We are now living in a world where we are not quite sure of what we are being offered to eat. From the natural god gifted foods to the ones manufactured by us humans, everything seems to be altered in some way or the other. There is a broad spectrum of concerns regarding ambiguity that each of us face when we eat anything.
One of the major concerns nowadays is sugar. An increase in sugar intake has been related to many health concerns and can be detrimental to our overall well being. From diabetes to even faster aging of skin. A balance needs to be maintained in our bodies regarding sugar.
However, this maintenance has been made very tough for us in this time and age. This is largely due to the hidden sugars in just about everything that man has created to enchant our taste buds. Sugar tastes good, we crave for it and it is almost in everything. Therefore, we have been forced to be sugar addicts without our knowledge or will.
Hence, it is very critical that we learn how to combat this addiction and break free from it as quickly as possible. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
Cut on sugars right away
When you consume sugar, dopamine which is the ‘feel good’ hormone, is released in your body. Therefore you feel good and as for anything good, you want more of it. Hence, the beginning of a cycle which ultimately leads to addiction.
Therefore, if you cut on added sugar completely or reduce its consumption right away, you are giving your body a chance to get free from the addiction cycle and reset dopamine levels.
It is almost like a drug addiction and does have withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, you will be faced with increased cravings and tiredness for a few days with this sudden cut in sugars but your body will learn to accommodate this change.
Maintain balanced blood sugar
Sugar enters and leaves your blood stream faster as compared to other substances. Therefore, it tends to give the sudden energy rush followed by a sudden energy crash which ultimately leads you to craving for more sugar.
Therefore, avoid sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. Try to eat smaller, planned, and more frequent meals through out the day. Make sure your meals are nutritious and are loaded with protein and fiber. This will help you in feeling full for longer, protecting you from mindlessly binging on sugary items.
Be educated about hidden sugars
Sugar come in all forms. They are naturally found in carbohydras and as added sugar in many food items. It is the added sugars which are the sneaky culprits in damaging our healthy lifestyle. These can be found from the more apparent sweet stuff aisle in the grocery store to the less obvious and apparent bakery section. From condiments to fat free items, it is everywhere.
Therefore, it is essential that you read the nutrition fact labels carefully and keep a check on the ingredients of the food stuff you purchase. Keep in mind that it is not always easy to filter out the term ‘sugar’ in the ingredient lists. Food companies are much smarter than this. Many a times this pesky ingredient is under varying terms such as corn syrup, maltodextrin, and malt. Another common and simple term is glucose and many others which end with ‘ose’. Therefore, know what you are eating and shop smartly.
Get rid of the culprits all together
Everyone is aware of that feeling when you crave for sugars while watching movies or reading your favorite book late at night. If you remove all the added sugar junk which is hindering your efforts, then you will simply not have access to these sweet culprits. Just keep your pantry junk free and you will end up grabbing healthier options during those yearnings.
Learn to battle cravings in the right way
Keep in mind that when you crave for sugar, you are actually craving to ‘turn on’ the pleasure spot in your brain. Food is not the only way to achieve this. Exercising, meditating, or any other non food way to please yourself can bring about the same change.
The other two possibilities are that you are either thirsty and confusing it for hunger or that you are in fact hungry. In the latter case, it is a good idea to lay your hands on more nutritious natural sugars such as found in fruits rather than refined sugary snacks.
Sleep-deprived individuals are more prone to snacking on sugary snacks than those getting adequate sleep at consistent hours. These individuals tend to make up for the missing sleep hours by rewarding their bodies with the ‘feel good’ hormone, dopamine. What better way to do this than having late night sugary treats? Therefore, save yourself this trouble and make your life more organized with a good 7-8 hours of sleep at consistent times.
Increase your water intake
Many times the body is demanding for water and we end up confusing it with hunger especially for unhealthy cravings. Therefore, make sure you are adequately hydrated. Try to have water at the beginning of your meals and snacks. This will help in making sure that the water requirement at that moment is made up for before moving on to consume solid foods.
Exercising and meditation can also help in warding off cravings by reducing stress. Therefore, resulting in an overall well being which will not push you towards mindless eating to feel good.
Sometimes it gets very hard to ward of cravings for your favorite sweet treats, but if you keep the larger picture in your mind, it can help you get through it. All the benefits of cutting down sugar and the problems which might arise from not taking this step, should always be kept in mind to help you keep moving forward and remain focused.
Prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, follow the above steps and break your sugar addiction quickly before it leaves a mark on your physical and emotional well being.