Understanding the impact that sugar is having on you health is a great first step towards improving your health. Reducing sugar in your diet will improve digestion, gut function, immune function and reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Two easy steps towards this goal is to cut out sugary beverages and candy and to read labels. Sugary drink including sport’s drink, fruit juices and pop are mostly made of sugar syrup and cause a surge in insulin production immediately after consumption. By eliminating these products out and replacing them with water you’ll be helping your body on many levels including keeping yourself hydrated and reducing the burden placed on your liver which has to detoxify all of this sugar, your immune system which has to protect you from all of this sugar and your mood which is highly influenced by your blood-sugar balance.
Once the sugary-drinks are out of the diet, begin reading labels to find hidden sugars in packaged foods. Check the portion size as it relates to the grams of sugar, then convert the grams of sugar to teaspoons for a visual and more accurate understanding of the quantity of sugar you’re consuming by dividing grams of sugar by 4. The answer will provide you with the number of teaspoons of sugar per serving size.
The next thing you can do to improve your relationship with sugar is to add foods to your diet that will balance out blood sugar and insulin. Ensure that every meal has protein, fat, complex carbohydrates and fibre to help keep you full longer and stop a surge of sugar hitting your system resulting in increased insulin production.
Fibre is often overlooked with the exception of it’s key role in maintaining healthy bowel function. But it’s important ion many ways. It keeps you full, supports detoxification through healthy digestion at every level throughout the gastrointestinal system, and reduces candida. Consume about 50 grams of fiber per day and increase water consumption to keep things moving and detoxification pathways open. Include things such as apples, pears, oranges, barrie(s), ground flaxseed, beans and vegetables in your diet every day.
Adding more protein to your diet will also help improve your relationship with sugar. Protein balances blood sugar by controlling the release of insulin. Protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks your body uses to make muscles, hormones, neurotransmitters and that help with healthy skin, hair, nails and bones. Your body can create some amino acids from components in your food, but there are 9 amino acids that are Essential Amino Acids. Your body cannot synthesize these and must get them from the diet. Reach for protein when you have a sugar craving as this will help curb sugar cravings for sweets by giving your body the kind of sustained energy it really needs. Include lean and clean sources of protein such as recommended daily servings of organic and free-run chicken, wild caught fish, organic eggs, chia seeds and quinoa in your diet every day.
It’s becoming a mantra as of late – fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats like avocado and olive oil reduce your appetite and stabilize blood sugar by slowing the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Fat is digested slowly and requires the action of your gallbladder. This slow process prevents a surge of insulin and your blood sugar doesn’t drop as a result which prevents cravings. As fat moves through your small intestine, it triggers satiety and tells your brain you’ve had enough to eat. Fat also keeps you fuller longer and helps improve the function of visually even cell in the body and your mitochondria.
For the times when you engage in baking and a cookie exchange, consider choosing recipes which use one of the following natural sweeteners instead of white sugar:
#1 Pure, Raw Local Honey
Contains- amino acids, electrolytes, antioxidants,
Its’ antimicrobial and anti parasitic
Reduces allergy symptoms
Contains more glucose than fructose (glucose is easier for you to digest than fructose)
High in fiber, potassium, vitamins and minerals
#3 Coconut Sugar
Especially good in baking, provides a 1:1 replacement in recipes for table sugar. High in potassium, non-GMO and easier to digest.
#4 100% Pure Canadian Maple Syrup
Contains minerals, antioxidants. The darker, the better. Low on the glycemic index.
Table sugar is 100 on the Glycemic Index. These four sweeteners are 50 on the GI.
Strategies~ what to do if sugar cravings hit
Even when you’ve implemented the above strategies, sugar craving may still happen from time to time during periods of stress, after an illness or if you’ve been experiencing poor sleep. When that happens think about some of the following strategies:
- Carry emergency food with you such as nuts or seeds and low GI fruit
- Ensure you’re eating protein, fat and fiber at every meal and snack
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day
- Take stress support supplements such as adrenal supplements
- Ensure you’re getting the sleep you need- usually 7-9 hours per night
- Take Epsom salt baths and magnesium supplements
- Learn new recipes that include healthier sweeteners
- Celebrate the new understanding you have of sugar’s influence on your health and reward yourself for changing your relationship with sugar by doing something you find fun and enriching.