Do you find yourself having a hard time resisting that last piece of jelly-filled donut or that last slice of pecan pie? Chances are you’re not the only one. Sweet, sugary foods are just too good to pass up.
But don’t blame yourself because we all have been hardwired to like sweets since birth. Add to that the endorphins that gives us that feel good, “high” feeling each time we eat sugar and we’re totally hooked. No wonder we love sugar so much.
The problem however is not when we give in and indulge a little. It’s when we over consume, especially when sugar is almost always added to processed foods to make them taste better, including breads, yogurt, granola bars, pasta sauce and salad dressings.
So how do you break your sugar habit? Follow these tips below to break free from the sweet pull of sugar.
Tip #1: Find a substitute.
People generally crave for sweets after a meal or as a pick me up in the afternoon. Try to have food alternatives that provide less refined sugar and more natural sugar instead. Go for dried fruits like raisins, naturally sweet fruits like mangoes, oranges and bananas, and natural fruit juices.
Tip #2: Take coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids or medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which are found in most plant sources, MCTs are transported directly to the liver to be used as energy. Hence, MCTs are not stored as fats and do not cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. It promotes thermogenesis, thus increasing the body’s metabolism and immediately killing sugar cravings.
Tip #3: Add vinegar to your diet.
Either apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar will do just fine. Vinegar slows down the breakdown of starch into sugar via its acid content. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which inhibits the action of amylase, the enzyme that converts starch into sugar. Vinegar also prevents sugar spikes after a meal, thus curbing sugar cravings for 2 to 3 hours.
Tip #4: Brighten up your dining room.
Use brighter bulbs in your dining room. Dim lights lower your inhibitions and make you feel good about eating. Exchange your dim bulbs with a 100-watt bulbs. Just make sure your light fixtures can handle them.
Tip #5: Make your every meal the blue plate special.
Research shows that the color blue suppresses appetite because it’s a color that’s not found in natural foods. Hence, our body has no appetite response to this color, unlike red, yellow or orange that makes us eat more.
Tip #6: Light a vanilla-scented candle.
Vanilla reduces sugar cravings just as you become desensitized to it when you’re exposed to its scent the entire day. Readers Digest coined as the Christmas Dinner Syndrome, where the person cooking the dinner doesn’t eat as much as their guests because they’ve been smelling food all day long.
Tip #7: Walk away.
When craving hits you, just walk away from the thing you’re craving for. Distract yourself by taking a walk around your block, playing with your kids or anything that will take your mind off the food that you’re craving.
Tip #8: Eat regularly.
Skipping meals or waiting too long before another meal can set you up to crave for sweet and fatty foods to cut your hunger. Eat your meals every 3 to 5 hours to stabilize your blood sugar and cut down your cravings. Choose a well-balanced meal that contains protein from lean meats, whole grains, healthy fats, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Tip #9: Give in a little.
Eat a bit of what you’re craving so you won’t feel deprived. Go ahead and have a little cookie, a mini candy bar, or a tiny piece of cake and then slowly savor every bite. Just make sure to maintain a 150-calorie limit on the sweets that you let yourself take.
Tip #10: Set daily goals and reward yourself for achieving it.
It’s hard to keep on track of a diet plan without an incentive is going to be difficult to keep. Plus long-term goals are just too far off to give you that much needed boost from time to time. So set short-term goals that are easily achievable, like going on for a day without sweets. And then reward yourself at the end of the week with a small slice of cake, a mini candy bar or pamper yourself with a manicure or massage.