By Dr. Michael Wald, The Blood Detective
Director of Nutriton at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, P.C.
914-242-8844 (Ext. 1)
There are no miracle cures to stop sugar cravings, but there are effective strategies that will stop sugar cravings forever. All you need to do is consider my suggestions below, one by one, and choose those suggestions that work for you. Keep in mind, like all bad habits and addictions, beating sugar cravings is entirely possible with persistence and commitment. It will be necessary to change your thinking and translate your new goals into your life structure.
Life structure refers to literally changing the physical structure of your life so that you have the greatest chance of succeeding and stopping your sugar cravings and consumption forever. An example of changing the structure of your life would be not to have sugar-laden foods in your home; having your family become aware of your “sugar-busting” goals and to help keep you accountable for not giving in. In other words, you must give permission to those around you at home, at work and in all areas of your life to “call you” on your goals to end sugar cravings by reminding you of the reasons beyond your desire to stop eating refined and processed sugars. Without strong enough, heart-felt reasons to change your habits, you will likely not be successful in the long-term or truly ok with ending sugar cravings. There is a big difference between “positive thinking” your way out of a bad habit or into a positive habit, and developing a new way of thinking solidly grounded in new knowledge…and transformed thinking that sugar is REALLY, REALLY not healthy for you!
I would say, good luck to you, but luck has nothing whatsoever to do with success in anything in life. Luck is a word that implies that something may or may happen and is out of your essential control and actions. If you develop a new way of thinking about sugar, one routed in a core “knowing that sugar is truly dangerous for you and will potentially ruin the quality and quantity of your life.
So I will end by simply saying, good job on your future success kicking your sugar habit!
- According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes 22 tsp of sugar daily. That’s 88 grams of sugar per day. (4 grams of sugar equals one tsp).
- Stop cold turkey. Discontinuing any undesirable habit is almost always done suddenly; like stopping alcohol; if you are unwilling to stop cold, give yourself a set period of time to quit. Keep in mind that just “quitting cold turkey” is a strategy that often works!
- Clean up your diet: Add more protein as it replaces fat and refined sugars and increases your body’s production of the fat loss hormone glucagon.
- Start exercising – exercise helps to balance your blood sugar, improves your mood and stabilizes your appetite.
- Identify and manage your stress – stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, when produced too often (like when stressed) can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. Sugar also does this; Increased stress plus eating sugar speeds insulin resistance.
- If you must choose a sugary snack, eat it slowly; take little bites and focus on something else at the same time like reading a book.
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day to balance blood sugar.
- Take multivitamin and other nutrients such as chromium picolinate.
- DO NOT reward yourself with sugar for being good about avoiding it.
- Ask for those around you to help support your efforts.
- Load up on sleep – not enough sleep is correlated with obesity and poor food choices. Allocate at least 7 hours per night.
- Focus on foods lower on the glycemic index such as oatmeal and sweet potato.
- Drink water as it helps to reset your hunger center located in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus.
- Dilute fruit juices with water or avoid completely.
- Eat bananas slightly on the green side; all other fruits, except for grapes, are fine to eat lots of.
- Omega 6 fatty acids (i.e. refined vegetable oils) and sugar enhance inflammation in the body and promote disease.
- Do not keep sugary foods in the house.
- Chew your foods longer.
- Mix sugar stuff with healthy stuff like fruits and whole grain granola and remove sweets overtime.
- Consume sweets over the course of the day rather than all at once.
- Maple syrup, honey and molasses still “prime” your taste buds for sugar and can reinforce cravings.
- Emphasize proteins, natural fibers and healthy fats in your diet.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners: these sweeteners do not lessen cravings and have not positively affected obesity.
- Work on coping mechanisms; cravings for sugary foods and snacks are always either reactive or in response to an emotional stress and even depression.
- Exercise, read a book, distract yourself and do this each time you have a craving to retrain your nervous system.
- Cured meats have added sugar to enhance the flavor and color. Limit and/or avoid.
Sources of hidden sugar
- Almost half of the calories from commercial ketchup come from sugar.
- Before salmon is canned, it is often glazed with a sugar solution.
- Dry cereals often contain high amounts of sugar.
- More than 90 percent of the calories found in a can of cranberry sauce come from sugar.
- Most bouillon cubes contain sugar (and usually MSG as well).
- Peanut butter tends to contain sugar.
- Some fast-food restaurants sell poultry that has been injected with a sugar or honey solution.
- Some salt contains sugar! Seriously.
- Sugar (in the form of corn syrup and dehydrated molasses) is often added to hamburgers sold in restaurants to reduce meat shrinkage during cooking.
- Sugar is used in the processing of luncheon meats, bacon, and canned meats.
- The breading on most packaged and restaurant foods contain sugar.
- Cranberry sauce is about 90% sugar.
- One can of soda contains approximately 33 grams of sugar.
- Canned fruits in sugar are approximately 44 grams per cup.
- Fat free products such as fat free yogurt are approximately 47 grams per cup.
- A cup of bottled ice tea can contain 22 grams of sugar per serving.
- Reading the ingredients label on food and beverages can help identify added sugars. Names of added sugar on food labels include; beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar, corn sweeteners, corn syrup, dextrin, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, malt, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sugar, turbinado sugar, white sugar.
Go to: www.blooddetective.com for more information on nutrition and blood sugar control.
Dr. Michael Wald, DC, MD, CDN, MS, DACBN, CCN, CNS