Whether it’s New Year’s resolution or Lent: It is worth reducing your sugar consumption. Here are 7 everyday tips to overcome sugar addiction
Sugar addiction is not an officially recognized addiction disease. Still, sugar ranges in your body like a drug and, for example, activates the brain regions responsible for well-being, happiness, and enjoyment. That is why it is so difficult for us to reduce our sugar consumption because the white crystals turn us into addicted sugar junkies over time. Reaching into the gummy bear bag creates a short-term high mood but drives us further into the addiction because we always need more, more, more. The consequences: The foundation for obesity and cardiovascular diseases has been laid.
Stop it! We’ll tell you how to reduce your sugar consumption step by step and how to stay clean. The only question is: How much sugar is actually “too much,” and what symptoms do you experience when you are addicted to sugar? We answer these and other questions for you here.
How Much Sugar Is “Too Much Sugar”?
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the German Nutrition Society (DGE) agree: a maximum of ten percent of your daily calories should be in the form of sugar. This corresponds to no more than 50 grams of sugar per day (around 12 teaspoons) for an average adult (with a caloric intake of 2,000 kcal). But there is more: Because it is even better if you reduce your sugar consumption to five percent, i.e., a maximum of 25 grams per day (6 teaspoons).
You are now probably thinking: “6 teaspoons is a lot. I never put that much in my coffee”. Of course not, but it doesn’t just mean the sugar that you mix yourself in your food or drinks, but also the sugar that the food industry smuggled into its products: ready meals (including savory), fruit yogurt, muesli. Juices – the list is long, and the amounts of hidden sugars are terrifying. Would you like an example? A cup of fruit yogurt (150 grams) contains around 20 grams .
4 Signs You Are Overeating Sugar
Not sure if your sugar intake is still reasonable? Listen to your body, which will clearly show you whether it is already showing symptoms of addiction.
You Have Constant Cravings
Sweets provide nothing but empty energy, in other words: lots of calories, no nutrients. When you eat something sweet, it increases your blood sugar and insulin levels. The hormone insulin is released when the body is supplied with carbohydrates or (glucose), which is wholly ordinary and necessary. It is only thanks to insulin that glucose can be transported into the body cells and supply your body with energy. The problem is the speed with which the whole thing happens: Because just as quickly as your insulin level rises after consuming sweets, it also falls again—the result: cravings.
Tip: Try eating low carb for a while. You largely avoid carbohydrates, including sugar foods, with this form of nutrition because carbohydrates are nothing more than a pile of different sugar components.
You Are Tired And Unable To Concentrate
Another consequence of the insulin roller coaster is that the body is completely drained after high and low blood sugar levels. And that usually ends in a performance slump. Fatigue, a bad mood, and poor concentration are then your constant companions. If you want to solve the problem with a small, sweet “sugar infusion” (like a piece of chocolate), you will not be successful. Anyone who reloads even more sugar in this situation has just secured their ticket for another round on the roller coaster.
You Have Blemished Sagging Skin
It is perfectly normal for your skin to lose elasticity with age. But if you overeat sugar, you accelerate the skin aging process: a constantly high blood sugar level leads to the collagen fibers sticking together in the skin’s connective tissue. And as a result, your skin loses its elasticity faster and faster, and wrinkles have an easy time of it. Furthermore, excessive sugar consumption leads to increased inflammatory reactions in the body. And skin inflammation leads to pimples and unsightly acne. Therefore, acne patients in particular benefit from a sugar-free diet.
Your Digestion Is Always Going Crazy
Whether bloating or constipation, diarrhea or flatulence: It is often the trigger for these unpleasant symptoms. Don’t ignore this because if your gut is not doing well, you are not doing well. It is poisonous for the gastrointestinal tract in excessive amounts. He is overwhelmed if, for example, you consume too much fructose . And not necessarily because you suffer from an intolerance because no average person can easily digest large amounts of fructose. Too much fructose in the intestine leads to intestinal bacteria fermenting the unbroken sugar, which inevitably leads to flatulence, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. And why fructose is no healthier than regular table sugar, you can find out here.
Sugar Addiction Test
Answer yes or no to the following questions:
- My thoughts are constantly revolving around sweets.
- The amount of candy I put away is getting bigger and bigger.
- Once I’ve gotten started, it’s hard to contain myself while snacking.
- I can’t get my candy consumption under control.
- If I have to go without sweets for a long time, I get in a bad mood and feel irritable.
- I often secretly eat sweets, even at night.
- I always eat my plate empty.
- I can’t divide portions well, so I finish everything.
- I divide my food into permitted and prohibited foods.
- I get on the scales regularly, and then I’m mostly disappointed.
- My feeling of fullness often does not come in or comes too late.
- Sometimes I overeat, then I fast again. It changes constantly.
