Less Sugar = Better Health
Added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children in the United States. Current dietary guidelines suggest limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day.
Increases risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
Can interfere with immune system function
Causes glucose levels to spike and plummet, leading to mood swings, fatigue, cravings, and headaches
Can negatively impact chromium levels in the body
Takes the place of vital nutrients
Causes tooth decay
Can cause gum disease
Sugar consumption has been associated with numerous health issues, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, food manufacturers have only continued to add more and more of it to our foods over the years - even to things we wouldn’t consider sweet, like crackers, spaghetti sauce, and even meat. Sugar tricks our brains into wanting more, making it hard to quit due to its highly addictive nature. But knowing all of the daWith all of the damage it causes, we must use all of the tools at our disposal to keep sugar intake under control.
But how do we kick those intense sugar cravings, especially if we’ve been struggling with them for a long time?
Stay Hydrated - Hunger and thirst are often confused, so if you're craving something sweet, drink some water first.
Eat Healthy Fats - Blood sugar spikes equal more sugar cravings, so it’s important to keep blood sugar levels stable. You can accomplish this by eating healthy gats like avocado, steak, coconut oil, eggs, and butter. Choose grass-fed or pastured meat whenever possible.
Check Nutrition Labels - Sugar is added to many non-dessert foods, so it is especially important to read labels. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the many alternate names for sugar and fake sweeteners, including:
High fructose corn syrup
Evaporated cane juice
Make Healthy Swaps - If you are craving something sweet, try incorporating healthy alternatives. It is no secret that fruit is nature's candy; from anti-oxidant-rich berries to vitamin-packed kiwi and oranges, fruit is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can sweeten other foods with raw honey or real maple syrup, which have a lower glycemic index and offer additional health benefits instead of white and artificial sugar. You can also look for recipes that use fruits and raw honey as natural sweeteners.
Plan Ahead - Hunger pangs and temptation often collide in the heat of the moment, resulting in unhealthy food choices. Plan out healthy meals, make detailed shopping lists, and don't shop when you're hungry. When you will be away from home for work or other reasons, pack a healthy lunch and snacks. With these tactics, you'll be less likely to give in to cravings when they strike. In addition, these habits will keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady.
Probiotics - Our gut microbiome influences our neurotransmitters, which are responsible for mood, focus, — and hunger. Everything from anxiety and depression to cognition, autism, Parkinson’s, and hunger have been linked to gut health. When it comes to cravings, we tend to crave more of what we eat. While that can be troublesome, as it is part of why we keep craving sugar once we’ve gotten used to eating it, there is still good news: By changing what we eat, and the diversity of our microbiome, we can change our cravings. How do you cultivate a healthy, diverse gut microbiome? Bone broth and food sources of probiotics like kombucha tea, sauerkraut, and kefir are a great addition to your diet. High quality probiotic supplements can also help.
Wait Out Your Cravings - Try going for a walk, eating something healthy and filling, or engaging in a hobby. Get in the habit of asking yourself if you are physically hungry or are craving something sweet out of stress or boredom.
The food you eat is the foundation for your health! If you need help setting a strong foundation, contact us about our food therapy and health coaching services!