Giving up sugar might seem daunting, since it’s in so many places like tomato sauce, veggie burgers and crackers. But once you know these sneaky sources of sugar and what benefits giving up sugar has for your body, you’ll be able to stop craving the sweet stuff!
How to give up sugar
f you’re like most people, you probably consume more sugar than you should. In fact, the average person in the United States takes in about 22 teaspoons of sugar every day! That’s more than three times the recommended amount for women and more than double the recommended amount for men.
Giving up sugar can be a challenge, but it’s well worth it for your health. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Cut back gradually. If you try to go cold turkey, you’re likely to fail. Instead, start by cutting back on sugary drinks and snacks. Gradually reduce the amount of sugar you consume each day until you’re down to the recommended amount.
- Find healthy substitutes. When you get a craving for something sweet, reach for a healthy substitute like fruit or yogurt. There are also many sugar-free products on the market these days that can satisfy your sweet tooth without all the calories and unhealthy side effects of sugar.
- Avoid processed foods. A lot of the sugar we consume comes from processed foods like cookies, cakes, and candy. Steer clear of these tempting treats and stick with wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
Signs that your body is craving sugar
Your body can give you some pretty clear signs when it’s craving sugar. If you’re experiencing any of the following, it might be time to give up the sweet stuff:
You’re always tired: Sugar provides a quick burst of energy, but it’s quickly followed by a crash. If you find yourself reaching for sugary foods or drinks to keep yourself going throughout the day, it’s a sign that your body is relying too much on sugar for energy.
You’re gaining weight: Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, particularly in the form of belly fat. If you’re noticing your waistline expanding, cutting back on sugar could help.
You have trouble concentrating: Sugar can interfere with concentration and focus. If you find yourself struggling to stay focused at work or school, it might be due in part to your sugar intake.
You’re moody or irritable: Sugar can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, which can affect your mood. If you find yourself feeling more irritable or moody than usual, it could be a sign that you need to cut back on the sweet stuff.
Where sugar lurks in your diet
One of the hardest things to do when trying to give up sugar is to be aware of all the places it hides in your diet. Sugar is sneaky and can lurk in some unlikely places. Here are some tips for finding sugar in your diet and giving it up for good.
- Read nutrition labels carefully. Sugar can hide under many different names on food labels, such as corn syrup, honey, molasses, or fruit juice concentrate.
- Be wary of “healthy” foods that are actually loaded with sugar. Many yogurts, granola bars, and even breakfast cereals contain more sugar than you might realize.
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods tend to have a lot of added sugar, even if they don’t taste particularly sweet.
- Make your own meals from scratch using whole, unprocessed ingredients. This way you’ll know exactly what’s going into your food and can control the amount of sugar you’re eating.
- Pay attention to how you feel after eating sugary foods. Do you feel energetic and happy or tired and sluggish? If it’s the latter, then cutting back on sugar will likely make you feel
Long-term benefits of giving up suga
When you give up sugar, you not only improve your health in the short-term, but you also set yourself up for better health in the long-term. Here are some of the benefits you can expect to experience when you break up with sugar:
- Improved cardiovascular health.
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Reduced inflammation throughout the body.
- Better blood sugar control.
- Enhanced brain function and mental clarity.
- Increased energy levels and improved physical performance.