The struggle to achieve a sugar free diet is real. While there are many approaches to how to quit your sugar addiction, one of the most recommended methods is not to go cold turkey, but instead gradually cut back until you no longer miss it. Though it is a controversial topic, some experts say this approach to becoming sugar free leads to more permanent change. If you are on the path to quitting sugar for good, here are 8 habits to help you break free.
While it is not typically the first thing most people think of when craving sweets, fruit does contain natural sugars that may help you win the battle of the sweet tooth. The fructose contained in fruit is metabolized differently by the body than a handful of your favorite candies. Nutritionists do warn against over consuming fruits with higher sugar contents-like grapes or cherries-as it is possible to get too much of a good thing.
Just as a person addicted to smoking cigarettes wouldn’t kick the habit by switching to cigars, a sugar addict will not be successful by switching to artificial sweeteners. These ‘fake sugars’ are still delivering the sweet taste you love and not ridding you of the cravings. Studies show artificial sweeteners actually change your palate making you need more and more before feeling satisfied.
In fact, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Care determined that consumption of artificial sweeteners can actually change the way the body metabolizes sugar. An animal study performed in 2008 found that rats who consumed artificial sweeteners ate more calories throughout the day and experienced rapid amounts of weight gain. The researchers discovered that consuming artificial sweeteners causes confusion between the stomach and the brain and sends a stimulus that the body is about to experience a high caloric intake. Both digestive and ingestive reflexes prepare for the intake, but when the false sweetness is not followed by the calories as expected, the entire system gets confuses and produces less energy.
Bottom line? Don’t confuse your body more by relying on artificial sweeteners to help during your sugar detox.
Deep Clean Your Home, Office, Purse & Car
No, we don’t mean hiring a cleaning company to do a full top to bottom clean of the home. Instead, remove any sugary temptations lying around in your home, your office drawers, your purse or your car. While it is impossible to control every environment you are in, controlling the ones you can prevents you from relying on willpower alone.
Don’t get us wrong-snacking is encouraged throughout the day, however trading the jumbo bag of gummy bears in your purse for sugar free dried fruit or the leftover Halloween candy in your desk for a bag of healthy popcorn will provide you with more energy and get you one step closer to the sugar free diet you desire.
Keep Your Magnesium Levels in Check
For those like me who crave chocolate constantly, the way to ward off the craving is by eating magnesium rich foods. These include dark, leafy greens, tofu, legumes and nuts.
Just Say NO to Fat Free
We all know that fat=flavor so when food manufacturers offer a fat free food item, they have to do something to add flavor back in. Most often, this is done by adding hidden sugars. Keeping your dressings and peanut butters full of fat will actually help increase your sense of satisfaction and help you move away from some of your other sugary favorites.
The Power of a Good Night’s Sleep
When most people think about how to quit a sugar addiction, sleep is not usually on the list of things to do. However, studies show that those who are sleep deprived have higher reward activation centers in the brain, thus making it harder to say no to sugary treats. Even those who exercise consistently and eat a balanced diet, if they are not sleeping well, will still be tempted by treats.
Remember Your ‘Why’
Whenever you attempt something new, there will be hard times. In your journey toward a sugar free diet, it is important to remember your reason for wanting to do it. Whether it is to improve your overall health, set an example for your kids and family, or just have more energy- remembering why you started this journey will help get through the harder days.