It’s not as easy to cut down on the sugar as you think. In fact, it’s almost as hard as quitting smoking and withdrawing from drugs. Please don’t think I’m making light of drug addiction, I’m not. James DiNicolantonio, from the Department of Preventive Cardiology, Saint Luke’s Mid American Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO and Sean Lucan, Department of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, state that not only is sugar highly addictive, it’s in everything. They even note that salt may be getting a bum rap and sugar is the real culprit in high blood pressure.
Spend your time reading labels, better yet, eat whole foods.
Of course, you can kick the sugar habit cold turkey or just switch off processed foods and the sugar they contain, switching instead to natural forms of sugar in fruit. There are several road blocks to avoid in your quest to overcome sugar. Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep can make those sugar cravings worse and lower your serotonin level that leads to sugar hunger. Drinking adequate water can eliminate dehydration that’s often mistaken for sugar cravings. Eat more frequently. Rather than three meals a day, make it six. It helps stabilize blood sugar.
Go for naturally sweet fruit.
Lychees are one of the sweetest fruits around and packed with vitamins, particularly vitamin C. It will quench your hunger for sweets quickly. Mangos are super sweet and definitely will satisfy your sugar hunger. I recently ate a mango chutney made with tomatoes, cilantro, mango, fresh pineapple and a bit of vinegar. It was sweet and fabulous. It also was a great dessert that was healthy, while cutting down on my desire for sugar. Figs have as much sugar as a candy bar, but they also contain other nutrients. Fresh figs with cashew cream will satisfy that urge for a sweet treat.
Other sweet fruit treats to consider.
For one of the best treats that stops my sugar cravings in its tracks, I turn to sweet grapes and Havarti cheese. It only takes a handful of grapes and one slice of cheese to make me feel like I’ve had a delicious rich dessert. Another simple to make but satisfying treat is segmented and peels grapefruit, oranges and a few seeded black cherries. You’ll get the sugar with extra benefits.
- At first, when you’re giving up sugar, you may want to eat fruit more often. While too much high sugar fruit isn’t good for dieting, if it helps you break the processed sugar habit, it’s worth it.
- Try substituting Stevia for sugar. It’s 300 times sweeter than sugar but with zero calories.
- Be aware of hidden sugar in some nut butters. A whole food store that grinds the butter for you from the nuts is the best option. For sweetness, nothing can beat cashews. Put some on an apple and you’re ready for a treat that will satisfy your urge for sugar.
- Eat more fermented foods and drink while kicking the sugar habit. Coconut kefir, cultured vegetables, homemade sauerkraut and natto or other fermented foods can help you kick the sugar habit quickly.