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How To Finally Put An End To Your Sugar Cravings Once And For All
Do you know how much sugar you consume on a regular basis? For some people, it doesn’t seem to be a major problem. They have a couple of spoonfuls in their morning coffee and maybe have a dessert after dinner once or twice a week. For others, cravings for sugar are not easy to deal with, especially considering how much added sugar is included in many of the foods that are in our grocery stores.
Back in the 1800s, each person consumed around four to six pounds of sugar each year. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans today consume from 150 to 170 pounds of sugar every year—that’s around a half pound of sugar a day! With diabetes a nationwide epidemic and childhood obesity on the rise, it’s time to get these numbers under control. Here are some easy ways you can finally begin to controll your sugar cravings.
1. Start each day with a good breakfast
When you begin the day with a breakfast that contains protein, you are building a foundation of foods that will keep your blood sugar levels even. When your glucose remains steady, you will not crave sweets and succumb to junk food for a quick fix. It is recommended that you eat your breakfast within 45 minutes from when you first wake up.
2. Drink plenty of water
While we are constantly reminded to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, staying hydrated not only keeps your body running smoothly, it increases the flow of sugar that goes into your cells and prevents sugar cravings. Keeping yourself hydrated will also make you feel full longer and prevent you from craving something sweet.
3. Eat more protein
Protein is a food group that helps keep blood glucose levels at a steady level, eliminating any ups and downs that create mood swings, jittery feelings, and extreme hunger. It also reduces the production of insulin and adrenaline, which create imbalances in blood sugar levels. When you are feeling satiated and not hungry, you will notice you are suddenly not craving sweets.
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4. Give up artificial sweeteners
Although you may have switched from real sugar to artificial sweeteners, you will be surprised to know that your body is still craving sugar. It is suggested that you give up sugar completely so you begin moving away from sweet things. Once away from sugar for a while, you will realize how much you were using when the foods you used to enjoy now taste too sweet to eat. If you want to start out eliminating sugar slowly from your diet you could try using stevia, which is a natural sweetener that does not affect glucose levels.
5. Make sure to eat plenty of healthy fats
Healthy fats can be found in nuts, avocados, coconut oil, eggs, olive oil, and wild caught salmon. When you eat foods in this group, you will notice that you stay full longer and your sugar levels are very even, so you will not experience highs and lows which will push you towards eating foods when you aren’t really hungry. Low blood sugar is like a false alarm; by the time you realize you ate foods you shouldn’t have, it’s too late.
6. Fresh is best
There are too many foods on the grocery shelves that have extra sugar added to them purposely to attract those who are addicted to sugar. Many foods do not require the extra sugar, but because it is such an addictive food enhancer, people begin to not only accept it, but crave it even more. Be extra careful when you see foods that are fat-free, low fat, or in any other way altered, because many times food manufacturers will add in extra salt and sugar to make up for the ingredients they have removed to make them appear healthier.
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7. Increase your fiber content
Fiber not only will keep you feeling full longer, it is a good way to help your digestive system run at an optimum level. Foods that are high in fiber include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, wheat bread and pasta, and most dark leafy vegetables. Instead of a fast food burger and fries, opt for a large salad with baby greens, lean turkey, fresh strawberries, sliced almonds and a dressing made with olive oil and a rice or balsamic vinegar. You will be full for the rest of the afternoon, rather than the crash you will feel an hour or so after eating the burger.
8. Eat every couple of hours
When you eat smaller meals every two to three hours, you will feel less hungry and less eager to reach for a quick fix from sweets. Mentally, you will feel reassured, knowing you will be eating again soon, so there won’t be a panic to grab the first thing that you see on the snack cart at work. Eating regularly is another way to keep your blood sugar levels even. It’s when your glucose drops that you feel edgy and eat things that just contribute to more uneven blood sugar levels.
9. Plan your sweet treats
If cookies, candy, cakes, and donuts are your downfall, be prepared so you don’t succumb to them next time you are confronted with these temptations. Once you shift your appetite to fresh fruits, you will be surprised how satisfying they can be. Juicy navel oranges, crisp green apples, and fresh ripe strawberries are all excellent alternatives to foods made with refined sugar. If you love chocolate, keep some dark-chocolate-covered almonds at your desk in case you crave a quick treat. When you feel satisfied and not deprived, you will not feel like you are missing out when you pass up junk foods.
READ ALSO: Sugar: Is It As Addictive As Drugs? Video
10. Take time to meditate
Take some deep breaths, relax, and eliminate excess stress that could cause you to reach for a quick sweet treat. When you are calm and able to think clearly, you will be less likely to indulge in the empty calories and quick sugar high that comes from eating the wrong foods.