7 Tips To Overcome Sugar Cravings
And Give Health A Chance!
OK. I admit it. I'm intense about the subject of sugar. My intensity matches my addiction. I've kicked it several times in my life, and now with the holidays over, I find myself back to addiction square one, needing to kick it again. (Is it truly possible to experience the holidays without eating every sweet in sight? I dunno.)
In talking to people, I hear that I'm not the only one with this issue; I'm also hearing that folks want help with it—they'd like 2014 to be the year of better health and increased vitality. So with this desire in mind, let's start dealing with sugar, once and for all!
So to go on: I found a site that is one of the best in supporting healthy eating: Real Food For Life (www.realfoodforlife.com). The author, Diana Herrington, was practically raised on white sugar and feels this played a key role in her many health problems which took her decades to overcome.
Here I share her strategies to avoid sugar and the cravings it creates, but first let's look at compelling reasons for even wanting to do such a thing (also taken from Diana's site).
7 Reasons to Give up Sugar:
- Sugar is Not Food—It is empty calories with little nutritional value and actually causes your body to steal vitamins from other vital organs in attempt to process the sugar, leaving you undernourished.
- Sugar Makes You Fat—It is filled with calories that are stored in your fat tissues.
- Sugar Makes You Nervous—There is a clear link between excess sugar and disorders like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, because of extreme levels of insulin and adrenalin.
- Sugar Causes Diabetes, Kidney and Heart Problems; excess sugar can damage the pancreas's ability to function properly.
- Sugar Kills Your Teeth—Sugar increases the bacteria in your mouth that erodes enamel. The biggest crime is that many popular toothpastes contain sugar which is not required to be put the on the label.
- Sugar Suppresses the Immune System—Sugar interferes with health by overtaxing the body's defenses.
- Sugar Causes Wrinkles—A high-sugar diet damages collagen.
The average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugar each day or 2-3 pounds of sugar per week! This is added sugar, not sugar naturally found in fruit, vegetables, grains, and milk. The World Health Organization says no more than 10% of calories should come from added sweeteners; that is a maximum of 12 teaspoons of sugar for a 2,200-calorie diet. Twenty teaspoons sounds like a lot of sugar to get through in one day, but consider this:
- Low-fat fruit yogurt (125ml) contains 4 1/2 tsp of sugar.
- 2 slices white bread contains 6 tsp of sugar.
- Wheaties (1 bowl & 1/2 tsp sugar) contains 3-4 tsp sugar.
- 1 glazed donut contains 6 tsp of sugar.
- A 12 ounce Pepsi contains 10 tsp of sugar. [ME: Don't think diet sodas are your answer-they create serious health problems, but that's a topic for another article.]
That is a total of 29.5 teaspoons of sugar! Considering how many foods have added sugar in them, it's easy to see why sugar consumption is on the rise.
Convinced it would be smart to remove this non-food from your diet? If so, be aware that it takes about 7 days to get the addiction out of your system. This does not mean the cravings will disappear, but the intense addiction needs that amount of time. The next consideration is whether to wean yourself slowly off sugar or just go cold-turkey. Either way will work, but for most folks, a slow weaning—small and simple steps—is more doable. So here are Diana's Tips Slow Weaning:
- Eat fresh and dried fruit instead of sugary sweets—Although they are filled with natural sugar, they are a healthier choice as fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. (And it's OK at first, to eat a bigger quantity of them while weaning.)
- Dessert Rules—Week 1: Maximum once a day. Week 2: twice a week. Week 3: once a week. Make it your rule to have raw fruit at least half the time.
- Try Stevia—A natural sugar alternative that actually nourishes the pancreas and has no calories. Stevia is an herbal extract from the Stevia Rebaudiana leaf that has been shown to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Don't skip meals—When you miss regular meals you create a starving situation in your body and you will eat anything to bring your blood sugar level back to normal (and you know what that means.)
- Instead of soda pop, lemonade, & iced tea, make lemonade and herb tea with stevia. If you need that carbonated zing, add sparkling mineral water. When at a party or at the bar, drink soda water with lime or lemon.
- No sweets in your cupboards or fridge—It is too tempting to have them available.
- When craving strikes, go for a walk—Research shows cravings for sweet foods declines after exercise; salty foods become the preference.
How to Get Off Sugar Quickly? Diana is so passionate about getting off sugar that she offers Healthy Web BootCamps where for two days you get focused support in eating perfectly balanced healthy meals. Her boot camps focus on alkalizing your body permanently and also applying food combining principles. She provides delicious and healthy recipes that do not contain a single bit of sugar.
And get in the habit of reading labels for hidden sugars and sugar aliases:
Hidden sugars: tomato sauce, baked beans, packaged foods, chewing gum, mints, and lunch meats.
Sugar aliases: corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, glucose, honey, hydrogenated starch, invert sugar maltose, lactose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, polyols, sorghum, sucrose, sorbitol, and xylitol.
So to conclude: take a look at what one year off sugar can do for a person. When I think about how hard the whole idea is, I look at this picture. So how about it...you in? 2014 could be our year—let's do it!
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2006