Having too much sugar in your diet can be linked to a host of serious health concerns—obesity, tooth decay, hyperactivity in children, and, while eating too much sugar does not directly cause diabetes, it can lead to serious complications from the disease. Secondary health problems from obesity and diabetes can include heart disease, high blood pressure, vision impairment, neuropathy, skin disorders, and damage to the kidneys. For some people, the need to break sugar addiction can literally mean the difference life and death.
This can be problematic, however. It can be just as hard to break sugar addiction as it is for a junkie or alcoholic to give up more serious drugs. An addiction is an addiction, no matter the focus. Over time, sometimes over an entire lifetime, the body and brain have been conditioned to want what they want when they want it, and the withdrawal process can be difficult.
Break Sugar Addiction: Strategies
However, there are practical strategies that can be used by anyone looking to break sugar addiction. By keeping these philosophies in mind and by putting these actions into practice, you can soon be well on your way to a healthier diet, and ultimately, a healthier you.
- Recognize the addiction: As you embark upon this journey, be prepared. The solution will come, but it won’t be quick. You can’t overcome in a few days an addiction that it took you a lifetime to acquire. Your body and mind will crave sugar, but you can overcome that craving by taking it one step at a time.
- Sugar is everywhere: Sugar wears many disguises and is known by many names. READ THE LABEL—and you will find sugar hiding in plain sight. If you see fructose, sucrose, lactose, maltose, dextrose, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar or powdered sugar listed in the ingredients, then what you really see is sugar. Truly knowing what is in your food will let you know how you can cut back for maximum impact.
- Keep a food diary: Religiously keep a diary of everything you eat or drink, including when you ate it. By doing this, you will be able keep track of exactly how much sugar you are taking in and how it affects you.
- Throw it Out: If you are truly serious about wanting to break your sugar addiction, then it is time to clean out your cupboards and refrigerator. Get rid of sugary snacks, foods with high glycemic values, and especially soft drinks. The American heart Association recommends that a person have no more than nine teaspoons of sugar a day. For comparison, one twenty-ounce bottle of cola contains seventeen teaspoons. Try unsweetened tea, or water with lemon or lime as an alternative. By reducing or eliminating sugar-laden soft drinks from your diet, you can drastically decrease the amount of sugar that you consume, thereby reducing the cravings.
- Eat Three Healthy Meals per Day: Eat a full breakfast, high in fiber. Studies show that people who skip breakfast are far more likely to snack on sugary junk food by midmorning. Likewise, don’t allow yourself to get too hungry, because that is when the sugar cravings are the worst, as the body wants what is familiar. Most processed snacks are high in processed sugar. Eat regular meals, and drink plenty of water to feel full.
- Know How to Cheat Without Cheating: When the sugar cravings are too overwhelming, try eating a piece of fruit. The sugar in the fruit will reduce the craving, but since it is a natural, unprocessed sugar, it is not as bad for you. Another alternative would be to eat artificially sweetened candy without sugar. Of course, the best snack of all would be a source of protein, such as a handful of nuts.
We are part of a society that does not promote healthy eating. It will not be easy or quick, but with a measure of discipline, a bit of planning, and a modicum of care, it is possible to break sugar addiction once and for all. When you realize the positives to your health that were made possible through all your effort, you will know that it has been worth it.