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Sweet Success – the quit sugar tool kit

I was so good at resisting the candy this weekend, at first, and then I broke down and totally dug into a snickers bar (or three). Now I’m thinking: what’s the trick to quit treats?

We know excess sugar feeds obesity and diabetes, and new research ties it to chronic inflammation (which has been linked to many diseases), lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) and higher LDL (the “bad” kind) – both risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day, and men no more than nine. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons a day!

How to reduce your sugar load? The initial breaking up is hard to do, but then you feel so good. Decide to do it for two weeks, that’s the amount of time it takes to wean our bodies off sweets and start reaping the benefits – like more energy, greater mental clarity, and better fitting clothes. Once your sugar consumption is under control, the occasional treat is fine. You don’t have to give up sugar forever, just keep your consumption in check and reduce your disease risk- sweet!

Here are four tricks to make it easy:

1. Protein – Combine lean protein (eggs, turkey, chicken breast) with healthy fats (found in fish, olive oil, and avocados) at every meal to satisfy hunger and stabilize blood sugar.

2. Water – Replace sugar bombs like soda, alcohol, bottled iced tea, flavored waters, and fruit drinks with unsweetened brewed teas and good old pure water.

3. Healthy Sweets – Keep fruit on hand for snacks: the natural sugar in berries, cherries, and melons can quell cravings while offering antioxidants and fiber. *Don’t substitute in artificial sweeteners like saccharin or aspartame – we don’t know the long term effects and many studies suggest they may increase weight gain and calorie consumption*

4. Meditation – Hearing sugar’s loud call? Close your eyes, breath deeply, and imagine walking away from a sweet toward something neutral. If all else fails, a quick stroll may help; it raises levels of feel-good serotonin.

“Treat treats as treats!”

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