A 2012 Gallup Poll discovered that the average American man weighs around 196 pounds, a 16 pound jump as compared to a similar poll done in 1990. Not surprisingly, a 2012 study found that an average American consumes 156 pounds of sugar in a single year.
Like you, I too found it difficult to believe this data. I don’t buy 13 pounds of sugar month after month or consume 3 pounds of sugar every week. In such a scenario, how could I possibly consume 80% of my body weight in sugar in a year alone?
Sugar Sugar Everywhere!
Do you love drinking sodas? Or, energy drinks after your workout? Like munching on candies, cakes, or cookies? Love a dollop of peanut butter on your white bread? Feel your burger is insipid without adding different types of processed sauces? All these foodstuffs contain sugar. If it is processed, then it most probably contains added sugar.
You know what shocked me the most? Sugar has zero nutritional value. Zero vitamins. Zero minerals. Zero fiber. What is more, sugar consumption increases risk of a wide range of lifestyle diseases and a wide range of serious ailments. It is easy to blame manufacturers of processed foods for adding sugar.
However, the sad truth is that we crave for sugar. We enjoy food only if it contains sugar. Sugar and other carbs cause the brain to release serotonin, which acts as a feel-good potion for the body. In simple words, we crave for the high that consumption of sugar and sugar-rich foods provide.
Six Ways to Bring Your Sugar Craving Under Control
Well, now that you have identified the problem, it is time to find a solution to your sugar cravings. Firstly, don’t expect miraculous results. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Don’t expect your body to give up without a fight. However, controlling your sugar intake is not impossible either. Just consider these six tips to prevent sugar cravings:
1. Kill Stress… Prevent Sugar Cravings
Our body is a dumb machine. Put it under stress and it will make you want to eat sugary stuff that will help the brain release feel-good hormones. Get rid of stress and your body will no longer have an excuse to crave for sugar. Sugar craving is merely a symptom.
Don’t focus on the symptom. Instead, focus on the trigger. Meditation, yoga, spending time with your kids, a walk in fresh air, dancing with your spouse—there are so many ways to minimize stress. Timely meals, a good night’s sleep, and a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in your efforts to prevent sugar cravings.
2. Say Goodbye to Sugar-Rich Foods
What is the first step of getting rid of an addiction? Throw the addictive substance out of your life. That’s right. Get rid of all high-sugar foodstuffs adorning your kitchen shelves. In 1822, an average American consumed just 9 grams of sugar per day. Today, we consume 153 grams. Don’t hesitate. Just dump sugar out of your life. Spend a week or two leading a zero-sugar life, and you will automatically understand the difference.
Once your sugar cravings are under control, you can start consuming cookies, cakes, and candies once again. Moderate consumption is fine. Just make sure you are open to reverting to a zero-sugar lifestyle to prevent sugar cravings.
3. Go Natural
Natural foodstuffs too contain sugar. However, this sugar is not artificial or processed. The latter type of sugar is manufactured specifically to make you crave for more. Chocolates, soft drinks, processed foods—the only way to prevent sugar cravings that these foodstuffs cause is to simply opt for a zero-consumption strategy.
Here is the mantra—if it isn’t natural, then it doesn’t go into my body. One pleasant side effect of such a strategy is that your calorie consumption will come down drastically. Be prepared to enjoy some good news the next time you check your weight. Good health, a slimming body, and a healthy mind—these are just a few consequences of your attempts to prevent sugar cravings.
4. Focus on the Most Important Meal of the Day
Sadly, the modern breakfast is filled with lots and lots of sugar. Instead of pancakes, cereal, juice, or other dishes, opt for a high-protein breakfast with soaked grains, green vegetables, and eggs. Stuffing the body with sugar the first thing in the morning sets the pattern for the entire day. Conversely, start healthy and you will find it easier to prevent sugar cravings.
5. Eat more Healthy Fats
As you probably know, saturated fats are good for your body while unsaturated fats are best avoided. Healthy fats, like sugar, provide quick energy to the body without the consequent spike in blood sugar levels. Give your body a break by including healthy fats in your daily diet.
A teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil is enough to take care of your body’s immediate needs. If you find the idea of drinking oil a bit yucky, then try avocados instead. A few nuts a day is a good option as well. Experiment with your diet, but make sure you don’t start consuming excess sugar again.
6. Workouts & Exercises—Ideal Foil for Sugar Cravings
Feel like gobbling something sugary and sweet? Hit the treadmill instead. Do a few push ups. Exercise. Stretch your muscles. Exercising can help your body enjoy the same feel-good feeling that sugary foods provide. Instead of relying on processed foods, train your body to enjoy exercises instead.
Have a few in-your-chair exercises to ensure you can prevent sugar cravings at work. Such an approach will help you improve your health, boost fitness, and enjoy faster weight loss.
You have been consuming excessive sugar all your life. Don’t expect the body to get rid of this habit in just a few days. Be prepared for the long haul. Be patient. Yet, don’t relax or think of giving up. Giving into your sugar craving is no different than giving into the desire to have a smoke or inject some drugs. Nothing good is going to come out of this weakness. Instead, be strong and prevent sugar cravings through a steady and disciplined approach.