If you're trying to make some significant changes in your diet in order to lose weight or just feel healthier all around, one of the first things you might want to consider doing is giving up sugar. There's a plethora of evidence out there proving that excess sugar consumption is linked to cancer, chronic diseases, digestive issues, and even heart failure. Eating a lot of sugar can also make you feel lethargic, tired, and cranky. Not to mention that sugary foods are often very calorically dense, making it hard to lose weight if you're eating them often.
The quicker we can all eat less sugar, the better it will be for our health. Here are five foolproof tips to help you get quit sugar safely and effectively.
Gradually Cut Yourself Off
It's never a good idea to go completely cold turkey, no matter what you're trying to give up. If you eat sugar every single day, whether it comes from soda, candy, or packaged snacks, make a pact with yourself that you'll cut down to five sugary snacks next week. The week after, cut down to four, and just keep gradually cutting down until you're down to one sweet snack a week.
The less sugar you eat, the less your body will crave it. And by gradually cutting yourself off from this ingredient, you likely won't experience that many withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, and trouble concentrating.
Replace Sugary Treats With Naturally Sweet Foods
There are so many different, naturally occurring foods that taste deliciously sweet. Think about your favorite fruits — bananas, mangoes, berries, and pineapple. You can even add raw honey to your tea, or use maple syrup to make healthy desserts. Once you rewire your brain to get used to these kinds of natural sugars, not only will you fall in love with these vibrant flavors, but you won't miss refined sugar at all.
Steer Clear of Artificial Sweeteners
You may initially think that artificial sweeteners are the answer to your sugar cravings, but you're not doing yourself any favors by drinking diet soda and eating sugar-free candy. Artificial sweeteners are very hard for us to digest, which leads to bloating and digestive problems. Plus, when you continuously eat products that have artificial sweeteners in them, you're only perpetuating your body's craving for refined sugar, which will eventually make you reach for it and potentially binge on it later.
Stay Away From Processed Foods
There may be an urge to replace sugary foods with something salty or greasy, like potato chips or French fries, but that won't do you any good in the long run. When you consume foods that are really high in sodium and fat, you'll end up craving the opposite taste. And what's the opposite of salty? Sweet, of course! Steer clear of processed and packaged foods, and instead fill up with whole foods (and drink plenty of water!).
Meal Plan Ahead of Time
If you start your week with nothing prepared to eat, you'll be much more likely to cave in and grab a huge brownie in the middle of the day, especially if it's just lying around at your office or peeking at you from behind a glass window at a cafe. Plan out your meals on Sunday, along with your snacks. Having a bunch of delicious, natural food at your fingertips will help you bust your sugar cravings quickly and effectively.