Are Sugar Cravings Harmful?
We all know just how bad sugar is for us. Our hormones, brain chemistry, and taste buds are all overpowered by Sugar. When we eat sugar, it increases the blood glucose directing the body to increase insulin so that it can flow into the cells. But when we continue eating sugar, it leads to chronic high blood glucose, which leads to insulin resistance, which is a predictor of Type 2 diabetes.
According to numerous studies, refined sugar’s associated with adverse health conditions, weight gain, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and depression, among other ailments, none of which serve our highest good. But it’s not actually the sugar that’s the problem here, especially not the one that exists naturally in our fruits, veggies, and milk. It serves as energy, which is good for us. It’s the refined sugar that doesn’t work in our bodies the way natural sugar does. Refined sugar goes straight down into our body without a chance to process it properly, and this is what is harmful.
How to Quit Sugar By Switching to Other Healthier Ways
All types of refined carbs and sugar act the same in our body, so do white sugar, honey, and whole wheat bread. When you quit sugar, your brain functions better, and you’re able to think clearly, it becomes easier to manage your weight, your energy levels return to a consistent and stable level, your body manages to restore better hormone balance, there’s a much-needed boost to your mental health, and of course your immune system is strengthened.
Go Cold Turkey!
To stop craving sugar, go cold turkey, i.e., eliminate all food that triggers such cravings, like refined sugar, sodas, fruit juices, grain flours, artificial sweeteners from your diet. It can feel intimidating but becomes easier and less painful mentally than going moderate to your biological addiction. Don’t add extra sugar to anything. For instance, for your cup of tea or coffee, drink it as is; in your drinking water, use mint leaves, lemon or fruit if you need some flavor.
Read the Nutritional Labels
Food companies mostly use sugar to make their ‘low fat’ food items taste better, and reading the nutritional labels will help you identify just how much sugar you’d be taking in. Reading the label will help you recognize all the different tags the sugar hides under! No matter how nice they sound, any form of refined sugar is bad. Hence, for any drink, energy bar, cereal, or prepared food that you purchase at a grocery store, read the labels.
Choose Healthier & Real Sources of Sugar
Several alternatives are comparatively healthier to adding sweeteners to your food. For instance, Coconut Palm Sugar, which is actually sap from the coconut palm, is nutritious and has a low score on the glycemic index, while raw honey contains antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids and since it hasn’t been filtered, it includes beeswax, bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis. Then, there’s pure maple syrup, which includes beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, aids with digestion, and isn’t harmful to the liver. It can lower inflammation, manage your blood sugar better, and supply nutrients when used appropriately. Consume these sources in moderation, as well.
Beware of Artificial Sweeteners
Most people turn to artificial sweeteners when they’re trying to avoid excess sugar; however, what you need to know is that even though these sweeteners don’t contain calories, they also don’t come with any nutritional value, which makes your body want more thinking that the sweetness these provide will generate more energy, which never comes, leaving you craving for more sweetness! Artificial sweeteners can increase your sugar cravings and deplete your body’s mass of chromium, an essential nutrient in your blood-sugar metabolism.
Identify Your Culprit!
There’s at least one type of food or drink, if not more, which might be a significant factor behind your dependency on processed sugar. It could be candies/chocolate bars, flavored coffee, fruit juice, low-fat flavored yogurt, protein bars, canned fruit, breakfast cereal or vitamin water, etc. It may be just one culprit or a list of a few that keep you from letting go of processed sugar and reaching your health goals. But, know that each change you make on your journey of quitting processed sugar will help you a step further with the next change.
Look for Healthy Food Alternatives
Look for foods that will keep you from feeling hungry; for instance, eating fiber, healthy fats, and proteins will keep you full and your sugar levels at bay. So instead of reaching out for that bag of chips, switch to a handful of nuts (cashews/almonds), avoid low fat/fat-free products, as they’re typically loaded with hidden sugar for taste, and incorporate healthy substitutes like agave nectar, apple sauce, lemon, cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder, dates, grapefruit, brown rice syrup, barley malt extract, pureed banana, tea leaves, freshly squeezed orange juice, or rum.
Make peace with the fact that your sugar replacements won’t satisfy your sugar cravings, so think of them as an opportunity to try something new and to enjoy it. Train your taste buds to like different tastes or taste bitter, for it will help suppress the sugar craving! Go for a ginger tea instead when you crave your sugary or flavored coffee. Try eating plain and unflavored yogurt in addition to bitter melon or watercress, and you will see the difference in less than a month when your taste buds would reset, and you’d crave less sugar.
Get Ample Protein
When you are trying to quit sugar, opt for protein food such as nuts, meats, etc. As protein’s rich with amino acids, it can help reduce your sugar cravings, even your mood, and calm the nervous system. Protein also helps slow down carbohydrate consumption and minimize its ability to play havoc on your blood sugar levels. You’d try to have green coconut chicken curry with cashews, a warm curry, and naturally sweet or turkey sausages with sautéed greens. These won’t affect your blood sugar levels.
What Happens When You Stop Having Sugar?
Cutting sugar ultimately will have a noticeable impact on your body. If you’re someone who prefers an iced cola with your food or loves candies, letting go of sugar from your diet may obviously be very difficult. You may experience gastrointestinal distress, exhaustion, headache, brain fog, or irritability. Your mood can change drastically as well, especially in the first few days. But it will start improving slowly, and things will look better after a week or so. Your energy will improve, you’ll be less irritable and more alive!
Start Avoiding Processed Foods if You Want to See Quick Results!
There are several benefits of eliminating processed foods from your diet, which include better metabolism, a better digestive system, more flourished skin, and it even can help you lose weight efficiently! There are only some of its benefits, which is why dieticians recommend eliminating or keeping the processed foods' intake to the minimum.