We’ve all heard that sugar can lead to weight gain but it’s really hard to give up all those delicious treats that are sugar-laden. I’ve tried giving up sugar in the past and failed miserable. The sweet cravings were just too overwhelming sometimes and I just didn’t have the will power to resist. But the truth is, it’s not all about will power – sugar is a highly addictive substance. Sugar is hidden in all kinds of surprising foods that you would never suspect to see sugar. Take a look at some of these hidden sources of sugar – shocking, isn’t it? Food manufacturers add sugar in one of its many forms to foods to make them taste good and make us crave them more. When we crave them, we buy more of them and they profit from our purchases. The graphic below shows the perpetual cycle of sugar addiction and explains why so many of us are addicted. Studies have shown that sugar is 8 times as addictive as cocaine. What?!?! Not only that, sugar leads to blood sugar and insulin spikes which lead to more sugar cravings. Sugar slows metabolism and is stored as fat in our bodies. Eating that sugary treat isn’t sounding so good to me now. I’m ready to overcome my sugar addiction and kick it out of my life!
These are my top 5 ways to kick the sugar habit:
Go cold turkey
Much like an alcoholic would not drink just one drink, a sugar addict needs to avoid all sugar and artificial sweeteners. Opt instead for real foods that are unprocessed and don’t come in a box. This helps you avoid hidden sugar that go by other names and keeps you unknowingly addicted to sugar. If you notice specific cravings like chocolate, check out this list and see if you possibly have a nutrient deficiency that can be easily corrected.
Get plenty of sleep
What does sleep have to do with sugar cravings? Well, hormones that affect carb and sugar cravings are influenced by the amount of sleep you get. That means the less sleep you get, the more cravings you will have. Making sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help keep cravings at bay a little more.
You never know when those pesky sugar cravings will hit so it’s a good idea to always be prepared. Always carry a healthy sugar free snack with you just in case. Nuts are a great option since they travel well and will keep you from hitting a vending machine or convenience store. Grapes or raisins provide a natural sugar that will satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sugar.
Watch what you drink
Many drinks are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners and don’t offer any nutritional value. Even fruit juices contain lots of sugar. If you want the benefits of fruit, eat the fruit and drink water instead. Not only does water contain no calories, there’s nothing else in it that’s bad for you. Water can always be changed up by adding lemon, lime or cucumber.
Clean out the cabinets
Avoiding temptation altogether is the best way to keep from eating sugar-laden foods. Look through your pantry, cabinets, refrigerator and freezer and throw out all of the sugary foods and replace with healthier alternatives. Fresh fruit is great to have on hand to grab when you want a quick snack.
Do you struggle with sugar addiction? What is your biggest challenge to overcoming it?