Are you one of those people who can’t control their sugar cravings? Having a ‘sweet tooth’ is very common, especially in women more than man. Giving up sugar may be harder than you think. Many of us had probably attempted to lower our sugar intake at some point in our lives whether for health or appearance reasons.
Warning: giving up sugar is not easy!
Stopping gradually rather than suddenly may increase your chances to stick to it. Once your body is very much so used to sugar, cutting it completely might be too hard not only for the body but also the mind. Slowly decreasing sugar intake where it’s no necessary would be a good start, slowly moving onto making more conscious choices.
The most important step is to making a peace of mind with going ahead with it. Getting your mind ready to give up sugar and breaking habits of having a dessert after every meal, a cake with your coffee, 3 spoons of sugar in your tea, two slices of cake because one is not enough… this is the hardest part, once you conquer that you body will just follow.
Once you got your mind set, here is what to do next:
1. Don’t Drink your Sugar
This is normally the biggest issue, most of the time also due to people not realising how much cigar there is in beverages. So if your day is filled with coca-colas, sugary tea, coffee or even energy drinks, this is where you want to start. Try lemonade with honey or coconut sugar instead, same goes for sweet coffee or tea. Try to cut the amount of sugar you use by half each week, until you are down to 1 teaspoon or even less, and swap the processed white sugar for healthier options. You can find these HERE in our previous blog.
2. Seek your Hidden Sugars
Check your yogurts, does it have more than 9g of sugar per 100g? That may be a little too much, try to go for natural plain yogurts, serve it with fruit, cinnamon and a little honey / date or maple syrup. What about your dairy free milks? Most nut and soya milks have added sugar, reach for those unsweetened ones. What about your breakfast cereals, muesli or granola? Salad dressings and sauces can be also dangerous.
3. Be Mindful
When the urge to grab that pastry or chocolate bar hits, take a moment to “check in” with yourself. Are you really hungry? Do you feel stressed? Is it out of habit? Try to understand your cravings so you can gradually take control. Sometimes as little as distracting your mind can help, do something to keep your hands and mind occupied instead. You you tend do continuously snack at your dest? Take a break from work, go for a short walk, or a chat with a friend can distract you need for sugar.
4. Know your Sugar
Try to read the nutrition labels and ingredient list for packaged foods and beverages. If sugars are exceeding 8 grams, check the ingredients to see where the sugar comes from. Again you can check the unhealthy types of sugar in our last week’s blog. If there is no sugar item in the ingredient list, it means that the food or beverage contains natural sugars. You don’t have to worry about those because your body processes them differently than added sugars.
Common cases of added – not so good sugars are: sucrose, dextrose, sorbitol, mannitol, dextrin, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup … In most cases, if a word ends with ‘-ose,’ or ‘-ols’ it is probably a type of sugar.
5. Choose “natural”.
Naturally occurring sugars found in fresh and dried fruit, plain yogurt, whole grains and even roasted veggies are always a good choice. These kinds of foods (unlike sweets and chocolates) provide important nutrients. From protein, to vitamins, minerals and fiber. None of these you’d be able to find in sweets, biscuits and soft drinks. Remember, fiber and protein take longer to digest, meaning your blood sugar does not fluctuate rapidly, making you feel fuller for longer.