Do you find yourself having a little “treat” everyday? A donut in the morning and maybe a little ice cream in the afternoon? A birthday at work and you just have 1 piece of cake?
In the early 1800s, we ate about 15 pounds of sugar per year. But by the turn of the 21st century, sugar consumption for people with moderate diets reached nearly 160 pounds of sugar every year – with serious consequences for health and weight. A steady diet of sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrates mean that you’re eating far more empty calories than you should, yet getting less of the high-fiber, high-nutrition foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains that your body needs. It also puts your blood sugar on a roller coaster, swinging between dizzying highs of energy and draining lows and Leaving you with intense cravings for even more sugar.
The combination of high calories, low fiber, and very little vitamins, minerals and protective antioxidants work together to raise your odds for heart disease, stroke, a pre-diabetic condition called insulin resistance, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, and even sexual problems. In one Dutch study of 16,000 women, those who ate the most sweets and refined carbohydrates had an 80 percent higher risk for heart disease than those who ate the least.
The first step to turn this around? Say “No thank you” to cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and candy which will reduce sugar cravings and improve energy levels in a matter of days. You will all reap the benefit of better moods – no more irritability caused by blood sugar fluctuations. You’ll manage to attain a healthier weight and lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other blood sugar-related problems.
Here are some tips to stay away from the temptation.
Make Healthy Substitutions. Rather than swearing off sweet treats, start by choosing some healthy alternatives. Fruit is a terrific choice, particularly watermelon, peaches, and berries. All are sweet and satisfying. Instead of ice cream, have no-fat frozen yogurt or fruit ices. Instead of cake, have a cookie and fruit.
Splurge weekly, rather than daily. Allow yourself a moderately sinful dessert once a week. That way, you don’t have to feel deprived.
Ask yourself why you’re treating yourself so often. So much of snacking is out of habit, boredom or stress. The best rule of all is to find healthier ways to fulfill emotional needs than through food. Take a walk, call a friend, do a stretch, read a joke. Limit your food intake to satisfying hunger.
Start a new after-meal routine. Go for a walk instead of having dessert. Or if you still want a family dessert ritual, schedule if for 60 minutes after the main meal, when the kitchen has been cleaned up and everyone has done something active. Then choosing something healthy, like watermelon or cantaloupe slices.
Make your kitchen a sugar-free safety zone. Don’t keep treats, or even sweet baking ingredients, such as chocolate chips, in the house. Instead, go out for an occasional dessert.
Don’t rely heavily on artificial sweeteners. It’s far better to retrain your taste buds to appreciate the natural sweetness of fruit than to maintain your unnatural cravings for refined sugar.
Follow these tips above and you may have a chance at kicking your sugar habit once and for all!
Still having problems kicking your sugar habits? You may want to try the 21 day sugar detox.
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