29 Mar Wait! Read this before you quit sugar
Has life taken its toll on you with its seemingly endless supply of sweet temptations?
Have you woken up today feeling bloated and kinda blah?
If you swore to give up the white stuff after Easter… guess what? It’s time.
But wait! There are smarter ways to give up sugar. There are tricks that reduce the likelihood of nasty withdrawals, side effects, leaving you less likely to fall off the wagon.
It’s all well and good to quit sugar, but just giving up cold turkey (especially after a binge) is incredibly challenging. If it’s not done properly, it’s almost impossible to stick to. So before you begin your sugar detox, read on and discover my hot tips for making this the time you kick the habit for good.
Cut down slowly
How long have you been eating sugar and feeling crappy for? Months? Years? So what’s the harm in waiting a few more days, or even a week, until you’re 100% off the stuff? Going cold turkey after a medium or high sugar lifestyle can leave you feeling tired, headachey, drained and moody. Instead, cut down your intake by a little each day, aiming to be sugar free at the end of one week, or even 10 days if your intake was high. It’s much kinder on your body and nervous system.
Increase your protein intake
When your protein intake is low, the pancreas is more likely to secrete insulin, leaving you feeling tired and sleepy. This is the perfect breeding ground for sugar cravings. Increasing your protein intake to about 1/3 of your meal (a palm-sized portion is a good estimate) will help to stabilise your blood glucose and improve energy levels, keeping those cravings at bay.
Watch out for white or processed carbs
These guys are the enemy! Once ingested, processed white carbs break down quickly into glucose and absorbed rapidly, causing increased insulin levels and possible weight gain. So if you’ve given up sugar, but are eating loads of crackers, white potatoes, bread or pasta, you will still be experiencing sugar highs, followed by lows. These carbs need to be replaced by wholegrain and wholefood alternatives. Substitutes like brown rice, buckwheat, sweet potato, cauliflower rice/cous cous, and zucchini noodles are full of nutrients and less likely to spike your blood glucose.
Be mindful of fruit (especially dried fruit)
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen someone quit sugar and then they loaded up on dried fruit…
Dried fruit is super concentrated. Think about it – dried fruit has ALL the sugar of regular fruit, but in tiny, bite sized morsels, meaning you can eat more before you feel full. If you find yourself craving dried fruit (or loads of fresh fruit) go back to the points above regarding the protein and carbs and address them first. This will help to keep the cravings at bay.
Check for hidden sugars in packaged foods
Sugar is everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Even in savoury products.
Please read ALL labels before you purchase. Look for the overall sugar content in grams. Look for words like sucrose, glucose, dextrose, malt extract, evaporated cane juice, apple juice concentrate, corn syrup and rice syrup.
Check out the labels on bottled marinades and sauces, flavoured yoghurts, soups, baked beans, pasta sauces, simmer sauces, chutneys, pickles, flavoured waters, iced teas, fruit juice drinks, canned fruit, snack bars, mueslis, breakfast cereals, breakfast bars, and savoury biscuits. You may be shocked to see how high in sugars some of these are. Better still, avoid processed foods altogether!
Look for reasons behind your cravings
Do you have candida? A B vitamin deficiency? Mood swings? Low iron? Low magnesium? Adrenal fatigue? Are your hormones askew or your thyroid running at below par?
These are just a few examples of conditions that can cause sugar cravings. If you’re finding it hard to quit sugar, maybe it’s time to see a qualified naturopath who can look for underlying causes and perhaps do some functional testing to determine your current state of health. Solving these underlying problems can increase energy levels and make it easier to stick to your new healthy eating regime.
Remember – take it slow, balance your meals and seek help if you need it. Cutting out sugar has so many far-reaching health benefits, it’s worth doing it properly to increase your chances of success.