5 Expert Tips for Cutting Back on Sugar
Let’s be candid: quitting sugar isn’t easy. Our brains are wired to crave more sugar each and every time we have a bite of something sweet. But with the right tactics, it’s possible to cut back on sugar. If you’re ready to kickstart your low-sugar lifestyle, make sure to incorporate these five tips.
Practice Mindful Eating
Sometimes we eat too much sugar because we’re simply not paying close enough attention. Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar, suggests that being more mindful of what you eat is a big step in the right direction.
Specifically, she told BBC’s Good Food, she practices chewing slowly, thinking more about what she eats and where she buys it, and avoiding eating out of habit. If you want to try to eat more mindfully, here’s a step-by-step guide to how to do it.
Eat Healthy Fats
Cutting sugar doesn’t mean going hungry! Another tip Wilson suggests is to make sure you have enough healthy fat in your diet when you give up sugar. Including avocados, olive oil, and cheese in meals helps you feel satiated, which makes you less likely to reach for sweets after a meal.
Watch Out for Hidden Sugars
Most people know to avoid sodas, ice cream, and cookies when they’re trying to kick a sugar habit, but sugar hides in unlikely places. Josh Axe, author of the new book Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones, and Reverse Disease, warns against foods marketed as healthy that actually have a high sugar content.
Specifically, he suggest steering clear of cereal, granola and protein bars, flavored yogurts, and dried fruit. You’ll never kick that sugar habit if you’re still eating these high-sugar foods! His recommendation: for breakfast, opt for eggs and veggies instead of pancakes.
Avoid Fake Sugar
Artificial sweeteners were created to give food a sweet taste, supposedly without the harmful effects of sugar. Unfortunately, we now know that eating fake sugars can still trigger the sugar cravings cycle. Nutritionist Lyndi Cohen writes on her blog The Nude Nutritionist that people who want to quit sugar need to retrain their taste buds by avoiding anything with a sweet flavor. This means giving up sugar substitutes like stevia, too.
Be Prepared With Healthy Snacks
Lastly, don’t quit sugar without a plan for dealing with hunger emergencies. Letting yourself get too hungry can cause you to reach for your favorite vending machine sweets. Dr. Mark Hyman, the medical director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, suggests packing healthy snacks any time you’ll be on the go. His favorites include nuts, nut butters, pumpkin seeds, and salmon jerky.