Earlier, we have talked about the benefits of giving up sugar but letting it go is not the easiest thing to do. In fact, many say that the main reason for them to stop a new diet or a new lifestyle is because of their sudden sugar cravings.
Sugar sneaks up on you. It has components that alter your hormones and chemical activity in the brain that makes you crave more sugar. Ideally, you should not have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in a day but an average Indian will have at least double the amount of sugar and it’s so hard to let it go.
Increased amounts of sugar are the leading cause of type 2 diabetes, obesity and even cancer! That’s right! 1 out of 3 people drinking a soft drink every day is far more likely to get pancreatic cancer.
Here Are 7 Sweet Tips On How To Cut Down On Sugar From Your Diet
Quitting sugar may be hard but fear not, we’re on your team. With the tips given below, you can get rid of sugar in no time.
‘Quitting sugar’ has a different meaning for everyone. Some stop at table sugar and added sugar in meals, while others also quite simple carbs like white flour and white rice. Then, of course, there’s the Atkins diet or the Keto diet on the other extreme.
Our main focus in this article is to help you quit table sugar and added sugar. But once you start to gain more confidence, you can slowly wean yourself off simple carbs as well. A ketogenic diet is not for everyone. So, if you are interested to go to the other extreme, we would highly recommend that you talk to your doctor first before you make any drastic changes.
So, here’s how to cut down on sugar from your diet:
1. Identify How Much Sugar You Have
The first step to anything is knowing where you are going wrong. Begin by keeping track of how much sugar you have in a day. This includes everything from the amount of table sugar you add in meals to the amount of added sugar in packaged foods.
Start by making a note of how much sugar you have so that you get a better estimate of how hard you need to work.
2. Start Slow
There are a lot of differences in opinion here. Many people will ask you to quit sugar overnight but if you have a lot of sugar in the day, quitting it overnight can actually give you withdrawal symptoms.
If you are serious about quitting sugar, you should be gradual. Many people make a mistake by quitting everything at once and letting the withdrawal kick in, only to get back on it. Start by quitting sugary drinks and energy drinks that have a lot of sugar in them. If you have lot of sugary drinks, this step is going to be very hard.
Truth is, most of us don’t need the number of sugary drinks we have, in a day.
After quitting sugary drinks, we suggest that you remove packaged foods that have high amounts of sugar.
Then you can remove table sugar from your diet. The first few weeks are not going to be easy but if you go slow, you are less likely to go through terrible symptoms that may bring you back to sugar.
3. Temporarily Replace Sugar
There are many opinions on artificial sweeteners and other forms of table sugar. Some say they are safe to use while others will ask you to steer clear from it.
The thing with most artificial sugars is that they don’t actually help with the sugar cravings. You may not have sugar but you don’t grow independent from it.
Many people who use artificial sweeteners are also less likely to control portion sizes of meals. Instead of stopping at one slice of cake, they may have two.
Hence we suggest to use them during the transitional phase when your body is just starting to get used to life without sugar.
Some artificial sweeteners like saccharine has shown carcinogenic properties so, be very cautious with the kinds of sweeteners you use.
You can also cut your sugar consumption to half or replace table sugar with complex sugars like brown sugar, jaggery and sugar cane juice. Given that these are still sugars, your body has to work a little harder to digest these sugars hence they are better than table sugar.
You can switch to the above options only during the transitional phase. The end goal is to cut sugar entirely.
4. Add Fruits And Dry Fruits In Your Diet
Instead of snacking on biscuits and cakes, you can add fruits in your diet. Fruits have natural sugars that reduce cravings. They are also packed with fibres and vitamins which is very good for you.
If you replace sugars with fruits and nuts, you will be just as full if not more, without adding more sugars in your diet.
5. Start Having Spices
Life doesn’t have to be bland without sugar. You can prove it wrong every day by using spices in your meals.
Some beverages also taste amazing with spices. For instance, try replacing sugar in your chaas with salt, red chilli powder and some garam masala. It will taste just as good, maybe even better, and you won’t add any sugars in your drink!
6. Add Healthy Proteins And Fats In Your Diet
Ironically, healthy fats do not lead to belly fat. It is in fact the sugars and the transfats found in sugary meals that add those extra layers around your waistline.
If you cook healthy meals that are made of proteins and fats you are less likely to crave for sugars. Instead of having egg whites with a sugary cup of coffee, you can have a whole omelette cooked with vegetables and a sugarless cup of coffee instead.
7. Get A Good Night Sleep
Believe it or not but the amount of sleep greatly impacts your sugar cravings. The more groggy you feel in the mornings the more likely you are going to reach for the chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar.
Sleeping late at night also secretes ghrelin hormones which give us a strong sugar craving. The best way to cut out on the cravings is to have a good night sleep.
Lastly, be patient. You may think you can handle it but the cravings for the first few days may make you crumble. Don’t be too hard on yourself and allow your body to ween off the sugar naturally.
As you push through, you will realise that life is just as sweet even without all the sugar.
Have you ever tried to cut down on sugar from your diet? Tell us what you did.