- 11 Sep - 17 Sep, 2021
WAYS TO CURB YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION
- 10 Jul - 16 Jul, 2021
- health & nutrition
The common wisdom goes: move more, eat less. If only it were that simple! The truth is, the food industry has managed to commandeer not only our taste buds, but our brain chemistry and hormones. We blame ourselves for consuming too much sugar. But even those who are conscious of how the hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel sugar cravings work have a hard time harnessing the tools to fight them when so many billions of dollars are funneled into driving this biological disorder. The prospect of giving up sugar entirely can seem daunting, but it's 100 per cent possible to learn to cut back and loosen sugar's grip on your every move. Here are some proven tactics to help you break your sugar addiction for good.
GET MORE SLEEP
People don't realise it, but not sleeping well can affect your sugar cravings. Studies have shown that poor sleep leads to more intense cravings for sweets. On top of making some dietary changes, it's important to look at your sleep patterns. To help with cravings, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CRAVING AND HUNGER
Oftentimes when we think we're hungry, we're actually just having a craving. What's the difference? Next time you want to reach for that chocolate cake, ask yourself: if the only thing I had to eat right now was an apple, would I eat it? If the answer is "no," then you're probably having a craving and not actually hungry. When you're hungry, what you're willing to eat is flexible, when you're having a craving, it's not. The next time you answer "no" to that question, take 20 minutes before you act on it. Often you'll find that the craving goes away; if it doesn't then allow yourself to mindfully indulge.
ADD SOME PROTEIN TO A CARB-RICH BREAKFAST
A study that looked at MRI scans of people eating a high-protein breakfast found reduced activity in the regions of the brain associated with cravings. Try adding some protein to your breakfast and see if it helps you cut down on sugar later in the day. You can serve your hot or cold cereal with some yogurt, or have it with a couple of eggs on the side to boost your protein intake. If you're eating a bagel or toast, include some smoked salmon to get the benefits of protein.
Don't think so much about eliminating sugar, and instead reframe it as adding more of the good stuff to your diet. Aim to consistently fill your plate with protein, healthy fat, and high-fibre carbohydrates like non-starchy vegetables. This way, you'll stay full and not let your body get too hungry, which is when we often reach for quick-acting carbohydrates like sugar.
GO FOR PORTION CONTROL
Because sugar addiction is biological-not emotional as is so often thought-this might not work for everyone. Many people can't live by three-bite rules, but that doesn't mean there's any harm in trying. A good way to do this is to buy higher sugar foods in single serving sizes to help with portion control in the moment.
CUT OUT SUGAR IN FOODS THAT AREN'T SWEET
If you can't give up your ice cream and chocolate, try to eliminate ketchup and salsa. Sugar is in many condiments and sauces, and one must be careful not to assume that because it's not a dessert or a sweet food it must not have sugar. Sugar is found in many kinds of ketchup, mustards, salsas, marinaras, and other sauces. It can also be found in some meals.
DRINK MORE WATER
One simple way to manage a sugar addiction is to drink more water. It's an excellent replacement for other drinks and it helps with feelings of fullness, which may prevent unintentional snacking on sugary foods. In one study, people who increased their daily water intake decreased their daily sugar intake.
In the same vein, it's worth noting that sweetened drinks, like soda, lemonade and sports drinks, are the number-one source of added sugar in our diets. One of the best things you can do is to trade your sugary drink for an unsweetened one. If you have trouble doing this, you can start by cutting the amount you drink, for instance, by having a soda every other day instead of every day. Then, continue to reduce the amount you drink each week until you've dropped the habit.
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