Are you addicted to sweets and trying to quit sugar?
Do you love sweets like ice cream, boba, and chocolate? Do you look forward to dessert at the end of every meal?
You’re not the only one!
Millions of Americans love sugar, myself included. According to Healthline, the average American consumes about 20 teaspoons, or 80 g, of sugar a day. That is three times the recommended amount of sugar for adults.
Sugar can be found in just about everything. It’s not just in sweets and desserts like ice cream, cookies, and cake. Sugar sneaks into our diet through sneaky ways such as coffee creamer, fortified cereals, and salad dressings.
We go about drinking our coffee in the morning and eating a fresh, healthy salad at lunch without realizing how many grams of sugar are included. You would be surprised to find out how many grams of sugar are in a typical salad dressing; some contain up to 20 g of sugar. That’s almost as much as a can of soda!
Sugar has many detrimental health effects on us that we don’t realize. It can:
- Cause and exacerbate inflammation
- Lead to type two diabetes
- Cause excessive weight gain
- Lead to cavities
- Damage to nerve and blood vessels in the brain leads to memory loss and poor concentration
The list is endless.
If sugar is bad for you, then why do we crave it so much?
Humans love sugar because it sends quick releases of dopamine when we eat it. Dopamine is a natural chemical in our brain that makes us feel good. It makes us happy.
When we kiss someone we love, dopamine is released in our brains.
If we spend time with the people that we love, dopamine is released in our brains.
When we are watching a funny movie and laughing, we are releasing dopamine. It is our feel-good hormone and sugar helps to release it.
A hundred thousand years ago when we were cavemen and cavewomen humans searched out for sugar it was a commodity. It was rare and so we naturally searched for it and craved it. But now we don’t live like cavemen anymore. In this event society, food is plentiful and in abundance. There is so much sugar in everything that we eat.
Just like anything else, too much of one thing is bad for you.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you some tips and tricks to quit the sugar habit. I’ll be experimenting and trying these as well.
Get Prepared Mentally
If you’re addicted to sugar, it’s going to be hard to kick the habit. It’s like any other addiction, you just naturally reach for it, and sometimes you eat it, or go out of your way to get it without realizing it.
You need to prepare yourself mentally and stay determined to quit your sugar habit.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be hard and you’re probably going to get cranky. But you just have to remember that you’re doing this for yourself and your health.
If you have read many of my other posts about setting goals, you’ll know that I always start any challenging tasks with the right mindset. You really can’t do anything if you don’t have the right attitude. If you don’t have the mindset for it, when the going gets tough, you’re just gonna quit and go back to your old habits again.
You need to just make the decision that quitting sugar is something that you want to do, and do it. If you slip up a couple of times or make a couple of mistakes, that’s OK. You’re human. Just catch yourself before you go too far. Get back on the horse and keep going again.
You Might Get Cranky
I’m not gonna lie, you are probably going to get cranky quitting sugar.
Quitting sugar is like quitting any other habit. This requires a change from you. A change from something that you’re not used to.
You’re going to feel uncomfortable and you might get cranky.
Sugar is a mood booster. It helps to release quick surges of dopamine and it makes you feel good. That’s why people eat it and that’s why people become addicted to it because it makes them feel good.
So you’re gonna have to find something else to help you feel better when you get cranky and feel down. You’re gonna have to find some other creative outlet or something else to do when you’re not at a high point.
This might challenge you to think outside the box a little bit because instead of reaching for a chocolate chip cookie or a pint of ice cream, you’re gonna have to reach for something else.
What are you going to reach for?? That’s going to depend on you.
What brings you joy? Maybe coloring, reading, poetry, talking to friends, or doing a quick workout. There are so many other things that you can do other than reach for your sugar addiction. You just need to think about it and make it a point to reach for that instead of sugar.
