5 Ways to Break your Sugar Fix
I love sugar, but sugar does not love me.
In fact, it does not love any of us. It may add a whole lot of flavor to many of the foods we enjoy, but the overall impact that sugar has on our bodies is pretty incredible. Did you know that sugar actually feeds cancer cells? It also contributes to high blood pressure, weight gain and a multitude of gastrointestinal problems. It also speeds up the aging process by effecting our skin elasticity and causing sagging skin! It causes tooth decay, gum disease and increases cholesterol levels among many other physical conditions.
Sugar is just as addictive as smoking, drugs and alcohol. “Sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain's pleasure center, in this case opioids and dopamine. And as they do with street drugs, people develop a tolerance for sugar, meaning they need more sugar for a feel-good "fix." In rat studies looking at sugar addiction, when animals binge on the sweet stuff, they experience chattering teeth, tremors, shakes, and anxiety when it's taken away” (Prevention Magazine, December 2013).
The challenge with sugar is that we can find it in almost all of the foods that we eat. It is everywhere, hidden in the foods and drinks that we love. Manufacturers use these products to help enhance the flavors of lower fat foods.
So here are a few tips to help break your sugar fix:
Read labels. Food manufacturers use forms of sugar like high fructose corn syrup and dextrose to help sweeten foods like ketchup, salad dressings, spaghetti sauces and even yogurt. That’s why it’s really important to read labels. Understand the ingredients that make up the foods you eat and know the sugar content in the foods you consume. Once you realize the sugar content, it will help you make healthier choices.
Replace processed foods. If you have a craving for something sweet, reach for naturally sweet foods like fruits, raw honey, natural maple syrup rather than processed foods. Example: use raw honey in your tea rather than sugar or artificial sweetener.
Break old habits. Oftentimes, we get into the habit of eating sweets at certain times of the day. For example, if you often go for a coffee and a cookie at 3 PM or a sweet dessert after dinner every night, rethink your decision. Before you reach for the sugary snack, ask yourself if you’re hungry. Then follow these steps:
Drink a glass of water
Wait 10 minutes
If you are still craving something sweet reach for a naturally sweet snack like an apple or some grapes.
Check your emotions. If you’re a sugar freak like me, you likely reach for sugary foods when you are feeling stressed, depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. Before you automatically reach for your sugary snack, take inventory on how you’re feeling to determine what’s driving your craving. Then, follow step 3 above :)
Eat fermented foods. Fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut and Kombucha actually help decrease your cravings for sugar over time. So, next time you crave something sweet, reach for a dill pickle (not sweet pickles - that defeats the purpose) and it will really help. Caveat - if you are watching your salt/sodium intake, check with your doctor before you go down this path.
So there you have it, 5 ways to help you overcome your sugar habits. What you do with it now is entirely up to you :)
Bee healthy. Bee happy.