Why is it so difficult to break the sugar habit? Studies have shown that sugar may help curb stress, which keeps us coming back for more…and more…and more. This hormonal effect of sugar is what creates a craving for sugary “comfort” foods when we are stressed out.
In its natural state, sugar is a relatively harmless (even necessary) carbohydrate that our bodies need to function. It is found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy as a compound known as fructose or lactose. The problem comes when sugar is added to foods during processing for added flavor, texture, or color. This is more common than you may realize–you don’t have to be in the candy aisle to be surrounded by added sugar!
Eating too many of these empty calories has many health effects, the most obvious being major weight gain. Added sugar drives your insulin levels up, messes with your metabolism, and causes those calories to turn right into belly fat. YIKES! And while losing weight is well and good, that’s just the beginning of the health benefits of cutting back on the sweet stuff.
Here are just a few other legit reasons to fight the sugar habit:
- It may lower your blood pressure
- It may lower your bad cholesterol
- It may decrease your heart attack risk
- It may keep your brain sharper
- You’ll be less likely to have Alzheimer’s and dementia
- You’ll be less likely to suffer from depression
- You’ll break your addiction to the sweet stuff
- Your skin will look younger and more clear
- You’ll lower your risk of diabetes
- It may help prevent fatty liver disease
- It may help reduce your risk of certain cancers
NOW, FOR THE GOOD NEWS! You CAN overcome your addiction to sugar. Below are a few tips to get those cravings under control.
KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR IN BALANCE
Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. So, it makes sense that cutting out sugar will help keep your blood sugar stable and your brain functioning at a higher capacity. Keep your blood sugar in balance by:
EATING A NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST
Protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters are excellent choices. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
EATING SMALLER MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, and beans).
ELIMINATING SUGARS AND ARTIFICIAL SUGARS
Go cold turkey. This will help your brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners (Stevia acceptable substitute) from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.
TRY TO GET SEVEN TO EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT
Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.
AVOID EATING TWO TO THREE HOURS BEFORE GOING TO BED