Tell Someone About It
The first person I told about quitting my sugar habit was my husband. He doesn’t have as much of a sweet tooth as I do but he does eat sweets because of me. I told him that I wanted to quit eating a lot of sugar and he was very supportive of it.
I think it’s important to tell someone that you want to quit your sugar habit because it’s always good to have a cheerleader in the background, rooting you on and supporting you. They can help to keep you accountable and check in with you from time to time.
You can be honest with them and let them know if you slipped up or not. But the important thing is that you have someone rooting for you in your corner.
Get Rid Of All Of Your Sugary Snacks And Sugary Foods
This may sound drastic but this is a drastic change. And it’s going to help you.
It’s too challenging to leave sugary foods and ingredients in your home that have lots of sugar in them. It’s too easy for you to just grab something sweet when it’s conveniently there in your fridge.
Don’t make this harder on yourself than it already is. Just take out all of the bad stuff, throw it in the trash, or donate it. Bring it to the lunch room at your work and leave it in the break room for other people. Just don’t leave it at home where it’s too tempting for you.
It’s like someone who is trying to quit smoking and keep an extra pack of cigarettes with them in their car. It would be too easy for them to reach for their bag of cigarettes when they’re stressed out, driving, or in traffic. Just get rid of all of it and don’t tempt yourself.
Learn How To Read Food Labels
I mentioned earlier that sugar sneaks its way into many of our foods like coffee creamer, salad dressings, and everyday foods. It’s not just in our everyday sweets that we think of such as cookies, cakes, and ice cream. It’s everywhere.
Manufacturers know that adding an addictive ingredient like sugar into their products makes it tastier, more enjoyable to eat, and more difficult for consumers to put down.
Learn how to read the back of food labels to find out how many grams of sugar are added to a product: Choose products with the least amount of added sugars.
You can also learn the other names that sugar uses. Sugar also goes by many different names to stay hidden. Some of the other names that sugar goes by include:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
When you start learning to read labels and make it part of your shopping, it’ll become second nature and you’ll be surprised to find out how much sugar is in one serving of food.
Remember that the grams of sugar on the back of the package is for one serving in the box- not the whole package!!
Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Now that you’re kicking the sugar habit, you’re going to need to replace it with something else. Replace your sweets with healthier, wholesome alternatives.
You can opt for sugar snap peas, broccoli, hummus, beef jerky, cheese slices, or yogurt as a snacking alternative. But just replace it with a healthier, less sugary alternative.
Make this as easy as possible for you. Have some healthy snack options available for you so that it’s a no-brainer for you.
Just like someone who is quitting smoking- they’re going to have to replace that habit with something else such as chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy. People quitting smoking need to replace that oral fixation with something else. So you need to replace your sugar addiction with something else.
Track Your Sugar Intake
It can be difficult to know how much sugar you’re consuming if you don’t take note of it.
I recommend having a sugar journal or sugar log to help you keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming. It’s kind of like when people who are trying to lose weight keep track of their food intake, calories in, and calories out. It helps them be mindful of how much food they are consuming, portion sizes, and how many calories are in each portion.
You don’t need to keep track of your sugar intake for a long time. Just keep track of your sugar intake for a few days so that you become aware of how much sugar you’re consuming.
If you’re trying to quit sugar for a month, then reward yourself at the end of each week. Some ideas could be a trip to the movies, a new outfit, a new pair of shoes – anything to make it more fun for you.
The longer that you can go without eating sugar, the easier it will get with time. And then when you go back and you have a slice of cake or a bite of ice cream, it’s going to feel pretty overwhelming for you. Because you’ve gone for so long, without having any additive sugar, you might get a stomach ache from eating it again.
I’ve also attached a free printable to help you be aware of your sugar addiction. You can just write down how much sugar you think is in your food and hopefully, it will help keep you track as you try to quit sugar
Good luck! I’ll be doing this with you too.
Let me know in the comments below what are some of the things you’ve been struggling with as you quit sugar and when did it start to get easier for you.