Simple Steps to Breaking a Sugar Addiction

By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

Oh how sweet it is! Or so you may think but what if you’re addicted to the sweet stuff? You’re not alone. Many people are addicted to sugar in some form or another, and it can be one of the hardest habits to break. The fact is it’s hard to give up (or at least cut down) on sugar in your diet because it tastes good. Plus it makes us feel good. Sugar actually has a temporary uplifting effect on your mood and energy level. But the truth is too much sugar in your diet can be considered an addiction. This addiction can block your efforts to lose weight, cut triglyceride levels, contribute to obesity, and even lead to adult onset diabetes.

There is hope. In spite of all these things you can successfully break a sugar addiction by following these simple steps:?

1. Babysteps.

Cut down on your sugar intake gradually. It’s easier on you than going “cold turkey.”  The World Health Organization suggests your daily intake of sugar should be less than ten percent of your total calories. This means if you eat 2,000 calories daily, you need less than twelve teaspoons of sugar. Cut down week by week. Add less sugar to your tea or coffee one week. The next week, drink bottled water instead of a soda. Eat whole grain bread rather than white bread the next week. Soon, you’ll find that sugar just doesn’t taste as good as it once did.

2. Substitute.

Keep plenty of healthy snacks handy so the first thing you go for when you’re cravings kick in isn’t your favorite candy bar.
Sugar in organic fruits such as an apple, a hand full of grapes, or an orange can be a great snack that will satisfy your sweet
tooth. You can also try some alternative sweeteners such as xylitol or stevia. Avoid chemically laden artificial sweeteners like Splenda.

3. Read.

Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar by reading labels. You might be shocked to find out what you’re eating that has hidden sugars. By eliminating hidden sugars you will go far in killing the cravings. If it’s not in your house, you won’t be tempted to eat it. Sugary cereals, white breads, soda, juices with high fructose corn syrup and even fat free sour cream all have sweeteners that should be avoided and can trigger addictive behaviors. Watch for words ending in -ose (fructose) in the ingredients. Ose equals sugar.

4. Moderation.

When you make something taboo it may only tempt you more. Instead focus on using sugar for special occasions and holidays. Focus on cutting down the amount in recipes and you may find that you enjoy them even more. For instance, Grandma’s Banana Bread Recipe: Try cutting the sugar by 1/4th, then 1/2 to see how it turns out. You might be surprised. Try substituting some of the sugar with honey or molasses for both a sweet effect and a nutrition boost.

5. Plan.

Put your focus on planning well balanced and nutritious meals rather than never eating sugar again. You’ll slowly stop craving sugar in a way that’s more natural than if you swear off of it altogether. We all have a right to enjoy birthday cake, chocolate covered strawberries, and the sweet things in life. Just make them special, not every day.

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