Excess sugar consumption from processed products such as soda, fruit juice, baked goods, candies, and desserts, results in high insulin levels, increased body fat, increased inflammation, hormone imbalances and chronic diseases. Sugar is extremely addictive and once you get into the sugar eating cycle, it’s hard to break. The good news is, you can follow these simple steps to strip sugar from your daily diet to achieve your weight loss goals while reducing cravings and improving overall health.
1. Drink More Water
Not only does water support your health, it also prevents you from drinking sugary, processed beverages such as soda, juice, sports drinks, or chocolate milk. Hydrate by drinking a large glass of water upon waking and 30 minutes before each meal. Pack a reusable bottle to hydrate on the go. Add variety to H2O with cooling cucumber slices, zesty citrus wedges, spicy grated ginger or fresh mint leaves.
2. Use Smarter Sweeteners
Avoid artificial and refined sweeteners by choosing smarter sweeteners, such as cinnamon and stevia. Go without sweeteners as much as you can to help retune your taste buds, so less sweeteners are desired.
3. Eat Whole Foods
Choose whole foods over processed products. Whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, poultry, fish, and seafood. are high in nutrients. Processed products such as crackers, chips, candy, cookies, snack bars, pretzels, and 100-calorie packs. The less processed or refined a food is, the better.
4. Read Food Labels
Processed products contain around 40 different types of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners! Take a moment to read the ingredients listed and you’ll save yourself from loads of excess sugar. Look for minimal ingredients, whole foods, zero artificial ingredients, and less than 4 grams of refined sugars per serving. Avoid “low-fat,” “fat-free,” “low-calorie,” and “sugar-free.”
5. Enjoy Balanced Meals
Include high-quality protein, natural fat and lots of vegetables at every meal, especially breakfast. Enjoying a balanced breakfast is a great way to set the tone for a healthy day and can reduce sugar cravings.
6. Select Smarter Snacks
Healthy snacks can help prevent you from overeating at your next meal. Although most people grab a granola bar, pretzels or something out of a vending machine, those insulin-spiking processed products can actually leave you hungrier than before. Make better snack choices by packing balanced snacks or “mini meals” filled with natural, whole foods.
7. Start With Protein
Start each meal with protein to improve digestion, provide high satiation and reduce cravings. Enjoy at least 25 grams of protein at the beginning of each meal, especially breakfast.
8. Befriend Natural Fats
Natural fats are your best friend for kicking sugar cravings to the curb. Eating good fat stimulates the release of leptin, a hunger hormone that tells your brain when you’re “full.” This is why fat is highly satiating, helps prevent overeating, reduces cravings and keeps you full long after you eat.
9. Plan To Cheat
Being healthy is not about being deprived, it’s about nourishing your body, mind, and spirit. However, avoid indulging without a plan as it can be dangerous to your health and disastrous to your progress. Instead, select either one day or two meals per week to “cheat” and indulge in whatever you want.
10. Reduce Stress Levels
Prevent sugary stress-eating and reduce stress by planning daily relaxation such as yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, journaling (gratitude), nature walks, lavender baths, or anything else you enjoy.