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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 October 16, 2018

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

          If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

          One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

          Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

          In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

          Why you can’t sleep through the night

          The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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          Stress

          If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

          Exposure to blue light before sleep time

          We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

          While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

          Eating close to bedtime

          Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

          Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

          Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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          Medical conditions

          In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

          The vicious sleep cycle

          The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

          Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

          You get a bad night’s sleep
          –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
          –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
          –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

            You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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            How to sleep better (throughout the night)

            To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

            1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

            What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

            Here are a few suggestions:

            • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
            • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
            • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
            • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
            • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

            2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

            What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

            • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
            • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
            • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
            • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

            3. Adjust your sleep temperature

            Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

            Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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            Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

            Sleep better form now on

            Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

            I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

            As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

            Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

            Reference

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