“I eat way too much sugar and have constant cravings. I think I’m addicted!”
Does this sound familiar? This has to be hands down the most common thing clients say to me. I’m always asked for suggestions on how to cut back. There is still a debate over whether or not sugar is an addictive substance (and some even think there should be a minimum age limit to consume it!).
Want to know how to break the addiction?
It’s not easy, but totally doable. The first thing to recognize is that humans naturally crave sweetness. Our bodies are wired for it. So no beating yourself up, got it.:)
Here are my 3 most successful steps in curbing your sugar cravings:
1. Eliminate fat-free, low-fat packaged foods. Or actually most processed foods if you can. Sugar is hidden everywhere, even in ketchup! These foods contain high quantities of sugar (artificial most of the time) to compensate for lack of flavor and fat which will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows.
Stick to whole, real foods, without bar codes (quotingMr. Pollan).
I also noticed for me, the more green stuff I ate and drank, my sugar cravings plummeted over time. That and eating more whole foods. Did you read my post on Starbuck’s Makes You Fat? I go into more detail about how some of our favorite foods are full with hidden sugar. I got so pissed when I found all that out! So much better to eat whole foods!
2. Evaluate the amount of protein you eat. Eating way too little protein (meaning beans, nuts, lentils, animal, etc…) can lead to craving the sweet stuff. Experiment and respect your body with this. As a general guide, take your weight and multiply it times.4. That should be an estimate of how much protein you need a day. So if someone is 120 pounds, she will need 48 grams of protein a day. This is a quick way to keep your blood sugars level and boost energy without medicating with sugar.
3. Reduce caffeine. The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar swings causing sugar cravings to be more frequent. If you can eliminate the caffeine, that’s even better (but I know that is a tough one so we will just focus on sugar for today).
Bonus: Slow down and find sweetness in other non-food ways (wink wink). Sure, sex can be on the list. You can add hugs, time with friends, being outside, massages…We like the highs we get from sugar and feeling good. When life becomes sweet enough itself without it, no additives are needed.
Double Bonus: You can go cold turkey in order to break the cycle. Stop feeding the fire, yes? A good, gentle way to do that is to do a cleanse. No sugar for 7- 10 days. If you want to go this route, check here for Winter Renewal 10 Day Detox.
Now I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, tell me if you had success cutting back on sugar? What works for you?