If you’ve ever grooved to Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 hit, These Boots are Made for Walkin’, you have probably taken to heart the message to walk out on something (or someone!) that is hurting you.
This spring, put on your walkin’ boots, and break up with sugar.
The average North American consumes 26 teaspoons each day. This figure should scare you! The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new guideline which recommends that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake.
A further reduction to below 5 percent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits. Reducing to six teaspoons of sugar includes any refined, added sugar, as well as naturally occurring sugars.
Sugar has proven to be eight times more addictive than cocaine. This means that cutting back on sugar consumption will result in some obvious withdrawal symptoms.
Are you ready to start walking a new direction in your life, away from your sugar habit? Here are 5 steps to helping you kick your sugar addiction.
1.Quit cold turkey
Remember that sugar is proving to be the most addictive substance in the world!
To break you sugar addiction, it is best to go cold turkey for three weeks. You will likely experience some withdrawal symptoms (e.g. headaches, sugar cravings). You may find your cravings are most frequent during the three to five days after cutting out refined sugar.
After the three-week sugar detox, you can reintroduce sugar back into your diet for a maximum of six (6) teaspoons per day.
Avoid the foods in the list at right. Reintroducing sugar in moderation to the diet gives you the flexibility you need to enjoy an ice cream cone on a hot summer day or a crème brule at your favourite restaurant.
You may also find that some days you need no sugar, and that’s great. Moderation is always key to living a balanced and healthy life.
2.Rethink your drink and avoid liquid sugar
Liquid sugar is where most of us get our ‘discretionary’ or ‘empty’ calories. Sugar is hiding in the following beverages: flavour shots for coffee, pop, fruit juices from concentrate, chocolate milk, energy drinks, smart water, sports drinks, alcohol, and more! Instead, choose water, carbonated water, and caffeine-free herbal tea.
3.Avoid artificial sweeteners
Although artificial sweeteners don’t contain any sugar, they do increase insulin levels and have shown to contribute to weight gain. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals. They are known to poison the brain and contribute to cognitive decline (e.g. Dementia and Alzheimer’s).
Natural alternatives include Stevia and Xylitol.
4. Read your labels
When choosing convenience foods (e.g. cereal, snacks, crackers), make sure to read the label for total sugar content. Cross-reference this with how many times sugar is mentioned in the ingredient list.
You must check all foods that come packaged and have a label to read. You’ll be surprised how many foods have unexpected amounts of sugar. Remember four grams is equal to one teaspoon of sugar! Check the list of ways to say sugar at right for more information.
Start with inventorying what is currently in your pantry and fridge. When at the grocery store, critically consider whether you want to bring sugar-rich foods into your home.
5.Make sure your first meal of the day is high in protein
Eating a high-protein breakfast will help you stabilize your blood sugars and insulin at the start of your day. This means fewer sugar cravings and over eating later on.
People who eat a high-sugar breakfast are likely to eat 80 percent more throughout the day.
This spring, put on your walkin’ boots, and break up with sugar. You will find it results in plentiful health benefits and gives you more natural, sustainable energy levels.