The #1 Public Enemy to weight management is…you guessed it, SUGAR! Below, I’ll list some easy ways to cut your sugar addiction and get your weight back!
Sugar, in its natural state, is important for our body to function properly. However, if it’s processed and added to our food, that causes a LOT of trouble!
Added sugar is not just in sweets, it’s EVERYWHERE, even in places you would never expect.
Sugar is known to be MORE addictive than heroin. This causes cravings, which can be the downfall for any successful diet.
Sugar has empty calories, messes with your metabolism, gives you belly fat, and makes your insulin wonky, which can lead to insulin resistance and ultimately obesity.
Sugar can also cause health issues, like dementia and cancer.
Now that we know what the problem is…let’s FIX IT!
I am known to indulge in sweets here and there, so my advice here is not about quitting sugar all together. It’s about cutting it down so that you can to INDULGE in sweets and guilty pleasures, without having it affect YOUR WEIGHT.
1. Read food labels.
It’s extremely important to read labels of every packaged item you buy, especially if you buy a lot of packaged and processed foods. Overcoming sugar addiction is already extremely difficult, so we don’t want to add on added sugars that we did not even know are in foods that are loaded with it that we eat every day.
Sugars go by many names, e.g. high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, dried cane syrup, molasses, sucrose, dextrose, and maple syrup, to name a few. See more names here.
Food manufactures hide sugars in so many different foods that you didn’t even think about, like pasta, bread, kefir, yogurt, salad dressing, almond milk, and even ketchup!
If you see that the carbohydrates on the label look high, that food probably is PACKED with sugar.
Take time to look at all the ingredients and sugar content, and try to choose foods and brands that have ZERO added sugar.
2. Avoid liquid sugar
Sweet drinks can be extremely satisfying as an energizer on a dreary day. However, studies have repeatedly show that sugary drinks are a leading contributor to obesity in America. Sugary drinks increases your risk of obesity by 60%.
Diet drinks with artificial sweeteners are even worse! Not only do they increase your obesity risk just like sugar, but the chemicals themselves are really bad for you. Additionally, because you are not getting real sugar, your body physiologically CRAVES the sugar even more.
If you cut out the sugary drinks for 1 month, usually you don’t even miss it. When you come back to it, the drinks may even be too sweet for your taste buds!
Love yourself by giving up that soda or that sweet Starbucks Frappuccino.
3. Regular eating to avoid cravings
Around 3PM, we all want to run to the vending machines or convenience store to grab something sweet. If you’re hungry, you tend to crave high calorie, sweet foods.
Additionally, many people just straight up skip lunch — because they’re busy, forgot to bring it, or on a budget. Whatever the reason, skipping meals lead to higher consumption of sugars because when you’re hungry, your blood sugar drops causing you to crave a sweet snack.
PRO TIP: Try not to eat unless at certain designated times. If you’re bored or craving something, drink water, coffee, or tea.
4. Eat protein and/or fat with every meal.
Protein and healthy fats consumption can control blood sugars from dropping to rapidly, so you can feel fuller for longer.
Examples of healthy fat foods are avocados, nuts, oils (like olive oil). Avocados are a great snack because they have healthy fats and are packed with fiber. As a snack, consider of almonds or some clementine cuties.
5. Spices can be satisfying
If you are craving something yummy and sweet, you can try different things that help with easing that craving. Examples include adding some cocoa or vanilla; these things taste great without needing added sugar! Alternatively, you can sprinkle some cinnamon, coriander, or nutmeg on oatmeal.
Cinnamon will make things taste sweet, but it has the added benefit of helping you control your appetite by regulating blood sugar.
6. Constantly remind yourself of your goals until it becomes a habit!
It takes 66 days to built a habit. At first, it takes constant reminding until you build that mind muscle. Don’t sabotage your efforts.
You can scare yourself by reminding yourself that sugar has been linked to everything from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s.
Or you can simply just remind yourself of your GOALS: Do you want to lose weight, decrease your risks of cancer, or feel better?
Write it down every day. Remember back in grade school? There is something to the act of writing that helps you stick to your goals!
7. Get rid of sugary snacks at home!
If you’re single, this is super easy. Albeit, if you have kids or a hungry hubby, this may be harder.
Nevertheless, it can be done. Sugar is very dangerous of kids also, especially with all the marketing targeted to kids. I rarely had sugar in my house when I was a kid, and I think this helped me a lot in controlling cravings.
Help yourself and your family by keeping it out of the house. Then, it serves as a great reward when you take them out for a sweet treat! 🙂
Let me know if these tips help you and if you want more.
Isabella Lai, MD