How To Stop Your Addiction To Sugar
We all know that sugar isn’t the healthiest thing we can put in our bodies. Some studies show that can be even more addictive than cocaine. The truth is that many of us struggle with eating too much of it. Sugar is often added to even the most basic of foods like bread and cereal. It can feel like there’s no avoiding the sweet stuff. Given its ubiquity, is there any hope of breaking free of a sugar addiction? The answer is yes. And you don’t even have to spend six weeks in rehab. The following steps will have you on the road to recovery, and you’ll soon wonder how you ever ate so much of the sweet stuff.
Chew Gum Instead
This study found that when people chewed gum in the afternoon, their cravings for sweet snacks diminished. The gum chewers tended to consume fewer snacks overall, and if they did opt for a between meal treat, generally opted for one that was lower in sugar. The participants lowered their daily calorie intake and felt noticeably less drowsy in the afternoon.
Don’t Use Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are often a go-to for those looking to cut sugar out of their diets. However, manufactured sweeteners can have terrible side effects and often lead to weight gain. Obviously, not the result you’re looking for if you’re trying to cut sugar. A study by Diabetes Care found that artificial sweeteners change the way the body metabolizes sugar. Ingesting the fake stuff confuses the brain and the gut. Essentially, when artificial sweeteners are consumed, the brain expects a high intake of calories; when this doesn’t happen, the system gets confused, resulting in overeating. So, even though you think you’re helping by having that diet cola with your burger, you may end up consuming more calories than you would have otherwise.
Avoid “Fat-Free” Products
Here’s the truth about fat-free foods. Fat carries a great deal of flavor. When the fat is removed, taste suffers. So, to make it more palatable, manufacturers have to add something back in, and that something is almost always a form of sugar. Check out the label for fat-free salad dressing, and you’ll most likely find high fructose corn syrup or honey as one of the top ingredients. Other major offenders are muffins, reduced-fat peanut butter, pudding and cookies. Opt for fuller fat versions of the foods you love. Foods containing monounsaturated fats increase your sense of satisfaction and help you feel fuller longer, helping you to avoid sugar cravings later on.
Don’t Keep Sweets At Home
It may seem obvious, but it works. If you have sweets in your house, you’re going to be tempted to eat them. Even if you’re craving sugary snacks, if they’re not in the house, the odds are you’re not going to run out and purchase them. Give it a few minutes, distract yourself with something and the craving will subside. When shopping at the store, things can get a bit trickier. Those cookies often seem to have a habit of jumping in the cart all by themselves. The best tactic is to avoid those aisles altogether.
Reward Yourself With Non-Food Items
So many of us tend to reward ourselves with sugary treats. Whether you just want to unwind from a long work day or dull a painful breakup, it’s natural to look toward that brownie or pint of ice cream. Sugary treats release endorphins in our bodies and mimic the feeling of love and comfort. Find something that feels rewarding and gives you the same sense of satisfaction, whether it’s meeting a friend for a nice meal, booking a massage or settling in with a good book. Finding ways to comfort yourself without sugar will help diminish the cravings over time. Eventually, sugar won’t be your go-to comfort food.
Sugar is a potent substance. It won’t always be easy to avoid. If you slip up once in a while, that’s okay. Don’t give up. Know that you can get yourself back on track tomorrow.