If you’ve ever tried to start a diet, you would have probably been advised to stave off the sweet, saccharine goodness we call refined sugar. However, how often do you find yourself promising to lay off the sweet stuff, only to relapse a few days later surrounded by empty candy wrappers?
Fact: Consuming too much sugar can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, amongst other health issues. So, if you’re determined to get off the physical and emotional rollercoaster that you’ve continuously subjected yourself to, then perhaps it is time to take the no-sugar challenge to prove how much of a tough cookie you are, as opposed to indulging in one!
1. Check the labels
This pro-tip might sound rather intuitive, but it’s something that we rarely practice in life. However, even food that appears to be organic and healthy can contain excess amounts of sugar too. For instance, the trendy acai bowls that we’ve all viewed, liked, and shared on Instagram consist of a weighty 65 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to a 20-ounce bottle of Coke! Remember: the body handles excess sugar the same way regardless of where they come from. A healthy appearance does not necessarily translate into a healthy reality, so be sure to check the labels at the back of any product that you’re planning to purchase, or simply approach a staff member to enquire about its sugar content, before purchasing it.
2. Consume more fermented food
Aside from helping balance your gut bacteria, fermented food can also reduce any immediate cravings for sugar by resetting your taste buds. Some foods that you can opt for include simple, low-sugar yogurts, or even fermented vegetables like kimchi. The best part is that these foods do more than just bring health benefits, but palatable flavours as well! You can even keep a stash of these go-to foods in your office pantry or at home, such that they are readily available when those sugar cravings strike you unexpectedly.
3. Drink more water
Water is not just the source of life; it’s also the source of health! Instead of drinking liquid sugar like sodas or syrup cordials, opt for plain water to keep yourself hydrated. Try drinking two glasses of water every morning after you wake up to flush your system and bring down your blood glucose concentration levels. In fact, it is recommended that you drink 10 glasses of water daily to increase blood volume and decrease glucose concentration.
4. Think of it as adding instead of eliminating
Rather than thinking of it as “eliminating” the foods that you love such as desserts and sugary drinks, change your perspective by viewing it as adding healthier foods to your diet. For instance, you could load up on vegetables and salads during meals, such that you feel satiated to the point where you don’t even consider having any extra sweetened snacks. You could even add green smoothies to your diet to replace those carbonated soft drinks that you would otherwise quaff heartily without a moment’s hesitation.
5. Change your habits
Sugar cravings are often the result of bad habits. Because you allow yourself to indulge in this habit, you find yourself unable to control those sugar urges. Instead, you should endeavour to change your habits and stick to a regular routine. One option would be to try intermittent fasting for a week, or drawing up a diet plan that doesn’t include any sugary foods. Switching up your meal options every now and then can also prevent you from feeling sick of the food you’re consuming and take your mind off the fact that you’ve been deprived of sugar. Think of it as redirecting all the energy you’ve put into excessive indulgence to something more beneficial instead!
Sugar is a real physiological addiction and has been said to be 20 times more addictive than cocaine. However, beating this addiction and kicking it to the curb is wholly possible. All you need is a little grit and the unabashed ability to call yourself out, instead of sugar-coating the reality of the situation. You can definitely afford to eat less sugar – you’re probably sweet enough as you are!