Health and Wellness Coach Annabelle Matson looks in to the huge sugar problem facing today’s society and gives us some tools on how we can kick the habit.
Overconsumption of refined and processed sugar has become a huge problem in Western society. An average Western diet contains around 40 teaspoons of sugar per day. The World Health Organisation recommends between 6 -8 teaspoons. Studies show that the overconsumption of sugar contributes to many health concerns such as tooth decay, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and obesity.
If you are currently consuming a lot of processed and packaged foods, removing sugar from your diet can seem like a really big undertaking, but don’t be disheartened! Making the decision to kick the sugar habit is the first step to detoxing and living a healthier life. The improvements to your health and life will be incredible and across the board.
Many people report that after removing sugar from their diet they experience weight loss, younger looking skin, reduced feelings of anxiety and stress, endless energy, improvements to conditions like autoimmune diseases and hormonal problems, increased focus and much more.
6 Simple steps to becoming Sugar-Free:
1. Eat Real Food
Sugar is not only found in obvious places like fizzy drinks and lollies, but also a lot of foods that market themselves as being healthy or “natural”. The best way to reduce or eliminate sugar is to avoid processed and packaged foods. Just eat real, whole food in the least processed state as possible and use these ingredients as the basis for your meals and recipes. You can still get a sweet taste using natural sweeteners in moderation, but just focus on going back to the basics of eating real, whole food.
2. Fight Sugar With Fat
Fat is not your enemy! Good quality fats make you feel full and reduce cravings for things like sugar and refined carbs. Along with protein, be sure to include good fats at every meal and snack. Some good options include nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and omega 3 fats from fish.
3. Fill up on proteins
Eat protein at every meal, especially breakfast. This is the key to balancing blood sugar levels, insulin and ridding yourself of cravings. Start the day with an omelet and veggies, or a powerhouse breakfast bowl with soaked oats and mixed nuts & seeds. Good quality protein sources include nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken and red meat.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep drives up sugar and carb cravings by affecting appetite hormones. It makes sense, because you want more energy if you don’t sleep so you are drawn to quickly absorbed sugars to provide this. Aim for 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night.
5. Don’t Drink Your Sugar
Cut out sodas and fizzy drinks – this includes the “diet” variety too as they contain harmful artificial sweeteners. This alone would have a huge impact on your health. Choose healthy hydrating options instead. My recommendation is to pour yourself a glass of sparkling water and add a slice of lemon. You will still get the “fizz”, minus the sugar. Another option is to make your own vitamin-infused water using ½ litre of water, a half cup of berries, a sliced lemon and mint leaves. Let it sit in your fridge for a few hours before drinking.
6. Nourish Yourself
From the day we are born we associate sweetness with safety and comfort. Mother’s milk and formula are incredibly sweet, so it is natural that we often resort to sweet food when we are feeling stressed or anxious. When you are craving sugar, think about how else you could nourish yourself – take a bath, prepare a nutritious meal, take a walk or give yourself a massage.