6 Ways To Kick Sugar To The Curb
Back in 2014, in order to address a serious problem that is out of control, Berkeley, California became the first city in the United States to tax sugary drinks. Subsequently, many other U.S. cities followed suit.
Americans consume the 2nd highest amount of soft drinks per capita in the world, contributing to our country’s dangerously-high obesity and diabetes rates. This is not surprising considering that sugar is more addictive than drugs like cocaine and heroin and is everywhere.
By some estimates, sugar is found in 75-80% of all packaged foods in the United States. Additional studies have shown that Americans consume as much as ½ pound of sugar per day! And the amount of sugar in just one can of soda is more than most people consumed in an entire year just a few hundred years ago.
Eating too much sugar can damage your health and threaten your life in number of ways:
- Chronic high blood sugar leads to type 2 diabetes
- High blood sugar in people with diabetes can lead to skin ulcerations and nerve damage
- Can cause elevated cholesterol, high triglycerides, vascular disease and heart disease
- Can lead to hypertension and stroke
- Is toxic to the liver and can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Promotes chronic inflammation
- Suppresses the immune system
You don’t have to be addicted to sugar!
In fact, the good news is that you don’t even have to crave sugar. With a few small changes to your daily habits, you can free yourself from sugar cravings and embrace a way of eating that is health-promoting and naturally energizing. Some of our favorite suggestions are:
Boost Your Serotonin
People who are naturally low in serotonin, a.k.a. the “happiness hormone,” often intuitively crave sugar-filled, carbohydrate-rich foods such as pies, cookies, candy, and chocolate because carbohydrates raise serotonin levels and increase feelings of well-being.
These are “mood foods” and are often used to self-medicate an underlying mood issue. Avoid these quick fixes because they can cause long-term health problems.
Serotonin can be boosted through a healthy diet, exercise, and the right sleep schedule. When you have plenty of serotonin, you are less likely to seek out sugar.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
What we and other researchers have found is that when your blood sugar drops, the blood flow to your brain decreases. This means you are more prone to making bad decisions because you do not have full access to your brain function.
So how do you keep your blood sugar balanced?
- Eat frequent small meals throughout the day.
- Make sure to start your day with breakfast – skipping it only makes you more likely to make poor choices later on.
- Stay away from simple sugars and refined, processed foods because they cause your blood sugar to spike and drop erratically as well as work on the pleasure centers of the brain leading to addiction.
Additionally, consider trying BrainMD’s Craving Control which contains six active ingredients that work synergistically to help to balance blood sugar and insulin levels while calming the craving centers in the brain.
Eat More Protein
Eating protein chases away hunger by balancing the hormones of metabolism. It also causes your body to release hormones which improve your body’s ability to know when you are full and should stop eating.
Protein also stimulates the release of glucagon, which stabilizes blood sugar and prevents energy crashes. After eating a protein-containing meal or snack, you feel fuller longer. Think of protein as medicine you should take in small doses every three to four hours – it belongs in nearly every meal and snack.
Drink Plenty of Water
Approximately two-thirds of the adult human body is made of water. You may sometimes think that your body is asking for sugar, when in fact it’s dehydrated and really craving water!
Drinking water also acts as an effective appetite suppressant so you will feel fuller and eat less – all with zero calories!
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose, are calorie-free food additives used to add sweetness to sugar-free candy, low-calorie foods, and soft drinks. Unfortunately, contrary to what popular marketing would have you believe, artificial sweeteners are also bad for your health.
Research indicates that artificial sweeteners dangerously alter our gut bacteria and can actually lead to obesity.
Additionally, artificial sweeteners can actually increase sugar cravings. The empty calories prime the brain’s appetite centers to expect something good, and when nothing comes, it wants more. Artificial sweeteners also desensitize your taste buds so that naturally sweet things, such as fruits and some vegetables, are not enough to satisfy you.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Naturally
If your sweet tooth needs some soothing, choose foods that will not cause your blood sugar to spike, such as:
- Mashed or baked sweet potatoes
- Healthy smoothie
- Cherry tomatoes
- Baby carrots
- Sliced pear with almond butter
- A square or two of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) w/almonds