| by Drew Middleton
Taming your sweet tooth is no easy task, but there are plenty of ways to beat your sugar cravings. We reveal 8 lifestyle and diet hacks which will help you quit sugar.
Let's be honest: we all gain a certain pleasure from eating sugary treats. So-called "sins" range from cakes to biscuits to chocolate to muffins to sweet pastries. All of these tasty mouthfuls are fine to enjoy in moderation; but when you do, it makes giving up sugar-rich foods and drinks even more of an impossible challenge when you're peckish.
But it's not impossible. In fact, it's much easier than you think to tweak your lifestyle in order to quit sugar...
We'll whiz you through a sugar science tour before revealing our top 8 tips to help you fight off those pesky sugar cravings you feel when the lunch bell rings...
Sugar affects the brain by triggering cravings, altering dopamine levels and influencing addictive eating behaviours. Ted Ed outlines this complex process perfectly.
The essential info? Sugar initiates pleasurable emotions and flavours which we treat as rewards and then ask ourselves "should I eat that again?" to which it's very hard to say "No!". It happens to the best of us.
So let's jump straight to the chase and ask ourselves: what changes can we make towards a sugar-free lifestyle? Here's 8 tips we know will point you in the right direction...
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#MealPrep: it's becoming the norm with everyone from fitness fanatics to city commuters who plan, cook and prepare their meals in advance to avoid bad or unhealthy food choices around lunchtime.
Prepping also offers the freedom to portion control what you're eating: if you consciously choose a well-balanced diet containing ingredients from the key food groups and avoid sugar-dense grub, you'll be bossing it in no time!
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Not all sugars are "bad" for your health. Naturally-occurring ones such as fructose (found in fruits) and lactose in cow's milk are better options than the white/brown highly refined sugars used for baking or table top pots.
Pick up an apple before your commute, lace your porridge oats with blueberries or keep a fruit bowl handy at home for snacks. You'll reap the benefits immediately.
Fizzy drinks and sodas are riddled with multiple teaspoons of sugar. The UK recently announced a Sugar Tax in the light of the risk they place on people's health, especially young children. The culprits for "most sugary drink" include ginger beer, colas and energy drinks which contain between 10-16g of sugar per can. Insane, right?
Stick with fresh, crisp, healthy and delicious H2O.
Nobody can quit sugar overnight. Like any addictive substance or drug, it takes time to steer clear of compulsion and not relapse.
By researching recipes which use a diverse range of healthy foods to fuel your food prep, gradually reduce the intake of sugar each week over the course of a few months and you'll begin to notice a dramatic reduction in cravings.
Try and read through this sentence without feeling hungry or licking your lips: strawberry cheescake, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon whirl, jam and cream slice, chocolate éclair, blueberry muffin, profiteroles, shortbread, jam doughnuts...
Even the sound of these treats can make your tummy rumble. Just remember, there are healthier options around such as unsalted nuts, fruits, beef jerky and pick-up salads.
If most (if not all) of your lunch boxes and home meals contain lean meats or proteins - think chicken breast, turkey, steak, eggs etc. - alongside vegetables full of healthy fats such as runner beans, avocados, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. you're already on the right path. If not, make the tasty switch.
Improved brain function, fat-burning and rich with antioxidants... What's not to love? Plus, caffeine boosts don't get any more beneficial. Put away those table top spoonfuls of granular sugar and opt for clean drinking instead.
Self-explanatory. If you feel those urges, hunger pans and cravings... stand up and move about. Go for jog in the morning, a walk at lunchtime, practice some yoga. You'll be seeking healthier goods afterwards - and that's a good thing indeed!
There you have it: a sugar-quitting tool kit. Get started today! #iquitsugar #iqs
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