To help you lose weight, become healthier, and feel better, cut down on your sugar intake. Of course, this is easier said than done since sweets are addictive.
Worse, sugar is added to so many of our daily foods, including tomato sauces, yogurts, cereals, milk alternatives, breads, ketchups, and even some pickles.
Read the ingredient lists and look out for sugar (including high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, fructose) and how many grams of sugar are listed. Generally speaking, 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of sugar.
I asked Dr. Jingduan Yang, M.D., an expert in traditional Chinese medicine, what he would recommend to help cut out sugar, and he gave five tips:
1. Get enough sleep
Fatigue makes us vulnerable to giving in to our sugar cravings. If you haven’t slept enough, and you are suddenly reaching for chocolate to stay awake, drink some water and take a 10-minute power nap instead. Not only will you wake up feeling refreshed, you will also wake up no longer craving sugar.
Eat fruit instead
Fruit is sweet and high in fructose, but because it is nutritious and high in fiber, it is not considered toxic or bad for you the way sugar is. Fruit will help satisfy that sweet tooth when you are craving dessert.
Eat greens to help heal your liver
According to traditional Chinese medicine, green is the color associated with the liver organ system. Eating greens will help replenish your liver, and in turn calm your sugar cravings.
Dark leafy greens — such as kale, collard greens, watercress, and bok choy — are great options. Sauté them with garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and some sesame oil for a Chinese side dish, or garlic, lemon, and olive oil for a more Mediterranean flair.
Not only will exercise help you metabolize the sugar you do eat more effectively, it will also pick up your energy and mood.
Get to the root
The first question Dr. Yang asked when I inquired about how to stop eating so much sugar was: “What is it that you are self-medicating?”
We all have our issues, and many of us learn to deal with them with food. Some eat for fun, some eat for stress release, and some eat to fill a void in their life. If you suspect you are “using” sugar to self-medicate, get to the root of your problem and address it directly.
Mindfulness-based meditation has been shown to be highly beneficial for dealing with emotional stress.
Once you cut out sugar and replace it with “sweet” things in life, you will enjoy a flatter belly, a thinner body, more energy, less mood swings, and overall better health.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is: lavendermamas.com