Sugar, everybody’s best friend and worst enemy.
In one form or another, it’s everywhere. Sugar hides out in juice, coffee creamer, condiments, granola bars, yogurt, your daily latte habit, even supplements like protein and protein bars can be packed with sugar if we’re not paying attention. Surprisingly, so-called “natural” and “organic” snacks are some of the biggest offenders out there.
Let’s not forget that every holiday seems to have an associated sugar laden celebration added to it too. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas. I don’t know about you but there’s an entire aisle in my grocery store devoted to holiday candy alone, it simply changes depending on the season, a literal aisle full of sugar, yikes.
YOU DON’T NEED SUGAR
If you check your nutrition labels, you might notice that sugar takes on a few different identities. Aside from plain old sugar there’s glucose, fructose, corn syrup, and even honey. Whatever form it takes you can’t argue with the fact that sugar is completely devoid of any nutritional value. Your body simply doesn’t need it, and yet the average American diet is made up of over 13% sugar. That equals out to an extra 335 extra calories from sugar alone for men, and an extra 239 calories from sugar for women.
The WHO recommends reducing sugar consumption to less than 10% of our daily diets, aside from naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruits, vegetables and milk, and here’s why:
“We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free [added] sugars to less than 10 percent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay,” said Francesco Branca, the director of the WHO’s department of nutrition for health and development.
In everyday terms: if we can reduce our sugar intake, not only can we reduce the size of our waistlines, fight off inflammation and keep all of our own dang teeth, we can also reduce our risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, other cardiovascular and respiratory illness, and oh yeah – even cancer too.
Need even more evidence?
SUGAR IS THE NEW DRUG
There’s a reason sugar has been called the new drug of the 21st century. This is because sugar and drug use can have similar effects on the brain, triggering the part of the limbic system that recognizes pleasure and emotional control, and causing the brain to treat sugar very much the same way it would any other addictive substance: GIVE ME MORE!
So yeah, if you’re not paying attention to your sugar intake, you might want to start.
HOW TO QUIT
1. You’ve Got To Commit
The first step to quitting sugar is to commit 110%. Don’t go out in style, don’t say “after the holidays”, don’t start Monday. Today’s the day. Binging never lead to any healthy habits, and binging on sugar isn’t the answer to quitting sugar one bit. Commit to change and you’re ready to start today.
2. Read The Label
The only way to be sure of what you’re putting into your body is to read the dang label. Sure it’s annoying and time consuming. But soon enough, you’ll know which things are the biggest offenders and how to spot sugar hiding out a mile away.
3. Get It Out Of The House!
It’s the only way, guys. Trust me, if you know there’s a leftover (or future) Halloween Kit Kat hiding out in the freezer, you’re gonna hit rock bottom one afternoon, dig it out and gnaw it down before you even know what happened. Save the sugar for a special occasion and by then, it probably won’t even taste that good anyway. Okay not true, I’m sure it will still taste amazing but if that’s what we need to tell ourselves to get over the hump then we gotta do what we gotta do. I’m not completely wrong in the fact that once you’ve been off sugar for a while and you have some again, you’ll find that it tastes extra sweet. Many people actually end up disliking that sweetness entirely because they’re just not used to it and that’s not a bad thing either!
4. Mindful Snacking
Make sure your snacks have substance and aren’t filled with empty carbs that won’t keep you full. Keep lots of easy to grab fruits and veggies around, nuts and nut butters, whole grain crackers, fruit leathers, rice cakes, protein bars and jerky too.
5. Pack In The Protein/ Cue Up The Complex Carbs
Nothing fills you up quite like protein, which is just another reason why you need more of it in your life. Pair that protein with a serving of healthy complex carbs and you’ll stay full for hours. If you’ve hit a sweet treat wall and need something to satisfy, whip up any variation of a protein shake with IdealLean Protein For Women and think about hunger no more. Plus, no added sugars, carbs, or excessive calories, only the good stuff.
Erase And Replace
Old habits die hard so if you still need sweet, look for sugar alternatives. Sucralose is a proven and safe ingredient used in many IdealFit products meant to nip those sugar cravings in the bud. Coconut sugar and stevia are also good alternatives. Nobody likes to feel deprived. Deprivation leads to feelings of panic, panic leads to bad decisions and before you know it – you’re face down in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and on the hunt for more.
You’ve been there. I’ve been there. It’s time to do what it takes to never get there again. The occasional treat is fine, it’s the everyday, all day treat that becomes a problem. Moderation is KEY!
That sweet tooth struggle is real, and real dangerous too. Time to kick that sugar habit to the curb and say hello to a healthier new you.
Say goodbye to sugar today!
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