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Breaking the Sugar Addiction

Sugar Cube
Sugar Cube
flickr.com

Millions of people are addicted to the white stuff. In fact, you may be addicted to it without even realizing the extent of your consumption.

Sugar - the sweet treat that when overused is not so sweet for your health. Among other health risks, too much sugar can suppress your immune system, increase the risk of coronary heart disease, lead to diabetes, contribute to osteoporosis and have a direct correlation with weight gain and obesity. While sugar can certainly be enjoyed in moderation, reducing your daily intake could have a very positive impact on your overall health.

However, many are actually addicted to sugar and cutting back on the sweet subtance involves breaking a habit. But getting rid of your sugar addiction doesn’t have to be painful. Use these three tips to guide your journey.

(1) Cleanse

Go ahead and go cold turkey. Avoid any added sugar (sugar beyond that which exists in the food’s natural state) for five days and you’ll find that your cravings have greatly decreased. After this cleanse period, you may introduce added sugar back into your diet. During this time, be very mindful of other names for sugar that can be found on the ingredients label. Look for sucrose, dextrose, fructose, lactose, polydextrose, maltose, galactose, and basically anything else ending is –ose. Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for the following: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, carob syrup, turbinado sugar, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, cane juice, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, beet sugar, and sorbitol. These names are all added sugar.

(2) Start the Day Off Right
By now, you have probably heard about the benefits of eating breakfast. It jumpstarts your metabolism and provides energy for your busy morning. But the first meal of the day has another health benefit. A healthy, well-balanced breakfast sets the tone for the day ahead. When you wake up in the morning, your blood sugar level is as low as a “fasting” level. If you introduce too much sugar too early (Hello, mocha-frappa-coffee beverage with whipped cream on top and a sweet pastry on the side), you are setting yourself up for a day of sugar highs and inevitable crashes. And every time you crash, you’ll be reaching for more of the white stuff. Begin your day with a stabilizing mix of lean protein and carbs (scrambled egg whites and whole grain toast, for example) and the slower absorption of sugars will lead to a steadier, more sustainable level of energy.

(3) Eat Often
Right now is a good time to become in tune with your body’s cues. When your body is hungry, feed it! By depriving your body of fuel, you’re letting your glucose levels fall too low. When this fall occurs, your body starts craving sugar and with your weakened resolve, you are more likely to overindulge. Suddenly, you have set yourself up for another rollercoaster ride of sugar highs and crashes. The best course of action to avoid this scenario is to not let yourself get that hungry. Eat every 3-4 hours and keep healthful snacks on hand for when you need something in a pinch. If you never let yourself reach that point, it will be much easier to say no to another sugary treat that you really don’t want.

With these three tips, you should be able to break your addiction to added sugar and have a more consistent level of energy throughout the day. And remember, if you really want something sweet, go ahead and give yourself permission to indulge occasionally. Making any food forbidden just makes you want it more.

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