You’ve probably heard how sugar, when overconsumed, can wreak havoc on the body. From obesity to candida, diabetes, acne, mood swings, and other more serious conditions, too much sugar prevents the body from functioning at full capacity and can create disease.
While we believe in the occasional indulgence here at Integrative Nutrition, moderation is key to whole-body health. If you find yourself consuming sweets several times a day and experiencing energy high’s and low’s, cravings, headaches, or skin breakouts, then it might be time to reduce your intake.
But don’t worry, reducing sugar doesn’t have to mean following a boring diet!
In fact, it begins with increasing your awareness about WHY you crave it. Ask yourself if you’re reaching for sugar for any of these reasons:
- Convenience when you’re hungry between meals
- Feeling fuller after an unsatisfying meal
- Rewarding yourself after challenges
- You just can’t not have sweets every day
If any of these ring true, then notice that the underlying cause of your sugar consumption is something that goes beyond simply what you eat. Things like planning, food prep, or bringing more awareness to healthy habits in general also play a role and that’s where a Health Coach can help!
To get you started, here are some ways to tame that sweet tooth.
1. Eat more complete meals at mealtime.
If you’re frequently reaching for snacks between meals, especially those that are high in sugar, then it’s likely you’re just not eating enough at meal times to stay fuller longer. A salad certainly makes a healthy lunch, but if that leaves you voracious by 3pm then that salad needs some fat and protein added to it! Foods like beans, olives, anchovies, or grains will help fill you up, which can reduce cravings between meals. Looking for some healthy and satisfying inspiration? Try these!
2. Always have a non-sugary healthy snack with you.
Things like nuts and seeds, carrot sticks, nori sheets, dried chickpeas, and even crackers and cheese are snacks that are sugar-free and delicious too. Make a plan to always have something like these snacks on hand when hunger strikes between meals, so you’re less likely to be tempted by sweet convenience foods. Always check your bag for a healthy snack before leaving home!
3. Try sugar-free desserts.
We’re living in the golden age of creative recipes, so simply typing “sugar-free desserts” in Google will likely produce a tremendous variety of options that you can explore to satisfy you without spiking your blood sugar. The more you can make treats for yourself, the more likely you are to see an improvement in your health without having to deprive yourself of the flavors you enjoy. Even if your recipes call for a little sugar, it will be far less than store-bought products!
4. Crowd it out.
One of our core concepts here at Integrative Nutrition is something we call “crowding out,” which prioritizes adding more healthy foods over avoiding the unhealthy ones. So get more hands-on with your diet in general, through cooking, shopping, and experimenting. When you start eating more of the good stuff, your palette and preferences begin to shift so everything else gets crowded out naturally with far less effort and deprivation. It’s a much more positive and empowering approach to wellness!
If you suspect that your sugar consumption is creating some truly unwanted effects in your health, then a great way to confirm if that’s the case is to try the elimination method with sugar. Try cutting all sugar temporarily, noticing any effects, and then reintroducing it slowly to reveal just how sugar affects YOUR unique body.
Have you ever tried quitting sugar? What was your experience like? Share in the comments below!