9 Ways to Quit Sugar for Good
Here's a shocker: the average person takes in 22 teaspoons of sugar dailymore than three times the amount suggested by the American Heart Association. And although it has never been considered a health food, new evidence shows sugar can do even more damage than previously thought, setting you up for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. But weaning yourself off sugar can be daunting. It's tough to dodge because it hides in so many foods, and it provides an almost addictive buzz, thanks to a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine after it enters the body, says research neuroscientist Nicole Avena, PhD, author of Why Diets Fail (Because You're Addicted to Sugar) ($19; amazon.com). Still, slashing sugar is one food trend worth trying. Find out all about sugar rehab, plus tactics to make your commitment stick.
The dangers of sweet stuff
A 2013 study found that for every 150 calories of added sugar consumed in a populationthe equivalent of one can of sodadiabetes prevalence in the population went up 1.1%. Then there's the research tying sugar to heart disease. A 2014 study from JAMA: Internal Medicine found that the more added sugar a person took in, the higher their odds of dying of heart disease.
Don't forget about the way sugar plays with blood glucose levels, sending them surging, then crashingleaving you fatigued, brain fogged, and irritable, says Brittany Kohn, RD, a New York City nutritionist.
Cut this kind of sugar
Refined sugar is also added to countless food products during processing, from ketchup to bread to salad dressing to beef jerky. Manufacturers try to trick consumers by calling it cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or some other unfamiliar name, but they're all just fancy ways of saying sugar. Molasses, honey, and maple syrup are also added sugars, and though they're not always processed the way refined white sugar is, they have the same harmful effect, says Avena.
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Sweets you can eat
Artificial isn't the answer
Why do chemical sweeteners boost hunger? It's not clear, but it might have to do with the intensity of the sweetness in these products. Artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than natural sugar, and that can dull your taste buds to less intensely sweet foods such as fruit, ramping up cravings for high-sugarand high-caloriefoods, says Kohn.
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Don't go cold turkey
Give up sugary drinks
"Sweetened beverages or drinks made from fruit juice are like liquid sugar, and they add lots of calories without satisfying hunger," says Avena. She suggests substituting soda for seltzer, which has no added sugar and zero calories. As for fruit-flavored beverages and fruit juice, sub in fruit-infused bottled water or water with fresh fruit slices added to it.
REALTED: 13 Ways to Stop Drinking Soda for Good
Ditch simple-carb sweet treats
Suss out sugary restaurant food
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Ease off the table sugar
Designate a sweets drawer
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Pile protein and healthy fats onto your plate
A protein-fat breakfast will help you start the day off right. "Have a breakfast with protein and fat as the stars, like eggs and avocado, instead of the traditional starch and sugar combo, like a muffin or sweetened cereal," suggests Kohn.
Watch the video: 3 Surprising Protein Sources