Quitting sugar is no easy task. It’s a challenging habit to kick, especially since there are added sugars in so many of our daily foods, from cereals to salad dressings to sauces. Added sugar is one of the most harmful ingredients in today’s diet. It’s associated with diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and it’s hiding in a lot of foods you may not even know about. The thing about sugar is it’s highly addicting – it tricks your brain into wanting more and more of it, just like a drug. If you’re wondering how to quit sugar to live a healthier, more fulfilled life, we’re laying down our best tips for you in this post!
5 Benefits of Quitting Sugar
1. More Energy
If you feel sluggish and have low energy, it likely has a lot to do with your diet. Added sugars are simple carbohydrates – they’re digested fast and enter your bloodstream quickly, giving you a “sugar rush”. However, once sugar is metabolized, you crash, and are left with way less energy than you had before. Since added sugar is hiding in many different foods, it can be a rollercoaster of energy highs and lows throughout the day. When you quit sugar, your body is able to regulate itself, and you can fill it with foods that are filling and energizing. Foods high in protein and healthy fat provide you with a good dose of energy that will keep you going for longer.
2. Healthier Skin
Added sugar can cause inflammation, helping to fuel breakouts. Inflammation caused by excess sugar has also been linked to other skin conditions such as psoriasis. If you want healthier skin, cutting sugar is a no brainer. Not only will it help with breakouts and skin conditions, kicking sugar will also make your skin look younger. Since the sugar in your diet affects the amount of sugar in your bloodstream, it boosts your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can hinder the repair of your skin’s collagen, which keeps it looking plump. Sugar can reduce elasticity and lead to premature aging, so cutting it out of your diet will do a world of good for your complexion!
3. Weight Loss
There’s no denying that with less added sugar in your system, you’re bound to lose weight. Quitting sugar can make a big difference, especially around your waistline. While this is positive, it also has deeper roots. As we mentioned above, sugar spikes your blood sugar, which triggers insulin through your body, leading to fat accumulation around your centre. This is known as visceral fat and the fat cells travel to your organs and blood vessels, causing inflammation and contributing to conditions like heart disease and cancer.
4. Lower Blood Pressure and Bad Cholesterol
High blood pressure and bad cholesterol are two of the main culprits of heart disease and heart attack. High sugar intake can lead to weight gain, which can lead to high blood pressure. Plus, added sugars raise your blood sugar on their own. Eating too much sugar also causes your liver to pump out LDL (bad) cholesterol, and lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol. The combination of these things can lead to an increased risk of clogged arteries and heart issues, so cutting sugar is key to good health all around.
5. Lower Risk of Diabetes
Kicking sweets and sugar can help protect you against type 2 diabetes. A diet high in sugar triggers the pancreas to release lots of insulin, which can be incredibly taxing on insulin-producing cells, causing them to malfunction and eventually leading to diabetes. Diabetes can be a dangerous and life threatening disease, and quitting sugar can help ensure you don’t get it.
8 Healthy Sugar Alternatives
2. Coconut Sugar
3. Raw Honey
4. Maple Syrup
7. Brown Rice Syrup
8. Monk fruit
How to Quit Sugar: 5 Tips That Work
1. Plan Your Snacks
When you plan your snacks, you’re less likely to make bad, on-the-go snacking decisions throughout the day. When the mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump hits, instead of grabbing a sugar-filled granola bar or pastry from Starbucks, have a healthy snack prepared. Make and bring snacks from home that don’t contain any sugar. Homemade hummus and carrots, egg bites and apple slices with all natural almond butter are examples of great, healthy snacks.
2. Up Your Healthy Fat Intake
Healthy fats like avocados and nuts satisfy you mentally and physically. They help stabilize blood sugar, which can help curb sugar cravings. Make sure every meal you eat contains some sort of healthy fat, whether it’s fish, olives, cheese, nuts or avocados.
3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
When you’re tired and sleep deprived, you’re more likely to reach for a sugary snack to give you a quick energy fix. Levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, also rise when you don’t have enough sleep, making it tough to fight cravings. Ensure you get a good night’s sleep each and every night to help you quit sugar.
Sugar cravings can be stress related, with stress making you more likely to seek out sugary comfort foods. Exercising is one of the best ways to reduce stress, boosting endorphins and making you feel better all around. If you don’t have time to do a full workout, even a brisk walk outside is much better than vegging out in front of the TV eating a sugary snack.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drinking an adequate amount of water keeps energy levels up and helps stabilize hunger. Proper hydration can also affect blood sugar levels, so make sure you’re drinking the recommended 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day!
Quitting sugar can be tough, but it’s not impossible. Follow these tips to stop sugar cravings fast!
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