If you want to lose weight, up your fitness performance, or ditch the afternoon slump, eventually you'll need to go head-to-head with your love of the white stuff.
Don't worry, it's not just you. Americans as a whole have a love affair with sugar. In fact, the average American eats 30 teaspoons of the sweet stuff a day. Studies show it can even be more addicting that cocaine (seriously, I can't make this stuff up). Clearly, that kind of sugar intake isn't good for our health or waistlines.
What's a sugar junkie to do? Baby steps. Start with these easy to implement sweet tooth fighting hacks.
5 Simple Hacks to Kick Your Sweet Tooth to the Curb
Sugar is everywhere. Even people who consciously make efforts to eat healthy are often shocked to learn just how much sugar is in their "health" foods of choice. Once you're aware of where the added sweetness is coming from, you can out together a plan.
While we think calorie counting can be deceptive, tracking sugar for a month may be one of the most eye-opening experiences you can have on your fitness journey. An app such as MyFitnessPal takes the work out of tracking and uncovers patterns in your diet.
Be Patient With Your Food Palate
If you're addicted to the white stuff going cold turkey may not be the best move. Cutting back gradually takes longer but is more effective in the long run.
Your brain and palate need time to adjust. When I first started cutting sugar out of my diet I had three teaspoons of sugar in my morning cuppa tea. Now a ripe banana makes me gag and my husband and I hardly ever finish a splurge dessert, even when it's split between us. Be patient with yourself. If you normally dump three packets of sugar into your coffee, cut back to two, then one. Before you know it you'll be opting for no sugar at all.
Food Swaps Are Your Friend
If you're going to succeed in the war against sugar food swaps can be the training wheels needed to help you get started. You might be surprised how easily fresh fruit can halt a craving in its tracks or how effective a dash of cinnamon or vanilla in your morning coffee is for curbing sugar cravings and steadying blood sugar levels. In fact, this blogger says cutting out sugar would've killed her without cinnamon.
Here are a few more food swaps to get the job done:
- Swap dates with a tablespoon of almond butter for a sugary snack
- Make this four ingredient banana ice cream in lieu of B&J's
- Swap out seltzer for soda (you'll learn to love it, I promise)
- Swap club soda and a splash of lime for tonic water
Eat More Protein
Fuel your body the right way: eat meals and snacks with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These nutrients are digested more slowly than sugar or refined carbs, helping you feel fuller longer and avoiding the crash that leaves you reaching for sugary, quick energy fixes.
Don't Let Sugar Slip ups Derail Your Progress
Cut yourself some slack. It can take up to 21 days to make a healthy choice a habit. There will be setbacks and balance is key to long term success. Does cutting back on sugar mean you're doomed to a life of celery sticks? No. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet. Splurge foods have their place. Enjoy your sugary treat, but then go for a salad instead of sub sandwich for lunch or skip your usual after-dinner chocolate and replace it with herbal tea.
What strategies have you used to kick your sugar cravings and maintain balance? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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