Posted by Margie King
Is sugar your drug of choice? For many Americans, especially children, the sad answer is yes.
Excess sugar doesn’t just lead to diabetes. Even though we’ve been told that saturated fat leads to obesity and heart disease, it’s really our addiction to sugar that’s fueling both of those chronic conditions.
You don’t have to be a slave to a sugar addiction if you practice a few commonsense habits. Here’s how to escape sugar’s grip.
1. Have a good breakfast. Start your day off right with a breakfast low in sugar and high in complex carbohydrates and protein.
If you grab a donut or a bagel or a soft pretzel in the morning, you’re setting yourself up for a spike in sugar followed by a sugar crash mid-morning. Once that cycle starts, it just keeps going the rest of the day.
Instead, try a bowl of whole grain oatmeal and fruit and you should have a good even energy level all morning that takes you comfortably to lunchtime. Another good choice is toasted sprouted grain bread with some organic peanut butter or almond butter.
2. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes when you think you’re craving something sweet, you are actually dehydrated. Before you grab for a sugary snack, try drinking a glass of water and then waiting a few minutes. The urge for something sweet may well subside.
And make sure it’s plain old water. Diet sodas definitely won’t work. Nor will anything with caffeine since the highs and lows will just contribute to blood sugar fluctuations and make things worse.
3. Eat whole fruit and sweet vegetables. Before there were cookies and processed foods made with white flour, the human taste for sweet things had to be satisfied through the subtle sweetness of whole grains, sweet vegetables like yams, onions and carrots, and whole fruits and berries.
These all have the added benefit of being full of fiber, vitamins and minerals and will satisfy sugar cravings for hours.
4. Use natural sweeteners. Rather than using artificial sweeteners and white refined sugar, try using natural sweeteners that also have some nutrients still intact.
Good choices are raw honey, maple syrup, dried fruit and brown rice syrup. Remember that even these should be used sparingly but just a little will go a long way in taming cravings.
5. Get enough sleep. Sugar cravings are often a signal from your body that it needs energy and when you are overly tired or stressed your body will give you the sugar signal more often.
These few habits can go a long way in freeing you of a sugar addiction.
Now it’s your turn. Is sugar your drug of choice? How do you deal with sugar cravings? Leave a comment and let us know what works for you.