In case you are unaware, there is an old, ubiquitous villain in nutrition town. It is so sweet and seductive you might never suspect it could be responsible for all the havoc it has been creating.
I am talking about sugar – and it really is not so sweet!
You might be wondering why sugar is so awful?
What’s wrong with a sweet treat once in a while?
Sadly, that is one of the problems. Research has revealed that in 2012, the average American ate about 170 pounds of the sweet stuff, and this number is continuing to grow. This is way more than the occasional treat!
Sugar Hides Everywhere
Unsurprisingly, large quantities of sugar live in sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, baked goods, and candy (you knew this). You might be surprised by how much sugar is added to products that have a fairly healthy reputation. Try checking out the labels of things like: yogurt, granola, salad dressings, protein powders, jarred pasta sauce, smoothies, bread, soup, peanut butter, and instant oatmeal. These products often pack in a ton of added sugar (you might gasp).
It turns out all this sugar consumption may not be totally our fault. Sugar is pretty sneaky stuff. It hides everywhere, and under many different aliases. At last count, sugar can be flying under the radar using over 60 different names.
Sugar Is An Addictive Substance
Have you ever wondered why you get a craving for sugar? This used to be brushed aside or justified as a sweet tooth, but more and more scientific evidence shows that sugar may be as addictive as some illegal drugs. It turns out that when you consume sugar it stimulates huge amounts of a brain chemical called dopamine to be released.
Dopamine gets released during activities that are pleasurable. This can include sex, food, gambling, consuming certain illegal drugs, etc. Furthermore, dopamine tolerance can build up over time, meaning the more you do, the more you need to do. This is indeed a vicious cycle.
Breaking the Sugar Addiction
Maybe you’ve tried to kicking sugar to the curb in the past. You may have even succeeded.
Sugar cravings are tough to keep at bay, and many find themselves giving in to its sweet seduction sooner or later. If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad, you have a lot of company.
There are a number of standard recommendations you’re likely to hear regarding breaking up with sugar.
- Get plenty of rest
- Lose the caffeine
- Drink more water
Today we will venture off this beaten path and take a look at 5 steps that REALLY work for quitting sugar once and for all.
This one sounds obvious but it is easier said than done. Get rid of all the obvious sources of sugar from your house and do not replace them! The easiest way to do this without having to spend hours reading labels is to eliminate anything that is packaged, canned, frozen (with a few exceptions, like frozen organic berries) or pre-cooked. Even potato chips have sugar in them.
It is here where you need a good old dose of willpower. Try passing by those sweet treats in the checkout line, and steer clear of the bakery and ice cream aisles. When buying foods in packages or boxes be sure to read the ingredient labels carefully for hidden and added sugars.
It takes some work, but if you are serious about losing a bit of weight and improving your health, the power is in your hands.
Seriously, this one is pretty simple. Replace all your sugar-laden, processed foods and treats with real food!
We are all so used to packaged and processed food that it has become second nature to open a box and bring it to boil in the microwave. Modern, on-the-move lifestyles are tailored more for convenience and speed rather than healthy and fit.
Dangerous? You bet.
The low-fat diet craze that permeated every facet of nutritional doctrines for the last few decades has really done a number on general health. When the fat is removed from foods to make them ‘healthy’ it needs to be replaced with something to make it palatable again. That something is usually a form of sugar.
Real food contains fiber, fat, and protein. All of these are satisfying and good for you. Commit to eating fresh, whole foods and nothing else. That means meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, healthy, naturally occurring fats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
You will feel fuller longer and begin enjoying food again.
Practice being mindful.
This might sound a little strange. Try this exercise to begin.
Slow down your eating. At dinnertime, try eating a bite of food and then putting your fork down. Concentrate on chewing and notice the flavors, textures, and even sounds of the foods you’re eating.
Slowing down at mealtime will accomplish several things.
- You will actually begin to notice how your food tastes,
- You will lessen your chances of eating past full,
- You will enjoy the pleasure of eating nourishing whole foods.
When eating, try to make sure that you are simply focussed on eating and not multitasking with a phone or TV. Casual conversation and connecting over food can be practiced in this way.
This may not work for all situations, like in the lunchroom at work or out in a restaurant, but with a little practice you can accomplish mindful eating almost anywhere.
If you have not yet experienced the subtle but powerful changes that meditation can bring to many parts of your life, it’s time you started. Your mind is bombarded with information every waking moment, racing from one task to the next without any time for a break. Meditation will force you to notice how restless your mind can be and cause you to slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
At the beginning you don’t have to do anything special to meditate, just find a relaxing time for yourself and focus on your breath. Try to not think. When your thoughts come to you, let them drift away.
It’s a great way to reduce stress, boost your immune system, increase your mental focus and concentration, lower blood pressure, and yes, even reduce sugar cravings.
You can get started in as little as 5 minutes per day, you don’t need any special equipment, and anyone can do it
This is the backbone of change. Get familiar with what sugar can do to your body so you can make intelligent decisions about your health.
The Internet is packed full of information – and misinformation – so choose your sources wisely. Stick with known brands or sites you trust.
Some of the information you find may upset or disturb you. Remember that the path to optimum health is not necessarily an easy one, but by increasing your knowledge on the dangers of sugar and processed carbohydrates you will be able to improve your life and the lives of those around you.
Unfortunately, consuming added sugar has become a way of life for many of us, but it truly does not have to be that way.
A well-formulated sugar detox program is the best way to finally stop sugar cravings dead in their tracks and kick refined sugar from your life for good! It is why we at Wellness Warriors have worked so hard to create an impactful and effective program.
The Wellness Warriors Sugar Detox will provide you with the plan, the support, and the community you need to ditch the reliance on sugar in a way that makes it practically impossible to fail! We do it together and guide you each and every step of the way.
Check out everything that is included and how to join us right here.