It’s official: sugar is your diet’s worst enemy. The refined stuff has been shown to increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and obesity, and it prematurely ages you as well. The problem: sugar is highly addictive; once you start a daily sugar fix, your brain finds it hard to resist all the candy, cupcakes, and doughnuts all the time. The solution: cleaning out your diet in order to get over your sugar addiction and retrain your taste buds to not crave the sweet stuff. Try these strategies this month and feel fresher and lighter just in time for the heart of Spring.
- Cut out soda: Try to eliminate it entirely with this 28-day soda quitting plan, but if you feel like this is too drastic, start with a different goal, like only having one soda a week.Choose complex carbs: Refined carbs like white bread, white rice, and pasta have the same effect in your body as a dose of white sugar, and they often contain a high amount of hidden sugar as well. Choose whole grains over refined to help stop the sugar rush.Read labels: Added sugars are everywhere. Your best bet is to forgo junk and processed foods as much as you can, but if you ever reach for a packaged product, be sure and check the label for one of these hidden sugar ingredients. If you see them, try to steer clear or limit how much you eat of the food.Opt for fruit: When you’re craving something sweet, make the smarter choice. Fruit contains fiber, which helps slow down your body’s processing of sugar so you avoid the spike.Sweeten with spice: Opt for cinnamon or vanilla in your coffee ¡ª they help sweeten your drink without the sugar.Drink more water: It’s always a good idea to hydrate, and drinking water when cravings hit can help you forget about them.Nix the artificial sweeteners: You may think replacing sugar with zero-calorie stuff will help, but it actually may make you crave the real stuff even more.Move more: Exercise is a great way to flush out your system and shake off that sluggish feeling. Try and get 30 minutes of exercise a day to detox and feel better.Go easy on condiments: Store-bought dressings and sauces like ketchup tend to be very high in added sugars. Try making a low-sugar homemade dressing or opting for hot sauce to flavor your meals instead of sugary sauces.Don’t let yourself get too hungry: When you’re ravenous, your favorite indulgence seems like the easiest option. Eat well-timed meals that are full of lean protein, fresh veggies, and fiber so that you set yourself up for success, no matter how many treats are calling your name.
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