When I was a kid, as soon as I had any money, it was spent on candy. I remember quite a few times in my teen years when I had bought a bunch of candy, ate it until I felt a bit sick, and then gathered up all the candy I had in my possession, marched downstairs with determination and told my mom to hide it because I was quitting sugar once and for all (yes, you read that correctly, I did this multiple times!). As amusing as this story is, it really goes to show the addicting quality of sugar.
Sugar is all around us, and it is really difficult to completely avoid (trust me, I’ve tried). It’s found in so many different foods, even foods you wouldn’t think could possibly include sugar as an ingredient. Sugar also has several names; some of the more common names you’ll find on food labels are sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, and glucose. For a longer list of sugar types, check out Types of Sugar By Name.
I have tended to joke about my sugar addiction, saying “Oh, I really shouldn’t” as I reach for just one more jellybean. In reality, sugar addiction, as with every other addiction, is no laughing matter. Over consumption of sugar has been associated with many different health concerns including diabetes, anxiety/panic attacks, tooth decay, depression and weight gain.
So, since most of us crave the sweet stuff, what are some things we can do to minimize the harmful effects of sugar? Here are three things that I have found helpful (please note that this list is a few things that I have found to be most beneficial in my battle with sugar addiction and are not the only things you can do to combat an unhealthy relationship with sugar):
- Drink a glass of water – According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, “most Americans are chronically dehydrated”. So, when you start to feel a sugar craving coming on, drink a glass of water. Most of the time, what I think is a craving for sugar is really my body telling me I’m getting dehydrated.
- Eat natural foods that have a sweet content – some naturally sweet foods are: fruit; sweet vegetables like carrots; dark chocolate (the darker the better, but only eat what your taste buds can take, if the chocolate is too bitter for you, it’s not going to help your sweet craving!)
- Distract yourself with movement – I find that I crave the most sugar if I’m sitting at the computer or on the couch. Try taking a walk, doing the dishes, vacuum your house or see how many jumping jacks you can do in a row. Do something active that you enjoy, and you may just find that your craving has disappeared.
The more effort you put into thinking about what you’re eating, and the more nutritionally beneficial foods you eat and water you drink, you’ll actually find yourself wanting less sugar. Give it a try, your body will thank you for it.
Want personalized support while learning how to combat your sugar cravings? Schedule your Breakthrough session to get started.
©2012 Katie Langenhoven, Abundawonderful Coaching and Crochet