If there is one extraordinarily destructive substance that everyone is eating too much, it would be sugar. With the increasing awareness, people know that sugar is dangerous for them, but hardly anyone is doing anything about it. Given the kind of lifestyle that we all are habituated with, cutting down the sugar habit is a must.
While the body needs a trace amount of sugar in order to keep the body functioning, we are providing it with way too much of sugar that is making the body extremely unhealthy, giving way to diseases like heart problems, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s etc. leave apart the minor problems like tooth decay.
Why Do You Need To Cut Down The Sugar Intake?
A large population is focussed more on cutting short the fat content and are switching to fat-free diet. However, they are not aware of how dangerous can the consumption of sugar be. When the body consumes too much of sugar, the body produces more of the hormone insulin, which tries to balance the sugar level in the blood. It is this insulin hormone that is the root cause of many diseases such as –
- Weight gain
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure.
The reason why you gain weight with the secretion of more insulin is because this hormone helps the liver cells and other abdominal fat cells to take the extra sugar that the body has consumed and convert them into fat cells and store. This leads to fatty liver, which is now an epidemic problem in many countries across the globe. Hence, it is very important to cut down the sugar habit.
How to Cut Down the Sugar Habit?
If you are a sweet-toothed person, this may be a little difficult for you to cut down your sugar intake. However, as you think that it is for your own good and will keep you going on the long run, it should certainly help you to get motivation. Of course, you must not get rid of all the sugar intakes at once. The key is to keep it moderate and steady, only then quitting sugar would not have harsh effects on your body and mind. If you are too much into eating sugary drinks and foods, quitting them all at once would make you depressed and feel worthless. So, make it a step by step procedure.
Here is how you should start
Get Rid of Processed Foods:
The first thing that you need to start with is to get rid of all the processed foods that have been a part of your life in all these years. Not only for the high sugar content, but also the preservatives or synthetic chemicals are harmful for the health. Also, the processed foods have a very high calorie value and therefore, it is always a great step towards getting rid of the sugar intake.
Say No to Sugary Drinks or Soda – Switch to Fruits:
Sugary beverages contain very high amounts of sugar. Whether it is soda or any other aerated drink, the sugar content is high. Many people think of the fruit juices and smoothies as a healthier alternative to the sugary sodas and beverages. It is not a healthy option to switch to these drinks. Though fruits will give you vitamins and minerals as well as fibres, not all the fruits have a less sugar content or are a healthy alternative in terms of sugar content. Some fruits like mangoes or peaches or even grapes are very high in sugar content.
Switch to less sugary fruits for that matter. Also, limit your portion of the fruit drinks. Drinking too many glasses of orange juice, just because it is fresh, is not good for you either, if you want to limit your sugar intake. Of course, you can always keep fruits, nuts and seeds handy, so that whenever you feel a craving for something sugary, instead of the chocolate bar, cakes or brownies or a caramel pudding, you can eat the fruit.
Remove the Table Sugar:
The maximum of the sugar consumption comes from tea or coffee or from the table sugars like white or brown sugar, honey, corn syrup or maple syrup etc. Remove them entirely. If you do not have them in the house, you will not eat them and when you are hungry, you will certainly find an alternative.
No Sweet Spreads in the House:
Whether it is the apple jam or strawberry jelly or an orange marmalade, there should be no sweet spreads in the house when you decide to cut down on your sugar habit. If you have them, you will crave for them and it would come to your mind that you can eat them in small portions, ending up eating more than you should. So, when you are trying to cut down the sugar habit, you must start with absolutely removing the sweet spreads from the house.
Now that you have known where to start from, you need to
Go Cold Turkey:
Some people prefer to choose the way of drastic sugar control, which is referred to as going cold turkey. Many, on the other hand, prefer the gradual controlling in which they slowly, but gradually limit their sugar intake and then finally reach a point that helps them to get rid of their dependency on sugar. Both are useful. Every person is different from the other and which one would suit your sugar habit, entirely depends on you.
