There’s No Sugar-Coating It
Refined sugar has its place- but it should be a small, well-regulated, and controlled space. On average, Americans eat about 22 teaspoons of sugar each day- roughly triple what is recommended. We have a problem.
Sugar is as profound an addiction as any narcotic drug- and more insidious, because most people think nothing of it. Your co-worker who swigs down six cans of cola during the day? It’s shrugged off as ‘just their quirk’.
This is serious and has profound long and short term effects on your life. We’re going to suggest a few basic ways to help wean you off your sugar habit.
If you truly feel that there is a larger, more invasive problem, you can get help. Overeaters Anonymous https://oa.org/whats-new approaches eating addictions and food-based disorders with a lot of help and no judgement. This can be a very real and scary issue- but you don’t have to face it alone.
1. Slow and Steady
The main idea here is not to jump into this change cold turkey. Your life is not a disaster movie, this change isn’t the last lifeboat on the Titanic. Small, gradual changes over time will accumulate to an immense sense of wellbeing and health.
2. Nectar Is For Hummingbirds
This is common knowledge, but a terrible source of continuous sugar comes from what we drink. Sodas, fruit juice, sports drinks, sweet coffees- all are part of the problem. When you think that the average can of cola has 8 tsp of sugar, that may or may not mean anything.
Put in context that an adult woman should have 5-6 tsp of sugar daily, or 7-8 for an adult man- this is much more troubling. Cut down one drink at a time, and try drinking water instead- flavored with fresh mint leaves or citrus slices.
3. Read Your Labels
By law, all the ingredients in packaged foods have all the ingredients listed in decreasing order. This way you can see what exactly your food contains, and avoid possible allergens- or just be more aware of what’s going in your mouth.
Sugar can show up on these lists under multiple aliases- high fructose corn syrup, sucrose (actually, anything ending with -ose is a sugar), molasses, and brown rice syrup.
Even natural options like honey and maple syrup- even when not overly processed- are sources of added sugar, and should be watched carefully. Small, multiple sources of sugar add up fast over the course of a day.
4. Plan Your Breakfast
This is, and has always been, the most important meal of the day. It’ll set you up for a successful workday or a morning of slumps. If you check the labels on the foods you eat in the morning, you’ll notice that many have a lot of added sugar.
Finding great and satisfying substitutes can be a challenge especially when you’re first starting out. Cereals, white bread, and muffins all contain high concentrations of sugar.
Try vegetable omelets, oatmeal, a small piece of fresh fruit with nuts or cheese, or high-fiber, low sugar toast with unsweetened nut butter. You’ll feel fuller, longer. Better yet, you’ll be able to get through the morning without brain fog, exhaustion, or irritability.
5. Healthy Fats For Satisfaction
Cutting back on sugar calories, even reasonably and slowly, can leave you hungry. Your body simply wants what makes it work. You can help with the shift by increasing your intake of healthy fats to compensate.
Don’t be afraid to add a little butter, olive oil, cheese, or nuts to a low-sugar entree. Learn the joy that is avocados! By adding healthy fat, you enhance natural savory flavors while ensuring you feel satisfied after your meal.
Plus, they have wonderful anti-inflammatory qualities that your body will thank you for.
6. Avoid The Phonies
Sugar substitutes are never a good idea. Not only are they loaded with chemicals and dyes, they can also be a source of health problems in themselves.
Artificial sweeteners also mess with the way your body perceives and expects nutrition. If there’s no calories or nutrition to process, your body will continue to clamor for satisfaction.
7. Slow. Down.
Chew each bite well. Admire and smell everything you eat! Eating should be one of the great pleasures in life, and not just mindlessly putting fuel in the tank.
By slowing down, mouthful by mouthful, you get to experience more flavor and texture in the foods you eat. This is great for a couple reasons. Firstly, your digestion will improve vastly. Secondly, by experiencing everything you eat on a minute level, you become more aware of when you feel satisfied.
You stop sooner while feeling fuller and more content with the meal you’ve eaten. Paying attention means the end of shoving food in your mouth until your plate is empty.
It also helps to retrain your palate to be sensitive again to natural subtle sweetness, like acorn squash or fresh garden cucumbers.
The Sweet Life
I have nothing but immense respect for people who’ve overcome addiction. The regular folks who’ve looked around in the midst of turmoil and thought, ‘This isn’t how it should be’.
Ordinary men and women who have wrought immense change to themselves, body, mind, and soul, to become the person they and their families needed them to be.
Addiction is hard, no matter what the trigger is- and the way out is a continuous, courageous, and often silent battle. I tip my hat to you all, wherever you are, and whatever demons you may be wrestling with. I know you can win. Good health to you all.
Books To Check Out:
I Quit Sugar
Better Than Before