How to give up sugar in 5 easy steps

Sugar isn’t natural. Sugar isn’t good for health. Sugar causes problems – heart disease, obesity, diabetes among other things. Clearly sugar is no health food. Sugar isn’t necessary. Why then is it *SO* hard to give the damn thing up? It’s because it causes a deficit in our brains which triggers a panic reaction which in turn leads us to consume more sugar. Did you know that the average adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar every.single.day? But the health benefits of quitting sugar far outweigh any reason to consume it. Here are some simple steps to try in your journey to giving up sugar –

  • Cut out the beverages – At 16 calories per tea spoon, sugar seems innocuous. Nutritionally though, processed sugar is a big fat zero. The main issue is the hidden sugar in most foods. Juices, sodas, you name it – sugar is hiding in most places. Cutting sugar means cutting out all your sources of it, not just the places you add it to – your coffees and teas. The main step it to replace all these beverages with water if you can’t so sugar-free versions of them.
  • Cut out the sugary junk – Cakes, cookies, candy bars – rid your entire pantry of all these sugar bombs. Opt for fresh foods and sugar-free savoury breakfasts. Dosas, idlis, upma in favour of travel granolas or sugary cereals. When you crave sugar, opt for fruits. At least they keep your glycaemic index from exploding.

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  • Cut out the simple carbs – If you’ve gone about step 1&2 gradually, you have successfully eliminated most of the temptation from your diet. You’ve probably halved your sugar dependence. Now you need to go all the way. Carbs are converted to sugar when they’re digested. Start slow and make a list of refined carbs you consume – rice, pasta, bread, biscuits, etc. Slowly reduce them in your diet. You can start by replacing the white versions of these foods with brown and then eventually cutting down portion size even if you can’t cut it out completely.
  • Read labels on EVERYTHING – Most of the problem is the hidden sugars in things you simply don’t suspect. The only way to go about eliminating this from your diet is to read labels. Salad dressings, sauces and packaged foods are notorious for stashing a day’s worth of sugar in a single serving.
  • Stick to your guns – As much as you can anyway! If you crave something, have a small serving of it. It’s better than not having it and then bingeing on something else and totally killing your resolve. Be realistic about your goals and don’t be too hard on yourself for slipping up a few times.

It certainly takes practice and resolve. There might be times when your brain gives you withdrawal headaches. Try painkillers to get you through the tough couple of days. It’s totally worth it.

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