If you’re an American, there’s a good chance that you need to break a sugar addiction. From the time we’re children, processed sugar is constantly marketed to us. From Honey Comb to Hershey bars to a litany of carbonated beverages (the highest-grossing "food" sold in America), we spend our lives sucking saccharides in over-abundance.
Now, millions of us suffer from a variety of problems related to eating too much sugar, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
So, how do you break sugar addiction? Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Quit eating high-fructose corn syrup. Start checking nutrition labels and you’ll notice that a huge swath of what we eat has high-fructose corn syrup in it, especially sweets and junk foods. But you might think you have a healthy diet and still have a sugar addiction because you regularly eat yogurt, ketchup, granola and meal-replacement bars, and salad dressings – many of which contain high-fructose corn syrup. Despite piles of data explaining how dangerous this stuff is, profiteering food manufacturers continue to defend their use of it.
2. Eat natural sugars. Quit dumping white sugar into your recipes, coffee, tea, and cereal. If you must sweeten something, use honey or turbinado sugar (sold as Sugar in the Raw). Avoid brown sugar, as it’s often just white sugar with molasses added. While your food might, at first, seem bland, after a few weeks you’ll notice that lots of things are much sweeter than you knew, including grains, fruits, and milk. After a few months, you won’t miss refined sugar at all, and you’ll be able to tell that soda pop is nasty, syrupy goop.
3. Quit eating artificial sweeteners. At UC San Diego, researchers found that Splenda fires up the same neural pathways as sugar. Psychiatrist Guido Frank then told The Scientific American, "Splenda has less of a feedback mechanism to stop the craving to get satisfied." Which, to Frank, means it keeps you craving sugar. Again, if you really need to sweeten something, use natural sugars, and sparingly.
4. Eat plenty of fiber. Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar – preventing sugar crashes and the cravings that inevitably follow. Soluble fiber can be found in fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, beans, fruits, and vegetables. I’ve found that beating sugar crashes is its own health benefit, as you escape the hunger, depression, and lack of energy that come with them. It also breaks the sugar addict’s cycle of refueling every couple hours with more sugar. Not to mention, fiber helps you feel full.
5. Wait out the cravings. Assuming you’re eating healthy foods in healthy amounts on a regular basis throughout the day, you should be able to out-wait sugar cravings as they arise. Like any food cravings, sugar cravings pass pretty quickly. If you’re starving yourself to lose weight, rather than eating properly, it’ll be much harder not to cave to sugar cravings. Here are some healthier desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.
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