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Hands down, excess sugar is one of the worst things you can put in your body. In tiny doses, it’s perfectly fine. But most people consume far too much sugar. In fact, the average adult consumes around 77 grams of added sugar per day (1).
That’s more than 19 teaspoons of added sugar every day. And this average doesn’t even take naturally occurring sugars in food into account.
Studies have found that consuming too much sugar can predispose you to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, acne, cancer, depression, dysbiosis (gut bacteria imbalances), extreme fatigue, and even tooth decay (2, 3, 4).
And these issues are just scratching the surface. So, if you want to take care of your health and feel your best, eliminating sugar from your diet can make a huge difference.
The problem is, sugar is exceptionally addictive. Some experts and doctors even believe the addictive nature of sugar is comparable to drugs like cocaine (5).
Whether you believe it’s that extreme or not, eliminating sugar from your life is a tough endeavor. This post will give you the most effective tips to successfully adopt a low-sugar lifestyle.
When you feel full, you are much less likely to indulge in a sugary or carbohydrate-rich treat. That’s where healthy fats and protein come in. These foods are slowly digested and keep you sated for longer periods of time.
One study, for example, found that when people increased their protein intake by around 25%, it reduced food cravings by a whopping 60% (6). Dietary fat is also shown to reduce your appetite because it’s slowly digested and provides a significant amount of energy (7).
To help reduce cravings, turn to foods such as avocados, nuts, and seeds to boost your healthy fat and plant-based protein intake.
Ask any behavioral science expert and they’ll agree; your surroundings have a significant impact on your diet and lifestyle choices. Think of it this way…
Imagine you arrive at work and discover someone has placed a fresh doughnut or your favorite cookie right on top of your desk within your line of sight. What are the chances of you resisting that sweet treat for the entire day? Pretty slim, right?
Luckily, you can use this phenomenon to your advantage. You can “hack” your environment to improve your ability to resist sugary temptations by removing sugary foods and beverages from the equation. Ideally, keep them out of your household and don’t bring them to work.
Sugar is extremely addictive. A growing body of evidence suggests that taking hemp oil can help curb a wide variety of cravings. Researchers have found, for example, that smokers who supplemented with hemp oil had a significantly easier time smoking fewer cigarettes compared to people who didn’t take any hemp oil (8).
Preliminary research shows that heroin addicts who took hemp oil had an easier time managing their cravings (9). It’s theorized that hemp oil works by stimulating the production of dopamine in the brain—a neurotransmitter that increases motivation, promotes healthy decision making, and elevates your mood (10).
Broad spectrum hemp oil has a variety of benefits, and helping to curb sugar intake may be another one to add to the list.
While this tip is simple, it’s an excellent strategy to ease sugar cravings on the spot. That’s because a desire to eat, or what we think of as “hunger” can actually be a sign that we’re thirsty (11).
Research shows that drinking water before eating can help to reduce cravings and increase feelings of being full, leading to weight loss (12). By drinking more water, especially before you turn to a sugary snack, you can reduce your cravings and make it less likely you need a sugar fix.
It’s important to be aware of foods and beverages with excessive sugar. Always read the nutrition facts before consuming foods as it will tell you exactly how many grams of sugar are in food or beverages, and starting in 2020, these labels will also specify the amount of added sugar.
Ideally, to get the benefits of a low-sugar diet, you should avoid going over 25 grams of added sugar per day. Common foods with the most sugar include:
Just be sure to pay close attention to the serving size being listed. Many brands will show deceptively small serving sizes to trick you into thinking there’s not much sugar in the product.
When was the last time you splurged on a sweet treat despite your best intentions? More often than not, these momentary lapses of willpower are caused by one single thing: stress.
Research has found that when you’re stressed, you’re much more likely to reach for sugary or high fat comfort foods (13). According to Harvard Medical School, comfort foods can provide temporary relief from stress. The problem is, this isn’t a healthy coping mechanism.
When you’re tired from a lack of quality sleep, it can have a surprising impact on your food choices. One study that followed more than 18,000 adults found that sleep deprivation makes people much more likely to consume sugar-sweetened drinks (14). Even worse, there’s also evidence that increased sugar consumption can cause sleep deprivation (15).
Given how sleep and sugar intake interact with one another, they can quickly cause you to become hardwired for sugar. By improving the quality of your sleep, you can likely increase your ability to resist sugary comfort foods. But getting a good night’s rest can be more complicated than you may think. Follow this science-based guide to get the best sleep of your life.
Since excess added sugar is so detrimental to your health, having strategies to reduce your sugar intake makes sense. By taking steps that include eating plant-based protein, drinking more water, managing stress and getting quality sleep, you can experience better health, sustained energy, and even lose some weight.