Sugar is HIGHLY addictive, so kicking your sugar habit may not be easy! I have a major sweet tooth! I like to say I inherited this from my dad 😉 In lab studies, rats have shown a preference to sugar over cocaine! It’s that powerful! I have even had withdrawal symptoms when kicking my sugar habit! It takes a few weeks, but I notice the LESS I have, the less I crave sugar.
Sugar provides no vitamins or minerals and packs a punch calorically! High sugar consumption leads to many chronic health issues such as weight gain/obesity, (which can lead to many complications), inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. Even if you’re not overweight, reducing sugar is a healthy habit.
Here are a few ways to cut down on sugar!
– Make your own salad dressing and sauces! Pasta sauces and salad dressings often contain a lot of added sugar. You can make your own at home for less sugar without sacrificing flavor. Check out this salad dressing guide! Lifehacker.com’s Graphic Guide to Salad Dressings
– This goes for condiments too! Condiments often have added sugar and can easily be replaced with salsa, avocado or hummus for a healthier option.
– Replace soft drinks with flavored water! I prefer La Croix since it is sweetened naturally with essential oils and won’t increase sweet cravings by utilizing an artificial sweetener which can also cause bloating.
– Replace fruit juice with whole fruit. I love fruit and refer to it as “nature’s dessert”! When I speak of reducing sugar, I am usually referring to added sugar. I do try to limit my fruit sometimes too as I notice this can set of sugar cravings, however fruit contains many antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber that juice usually does not. Often our juice in the US contains ADDED sugar and little nutritional value.
– Adding fruit to products you would normally sweeten (yogurt, oatmeal, cottage cheese, etc.) can be a great way to naturally sweeten your food.
– Swap out your typical processed desserts for fruit! This is a great way to satisfy a sweet craving. I love yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit! Another favorite of mine is yogurt, sweet potato or squash and cinnamon! Remember to check the yogurt to make sure it’s a natural, unsweetened yogurt 🙂
– Avoid bringing sweets into the home! It’s a lot harder to give in to the temptation when it’s just not around!! It has become too common to eat dessert every night! It becomes less of a “treat” and more of an expectation. Save those for special occasions and you’ll enjoy it even more!
– Lastly, don’t forget that it can take time to reset your palette. Foods you previously disliked might start to become your favorite and more flavorful as you start to avoid highly processed foods with high fructose corn syrup and other artificial flavors. You might be surprised if you eliminate a sweet food for a long time how overwhelming it can seem when you try it again!