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Obession with Sugar Can Get Us Killed, Here’s How I Curbed My Sweet Tooth

Obession with Sugar Can Get Us Killed, Here’s How I Curbed My Sweet Tooth

When we feel stressed or sad, the first thing that pops up in our minds is the tempting sugary food. The pleasure brought by it is just soooo incomparable. From child to adult and to elderly, very few of us really hate the taste of sweetness. We’re born to like sugar.

But we also know how bad it can be when we consume much sugar.

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many more serious health issues are the possible results of consuming too much sugar. All of these increase our risk of dying.

And here’s the shocking fact: the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar daily, which is more than two times the amount suggested by the American Heart Association.[1] Perhaps it’s one of the reasons why obesity rates see startling increase over the past few decades.

It’s time to do a sugar detox before it’s too late.

Not All the Sugars Are Your Friends…

Sugar is everywhere. But it exists in different forms. Some are inevitable while some are not.

If you have ever studied some science in high school, you would know that sugar comes in at least three major forms: simple sugar, double sugar, and carbohydrate. Sometimes they exist in foods naturally: bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit, milk, and so on. So it’s quite impossible to avoid the intake of sugar when carbohydrate makes one of the major staple foods.

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Actually, what we should avoid is the added sugar.

Added sugars, or refined sugars, are the sugars added during the manufacture of foods. They are often found in soft drinks, sports drinks, cookies, candies, desserts, ketchup, and salad dressing. These are the culprits of obesity and all the other related health problems.

Let’s see how you can quit the addiction of sugar to take back the control of your health.

1. Quit Soda Drinks (and Other Sweetened Beverages)

Soda, fruit juice, iced tea, energy drinks, smoothies, and many other sugary drinks are the sneaky sources of added sugars. One can of cola contains 39 g of sugar, which is more than 9 teaspoons, and equal to the suggested daily limit of sugar intake for most men.

Diet soda is not a good alternative either. It is associated with health problems like heart diseases. Diet soda drinkers are also more likely to be overweight than regular soda drinkers.

Liquid sugar calories are even worse than the solid ones, as you don’t feel full and you’ll keep drinking more throughout the day.

So quit sugary drinks. Perhaps start by switching to diet soda, or mixing the sugary drinks with water, and then gradually stop drinking all kinds of sugary drinks.

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    2. Give Up Simple-Carb Sweet Treats

    Cookies, muffins, pastries, and other sweet treats have little nutritional value but are dense with added sugars. They mess with our blood glucose level, providing energy that doesn’t last long.

    So next time, when you want to have some treats, have some whole grains instead. They’re more complex in structure so it takes longer time to digest. As a result, they’re absorbed more slowly and provide us steady energy.

    Or you can go for the non-starchy vegetables such as greens, the broccoli family, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, and so on. You get to eat as much as you want and they can surely help you lose weight.

    3. Ease off the Table Sugar

    If you’re that kind of person who always adds sugar to your coffee or food, it’s time for you to change the habit. Cut down the amount of sugar or honey you add to your tea or coffee. From 2 teaspoons to 1 teaspoon, and then from 1 to 0.

    You may also find substitutes. A slice of orange or some milk will do. Or you can use vanilla powder to add flavor. Order an unsweetened drink and add sweet kick with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. These are all the possible ways to make your drink taste sweet without using sugar.

    The same goes for French toast or pancake. Skip the sugar or the maple syrup. Gradually, you will find yourself less addicted to sugar.

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      4. Indulge in More Healthy Fats

      The word ‘fats’ sounds scary to many people. But actually, fat doesn’t make people overweight, sugar does. Fat gives you the sense of fullness, balances your blood sugar and serves as the energy fuel. Healthy fats can be found from food like olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

      Remember, when we say healthy fats, this means there’re unhealthy fats. They are the saturated fats and trans fats. Food with saturated fats includes fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb, high fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream), and tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil), while fried foods, margarine, processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn) contains trans fat. Don’t mix them up with those healthy fats.

      5. Have More Lean Protein

      Protein is a very important element for our body. Many structures in our body are made up of protein. It is the key to balance blood sugar and insulin and cut cravings. You may start your day with a high protein breakfast and continue your day with other foods with a high composition of protein in every meal. Forget about the traditional starch and sugar combo breakfast. Go for nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken or grass-fed meat.

      6. Buy Foods Labeled ‘Unsweetened’

      When you’re in a grocery store doing some shopping, buy foods labeled ‘no added sugar’ or ‘unsweetened’. Some manufacturers now produce unsweetened versions of some common foods and they’re easily found in most grocery stores. You can find unsweetened non-dairy milk like almond and soy, nut butters (those made with only nuts and salt), applesauce, oatmeal, and canned fruit easily.

      7. Suss Out Sugary Restaurant Foods

      Eating out is not always a healthy choice. Many types of cuisines we find delicious are in fact smothered in sauces or coatings with added sugar. Glazes, condiments, and even pasta sauces are often loaded with sugar. The crust of a pizza is also likely to pack hidden sugar.

      So be aware of what you’re eating in restaurants. Avoid those foods with brown sugar, corn syrup, and all the other ways to say ‘sugar’. The best way is to cook at home so that you can have delicious healthy foods in a cheap way.

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        8. Have a Fruit-based Dessert

        If you can’t resist your strong craving for dessert, go for a fruit-based dessert. Fruit contains fructose, which is a kind of natural sugar and gives you the similar taste of sweet. That way, at least you can enjoy the sweetness without doing too much harm to your body.

        Instead of desserts like macaron and tiramisu, you can choose to have something like apple pie or blueberry cheese cake. But remember, it’s always better to say NO to dessert!

          9. Get Enough Sleep

          A good health is not only about diet but also every other aspect of your lifestyle. Insufficient sleep drives sugar and carb cravings by affecting your appetite hormones. Studies show that people who sleep for just two hours a day suffer from a rise in hunger hormones and a decrease in appetite-suppressants. Your body is simple. If you sleep less, you need more energy so you need to eat more. If you sleep less than 8 hours per day, get more sleep tonight!

          Slash Sugar from Your Diet Now

          These are all the ways to do a sugar detox effectively. But remember, none of these helps if you lack the determination. Start from the smallest thing to the biggest thing and do it step by step. One day you will find changes on your body!

          Reference

          [1] Harvard School of Public Health: Added Sugar in the Diet

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          Sheba Leung

          Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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          Last Updated on August 20, 2019

          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

          I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

          1. The Inner Critic

          This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

          • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

          The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

          Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

          2. The Worrier

          This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

          The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

          3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

          This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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          This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

          The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

          4. The Sleep Depriver

          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

          The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

          How can you control these squatters?

          How to Master Your Mind

          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

          This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

          For the Inner Critic

          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

          You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

          • They rile up the Worrier.
          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
          • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
          • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
          • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

          Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

          For the Worrier

          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
          • Muscles tense

          Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

          Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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          For example:

          If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

          For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

          • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
          • Muscles tension

          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

          Breathe in through your nose:

          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
          • Focus on your belly rising.

          Breathe out through your nose:

          • Feel your lungs emptying.
          • Focus on your belly falling.
          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

          Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

          For the Sleep Depriver

          (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
          2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

          From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
          • Shut down your thinking.
          • Calm your feelings.
          • Simply focus on the present moment. 

          The Bottom Line

          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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