Many studies have indicated that sugar may be as addictive as alcohol, caffeine or nicotine, and overindulging in sugar can have long-term consequences for both your health and your appearance.
But how do you stop the sugar cravings if they have already set in and taken hold? Check out these top tips for beating sugar cravings from newly released book Sugar Detox for Beginners.
- Hunger and inadequate nutrition are the principal causes of cravings. Keep yourself well nourished, consuming small ‘mini meals’ that contain protein throughout the day.
- A big part of one’s dependence on fast, prepared, or snack foods has to do with the readiness of such foods. Anticipate your need to eat, and cook before you’re hungry. Keep hard-boiled eggs, plain yoghurt, celery, bok choi, bell pepper strips, or green apples on hand to combat cravings.
- Remember that the craving will reach a peak and then spiral back down. If you can keep away from sugar for three whole days, you’ll almost certainly ﬁnd that you crave it less. The longer you keep away from it, the less you’ll ﬁnd you miss it. You might even kick the craving once and for all!
- If you must eat something sweet, remember that the joy is usually in the ﬁrst few bites. Taste it, then toss it (or give it away).
- If it helps just to know ‘it’s there’, store a tempting treat in the freezer. But know yourself. If you’re reasonably sure you won’t be able to resist the temptation, throw it out or give it away—quickly!
- Substitute. Prepare sugar-free versions of old favorites. Apple pie, for instance, can be prepared without sugar. So can whipped cream (although, alas, it still contains plenty of fat).
- Take a hike—or at least a walk. When the craving hits, tell yourself you’re going to do something healthful instead, then get out into the sunshine. This is a win-win, of course, because you’re getting beneﬁcial exercise at the same time that you’re ﬁghting against indulgence.
- Delay gratiﬁcation. If you’re cutting down rather than cutting out, remind yourself of an upcoming occasion on which you plan to indulge.
- Don’t get started. When you shop for groceries, do not buy tempting foods. Not only do you not need them, but no one else who lives with you does, either. If they’re not in your home in the ﬁrst place, they can’t call to you.
- Use a tiny touch of stevia. Although we ﬁnd most artiﬁcial sweeteners troubling, so far stevia looks OK. Be advised, however, that while it has enjoyed years of popularity in other countries, it has only recently been cleared for use in the United States.*
* Note: Plant-based sweetener stevia gained approval from the Food Standards Authority of New Zealand in 2008.
Do you think sugar is addictive? What are your best tips for combating sugar cravings? Comment below and let everyone know!
Used with permission from Sugar Detox for Beginners, Hayward Press, $19.99, exislepublishing.co.nz.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – phasinphoto