Tips on giving up sugar
Ahhhh sugar we love it, it is everywhere and in everything and so very hard to give up. We have a love hate relationship with it, we love its sweetness and know that too much is not good for us and hate the fact that it is so hard to give up. However, once you have made the decision to get sugar out of your life for good, it isn’t so easy to quit cold turkey, as it is highly addictive substance. Suddenly quitting sugar can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability, fatigue and intense cravings for, you guessed it, more sugar!
Fortunately kicking sugar doesn’t have to be painful and full of suffering. With a few adjustments on what and how you eat, the transition can be relatively painless without continuously battling those overwhelming sugar cravings. Start with the 3 steps below and you will be well on your way to banning sugar from your life. When you finally break up with sugar for good you can look forward to better health, less high and low energy levels and clearer thinking, what is there not to like?
- AVOID “ADDED” SUGARS
The first step in reducing the sugar in your lifestyle is to learn how to spot sweeteners when you are reading the ingredient labels. I am guessing you probably read the ingredient labels on your food. If not now is a good time to start becoming aware of how much sugar is in processed and packaged food.
Added sugars are exactly that, they are “added” during processing to enhance the flavour. Natural sugars are sugars that occur naturally in foods like dairy, fruit and vegetables. Some products contain both and to make it even more confusing there are many types of sweeteners that are added to food.
Below is a small list of some of the most common added sugars to look for.
- Agave nectar or syrup (this is highly processed and has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener)
- Aspartame (951)
- Barley malt sugar or syrup
- Brown sugar
- Cane sugar
- Caster sugar
- Corn sugar
- Demerara sugar
- Dextrose (Glucose)
- Glucose (Dextrin)
- High fructose corn syrup
- Humectant (422)
- Icing sugar
- Invert sugar
- Juice concentrate
- Multidextrin (in many weight loss smoothies)
- Raw sugar
- Rice malt syrup
- Sucralose or Splenda
- Whey Dextrose
Some of the easier ones to identify are any that end in “ose” such as sucrose, maltose and fructose. However, manufacturers can be very sneaky and can add several different types of sugars to the one product, amounting to an awful lot of sugar. So now you have a better idea on what to look for when buying your food, check the ingredient list on all products even the organic ones as they can have hidden sugar too.
2. INCLUDE QUALITY FATS WITH ALL YOUR MEALS
Lets be clear on the myth that fat is bad for you. Our body is well designed to run on fat as a source of energy, it uses fat for everything from building immune function to activating and balancing hormones. Fat helps transport nutrients and metabolites across membranes and most sources of natural fat contain high amounts of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Consuming good quality fats will also help deter those sugar and carbohydrate cravings.
Include healthy fats within each meal and you will feel fuller with each meal and be satisfied for a lot longer without the highs and lows in energy levels that a sugar fix will give. Healthy fats include those found in avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, coconut and cold pressed oils such as macadamia and olive oils. Natural fats can be found in animal products such as wild salmon, pastured eggs, grass fed butter and ghee.
Here are a few suggestions in ways to add good fats to each meal with a little practice it won’t take long and you will be adding healthy fats without thinking.
- Add MCT oil to your breakfast, snack or smoothy
- Cook your breakfast in olive or coconut oil, butter or ghee
- Have a bullet proof coffee for breakfast or for morning coffee
- Make your own dressings for your salads using MCT oil or olive oil
- Include avocados with one of your meals breakfast, lunch or dinner
- Add nuts to salads or have as a snack when you are feeling hungry
- Use nuts and seeds to dress salads or add to stir fried vegies this will add crunch appeal and increase fibre as well as fat to your meal
Once you have started adding good quality fats to each meal and ditching the fat free or low fat foods, (which are loaded with added sweeteners) you will notice that your cravings lessen or go completely. The added bonus of adding healthy fats to your meals is that blood sugar levels will stabilise and with that those pesky afternoon slumps will be a thing of the past.
3. CONSUME PROBIOTIC RICH FOOD
Gut health, we hear so much about it now days, what exactly is gut health? With our modern lifestyle most of us have gut and or digestion issues. We suffer bloating or elimination is irregular. All these are signs that our gut health has been compromised our good gut bacteria are being overtaken by the bad guys. These bad guys feed off sugar and promote those sugar cravings that are so hard to kick. Consuming probiotic rich foods naturally help reduce these bad guys help feed and nourish the good guys so sugar cravings will naturally be reduced. Probiotic foods also increase the bioavailability of vitamins and nutrients in the food you do consume as well as support your digestive health.
So for a win for the good guys in your gut, better uptake of vitamins and nutrients as well as a better digestive system, include probiotics with each meal. Below are some easy ways to include these in your meals, preparing them yourself is ideal although not always possible. If purchasing any of these probiotics as mentioned earlier read the labels to ensure that there are no added sugars.
- Yogurt either dairy or coconut
- Kefir milk or kefir coconut water
- Tempeh (don’t over cook as this will damage the good bacteria)
- Traditional buttermilk
By including a probiotic with each meal such as yogurt at breakfast time or a fermented vegetable such as pickled carrots or beets with a savoury breakfast, lunch or dinner. Not only will your tummy feel better your sugar cravings will lessen.
Keep in mind, that if you are not use to serving probiotic rich foods with your meals start with small amounts and increase gradually as your system adjusts.