sugar

Sugar is a type of poison with negative effects on the human body that are both widespread and well known. Unfortunately, it tastes so good, so much so that many people struggle saying no to the sweet stuff – and savor saying yes!

Our ancestors didn’t have to worry about their bodies breaking down as they grew into old age; all they had to worry about was surviving the day they were living, and sugary substances are ideal for delivering instant calories and energy. Our bodies evolved to survive the day – yet with the increased lifespan of modern times, our brains must counter the forceful evolutionary urges that say: Eat it! Now! Eat More!

You can cut down on sugar, and you don’t have to give up chocolate cake to do so. Sugar is insidious and can be found in a surprising number of groceries, from salad dressing to pasta sauce, so cutting down on your intake can be as easy as becoming more aware of what you’re putting into your body.

Follow these tips to easily cut down on your sugar intake, so that you can splurge on the sweet treats that you truly desire instead of brainlessly imbibing sugar with every bite you take.

Read labels. Sugar likes to masquerade under many aliases: lactose, fructose, glucose, dextrose and maltodextrin. Many savory foods such as sauces, breads and dressings contain sugar; read labels to be aware of the spots where sugar is sneaking into your diet.

Avoid processed foods. Processing foods makes them lose their natural flavors, and grocery manufacturers add back in fat, sodium and sugar to make up for it. Make your own sauces, breads and salad dressings to avoid the added sugars of processed foods.

Retrain your brain. When it comes to beverages like coffee or hot tea, do you automatically dump in three teaspoons of sugar and a dollop of dairy because that’s what you’ve always done? Perhaps your palate has grown up. Try your drinks without the added sweets for two weeks, and you will most likely not return to your sugar-fiend ways.

Know your weaknesses and keep them out of your kitchen. Eating sugar often doesn’t quench the desire for sweets – instead it actually causes you to crave even more. If you love to load up on orange soda or eat bowl after bowl of chocolate ice cream, limit these items in your household. Buy one can of orange soda and enjoy every sip, or order one delicious ice cream cone while you’re out and savor every lick. This is one time where buying in bulk won’t do you any favors.

Eat fruit! If you have a sweet tooth, it’s likely that you love fruit. Indulge this healthy habit by keeping a range of fresh fruits on hand to enjoy. Try fruit salad for a sweet and satisfying dessert.

Banish the cookie or candy jar. Don’t make sugary snacks easy to access, and certainly don’t put them within arm’s reach of your workspace. Forget the counter, and put those cookies on the highest shelf of your pantry. You will eat less, guaranteed.

Find healthy stimulation. If you crave stimulation, sugar will do the trick – right before it drops you into an energy crash. Learn to recognize emotional eating and replace it with healthy stimulation: dance, go for a walk, paint a picture or ride your bike.

Image: Jeanny Schmidt