Excess consumption of sugar has been linked with weight gain, disease, and poor health. This comes as no surprise considering its lack of nutrients and high calorie count. Sugar has been linked to all sorts of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. As food manufacturers have added more and more of it to our foods, even things we wouldn’t consider sweet like spaghetti sauce, meat, and crackers, and even going so far as to modify fruits to be higher in sugar, it can be tough to stay away from it. What’s more, it’s ADDICTIVE, as sugar tricks the brain into wanting more of it, so it’s a tough habit to kick - even when we’re motivated for health and weight loss reasons.
One of the foundational rules to any weight loss program is to burn more calories than you consume. When we consume more than what our body needs, that leads to weight gain. Cutting sugar is one of the easiest ways to reduce excessive intake of calories - with the added benefit of being better for our overall health.
The question is, how do we get past the sugar cravings to do it?
Probiotics - Our gut health influences so much more than just our digestion. It impacts our neurotransmitters, which are responsible for our mood and hunger. Additionally, we tend to crave more of what we eat. At first glance that’s not good, because it’s potentially part of why we keep craving sugar once we’re used to eating it. However, the better news is that we can change what our gut craves by changing what we eat, and by cultivating healthy, diverse gut microbiome. Some helpful additions to your diet include bone broth and fermented food sources of probiotics like sauerkraut, kombucha tea, and kefir. High quality supplements can also help. As if weight loss and curbing sugar cravings aren’t enough reason to tend to your gut health, maintaining a healthy gut can also improve mood, focus, anxiety, and other mental and emotional issues, as well as METABOLISM, and in turn, our body weight!
Healthy Swaps - In the world of Pinterest and social media, recipes for healthy alternatives are only a click away. Look for recipes that have a lower glycemic index, with lower added sugar, and sweeteners from fruit and raw honey, which have nutrients as opposed to being empty calories like sugar.
Check Labels - With sugar being added to so many non-dessert foods, it’s especially important to check labels. Don't forget drink labels too! Also be sure to familiarize yourself with alternate names for sugar and sweeteners, including:
High fructose corn syrup
Evaporated cane juice
Healthy Fats - They keep blood sugar more stable. Less blood sugar spikes can mean less cravings.
Balance Your Ph Levels - A diet rich in leafy green vegetables promotes healthier ph levels in the body. Why is this important? It’s been found that a more acidic ph level can feed sugar cravings and addiction. A more balanced alkaline state has been found to help decrease sugar cravings. In addition to nutrition, exercise can also help promote alkaline Ph levels in the body.
Plan Ahead - Plan your meals out, make detailed shopping lists, and don’t shop hungry. That way you will be less likely to give in to heat of the moment temptation. Another way to plan ahead is to pack a healthy lunch and/or snacks when you know you’re going to be away from home.
Besides weight loss, research says there are other potential benefits of cutting back on excess sugar, including:
Younger looking skin
Less belly fat
Reduced risk for diabetes
Better heart health
Are you ready to lose weight, get in better shape, and/or get healthier?