By now, we're all aware that as far as your body is concerned, sugar is public enemy number one. Gone are the days when fat content was the only thing to be mindful of. From developing diabetes to increasing your stress and anxiety levels, there's not much in the way of goodness with these little white crystals, bar that initial satisfying hit that goes oh so well with a hot cup of tea. Damn you, sugar!
Though we know we'd be better off without it, cutting down on your sugar intake is no mean feat. If you're finding it incredibly hard to do, you're not alone. Though we might not look at sugar in the same way we'd look at smoking, for example, it can be a pretty addictive habit, so much so, you only realise how much you've trained your body to crave it when you try to go without it. Going cold turkey might be the swiftest way for most to do it, but for many others, gradually reducing your sugar intake will be more effective longterm.
Refined sugar pops up everywhere; from 'low fat', misleadingly 'healthy' snacks to the savoury sounding sandwich you munched on for lunch, it's pretty much a given with processed, western diet. Here, we round up our top tips and tricks for getting your sugar intake down.
1. If going cold turkey is too extreme, resulting in a sugar binge later that day, change your approach and perhaps just start with chocolate (or whatever you're most likely to dive on). Your body is really going to feel it when you suddenly cut off your sugar supply; you'll feel tired, cranky and God forbid anybody looks at you sideways. Take it in stages for a smoother transition.
2. Cutting out sweets, chocolate, cake, added sugars in teas and coffees and super sugary cocktails will make a huge difference on their own. Don't be too hard on yourself by expecting to avoid sugar in all of its guises; after all, a glass of red wine with dinner offers health benefits of its own, right? Simply cutting down on those 3pm slump treats will please your body.
2. If you can hack the cold turkey approach, your sugar cravings should subside within 5-7 days. Hang tough for at least one week, and you should find it gets a lot easier.
3. Drink water, lots of water. Research says that our minds and bodies can often confuse a yearning for water with a yearning for something sweet. Keep yourself hydrated to ensure these confused signals are kept to a minimum.
4. Rethink fats. Not all fats are bad. Healthy, unsaturated fats such as those found in salmon or avocados promise to balance your sugar levels and help keep you fuller for longer, let alone delivering their other respective health benefits.
5. Increase your protein intake. Especially in the morning. Eggs or a packed-with-protein smoothie (blueberries, banana, almond milk, egg white etc) will kick-start your body's metabolism first thing, keeping your sugar cravings at bay and, again, balancing out your blood sugar levels from the get go.
6. Get creative with your snacking. We adore sliced banana with peanut butter, and a little tub of frozen blueberries will genuinely be enjoyed as though they are sweets. For more,click here.