Get the Skinny on our 31-day Swerve Sugar Detox Challenge: No added sugars for the month of January!
Why we crave sugar: Sugar (particularly when combined with fat) can trigger the release of feel-good hormones and stimulate the same areas of the brain that are also activated by addictive drugs.
Why sugar detox: Excess sugar is linked to an increase in belly fat and sharp energy crashes, plus it can accelerate signs of aging, including the fine lines and wrinkles.
A high sugar intake has also been shown to raise cholesterol and triglycerides, and is linked to obesity and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Upper limits for sugar: American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of of added sugar per day, and men not more than 37 grams of added sugar.
Sneaky sources of sugar: Check the label – other names for sugar: honey, turbinado, organic cane syrup, agave, coconut sugar, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup….
To help curb your cravings for the sweet stuff, try these six sugar slashing strategies:
Go cold turkey. Sugar causes a rapid rise then crash of blood sugar, insulin, and energy, leaving us looking for more sugar for a pick-me-up. Going cold turkey may seem extreme but that can be what it takes to get sugar cravings under control.
Watch out for sugar fake-outs. Even seemingly healthy foods can be loaded with sugar. Whole grain breakfast cereals, cartons of low-fat flavored yogurt, granola bars, 100% fruit juice, frozen yogurt, and many ‘diet’ products can be loaded with sugar.
Minimize artificial sweeteners. There’s a lot of debate about whether or not artificial sweeteners help or hinder weight loss efforts, but I’ve noticed that my clients who consume large amounts of these highly concentrated sweeteners seem to have trained their taste buds and brains to become acclimated to intensely super-sweet foods and drink.
Make an extra effort to incorporate protein (especially with breakfast and snacks). Getting enough protein at lunch and dinner usually isn’t a problem for most people, but many of us skimp on protein at breakfast and snack time. Incorporating enough protein – particularly at breakfast – can help to curb cravings, burn more calories, and consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Stay hydrated. One of the first signs of being even slightly dehydrated is fatigue, and when that sleepiness hits (think afternoon energy dip), it’s easy to turn to sugar for a quick pick-me-up.
Get enough sleep. Studies have consistently shown that a lack of sleep can negatively impact hormones that regulate our appetite and blood sugar levels – and most of us need about seven or eight hours a night.