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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 February 21, 2019

          Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

          Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

          Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

          If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

          When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

          In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

          1. Salmon

          Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

          It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

          Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

          Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

          Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

          Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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          2. Blueberries

          Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

          Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

          Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

          Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

          Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

          3. Turmeric

          Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

          Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

          Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

          Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

          Curcumin has also been shown to:

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          • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
          • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
          • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
          • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

          4. Coffee

          Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

          Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

          Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

          Coffee can also:

          • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
          • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
          • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
          • Improve your memory.
          • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

          5. Broccoli

          What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

          Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

          Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

          Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

          Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

          6. Bone broth

          Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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          Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

          Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

          Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

          Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

          With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

          Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

          7. Walnuts

          Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

          Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

          Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

          Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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          8. Eggs

          For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

          Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

          Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

          9. Dark chocolate

          You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

          Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

          Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

          Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

          Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

          Conclusion

          Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

          In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

          If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

          More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
          [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
          [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
          [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
          [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
          [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
          [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
          [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
          [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
          [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
          [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
          [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
          [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
          [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
          [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
          [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
          [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
          [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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