Tips to Kick Sugar Habit
If you have a weakness for the sweet stuff and cannot keep yourself from eating another square of chocolate, know that you are not alone. There is a chemical reason why you are crushed with a persuasive sweet tooth: when sugar gets into your body, it releases dopamine – a neurotransmitter that activates the brain’s pleasure center.
Because the brain creates a connection between eating sweets and feeling happy, sweet temptations appear when your brain wants that pleasant sensation to happen again. It makes you repeat carvings for sweets again and again, and this results in the building of tolerance for the sweet taste, so carvings become even more frequent and the amount of sugar you eat increases. It looks like a vicious cycle but there are some tips that will help you to kick the sugar habit if you decided on eating healthier. Here they are:
1. Admit that a food addiction is real.
Although most of us refer to food addiction as to a joke, it is real. Th truth is that some foods are more addictive than cocaine, so learning about the most addictive foods is one of the first things you can do improve your diet.
You have to understand that it is our brain that makes us feel temptations for certain foods as they affect its chemistry. Although it is quite difficult to summarize the development of food addictions caused by the release of serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, the thing you have to keep in mind is that foods high in sugar make us feel comfortable, happy and relieve stress. At the same time, they make us sick, fat and depressed.
The main problem associated with sugar addiction is that we need to eat more and more sugar to get the feeling of reward. That is why admitting the fact that you have a sugar addiction is very important. It will help you to set a goal to work toward improving or resolving.
2. Know where your sugar comes from.
The best thing you can do at the very beginning of your fight against sugar is reading labels and counting your daily sugar intake. It will help you to realize how much sugar you eat a day, which foods in your diet are highest in sugar, which to avoid and which to swap for some healthier alternatives.
3. Identify hidden sugar sources.
Identifying hidden sugar sources is especially important to those who have no time to count their daily sugar intakes. The thing is that there are a lot of foods that may look innocent but actually contain a lot of sugar. Duch foods are ketchup, salad dressings, white bread and many others.
One more thing to do is to learn about all sugar names. Keep in mind that fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and maltose are also sugars.
4. Remove temptations.
Sometimes it does not matter if you are hungry or not, you will get a carving after seeing or smelling a food you love. That is why it is important to remove all the temptations from your kitchen.
5. Stop using sugar as an energy boost.
What food do you eat when you feel tired? If you are about eating some leftover cookie of a piece of candy, swap them for whole fruits.
It is true that sugar gives you a quick energy boost, but if you want to eat healthier and to kick the sugar habit, try to focus on foods that provide some health benefits but not just energy. If you decide on eating whole fruits instead of processed sweet foods, note that not all fruits are equal and some of them actually contain a lot of sugar, so knowing about low sugar fruits can help you to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the sugar bank.
6. Take a drink.
Sometimes, sugar carvings appear when you are dehydrated. So instead of eating another chocolate, try to drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see if you still want to get some sugar.
7. Do not be too strict.
Treating yourself with sweet foods from time to time is an important part of a kicking sugar strategy. The thing is that rare sugar intakes will help you to feel satisfied and will help to avoid binge eating episodes.
8. Plan Your Meals in Advance.
It is far easier to keep yourself from sugar cravings when you have a meal plan and avoid cases when you are hungry and there is no healthy food to eat. Note that planning your meals means taking a look at ingredients in your food, so it helps you to avoid sugar in any of its forms.
9. Take Your Sleep.
When you are tired, your body seeks for the sources of energy and that is why you are likely to eat fall into some sweet temptation. The tip here is to provide your body with enough sleeping hours.
You can use a simple logic: the more sleep you have, the less time is left for to eating. It does not mean that you have to spend your days in bed. Just ensure that you have at least 8 hours of sleep.
10. Seek for Support.
When you decide to get rid of sugar habit, you will be surprised how many people around you are inspired and interested in doing the same. You can always find a support within your network and when you succeed, you can offer your support to others going through the same issue. The thing is that sharing your journey and enjoying results provides a powerful positive feedback that keeps you satisfied naturally, without the sugar.