Simply put, sugar is the worst thing you can get. A lot of people think that they consume sugar only by eating sweets like chocolate and candies. Wrong! We consume sugar on a daily basis without even knowing it.
Almost every other research shows that sugar is bad for you. For starters, sugar increases the risk of heart disease. One way to lower your consumption of sugar is to give up on processed foods.
Now, when we are talking about giving up sugar, we are not talking about the sugar that comes in fruit. No, in fact, fruits are recommended for you. We are talking about the refined sugar, that refined source of all evil in your body. We are talking about high-fructose corn syrup that can sneak up to everything, even in ketchup for example. That being said, let’s see some ways you can cut down your sugar intake.
Avoid double agents
When we talk about double agents, we talk about sneaky foods that might contain sugar. Two great examples are yogurt and oatmeal. The consensus is they are healthy foods. But turn the package over. Yes, oatmeal is healthy, but flavored instant oatmeal is not. Oftentimes, flavored oatmeal is a source of sugar.
Yogurt is another example. For example, fruit yogurt, or yogurt sweetened with fruit is high in sugar. Flavored yogurt contains either sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup.
Take care of your liver
This is the most important thing you need to do. Your liver’s function is to flush out toxins. In addition to flushing toxins, the liver plays a role in your sugar cravings. When your liver is healthy, the organ can regulate your blood sugar levels. However, when your liver is not healthy, you crave sugar, you are constantly hungry, and you cannot concentrate.
What can you do? Well, for starters, you can clean up your liver.
Load up on good bacteria
For those of you that do not know, there are good and bad bacteria. Gut bacteria plays a vital role in keeping off sugar cravings. You need balance in your gut, which means more good bacteria. The term for good bacteria is probiotics, and you can source them from banana, eggplant, yogurt, kefir, and garlic.
Eat more chocolate
Now, this might sound like counterproductive, but chocolate can actually help you keep your sugar levels down. However, the goal here is not to load up on chocolate and eat bundles of it. No, the goal here is to consume chocolate as a way to stay satisfied.
Chocolate will keep your sweet craving at bay. But the trick is to consume healthy versions of chocolate, like dark chocolate for example. Teach your brain to like healthier versions, and strive to get to 80% dark chocolate.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that fats make you fat. Nope, sugar makes you fat. The opposite is true. Fats make you healthy. Of course, as long as you consume the healthy fats, or omega-3 fatty acids to be precise.
Healthy fats will satisfy your cravings, and most importantly, fat does not raise your insulin levels. On the list of healthy fats, you have avocado, olive oil, fish, and nuts.
You need to understand the difference between nutrition and marketing. The food industry is one of the most profitable industries. And in the past several years, companies have taken advantage of the “healthy food” labels. Marketing experts have tried to sell almost every food as healthy.
Their goal is simple: increase sales. But try not to fall into that rabbit hole. If you perceive certain food to be healthy, you are more likely to buy it. The trick is to understand healthy foods. For example, when you consume low-fat yogurt, you actually consume high-sugar yogurt. Companies need to replace the fat they take off from the yogurt with something, and usually, that is sugar.
Scan the ingredients of every food you buy. The first red flag is anything finishing on “-ose”. Usually, that is high-fructose corn syrup, and you need to stay away from that as far as possible. Other red flags include rice syrup, corn syrup, sugar, and everything else finishing on –ose like fructose and sucrose.
Understanding labels and sugar
If you think companies will write sugar on their labels, you are wrong. They know the trick. There are more than 50 names for sugar, and the food industry tries to use them to mask the sugar amount in their products.
It is a sneaky trick, but manufacturers take full advantage of it. The good news is that the FDA recently obliged manufacturers to list “added sugars” on their label.
Understand your body
The trick here is to understand why you consume high sugar foods. Yes, it is normal to like and enjoy a chocolate chip cookie. However, it is not normal to crave for sweet foods all the time. Two of the most common reasons why people reach for sugar and sweet foods is a stress relief and emotional comfort. That means if you want to cut down on sugar, you need to reduce your stress levels first.
Love your body
The trick here is to love yourself more than you love sugar. Yes, it is hard, but you can do it. Forgive yourself for the occasional slip-ups. But do not let that turn into a habit. You can fight the sugar craving. Yes, you can resist an entire cheesecake. You can be disciplined. Try to eliminate self-destructive binges, and you will emerge victorious in the battle with sugar. Focus on loving yourself.
Change your mindset
Your mindset is everything. If you set your mind to quit sugar, you will quit sugar. Yes, it is that simple. The trick here is to change how you view things. For starters, label food as “sometimes” for indulgences. As for the good stuff, label them as “always”. This will help you quit sugar.
Understand it is an addiction
Yes, sugar can be addictive as well. Sugar addiction might not be as dangerous as heroin addiction, but it is not something you need to ignore. When you eat sugar, your body starts to expect it. What happens when you do not get sugar is your body craves for it. In any world, that is an explanation for addiction. Once you accept that it is an addiction, you can approach it in a different aspect.
Boost your serotonin production
Hormones play a huge role in eliminating sugar cravings. One hormone that you want more of is serotonin. That is the hormone of happiness. Serotonin affects your mood, cravings, emotions, pain tolerance, appetite, digestion, self-esteem, and much more. One reason why we want sugar when we are down is that we are depleted of serotonin. Consuming sugar stimulates the production of serotonin. But you can boost the production in many other ways.
Exercise, exercise, and more exercise
Exercise is the reward of you being disciplined. When you exercise, you boost production of hormones that keep you away from sugar. And let’s not forget exercise is one of the best mood-boosters. We talked earlier how you want to boost your mood to stay away from sugar.
Do not consume sugar in liquid form
Even if you eliminate processed foods and sugars from your diet, you might always reach for liquid sugars. We talk about sweetened beverages, especially soda. Nearly half of the sugars we consume come from sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and so on.
Stay away from fruit juice
Speaking of fruit juices, you need to stay away from them. Our mind is programmed to look at fruit juice and think it is healthy. But the problem is most fruit drinks are loaded with sugar. Think of them as an overhyped source of sugar. Fruit juices do not contain fiber, fat, protein, or any other healthy ingredient. They are just empty calories. Instead of fruit juices, go for water or tea.
Be careful with substitutes
There is a difference between sugar substitutes and safe sweeteners. For example, xylitol is one sugar substitute you find in sugars and vegetables and is extremely healthy. On the flip side, you have sucralose, aspartame, and other alternatives that are not so healthy.
Understand what your body needs
One of the most important aspects of cutting down sugar is to understand what your body needs, and then address those needs. Cravings for sweets are not always cravings for sweets. Sometimes, that same craving means you need calories. Figure out what your body needs. Whether it is protein, something savory, or just some snack, figure out your needs, and address them.
Don’t get hungry
Now, this might sound simple, but it is not. We make poor eating decisions when we are hungry and when we miss on meals. For example, if you skip breakfast, you will definitely feel sugar cravings an hour later. Stick to three main meals per day and snacks in between. As for snacks, keep them healthy and you will avoid sugar.