Are you addicted to sugar? If so, you aren’t alone. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average American consumes a whopping 89 teaspoons of sugar per day – about 3-4 times more than the recommended daily allowance.
Sugar adversely affects the body in a number of different ways. Because it causes blood sugar levels to go on a rollercoaster ride, it increases a person’s chance of developing diabetes, contributes to fat accumulation and subsequently obesity, promotes tooth decay and weakens your immune system.
#1) Ditch The Soda
You can’t expect to kick your sugar addiction without eliminating soda from your diet. Just a single 12-ounce can of cola contains 39 grams (4 grams to 1 teaspoon) of sugar which is already more than AHA’s recommended daily allowance. Several studies have found that drinking one soda per day can add up to 15 additional pounds to your weight! Switching from sodas to pure H2O can make a world of difference in your weight, health, and mental clarity. Rather than be wed to plastic bottled water which harms our environment, I recommend using water filters in the home. You can go simple with a faucet or pitcher filter all of the way to whole house filters.
#2) Sweeten With Stevia Instead
Let’s face it, some beverages require a little bit of sweetness to make them more palatable. Coffee, for instance, is a beverage that most people prefer to drink with added sugar. Rather than tossing a spoonful of sugar into your morning Joe, try using all-natural stevia instead. Purified stevia extract (from the Stevia rebaudiana plant) is 200-300 times sweeter than granulated sugar, so adding a very small amount should suffice. Herbal teas can also be a good substitute for the coffee itself.
#3) Enjoy an Occasional Piece of Fruit
The sugars found in fruit, known as fructose, are easier on the body than processed (aka refined) sugars. The next time you have a craving for something sweet, grab a piece of fruit to satisfy your cravings. You’ll still get the satisfaction of tasting something sweet, but it’s a milder form of sugar that’s easier for the body to digest and process.
#4) Stay Active
Staying active is another important step in kicking a sugar addiction. Whether it’s running, jogging, swimming, playing tennis, bicycling, etc., you should aim for a solid 30-45 minutes of exercise per day. This will keep your metabolism levels high, which in turn flushes the remaining sugar from your system in less time.
#5) Take a Chromium Supplement
Chromium picolinate supplements can prove to be highly effective at combating sugar addiction. Chromium regulates blood sugar levels and energy production, preventing sudden spikes in blood-glucose levels. In other words, it should ease some of the withdrawal symptoms of sugar addiction. Talk with your medical practitioner about starting a 200 mg per day regimen of chromium.
#6) Read Nutrition Labels
Learning to read nutrition labels can be quite revealing. Did you know that a cup of yogurt with fruit can contain up to 35-45 grams of sugar? That’s about 10 teaspoons of sugar in your so-called healthy yogurt! Instead, get plain yogurt and add fresh fruit like blueberries or bananas. Want another surprise? Check out how much sugar is in that tomato sauce or the spicy salsa you have been eating. Educate yourself to protect yourself.
#7) Become Familiar With The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index measures how much varying carbohydrate containing foods elevate blood sugar. It is very informative and can serve as a more detailed guide to making healthier food choices for yourself and your loved ones. Just google ‘glycemic index’ and you will find sites with printable guides.