A question I often get from patients who are just starting out on a healthy nutrition plan is, “How am I ever supposed to give up sugar?” Even though we all know that sugary foods are unhealthy and unnecessary, it’s a really difficult task! But it’s not impossible.
Here are 9 simple tips that I share with everyone who is 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
1. Eat More Often
You’re more likely to crave sugary foods when you’re hungry than when you’re full. Eating five small meals a day, or three meals with healthy snacks in between can really help you stay full throughout the day with healthy, wholesome foods and avoid those cravings.
2. Drink More Water
Often times we think that our body is hungry when really 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)
3. 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 choices like apple slices and yogurt. Whole foods will not only provide your body with the necessary nutrients and help you feel fuller, but also 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 to see if sugar (and other alternatives like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup) is 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!
5. 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!
6. Get Enough Sleep
If you’re tired, the chances are higher that you’ll reach for an 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)
7. 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 extremely difficult 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 completely and hardy notice that it’s gone!
8. Avoid Low and Nonfat Foods
While low and nonfat foods sound like a good idea, manufacturers will often add sugar to make up for the lost flavor. You think you’re getting no fat, but your body ends up converting those simple sugars into fat anyway. Eating small amounts of healthy fats instead will give you that flavor without the extra sugar.
9. Eat These Healthy Snacks Instead
Saying no to your favorite snacks is a lot easier if you replace them with delicious, wholesome ones. If you’re feeling fatigue 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 such a high sugar content, taking some simple, small steps to remove sugar from your diet will go a long way. Just take the time to be more mindful about what you’re ingesting and you’ll be surprised the difference you see and feel!