It has been demonstrated that sugar is 8-10 times more addictive than cocaine in laboratory rats, even rats that have already become addicted to cocaine. Sugar will cause those pleasure receptors in your brain to release an endorphin rush.
The problem isn’t just that we may enjoy an occasional dessert once, it is that sugar has been added to so many processed foods that we may not realize we are consuming sugar. Sugar has been added to breads, tomato sauces, peanut butter and even salad dressings!
Sugar has been associated with the increased risk of acquiring many of our modern day chronic diseases such as obesity, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, Heart disease and Cancer.
Given these facts, it makes sense to take back control over SUGAR!
- Instead of focusing on not eating sugar or foods that quickly breakdown to sugar, focus on consuming foods and lifestyle habits that support a stable blood sugar and will naturally lead to “squeezing” sugar out of your diet. If you aim to fill your plate ½ with vegetables, ¼ with lean protein, 1/4 with whole grains or starchy vegetable (ie: quinoa or sweet potato) and a serving of a healthy fat (ie: olive oil) there will be far less room for dessert!
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Breakfast helps dictate what your blood sugar will look like the rest of the day. In addition, we have the greatest amount of willpower or discipline at this meal, so use that to your advantage! Eat a Breakfast that includes adequate high-quality protein (20 -30 grams), healthy fat (ie: 1 tablespoon of seeds or nuts), fiber and loaded with phytonutrients (ie: berries, spinach). The more you are able to consume foods that will work synergistically to maintain blood sugar as well as meet the body’s requirements for nutrition the less likely you will be to seek the quick energy provided by high glycemic carbohydrates that are devoid of nutrition!
- Healthy snacks can be your best ally when seeking to eliminate sugar from your diet. When considering what to snack on, think about how the food will affect your blood sugar which will directly affect what your energy is and your ability to stick with your diet goals at your next meal. Some good choices are: guacamole and vegetables, plain nuts or seeds, Mozzarella, Shrimp or an egg. These foods all are excellent because of their low carbohydrate content and subsequently low impact on blood sugar.
- Interval training is best to help control carbohydrate cravings. Exercise is excellent for your health, no matter how you do it, but studies have shown that those who exercise slow and long have increased appetites versus shorter bouts that include interval training. High intensity interval training has shown to decrease appetites and naturally increase human growth hormone while you sleep!
- Increasing water – often we mistake thirst for hunger. If you are dehydrated you are more likely to have lower energy levels and crave high glycemic foods for a quick energy boost. Making sure you drink at least ½ your bodyweight in ounces is a great insurance against sugar cravings.
- Getting adequate sleep is essential as not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin that can lead to increased cravings for carbohydrates and fat storage. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule, keep room as dark as possible and lower the thermostat to support better quality sleep.
For more information contact Bonni London MS, RDN, LDN