7 Tips on How to Tame the Sugar Monster!

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We crave sugar for several reasons, connected to biology (NOT willpower…scientifically, willpower doesn’t exist!!):

  • It is a quick source of energy for our bodies, and the main source of energy to make our brains run
  • We get a high, a quick feeling of feeling happy when we eat sugar
  • If we have parasitic infections in our intestines (e.g. bacteria/viruses/yeast/worms/protozoans), THEY crave sugar and they throw temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want! They release toxins when we don’t feed them and give us brain fog, irritability, and all-around grumpiness. They are happy again when we feed them, so then we crave more sugar!
  • If we eat foods that have simple sugars (picture a single tower of Lego, easy to break apart block by block), these hit our bloodstream fast because they are so easy to digest. This can cause our blood sugar levels to rise quickly and then fall quickly, making us crave even MORE sugar (just ONE more dessert?!) over and over again

Realize that ALL carbohydrates/starches by definition are SUGARS!

Our bodies break them down the same way in the liver. Whether it is a candy bar or sushi with white rice, it is STILL sugar!

  • When we eat lots of carbs and don’t balance it out with lower sugar options like proteins and/or veggies, our bodies start to crave more and more carbs
  • Try and balance your servings (if it works for your body), pair up the proteins with the carbs to lower the sugar hit to your system (e.g. pair nut butter with crackers, or chicken with white potatoes, or sweet potatoes with steak)
  • You can lower the sugar hit as well by cooling some foods and creating something called “resistant starches”. This works well with potatoes, rice, and plantains, to name a few. You can either eat these starches cold after cooking them or reheat them. The structure of the sugar molecules changes when they were cooked initially and they impact your blood sugar less. Pretty cool, eh?!
  • Be aware that we connect sugar with positive emotions or with the BRIEF release of uncomfortable emotions (sadness, disappointment, loneliness, stress, frustration, depression, grief, shame). For example, think about these events WITHOUT sugar….?:
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Rewards/good behaviour
  • A break from work/school, etc.
  • Religious/cultural holidays and celebrations
  • Showing someone that you love them

Knowing that sugar isn’t JUST food for most of us is the first step to swapping its role in our lives.

Want to feel good but want to swap out eating sugar with something that boosts your health?

  • Go for a walk
  • Talk to a friend
  • Watch something funny on YouTube
  • Do a hobby, even for 5-10 minutes that boosts your mood
  • Stretch/move
  • Take 3 deep breaths to reset yourself
  • Ask someone to show their love for you in a different way (spending time, playing a game, watching moves together, write you a note, etc.)
  • Think of something that makes you happy that ISN’T food related!

Be a label detective!

Take a look at labels and look under “Carbohydrates” to see how high the sugar content is.

Quick sugar math!!

4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar

For example, a latte from a certain beverage chain that will remain nameless has 23 grams of sugar in a Venti. That is equal to almost 6 teaspoons of sugar in one drink!

General recommended total daily intake of sugar (all types, natural, added….):

  • Women: 25 grams/day
  • Men: 37.5 grams/day
  • Children: 25 grams/day

Look for sugar in whole foods that are marketed as “healthy”

They can still feed our nasties and push our blood sugar limits sometimes. When I Google “Sugar Free recipes”, these ingredients pop up a lot, but they are LOADED with sugar! Just not refined sugar or raw sugar from sugar canes.

  • Raisins, dates, dried apricots
  • Tropical fruit, like bananas, pineapple, mangoes
  • Maple syrup (All natural! Super high in sugar!)
  • Agave nectar, honey

Substitute with alternatives and bring them with you (“contingency snacks”)

It is always good to have emergency backups when you have cravings! Stash them in your bag/purse/car/desk, etc.!

  • There are lots of natural substitutes on the market, like stevia, yacon syrup, Benisweet, monk fruit, xylitol, inulin, chicory fibre, erythritol (WARNING: some of these can set off the bacteria in your intestines and cause bloating and indigestion at the very least! Moderation is key. 😊)
  • Beware: coconut sugar, organic cane sugar, barley malt/syrup, rice syrup, raisin concentrate, evaporated cane juice, jaggery, molasses, palm sugar, anything that ends in “OSE” are STILL sugars!

Eat protein when you crave sugar! It takes longer to digest and can calm your hunger down

  •  Nuts, seeds, including nut/seed butters
  • Organic nitrate-free meat pepperette sticks
  • Protein shakes
  • Collagen powder (I use Designs for Health Pure Paleo Vanilla and actually mix it with hot water to make a “white hot chocolate”)
  • Organic deli meat
  • Higher fat snacks, like a spoonful of coconut oil or avocados
  • Hummus with crackers or veggies

Remember! NOTHING lasts, including cravings!

They had a beginning, which means they DO have an end. Perhaps you have some techniques that have helped YOU deal with your cravings! You don’t give into them ALL the time. You have some great ideas that have worked just for you. 😊