The new year has arrived and suddenly everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions are in full swing! One of the biggest resolutions that people have at the beginning of each year is to get healthier, and more specifically lose weight.
The most recent research shows that fat is not the enemy in reaching weight loss goals, it’s our addiction to sugar that is causing the problem. It is pretty straightforward to say “no” to cookies and other sweets, but once you start diving into all of the hidden sugars in beverages, sauces, and other everyday foods, you may realize that tackling the sugar problem will mean a big change in how you eat.
Luckily, eating well is all about laying a foundation of good habits. After a little time and practice, the habit of eating healthier just becomes a way of life. A great step forward is beginning with cutting sugar out of your diet, and here’s how to do it!
Tips for How to Quit Sugar | Cutting Sugar Out of Your Diet
Reduce, remove, replace.
Wean yourself off sugar by cutting those two spoonfuls of sugar in your coffee down to one. Only allow yourself a breakfast pastry twice a week, rather than every morning. If you enjoy juice, gradually begin cutting it with some water. Eventually work your way up with baby steps to removing those sugary additions all together. When you have a craving, quell it with a piece of sugar-free gum or a glass of True Lemonade Drink Mix.
Remember: drinks contain sugar too!
We aren’t just talking about soda either. Sports drinks, cocktail mixers, and fruit juices contain a lot of sugar. On top of that, alcoholic beverages (whether mixed or not) convert to sugar in the body, so reducing your alcohol intake will help with sugar balance as well as lowering your overall calorie intake. It’s a win-win!
Keep an eye out for sneaky sugars.
Once you’ve figured out how to remove direct sugar from your diet, really get into the nitty-gritty by being diligent about reading all of your food labels. It is surprising how many foods, sauces, and dressings contain added sugars, so keep an eye out for those sneaky additions.
Look out for “health” foods.
Now that you’re getting better at reading reading your labels, turn over those packages of your so-called “health” foods. Pre-made smoothies, fruit yogurt, granola and granola bars, whole grain cereals, kombucha tea - all are guilty of containing added sugars. Just because a product seems healthy, doesn’t mean it is free of sugar.
Swap one craving for another.
If you love having something sweet at the end of a meal, try replacing that sweet treat with a healthier alternative. Trade out chocolate for sweet-tasting snacks, such as cashews or macadamia nuts. Instead of grabbing a handful of cookies make a cup of herbal tea, or decaf coffee. This way you will feel satisfied and more likely to reach for the sweet-swap in the future.
Although during the first few days you may feel the jitters from sugar withdrawal, it does get much easier over time. Once you start adding a little bit of natural sugar here and there back into your diet, you’ll realize you need much less to enjoy the sweet flavor. On top of that, you’ll be a big step closer to reaching your health and weight loss goals!
[Credit: Perreault, Abbey. “10 Tips From a Celebrity Nutritionist to Help You Stop Eating Sugar for Good.” Greatist.]