Did you know that the average American consumes 140 pounds of sugar each year?
Do you think you could cut your sweets back to 3 servings per week? For most people this may sound extremely difficult, especially if you're the typical American who loves to top off a good meal with a great dessert.
The problem is that those desserts often contain lots of refined sugars and flours, which have little to no nutritional benefit. Also, most are high in fat and calories, making it more challenging to reach or maintain a healthy body weight.
For this intention, you are going to try to limit your dessert consumption.
Do you think you can put that bossy “sweet tooth” in its place?
Let’s face it, everyone knows that a large bowl of ice cream every night will make you fat and ill, and yet they still surrender. The doughnuts, sitting around in the breakroom...they don’t even make it until noon. Sugar wins again. But why? Is it because we are weak and lack will power? Or is it something else?
Recently, a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggested that high sugar, higher glycemic foods can be addictive. The study showed that sugary foods and foods that raise blood sugar (such as white flour, white potatoes and refined starch), trigger a special region in the brain called the nucleus accumbens. This area of the brain is known to be the ‘epicenter’ for conventional addiction, such as gambling or drug abuse.
It appears that these foods that cause a spike in blood sugar (and insulin) are biologically addictive, not to mention the fact that they also increase hunger and cravings for hours afterwards.
So what’s the next step...check in to rehab? Go cold-turkey?
Close, but not so extreme.
In order to beat this addiction, you have to get the control back.
Start to ditch your cravings for sugar by limiting those sweet selections and focus on getting your blood sugar back in balance.
Another strategy is to “distract” your taste buds. If you are craving sweet, try to go for sour or bitter instead. Consider water with lemon and few drops of stevia, add bitters, or try something spicy. Bitter foods include kale, dark chocolate, nettles, dandelion, parsley, barley, basil and jicama.
To keep your blood sugar stable:
- Eat a nutritious breakfast
- Have smaller meals throughout the day
- Have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, beans).
- Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime