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Healthy Pin of the Week
Step Away From the Sugar
What You Can Do
Since sugar is in nearly every food we eat, there’s no way to get around it. The goal should be to reduce added sugar in your diet rather than quit. It’s recommended to taper off sugary foods rather than quit cold turkey. You’re more likely to “cheat” with a small snack and then over indulge. It takes about 10 days to break serious sugar cravings. After which, the urges are mild and manageable. Follow these three steps to break your sugar addiction and reset your body to its natural state.
The first step is to reduce and eventually eliminate sugary drinks from your diet. Sugary drinks account for an additional 70,000 calories annually! Good alternatives are water, unsweetened tea and coffee, and seltzer water. Increasing your fluid intake will keep you hydrated and flush out excess sugar in your body.
The second step is to reduce sugary foods. Foods like candy, cakes, pies, cookies and other high sugar foods. This may be one of the hardest steps to follow. Americans have become accustomed to quick fixes when they are hungry. When you have a sugar craving and need something sweet, reach for 100% cacao unsweetened dark chocolate. Extra dark chocolate unlike milk chocolate contains antioxidants. Be warned, if you are accustomed to extra sweet chocolate this variety may be intense. Another trick that may help break your sugar craving is eating sour tasting foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut.
The third step is to reduce processed foods from your diet. Foods like pasta/instant noodles, crackers, chips, cereal, condiments, frozen foods, and granola bars. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, all natural grass fed meats, raw nuts and seeds. A healthy replacement for traditional spaghetti noodles is spaghetti squash. To curb your junk food cravings reach for raw almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, hummus, turkey jerky, pumpkin seeds and unsweetened dried fruits. These foods will help curb your cravings and won’t spike your blood sugar.
There are many benefits to reducing your sugar consumption, some noticeable and some not. One thing you will see rather quickly is a slight weight reduction. Excess sugar is stored in the body as fat. When we take away a large portion of the sugar, the body will naturally use the reserves. You may notice better sleeping within a few weeks. Your mood will improve. At first the lack of sugar may make you feel sluggish and irritable, this will pass. You will notice less high highs and low lows. Your natural equilibrium will be restored. Lastly, what you’re not likely to notice is an increase of BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF is a brain chemical that’s responsible for the development of new brain tissue. The more BDNF you have, the better your brain functions overall. Research has shown a link between high sugar diets and low BDNF levels. Low levels of BDNF has been shown to cause depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, Huntington’s disease, Rett syndrome and schizophrenia. The less added sugar in your diet the better your overall health will be. Eating more natural, less processed foods will help reset your system back to its optimal state.
For More Information:
How to Stop Eating Sugar (Women’s Health)
How to Quit Sugar in 5 Days (Mind Body Green)
Sugar Withdrawals (Mental Health Daily)