There’s been a great deal of controversy around sugar these days. Once considered a harmless sweetener, it is potentially being considered a controlled substance, right up there with alcohol and tobacco. Although no formal edict has been made into law, there’s plenty of discussion around sugar and its evils.
Let’s face it—we love sugar. The average American adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day in one form or another. And most of us are well aware of the perils: weight gain, high blood pressure, hormone disruption and mood swings. Many people would love to kick the habit, but it isn’t easy. If you’re looking to combat those sugar cravings, consider following these suggestions.
Admit There’s a Problem
It’s often been said that the first step on the road to recovery is to admit that you have a problem. Acknowledge that you have difficulty when it comes to sugar—you are certainly not alone. Sugar can be an addictive substance and it’s easy to give in to cravings.
Watch Your Triggers
Sugar cravings can hit us when we least expect it. Keep an eye out for your triggers. Do you want a sweet sugary snack when you’re feeling sad, angry or stressed? If so, learn to recognize those signals. Many of us are emotional eaters, turning to sugar in order to deal with our feelings. Instead of acting out by eating sugar, try talking about your feelings or engaging in a more constructive form of behavior. Go for a walk, read or listen to music.
Evaluate Your Diet
Take a good look at your current diet. Does it include a lot of processed foods? If so, you may be getting more sugar than you bargained for. Many foods contain high fructose corn syrup, which is basically sugar. You could unknowingly be eating more sugar than you realize. This in effect raises your tolerance level and could have you craving even more of the sweet stuff. Be aware and read those labels.
Make Healthy Substitutions
Craving that candy bar or pastry? Instead of giving in, try making a healthier substitution. Have a piece of fruit instead. Apples make a great sugar substitute. They’re sweet, crunchy and loaded with fiber to make you feel full and satisfied. Even sweet vegetables like carrots, corn and sweet potatoes can help curb those cravings.
If you really must have that pastry or donut, try eating a slice of whole grain bread or toast drizzled with local honey or slathered with jam. Yes, it’s still sugar, but it’s a much healthier alternative to traditional store bought cakes.
Be Kind to Yourself
Combating sugar cravings takes effort. In reality it’s like dealing with an addiction. You will succumb to temptation and fall at times. Rather than beat yourself up over it, be kind. Acknowledge your shortcomings and move on. Guilt and self-blame won’t make it any easier to deal with your cravings. See it as a process and keep working towards your goal. You’ll eventually savor sweet success!