Chew a Sugar-free Gum to Cut Down Sugar Habit:
Chewing gums are a great way to manage your sugar craving. If you have a habit of munching into the sugary snacks and drinks, chewing gum will help you to satiate your craving for quite some time. There are different kinds of chewing gums. Some come with sugar-free or artificial sweeteners that are not harmful for you. You can always choose them.
Combine Foods to Cut Down the Sugar Habit:
Sugar cravings are very difficult to control. So, you have to be clever and combine your sugary foods with the good-for-you foods which are full of nutrients. Rather than getting rid of your chocolate bar completely, you can actually dip a fruit (like banana) to a chocolate sauce and satiate your craving for chocolate. This way, you get the nutrients from the fruit and get the taste of chocolate. So it will not be as difficult for you to control your sugar cravings as it sounds.
You can also, add some chocolate chips in your breakfast cereal and milk. Some dry fruits like dates or raisins are a great way to incorporate sugary ingredients in your diet chart, when you are in mood for some sweet snacks. Have them with some almonds or other savoury nuts and it will satisfy your craving.
Be Optimistic and Know What You Can Eat:
Those, who try to cut down their sugar consumption level, often be demoralised to think about the list of things that they cannot eat from then onwards. If you think of the things that you still can eat, instead of the added sugar that you add in every meal or food that you take, you would be surprised. Usually these would include dry fruits like dates and raisins, ripe bananas for baked items like cakes or muffins, sweet potato chips etc. All these are so sweet that you do not need any added sugar and your sugar cravings will also be satisfied, rather than suppressing them.
Sugar Substitutes to Cut Down the Sugar Habit:
When you are cutting down on your sugar intake, it is the glucose that you need to be concerned about as the glucose levels in your blood make all the difference. Hence, if you choose any other natural sweetener that is low or zero in calorie levels or glucose levels, you are good to go. Stevia is a natural sweetener that is 300 times sweeter than sugar and has zero calories. So you can easily substitute it for your sugar intake. Lakanto, another natural sweetener, not only has zero calories, but also zero additives and zero G.I. (Glycaemic Index). It is great for baking. You can add them to what you eat and you will not have to be worried about your health or not have to feel deprived of the sweet things that you like to eat.
Eat and Drink Fermented Foods and Drinks:
Fermented foods and drinks are a great way to suppress sugar cravings. They can suppress your sugar craving in 4 to 5 days. Coconut milk kefir, probiotic drinks etc. can satisfy your sugar craving and put an end to your desire for sugar with their sour taste.
Change Your Mind to Cut Down on Sugar Habit:
When you feel like eating something sweet, change your mind by taking a walk or by chatting with a friend or by engrossing yourself in reading a book. Do whatever makes you happy and take your mind off of the sweet that you wanted to eat.
Manage your Meals:
Eating several small portions throughout the day, rather than three large meals is a great idea to keep you full and to manage your sugar cravings. While you manage your meals, try to eat the animal proteins between 11 am and 2 pm and choose grain-like gluten-free seeds for the evening. This will produce more serotonin, which is helpful to keep you happy.
Supply Enough Energy to the Body to Cut Down Sugar Habit:
Keeping apart the negative impacts of sugar on the body, sugar is the main source of energy for the body. Hence, if you cut down your sugar habit rapidly and suddenly, your body may feel weak and lethargic. Hence, it is a must that you supply enough energy to the body. Eating sea vegetables or drinking green drinks made from vegetables is a great way to supply the nutrients, minerals and vitamins that the body needs to keep working.
Cutting down sugar habit is not that difficult, if you really want to do it. However of course, if you face difficulties in the beginning, do not be afraid to reward yourself for every small step that you take. It will boost your enthusiasm to continue further. Follow a good diet chart to make sure that your body is supplied with all the necessary nutrients that cutting sweets has reduced.
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