Sugar is a highly addictive product. Besides causing weight gain, sugar can encourage inflammation and infection, compromise our immune system and raise insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone which helps control blood glucose levels, however excess insulin promotes the uptake and storage of fat in our cells, it also elevates triglyceride levels and promotes cardiovascular disease, mood swings, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and many more common diseases/illnesses.
Cravings for sugar are also largely related to emotional factors or habits. Stress, unstable blood sugar levels, emotional comfort, cultural upbringing and specific nutrient deficiencies are some factors which can contribute to your cravings.
Whatever your reason may be for wanting to quit sugar, there are various ways in which you can cut down your sugar intake to dramatically improve your health. Here are some tips to get you started.
Clean out your cupboards
When you are trying to quit sugar it’s important not to have temptation within reach. It will be sure to get the better of you in a weak moment.
Dehydration can often be confused with sugar cravings. If you feel the need to indulge, try a glass of water first and see if the urge subsides.
Lack of sleep increases the hunger hormone ghrelin. Aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep every night can protect you from being too tired and grabbing that quick pick-me-up sugary fix.
Sometimes we can crave sugar just from boredom. Get up and do something to distract yourself. Go for a walk around the block, call a friend, engage in 15 minutes of yoga, or go put a load of washing on. When you are undistracted and focused, it’s unlikely that you will still be dreaming of that donut.
Don’t skip meals – especially breakfast!
Skipping meals can mess up your blood sugar levels and cause them to drop increasing your chances of a binge. When coming off sugar you may want to start snacking regularly between main meals to ensure constant blood sugar levels and ensure that those meals are low GI, protein packed meals. It works a treat!
Increase protein intake
Protein helps with satiety (keeping you fuller for longer) as protein takes longer to digest in the body. Protein also helps stabilize blood sugar levels which leads to more sustained energy levels and weight loss. Try incorporating protein with each meal.
The number 1 rule: remember to be kind to yourself! Throughout this processes remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. Don't be so harsh if you slip up, you're only human! It's a hard journey and many people out there are fighting the same battle. Just keep reminding yourself why you are doing this and keep moving forward.