. If you want a product, don’t buy the fat-free version and stick to the fat variety instead.
#3 Consider the Natural Sweetener
The all-natural sweetener, Stevia, has zero calories, doesn’t raise blood pressure, has zero additives and is much sweeter than sugar. If you feel your body is craving sugar, then Stevia may be your best bet. Use it in baking recipes, mix it in your coffee or look for products that use this ingredient instead of sugar to get your natural fix. Be careful with other sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, however, as they have been known to actually increase your sugar cravings.
#4 Drink Lots of Water
Sometimes, we can often confuse our sugar craving with dehydration. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep you feeling refreshed and can help kick what you think is your sugar craving calling. If you’re not a fan of water, consider mixing in a pinch of lemon with Stevia to create an all-natural lemonade.
#5 Eat Lots of Fruit
Fruit contains fructose, a different form of sugar, making it a satisfying treat and can often get rid of your cravings. This fructose will be metabolized in the liver as opposed to the blood stream like other sugar, but like any sugar, be careful not to eat too much since fruit can still cause weight gain. Try to limit your consumption to two to three servings a day, with three-hour breaks in between to allow your body to process it.
#6 Throw it Away
Open up your pantry or refrigerator and pay close attention to anything that may have sugar in it. Getting rid of these sugary temptations can force you to find creative ways to get rid of these cravings instead of taking the easy route and opening the box of cookies.
#7 Start Exercising Now
Sugar has been shown to reward your brain, making it very difficult to mimic this feeling. If the sugar is there, you will probably consume it, feeling great afterward until you crash and the “down” feeling comes back again. Exercise and using whey protein, which is a major protein, found in milk, has been researched and shown to increase your serotonin levels, which can help increase your moods.
Adding this whey protein to your daily routine, along with some simple exercises, such as walking, to increase your heart rate, can make you feel just as good, if not better than eating a few sweet treats throughout the day.
#8 Get More Rest
Studies in Neuroscience have supported that if you don’t get enough sleep throughout the night, your brain may be craving sugar even more, forcing you to reach for that late night snack. Even if you’re exercising and following the tips mentioned above, if you don’t get enough rest, your brain could be calling for a late night sugar snack. Try your hardest to stick to a sleep cycle that allows you to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted rest.
#9 Don’t Go Cold Turkey
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