I often ask patients who are just starting on a healthy nutrition plan: “How am I ever supposed to give up sugar?” Even though we all know that sugary foods are unhealthy and unnecessary, it’s a challenging task! But it’s not impossible.
Here are 9 simple tips that I share with everyone trying to kick the sugar cravings. Remember, the key is to be consistent and persistent. Soon enough, you won’t even notice the sugar is gone!
9 Tips To Get Rid Of Sugar For Good
Eat More Often
You’re more likely to crave sugary foods when hungry than when you’re full. Eating five small meals a day or three meals with healthy snacks can help you stay full throughout the day with healthy, wholesome foods and avoid those cravings.
Drink More Water
Often we think that our body is hungry when it’s just asking for water. Drinking water throughout the day can help curb your appetite and keep you from eating more than your body needs. (1)
Eat Fresh Instead Of Processed Foods
Processed foods are full of sugar (not to mention all the other unhealthy ingredients). Instead of relying on packaged snacks, stock up your pantry and fridge with healthier apple slices and yogurt choices. Whole foods will provide your body with the necessary nutrients and help you feel fuller, and give you more lasting energy throughout the day. (2)4. Read Labels
If you must buy packaged foods, read the label before you purchase. The front of the package usually has misleading pictures and information. Check if sugar (and other alternatives like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup) are listed on the ingredients list. You may be surprised at how many packaged items contain added sugar, such as crackers, peanut butter, and even bread!
Spice Things Up
Many sugar replacements are just as bad or worse than sugar. One way to replace that sweetness in your foods is to experiment with different spices and flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric. For example, try adding cinnamon to your morning coffee in place of sugar!
Get Enough Sleep
If you’re tired, the chances are higher that you’ll reach for a sugary pick-me-up to get that immediate energy. But then you crash and feel more fatigued, which will lead you to crave more sugar, and the cycle continues. Make it a priority to get those 7 to 8 hours a night. You will feel more energized and better able to say no to your cravings. (3)
Cut Back Slowly
One common mistake people make when trying to take sugar out of their diet is swearing it off all at once. Such a drastic change can be challenging and discouraging, and most people will rebound within the week. It’s easier for your body if you do it gradually. Start by limiting your sugar or cutting your intake in half. Over time you will be able to eliminate it entirely and hardly notice that it’s gone!
Avoid Low and Nonfat Foods
While low and nonfat foods sound like a good idea, manufacturers will often add sugar to compensate for the lost flavor. You think you’re getting no fat, but your body converts those simple sugars into fat anyway. Eating small amounts of healthy fats instead will give you that flavor without the extra sugar.
Eat These Healthy Snacks Instead
Saying no to your favorite snacks is easier if you replace them with delicious, wholesome ones. If you’re feeling fatigued, you can try boiled eggs, avocado, and nuts, which can help curb your appetite. Desserts made with fresh fruits are often so sweet you may not notice it’s sugar-free. The most important thing is to get creative. Find recipes that you love, and keep them on hand for those days when your sweet tooth kicks in.
While so many of our restaurants and even grocery stores contain foods with high sugar content, taking some simple, small steps to remove sugar from your diet will go a long way. Take the time to be more mindful about what you’re ingesting, and you’ll be surprised by the difference you see and feel!