- I find it difficult to enjoy food.
- I frequently suffer from cravings for sweets that I cannot control.
- After the eating flash, I have a guilty conscience and feel bad.
Did you answer yes to 10 or more of the questions in the addiction test? Then it is high time to change something!
The Seven Best Tips To Eat Less Sugar
So it is true: you are a sugar junkie and now want to take the step into a sugar-free life. Great decision! But first, we want you to be aware of one point – otherwise, your personal “Sugar-Free Project” is doomed to failure: A change in diet does not work from one day to the next. Especially if you are one of those people who like to use ready-made products so that you eat less sugar in the long term, you must not be too strict with yourself, but at the same time, you have to set clear rules and realistic goals.
It takes your body around 12 weeks to recover from sugar addiction. And don’t throw everything overboard if you get weak in between – that’s completely normal. Accept and move on – like this:
Clean Up And Stock Up On New Supplies
Search the fridge, pantry, and drawers for potential sugar bombs. It is best not to clear out just once, but every few weeks, because hidden sugar keeps creeping into the household, such as mueslis or salad dressings. After the first mucking out, you fill your fridge and pantry with healthy, foods. It’s best to make a shopping list in advance. This includes:
- Fresh vegetables and fruit (frozen goods are ok with vegetables), potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Whole grain rice, pasta, and bread, quinoa, red lentils
- Canned legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, chickpeas)
- Meat or fish (preferably organic, e.g., poultry, beef, salmon, frozen for fish, ok)
- Nuts, kernels, flax seeds, and oatmeal
- Eggs, milk, natural yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese
- Healthy vegetable oils
- Dark chocolate (from 70 percent cocoa)
- Dried fruits (for emergency cravings)
- Vegetable broth
- Coconut milk
- Herbal and green tea
Do (More) Sport
Regular exercise will help you overcome sugar addiction. Exercise also releases happiness hormones – just like chocolate. Positive side effect: you will shape your body and lose a few pounds. Try to integrate training into your everyday life as often as possible. Get off one S-Bahn station earlier and walk the rest of the way home. Or cycle to work and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Avoid Soft Drinks And Juices
You probably already suspected that sugar bombs like cola or soda are taboo from now on. Even soft drinks will not help you lose weight, nor are they healthy. But juice? Anyone who previously thought that juices were healthy is wrong: fruit juice is about as healthy as cola and has just as many (sometimes even more) calories. The reason: fructose is no better than regular sugar, somewhat worse. Juices contain fewer vitamins than fruits, damage tooth enamel, do not satiate for long, and promote the development of diabetes and fatty liver. You can still eat fresh fruit. Alternatives to juice and soft drinks: water and unsweetened tea. If water is too boring for you, pimp it with lemon, ginger, or mint.
Cook Fresh Every Day
Do you love fast food and convenience products? Then we have bad news: ready meals are the devil. They are full of sugar and often contain completely unnecessary additives, such as artificial flavors and flavor enhancers. Those under deprivation should supply their bodies with high-quality nutrients such as proteins, long-chain carbohydrates, and healthy fats. So: Cooking yourself is the order of the day. Avoiding sugar stimulates creativity – you will notice it. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and sources of protein such as chicken, beef, or eggs should land on your plate every day.
If you want to combat your sugar addiction in the long term, you should also avoid sweeteners and sugar substitutes. Because they also convey a feeling of sweetness, the problem that you are addicted to sweets is not solved by it. You bypass it. Artificial sweeteners are still better than sugar, of course. In an “emergency,” it is best to use natural sugar alternatives such as honey or maple syrup. Dried fruits are also a good substitute for sugar (but be careful, a lot of fructose – snack in moderation).
Do Not Drink Alcohol Or At Least Drink Little Or No Alcohol
Alcohol itself not only contains a lot of sugar but also induces cravings. Whether it’s a chocolate bar or greasy fast food: Anyone who has already had a few glasses of beer or wine often ends up in the nearest snack bar at the end of a long evening. If you give up alcohol, it also has other positive effects on your well-being, such as better sleep.
Reward Yourself Regularly
Reward yourself regularly for your stamina in your sugar-free challenge; this strengthens your motivation. But not with chocolate, of course. How about a new sports outfit instead? A ticket for a concert or a sporting event, a visit to the cinema, or a short trip to the sea would also be ideal for motivating you further – even if this is currently not possible due to the Corona crisis.
Conclusion: You Can Defeat Sugar Addiction – You Have To Want It
Even if friends and family may look at you blankly or even pity you: Do your personal “Sugar-Free Project”! It is worth it. Because if you eat sugar-free, you will be more willing to experiment (not only in the kitchen), more agile, and have a lot more power than before. What positive changes have you noticed since changing your diet?