A low sugar diet is healthy, nutritious, and can possibly save your life. In fact, recent research shows that America’s love affair with sugar is not only making us fat, but also killing us. So, if you want to look and feel your best, control your sugar cravings. That way, you can indulge on the special occasions of your choosing, but you’re no longer a slave to sugar.
Low Sugar Diet: Protein Breakfast
Increase the protein. It slows digestion, and research shows that calorie for calorie, protein is more filling than carbohydrates or fat. Researchers at Saint Louis University found that overweight women naturally took in about 160 fewer calories at lunch when they ate protein-packed eggs in the morning versus a bagel. Moreover, research also shows that protein in the morning makes it difficult for sugar cravings to take hold later on in the day.
Low Sugar Diet: Eat, Eat, Eat!
Don’t skip meals. If you cut down on the amount of food you eat for an extended period of time, your body is going to slow things down to conserve its energy supply. If weight loss is your goal, the “starvation response” is the last thing you need. In fact, meal skipping is also a guaranteed way to fire up sugar cravings. Skipping meals lowers blood sugar levels and causes you to overeat the rest of the day to make up for missed calories.
Low Sugar Diet: Flavor Your Foods
Flavor your foods with healthy and nutritious herbs, not sugar. The dried herbs and spices in your spice rack are the workhorses of everyday cuisine. Leafy basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, and thyme are far more flavorful. And when you chop them, the fragrance they release is an olfactory delight. Enjoy the spiciness of freshly cracked pepper on your salads, or treat yourself to fresh vanilla beans. Stir your coffee or tea with a stick of cinnamon. Toss a serving of plain, air-popped popcorn with a teaspoon of smoked paprika. The more adventuresome you are, the more you’ll grow to appreciate flavor and put sugar in its rightful place in your daily diet.
Low Sugar Diet: Avoid Stress
To lose weight it’s vital to commit to everyday R&R. Otherwise, chronic stress may eventually gain the upper hand and grind your physical and emotional well-being to dust. Stress hormones from a demanding job or a life in turmoil grinds away every cell in your body. That wear and tear comes at a price. Numerous disorders are linked to stress, including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, digestive problems, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Low Sugar Diet: Sleep Is Key
Keep excess weight off and stay healthy by getting enough sleep. In a University of Chicago study, a few sleepless nights were enough to drop levels of leptin by 18 percent and boost levels of ghrelin by about 30 percent. Appetites kicked into overdrive, and cravings for sugary foods like cookies and bread jumped 45 percent. In addition, sleep deprivation makes sugary, fatty foods more appealing, and also lowers your ability to resist them.
Low Sugar Diet: Exercise
Moderate exercise helps keep muscle cells sensitive to insulin. Even better, strength training builds muscle density, stronger muscles that use more glucose. And, like cardio, strength training helps weight loss. Any physical activity that you actually enjoy will help get sugar off your brain and belly. For example, brisk walking increases your metabolic rate. The more you move, the faster your sugar belly will melt away.
Low Sugar Diet: Sugar and Emotion Are Linked
The link between comfort and sweets is primal and persistent. Were you rewarded with candy while growing up? Handed cookies so you’d stop crying? You may unknowingly have linked sweets to being soothed. Do you associate sweets with periods in your life when you felt safe and loved? You may try to re-create those positive feelings every time you pick up a fork. Did you push back the confusion and loneliness of adolescence with candy bars? Are you doing it today, to push back those same feelings?
You may not know the answers to these questions, yet intuitively know they’re worth exploring. We’ve all read enough magazine articles to make at least a hazy connection between how we feel and what we eat. But the first step to breaking that emotional connection to sugar is to become aware of the feelings that drive you to it.
If you can break this emotional bond to sugar, you’re well on your way to a healthy, happy, and productive life.