Last week I revealed an ugly truth about sugar, encouraging you to take the One Day Sugar Challenge in order to find out how much sugar you might be consuming. Unfortunately for us, sugar is an addictive substance causing “happy chemicals” to be released in the brain when we eat it. Processed food companies are aware of this and literally want to keep you coming back for more. This is why so many processed foods are laden with sugar. The more you eat it the more you want to keep eating it. So how do we break the cycle?
Here are a few tips:
Start with awareness. When we take time to actually learn what is in the food we are eating we can make educated decisions on what is good for our bodies and what is not.
Go one step at a time. When you are trying to reduce your sugar intake be patient with yourself. Taking small steps will lead to bigger wins over time. Choose one thing and focus on that; maybe it is not putting sugar in your coffee, or drinking lemon water instead of juice.
Work on finding balance. The goal isn’t to never eat sweets again. It has been proven time and again that restrictive dieting doesn’t work. All these diets do is create a yo-yo effect, swinging from absolute restriction to over indulging and back again.
Find alternatives that can leave you feeling satisfied and are not loaded with sugar. Maybe you love chocolate, so instead of indulging in a piece of chocolate cake or a candy bar, have a homemade healthy chocolate treat instead, or substitute with one square of dark chocolate.
Give your tastebuds time to adjust. Many natural foods are actually sweet, like almonds and beets for example. The problem is our taste buds have gotten used to the extreme sweet flavour of sugar. Once you start to reduce overly sweet foods you may be surprised to find the pleasant sweetness found naturally in whole foods.
There are lots of healthy treat options out there. Here are a few ideas to help you plan ahead, having these on hand for when the sugar cravings kick in.
- Fresh, frozen or dehydrated fruit
- Low sugar greek yogurt with chocolate chips or granola
- Roasted nuts with cinnamon and cayenne pepper
- Chia Pudding topped with fruit
- Homemade smoothies – beware of commercial smoothies which can be loaded with sugar!
Keeping your sugar levels at healthy levels does require effort and commitment. Luckily for us, we have an amazing group of people in our community who are an amazing source to draw inspiration from. Many of whom who have similar stories to share.
Find out what healthy treats others have discovered and enjoy!