Reducing or giving up sugar altogether could have a lot of benefits for your health. Some of the benefits of reducing sugar from the diet include significant weight loss, improvement in mood, and most important of all reductions of inflammation.
Inflammation is one of the worst conditions to have as it negatively impacts a lot of bodily functions including the immune system. In fact, a study found that the consumption of about 100 grams of sugar could reduce your immunity by half. Sugar by itself does not have any benefits to the human body, though it can be very addictive making it so hard to give up.
Nonetheless, if you need to give up your sugar habit and have better health, here are five ways to do it:
Use mindful distraction
Most sugar cravings are driven by impulsively acting on the urge to consume something. The best way to beat this is to find some distraction that takes your mind away from the sugar craving. Some very effective distractions may include little things you can do around the house such as brushing and flossing your teeth. This not only distracts you, but having fresh breath and a clean mouth might make you not want to consume sugary foods and mess it all up.
Another effective distraction is to go outside for a walk or do some exercise. If you do not feel like taking a walk, a few minutes of calisthenics can not only distract you but also reduce the stress, that may be fuelling the craving.
Get enough sleep
Cravings are harder to combat when you are tired and hence getting some good sleep is critical. Always ensure that you get enough sleep every night by going to bed at a regular time so that your body can better regulate your hormones, which are important for regulating appetite.
Sleep deprivation typically causes the body to produce more ghrelin, a hunger hormone that may heighten your cravings. As such, getting enough sleep will help balance your appetite hormones, control your appetite and reduce your sugar cravings.
Choose healthier snack options
There are many foods that you can eat to deal with your craving for sugar. Consuming naturally sweet foods such as beets, berries, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, and pears are an effective way of satisfying your sweet tooth.
You can combine these with other foods such as almond butter on whole grain toast or celery sticks spread with peanut butter. These will not only be nutritious, but are full of fiber, and will be absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. This means that you will not have the sugar high and crash that typically causes the sugar craving.
Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is a type of meditation in relation to eating and food. When you practice mindful eating, you will yourself to be better aware of your physical sensations, your cravings, hunger, emotions and eating habits. When you are a mindful eater, you learn to distinguish between real hunger and the sugar cravings, which helps you have an appropriate rather than impulsive responses.
Mindful eating also has to do with being present while you are eating. As such, you will slow down while you eat, chew thoroughly, and avoid distractions such as your smartphone and the TV. Distractions have been shown to lead to compulsive eating and cravings and hence need to be avoided during meal times.
Incorporate the sugar in other ways
If you have a sugar craving, you may need to cut out the sugar slowly over time or just incorporate it in non-addictive ways. If you have ever had some gelato in Scottsdale you will know that cutting out sugar completely can be difficult. This is why you may need to have a treat from time to time just so that you do not go crazy. You could combine your hot cocoa with dried fruit, unsalted nuts, and throw in your gelato as a weekend treat. The chewy and crunchy combo will keep you full and satisfied while satisfying your cravings. It contains protein and fat to keep you fuller and sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth without being too excessive.
When it comes to solutions for sugar cravings, there is no one size fits all. It’s always best to try out different techniques to get rid or get your cravings under control. If you have a craving, you know that cravings can take a life of their own if you let them.
However, you can fight them through distractions, healthy sleep, healthy food choices, mindful eating, or give in once in a while. Giving in once in while with small servings should be fine as long as you are careful not to overindulge.