Cutting back on sugar is essential towards leading a healthy life. However, you will come to realize that is harder than what you thought it would be. You will often find yourself giving in to sugar cravings. This is because after consuming sugar for so many years, your body gets used to it.
To understand why reducing sugar intake comes with such difficulty, you need to take into consideration its psychological effect and how sugar interacts with the brain.
What happens to the brain after consuming sugar?
Sugar, in the form of glucose, is the brain’s primary source of energy. This is why most people experience a “sugar high” after consuming large amounts of sugar in the form of simple carbohydrates. On the flip side, people tend to feel disoriented and sluggish when they go on a diet that has lower carbs than what their body is used to.
Also, consuming large quantities of sugar will lead to a change in the brain’s structure. The brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward centers. With time, the brain causes people to develop an urge to increase their intake of sugar. This is due to the altered structure of the brain. Sugar’s effect on the reward centers is similar to that of addictive drugs. People have a hard time cutting back on sugar because it is like an addiction.
However, various techniques can help you in the struggle to reduce your sugar consumption. They include:
- Avoid Processed Food
Natural sugar that comes from whole foods such as fruits is also healthier than sugar that is obtained from processed foods. This is because natural sugar can easily be turned into glucose which provides fuel for the brain.
Most people consume higher quantities of added sugar compared to natural sugar. Almost processed foods contain added sugar. Consuming large amounts of processed foods makes it hard to reduce your sugar intake.
- Avoid fat-free products
Fat-free products can be enticing, especially for those are looking to lose weight. However, they might not be the best option if you want to reduce the amount of sugar that you consume. This is because most of these fat-free products have high amounts of sugar to add flavor in place of the missing fat. Instead, you should opt for whole foods (non-processed foods).
The liver plays a vital role in burning excess fat. However, if you would like to lose weight but maintain a whole food diet, you should consider using supplements such as PhenQ. It causes the body to burn fat while simultaneously preventing it from storing excess fat.
- Eat smaller quantities of food
Nutritionists are yet to agree on the benefits of having smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to sticking to the scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, if you want to cut back on sugar, it will be better if you eat smaller meals at different points of the day.
This can be explained by looking at the changes in blood sugar levels in relation to how frequently someone eats. Going a long time without eating will result in a drop in sugar levels. This might cause one to eat more sugar-rich foods. Therefore, it might be better to eat smaller quantities frequently.
- Make sure you have enough sleep
Sleep is essential. Getting enough hours of sleep can help you to cut back on sugar successfully. This is after a study from 2013 revealed that there indeed is a connection between late night cravings and different sleep cycles. People who do not get sufficient hours of sleep tend to go through changes in the reward centers that were mentioned earlier. Ultimately, they end up having a strong urge to take in food that is high in sugar. Therefore, make sure you get enough sleep.
- Incorporate protein and fat in your diet
Other than helping you to feel full for a longer time, these two are crucial as they can help in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Instead of relying on carbohydrates to control your blood sugar levels, you should substitute the carbohydrates with lean proteins or saturated fat. They also reduce sugar cravings.
To sum it up, reducing your sugar intake will be challenging because of its interaction with the brain. However, following the above steps will help you to resist cravings thus cutting back on sugar.