Are you addicted to sugar? Do you get sugar cravings that are hard to fight? Do you want to beat sugar cravings? You’re not alone. Lots of us struggle with the cravings and highs and lows that sugar causes. And sugar is in so many foods that we eat that sometimes we don’t even realize how much sugar we really eat. But luckily, you can beat your sugar addiction. Here are nine simple hacks from holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman that will help you beat your sugar addiction for good!
The USDA reports that the average American is consuming 150-170 pounds of refined sugars each year. You may think, I don’t eat that much sugar, but the truth is, refined sugars are everywhere and in foods that we wouldn’t associate it with. Sugar is added to tomato sauces, yogurt, protein bars, bread, salad dressing, sushi rice, and thousands of other processed products.
And regardless of how much you eat and the source you get it from, sugar is addictive!
Evidence shows that sugar causes cravings and reward, similar to that of addictive drugs. Luckily, you can break free from the grips of sugar addiction, beat your sugar cravings and begin living a healthier existence with these 9 tips.
- Increase your fiber intake. Regularly eating a variety of fruits and vegetables prevents sugar cravings that are a result of nutrient deficiencies. Fiber-rich foods, such as broccoli, beans, jicama, dark leafy greens, berries and sweet potatoes are particularly satiating, keep your body in balance and less prone to cravings, and also help to boost your mood, releasing natural feel good chemicals that benefit your emotional health. I recommend a minimum of 30 grams of fiber per day, spread out throughout the day.
- Take a probiotic. There are unhealthy bacterial strains which feed on the sugar in our bodies, causing an imbalance in the gut. When you reduce this bacteria, you will help reduce sugar cravings and your body’s dependence on sugar.
- Include an L-glutamine supplement. L-glutamine is an amino acid that supports numerous functions, especially within the gut. When blood sugar levels drop, this amino acid can easily be converted into glucose. This helps to curb sugar cravings without exposing your body to harmful sugar.
- Drink a green juice or smoothie without sugar every morning. Swap your morning muffin or white toast for a green smoothie or green juice. When you have a green juice or smoothie each morning, you get antioxidants, phytonutrients, and live enzymes at a cellular level. The more nutrients your cells get, the less you’ll crave sugar and beat sugar cravings.
- Eat sour foods. When you crave sugar, eat foods that are sour and bitter. This helps to counteract sweet cravings. Include bitter ingredients like endive, dandelion greens and kale into your green smoothies or green juices. I also recommend drinking lemon-infused water daily.
- Eat fermented food. Not only are fermented foods sour, helping to beat sugar cravings, but they also offer your body additional beneficial probiotic support. Foods like kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kimchee help counteract the bacteria that thrives on sugar and contributes to sugar addictions.
- Improve your sleep. A study found that daytime sleepiness may affect your will power over high-calorie, sugar rich foods. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will be more prone to reach for foods that support your sugar addiction. Lack of sleep is also believed to strengthen the brain’s reward center, making it much more challenging to stay away from sweets.
- Reduce stress. When we feel overwhelmed or stressed, we often comfort ourselves with foods that tend to be high in sugar. These foods actually worsen levels of stress and anxiety since they affect your blood sugar and hormone levels. Managing stress levels helps to crush cravings and minimize overeating. Practice yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or whatever helps to personally calm and relax your mind.
- Consciously increase fat and protein. When you eat sugar rich foods, it causes an initial rush of sugar that is quickly followed by a crash, resulting in low energy levels and poor mood. This cycle of highs and lows puts your health at risk. Incorporating protein and healthy fat foods can provide a more balanced and steady source of energy. You will feel more satisfied, reducing the effects of brain chemicals that cause you to seek out food, even when you’re not hungry. I say consciously increase because a cheeseburger might have fat and protein, but it’s not good for you! I prefer plant-based protein sources like beans and lentils, edamame, and tempeh along with wild caught salmon. When it comes to fat, I add healthy fats into every meal and snack to satiate me. A go-to healthy fat is avocado, but nuts and seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, and walnut oil are other favorites. For that morning green smoothie? I love a splash of coconut milk.
You can beat your sugar cravings! Being more aware of what can cause sugar cravings can help you beat your sugar addiction. By eliminating processed and unhealthy high-carbohydrates, eating whole nutrient-rich foods and implementing the nine tips above, you will be on the right path to kicking your sugar addiction!
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