No matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to quit the sweet stuff. In fact, the average American consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day, making the U.S. the most sugar-obsessed country in the world.
When your brain experiences sugar, it’s love at first sight. That spark is due to dopamine — also known as the “reward chemical.” Sugar fuels dopamine, which causes your brain to light up and literally crave more.
You don’t have to shut sugar out of your life completely. It is important, however, to regulate your intake.
You can still be friends! Soften the blow with 3 smart sugar strategies:
• You can do so much better…read the ingredients.
Take extra time at the grocery store to read product labels. Unfortunately, sugar doesn’t go by one name. There are 56 different names for the sweet stuff! Use this list at your next supermarket stop.
It’s important to remember nearly all foods contain some sort of sugar — even ones that don’t taste sweet. When in doubt, consume fruits and veggies containing natural sugar. Added sugars don’t deserve you.
• Everything happens for a reason…including sugar cravings.
Think before you eat. When’s the last time you drank water? A dip in energy often signals dehydration. And dehydration causes you to think you need to eat when all you really need is H2O. So before you reach for a sugary snack, let your thirst tell your hunger, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
• See what else is out there…explore natural sugar alternatives.
Try switching from processed or packaged foods altogether and opt for fresh foods, like fruit, that contain natural sugars instead. But we understand it’s just easier sometimes to buy something pre-prepared, and what do you use for baking?
Avoid using white sugar or buying foods containing highly refined sugars (like high-fructose corn syrup). Refined sugars have gone through a chemical process that removes the sugar’s natural minerals and nutrients to give it a longer shelf life, but has the opposite effect on YOUR life – and the life of your teeth. Instead, opt for natural, unrefined sugars like local, raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut palm sugar or stevia leaf extract. You can enjoy these natural sugars in moderation without worrying about any long-term negative effects on your health.
Challenge yourself! Cut ties with excessive sugar consumption and you’ll be better off in the long run.
We want to hear your sugar strategies — How do you control your cravings?