Last week we talked about how nowadays sugar is everywhere. When you walk through the supermarket and take some random products, there’s a very large chance that there’s sugar in it. Once, sugar was only used to sweeten food or drinks, but that’s no longer the case. Not eating sugar is a really big struggle for me. Especially since it's in all of my favorite cheat snacks ;). But, I decided to eat clean, healthy and really decrease my sugar intake. In this article I will tell you all about sugar and give you tips on how to eat less of it.
What does sugar do to your brain?
When you eat sugar, your brains releases dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical which makes you feel really good. Your brain gets addicted to this feeling and tells you to take more sugar. Sugar stimulates the same part of the brain as several kinds of drugs. You can experience some real heavy withdrawal symptoms when you decrease your sugar intake. This proves that sugar does more to your body than you know. If you want to read more about how sugar affects your brain, read this article from Fit Girl Shelley or this article from Fit Girl Annegeke.
So how can you decrease your sugar intake? I’ve collected some great tips I want to share with you.
Taking enough sleep is one of the simplest and most important ways to decrease your hunger and cravings. Research shows that when you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases an appetite increasing hormone called ghrelin.
Replace sugar for other flavors
Experiment with some different flavors instead of sugar. For example:
Choose savory snacks
Savory snacks are better for your body than sweet ones, because these don’t have the same (addicting) effects. Some healthy examples include:
- Hummus with cucumber and bell pepper
- Carrot or celery with nut spread
- A boiled egg
Choose naturally sweet foods like fruit
There are a lot of fruits that are good for your digestion and for burning fat. For example:
- Berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and mulberries
Even products from which you don’t expect to contain sugar, contain it. (Such as crisps!) Sugar also has a lot of nicknames; here are some of them:
- Caster sugar
- Fructose syrup
- Brown sugar
- Glucose syrup
- Granulated sugar
- Cane sugar
Drink unsweetened drinks
No soda and ‘fruit juices’ of course; freshly pressed juice is good for you every now and then, but most juice packs contain loads of sugar. Also, try to drink your coffee and tea without sugar or spice up your water with some fruit or fresh herbs.
Cook with fresh products
Cook with pots and pans and fresh products. Prepacked products probably contain sugars and often too much salt as well. Go back to basics and create your meal from scratch.
Resist the sugar replacers
Some sweeteners are really bad for your body. It’s better to use natural sweeteners like stevia. On our website you can find plenty delicious recipes without using artificial sugar.
Check out the recipe of this fingerlickin' good cocochoco almond muffin!
Avoid sugar in your comfort food
If it is your cheatday, try to avoid eating everything sugary that comes along. It’s better for you to choose salty food instead of sugar or else you need to go cold turkey again when your cheatday is over. Believe me, you'll really notice some serious sugar cravings after a wild party with Ben & Jerry!
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? This rule means that 80% of the time you’ll track what you eat, 20% of the time you can eat what you want. You can compare this rule with having a cheatday every week.
Don’t go shopping for groceries when you’re hungry
When you’re hungry you will for sure buy all the bad foods you’re craving for. If you shop when you’re full, you can think more logically and will probably only buy what’s on your list ;-).
Do it together
Find a buddy who is willing to change their lifestyle together with you. It’s always nice to have someone who supports you in your Fit Journey. You can work out together and keep each other motivated.
Are you going to apply any of these tips onto your lifestyle? Or did you already cut back on artificial sugars? Share your tips & tricks with us!