We get it: you like your weekends to be filled with cocktails, your dinners to always be accompanied by dessert and you’re not opposed to having that occasional croughnut—or a delicious almond croissant from that corner bakery that you love— for breakfast. After all, who cares if the local bakers know your name? It’s proof that you support small businesses, right? But, if you sweet tooth is getting the best of you and you health is suffering as a result, or your skin is rebelling against your sugar intake with small clusters of blemishes, then it might be high time to curb your sugar habit.
Even if you aren’t a “sugar fiend” by definition, it is likely that your diet still consists of foods and beverages that are packed with sugar without your knowledge (think: orange juice, “natural” fruit chews, and countless other packaged foods you eat on the go.) If diet and breakout aren’t enough to convince you to slow your sugar intake, then maybe these recent finds will: recently, the British Journal of Sports Medicine referenced a study that found that too much sugar may lead to or trigger “brain disease, liver disease and breast cancer.” Nutritionist, Cherie Calbom asserts that, “the toxicity of excessive sugar consumption is well-documented, yet it’s so prevalent in our packaged foods that we may be digesting it without knowing it.” If you’re in need of a sugar detox, here are Calbom’s top 5 tips for cutting back.
1. Pick the right day to start.
A birthday or celebration dinner is not the best time to commit to a new diet. You’ll eventually develop the willpower to navigate through special events, but it’s not a good idea to start with an unusual challenge.
2. Go cold turkey.
Studies show sugar is as addictive as cocaine and heroin, so it’s not something you can ease into or pursue in half measures. If you eat a little less to gradually eliminate it from your diet, you’ll keep getting triggered into wanting more sweets. You have to completely let it go.
3. Scrutinize every label.
We are naturally inclined to crave sugar, which is why manufacturers try to smuggle it into their products. The only way to root out sugar in all its forms – soups, condiments, breads, etc. – is to read grocery labels carefully. The sooner sugar is mentioned, the more that’s in there.
4. Make emergency snack packs.
Whether shopping, traveling or at work, you don’t want to be caught hungry without a healthy option. Plummeting blood-sugar levels will make it that much harder to resist sugar-laden treats. Nuts and seeds, veggie sticks, turkey jerky and apples are among the healthy options.
5. Take time to de-stress.
Stress causes spikes in cortisol, a hormone that makes you irrationally hungry, leaving you susceptible to sugar-laden snacks. When stressed, take a long, deep breath in for five seconds, hold, and then let it out to a count of five. Deep breathing is said to activate your vagus nerve, which properly regulates metabolism.