Sugar is as addictive as drugs. Most frustrating is the fact that there are few regulations in place to demand a reduction in sugar of our foods. Ever had McDonald’s in Europe and noticed the food doesn’t taste exactly the same? Well this is because sugar is regulated there. This could be one of the reasons Americans suffer from Diabetes-2 more so today than ever, not to mention the rise of obesity.
Americans consume 10x more sugar than other food additives. According to Forbes magazine, sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Click here for infograph.
So what can you do to alter your diet, increase awareness of what you consume and potentially kick this habit? First, let’s start with a reset.
- Stop eating processed foods. If it survives in a box and requires a microwave chances are this has tons of preservatives in it to maintain a lengthy shelf life. Note to self- food should not survive a month untouched. Avoid foods that last longer than your manicure. If it’s too difficult for you to kick this habit in one shot, try starting on the weekend and slowly let it trickle into your week.
- Choose organic. Buying fruits? Pick organic. While sugars exist in the fruit world as well and other foods that are organic, just remember that the body eliminates these foods naturally because these foods are familiar to our DNA. Other foods, like conventional or “franken-food” confuse the body and exhaust the body’s efforts to eliminate it. Often this becomes masked as digestive complications like IBS or constipation that will truly alter your body.
- Drink tons of water. Often we mistake hunger for dehydration. Given today’s quick lifestyle, many of us are drinking coffee as if it would quench our thirst. Truth is one cup of coffee requires 2 cups of water intake to even out the dehydration caused by coffee. Diet sodas do the same. Ever feel thirsty after finishing a diet soda? Well this happens because it has different kinds of sugars that are processed and ultimately you end up thirstier than before.
- Incorporate healthier choices. Include veggies in most, if not, all meals so that you feel fuller longer and can make choices that fuel your body.
- Don’t skip meals especially breakfast. A filling breakfast can reduce your hunger throughout the day. If you eat well in the morning, you’ll be less likely to make unhealthy choices. A hearty breakfast with a good portion of healthy carbs, protein and veggies can abate sugar cravings throughout the day. If you start your day with sugar, you’ll notice cravings because insulin levels spike early and kick off a roller coaster of sugar lows plus highs.
- Read food labels. Normally the first three ingredients make up 90% of the composition of the food. If you do notice items such as cane crystals and or sugar hidden in the ingredients, do exercise caution. In the very least be cognizant that this may increase cravings throughout the day.
- Plan your snacks. Take a bag with you of almonds, fruits, egg whites, and anything else that will help curb hunger. Take something that’s easy to grab when the hunger demons strike. Measure your portion by the size of your hand also. This allows for multiple meals throughout the day that will also speed up your metabolism.
- Cook meals. Cooking at home will not only make it possible for you to understand exactly what ingredients go into your meal. Secondly it provides a lot of quality time with your family and friends, it’s a creative outlet and might make you pause from the rush of the day. When you reach a point where you are comfortable cooking, even planning meals will facilitate the road to healthy.
Be easy on yourself. Keep in mind it’s a challenge to go cold turkey. Try a 40/60 approach then gradually adopt a 60/40 until you settle into a comfortable 80/20. Remember once you start eating well, this reduces cravings and your palette is altered. It is important to give yourself time to wean off of sugar. Maybe try 40/60 the first month and then work your way up. Progress happens every day once you commit to a life change. It took awhile to start the habit, it’s going to take time for your body to kick this habit as well.