Just because you are trying to break your sugar addiction does not mean that you have to give up sugar altogether. In fact, by providing your body with small amounts of sugar throughout the day, you can maintain healthy sugar levels and help reduce sugar cravings. However, not all sugars are created equal. Here are some tips on what to eat, what to avoid and other steps you can take to help you beat a sugar addiction.
Eating often is one of the most effective ways to stabilize your blood sugar. If blood sugar levels drop, you are more likely to experience mood swings, hunger and irritability. This can lead to impulsive eating and indulging on sugary sweets. Drops in blood sugar can also cause sugar cravings as the body tries to elevate blood sugar levels. To avoid this, eat small meals often throughout the day. Eat every 2-3 hours and alternate between small meals and snacks.
Eat Fresh Fruit
When trying to beat a sugar addiction, stay away from artificial sweeteners and processed sugars. Treat yourself instead to a variety of fresh fruit. Although fruit does contain sugar, the sugar is in a whole food state, which means it will not cause any metabolic problems in healthy individuals. Choose from a wide variety of fresh fruits, including:
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
- Melons (cantaloupe, watermelon, honey dew, etc.)
- Grapes (red, green, black)
- Citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, clementines, etc.)
- Peaches, pears and plums
- Mangos, papaya and kiwi
Snack on fresh fruits throughout the day or freeze fresh fruit slices and throw them in the blender and jumpstart your day with a healthy fruit smoothie for breakfast.
Eat Protein And Fat At Every Meal
Another way to effectively control blood sugar levels is to incorporate protein and fat into every meal. High protein foods include:
- Lean cuts of chicken and turkey
- Salmon and tuna
- Milk, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
- Almonds, cashews and peanuts
- Peanut butter and almond butter
When adding fats into your diet, it is important to make sure that you only select foods that contain healthy fats. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contain high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Examples of foods that contain healthy fats include:
- Olive and canola oil
- Sunflower, flax, sesame and pumpkin seeds
- Almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans and peanuts
- Peanut Butter
- Salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout and sardines
Steer clear of foods that contain trans fats and unhealthy saturated fats. Trans fats are found in foods such as commercially baked pastries, commercially baked pizza dough, packaged foods, fried foods and margarine. Unhealthy saturated fats include chicken with the skin on, high fat meats, butter and other full fat dairy products.
Exercise not only helps you get in shape, but it can help to reduce sugar cravings in a couple of different ways. First, exercise releases endorphins into the body. Endorphins create feel-good feelings that help to elevate your mood. This effect is similar to the temporary effect that sugar has on the body, only there are no unhealthy side effects associated with exercise as there are with sugar consumption.
Exercise also boosts your energy levels. Many individuals reach for a sugary treat when they are feeling sluggish. Exercise is a healthy way to get rid of sluggishness and increase energy levels, which in turn will result in less sugar cravings.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Drinking plenty of water will keep you well hydrated, which will help keep your metabolism well-balanced. This can prevent dips in blood sugar. Sometimes what is perceived as hunger is actually thirst. Drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated and alleviate thirst.
Get Adequate Rest
Sleep can help reduce sugar cravings similar to the way exercise does. When tired, many people will reach for a sugary snack to provide a quick energy boost. Although sugar will temporarily counteract tiredness and provide a quick energy boost, the effects are short-lived. The crash that follows after the sugar high can lead to extreme fatigue.
To avoid this dreaded sugar slump, make sure you get plenty of rest. When you are well-rested, you are less likely to experience dips in energy throughout the day, and in turn will be less likely to reach for something sweet.
Cleanse Your Body
Cleansing, or detoxifying, is a very effective way to rid the body of sugar cravings. In fact, the more intense your sugar cravings are, the better results you are going to see when you cleanse your body. Body cleanses work to reduce sugar cravings by completely resetting the body’s appetite. Individuals who suffer from sugar cravings often consume large amounts of sugar each day. This sugar is stored in the body. Over time, the body grows used to sugar so much that it begins to crave sugar often.
During a cleanse, sugar and harmful toxins are excreted from the body. When there is no longer an abundance of sugar in your body, it will no longer crave those sugars. After the cleanse, your body will be well adjusted to the decrease in sugar and you will no longer crave it.
Stress can have a negative effect on many areas of our lives, including our diet. Many times, our cravings for sugar develop form an emotional need that is not being met. When experiencing periods of stress, individuals often rely on comfort foods to help bring them out of their emotional slump. For many people, their comfort food is sugar. Healthy stress relievers like exercise and meditation can replace the bad habit of reaching for candy and sweets when you are stressed out.
Watch Out For Hidden Sugars
Knowing how much sugar a particular food contains is important when trying to break free from sugar cravings. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be easier said than done. When eating packaged foods, always read food labels and check how many grams of sugar there are. It is equally important to understand the various ways in which sugar can be listed on those labels. In addition to the term sugar, familiarize yourself with other sweeteners and sugar alternatives such as:
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn sugar
- Turbinado sugar
- Brown sugar
Keep in mind that sweeteners are not the only form of sugar. Many highly refined carbohydrates such as those found in breads, bagels and pasta, mimic sugar and have the same detrimental effects on the body as regular sugar. To truly break a sugar addiction, these foods should also be avoided.
Learn Ways To Control Food Cravings
One of the best ways to break a sugar habit is to learn how to control sugar cravings when they occur. The first step is to keep sugar out of reach. If you don’t keep sugar in your home, you won’t be tempted to indulge when cravings hit. Cravings generally last for 15 minutes. When you feel a craving coming on, employ techniques that will help stop those cravings in their track. Some effective techniques include:
- Take a walk
- Look for a change of scenery
- Do some deep breathing
- Distract yourself
- Turn up some music
Regardless of that method you choose, when you learn effective methods for controlling sugar cravings, you can head them off at the path.