You Need To Cut Down Sugar
Sugar is incredibly addictive – the more you have, the more you want. But with benefits of cutting out sugar including a better night's sleep, improved moods, weight loss and a happier, healthier body, it's time to stand up to sugar and gain back control. Here are my top tips to help you cut down on sugar:
Hide and seek
sugar is hidden EVERYWHERE. We often think of sugar as cakes, sweets, table sugar, but forget to think about the amount of sugar in things that we see as 'savoury' items.
Most worryingly are the items that are billed as 'healthy'. When things are described are 'low fat', sugar is almost always added to improve the taste after the fat is removed. Take a Starbucks Green Tea Matcha Latte; we know the benefits of green tea and matcha and so it would easy to think this might be a healthy drink, but this latte is packed with 32 grams of sugar – that’s the equivalent of drinking a full fat can of Coca-Cola.
To cut down on sugar we must first find out where it hiding, so always read the label. Rule of thumb is that if it comes in a bottle, carton (fruit juice is the worst), jar, can or packet and has a shelf life of more than 3 days then it’s probably got sugar in abundance. Aim to eat organic and fresh produce as much as possible.
Out of sight, out of mind
After work when you are at home feeling tired and a bit peckish, you will go into the kitchen and grab a quick snack, which is usually something unhealthy and sugary. When your kitchen is cleared of all the bad stuff, you simply don’t have that option and the desire is quickly curbed.
Rule of thumb is clearing out your naughty cupboard because we all know that when a craving really hits, no amount of reasoning can stop our hand reaching into that cookie jar. Instead, fill your fridge with healthy alternatives, such as vegetable crudites with hummus. And love Herbal tea - Liquorice and Cinnamon Tea because it tastes sweet and warming and feels like a treat without any of the guilt.
It is a lot easier to stick to something when it has a timeline. So, if you decide you want to see if you can give up sugar for a month, put a date in your diary a month from now so your subconscious can work towards that date. You can write a little diary to show how you feel each day, it only has to be a sentence but it will really help you to see your journey. It might say something like ‘today was hard but I feel really proud I succeeded’ or 'I woke up feeling amazing today because I slept so much better last night'.
Grab a book that is packed with information and useful tips in a lighthearted and relatable way to giving up sugar. When embarking on any life change it is always helful to hear about other people’s experiences and acquire as much knowledge as you can as you will find it really helps you to stick to your goal. By doing this basically you are trying to brainwash yourself with healthy knowledge.
Don't press the 'f*ck it' button
Sugar has such a strong emotional connection for most of us that giving it up or even cutting down can be incredibly difficult. As a kid, most of us were told that if we were good, we could have a treat (the treat nearly always being sweets or an ice cream). Those messages are ingrained into us at a young age and are not easy to undo. So, if you slip up, that is ok. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t press that ‘f*ck it’ button where 1 bar of chocolate turns into 15.
One of the main reasons we experience sugar cravings is because our blood glucose levels are not regulated. Magnesium is one supplement that aids this regulation and also helps to improve sleep. You can find magnesium supplements in almost all pharmacies and health shops. Cinnamon has also been found to lower blood glucose levels and curb cravings, and thanks to its sweet taste you will find it to be a really great way to help cut down on sugar.
As most sauces are filled with sugar, try making the most of your herb cupboard when cooking. Use an array of herbs and spice for seasoning, e.g. paprika, garlic, ginger and chilli.
Remember, this process is about loving yourself and nourishing your body, it’s not about depriving yourself or punishing yourself.