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Break your sugar habit
July 13, 2014, 2:54 pm
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Too much sugar has been known to drastically alter your palates, hijack your blood sugar, pack on pounds, and affect your brains in a manner similar to other addictive substances.

The best way to check if you have a problem is to cut out refined carbohydrates and added sugars for a few days. If you start to feel anxious, moody, depressed, tired, or unable to give up sugar, you've probably got an unhealthy relationship with it.  Learn how to kick your toxic lifestyle with these few tips.

Start slow: If you're truly affected by sugar, going cold turkey can cause side effects such as headache and moodiness. You want to taper off your consumption over time, and cutting out sugar completely should be the last step

Rest up: Aim to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. People often turn to sugar for a quick energy fix when they’re tired. While the sugar may provide a temporary feel-good energy boost, the body will overreact to all the sugar by producing excess insulin and eventually an energy “crash will follow” which sugar junkies fight by eating more sugar.

Eat a protein-rich breakfast: Refined carbohydrates and added sugars found in many breakfast cereals start your day with that crash-and-burn energy cycle. Instead, try a low-sugar protein smoothie or eggs with some oatmeal to keep your blood sugar steady for lasting energy.

Drop the obvious offenders: Avoid the worst sugar culprits. Certain common sugar sources should be the first to go, such as soda, juice, cakes, pie, and candy. If the label says a food has more than 8 g of sugar per serving, avoid it.

Eat lunch and dinner: If you skip meals throughout the day, you're setting yourself up for poor food choices later on. Skipping meals can drop your blood sugar and make you so hungry you eat the first thing to cross your plate, rather than take the time to find a quality food choice.

Do it yourself: When meals come from your own kitchen, it’s easier to keep sneaky sugars out of your diet. Start by shopping on the outside edges of the grocery store where you usually find whole fruits, veggies, and protein. Focus on foods that aren't packaged to minimize your exposure to added sugars. Also, look for covert sources of sugar; refined grains such as the white flour found in breads and pastas, and breakfast cereal, energy bars, and dried fruits are sneaky sources of sugar. The starches in refined grains are so quickly converted into sugar that they end up delivering the same sugar spike as table sugar.

Keep things in perspective:  While a sugar addiction can be a serious problem with serious consequences (weight gain, mood swings, depression, and so on), it's important not to guilt yourself and instead focus on making positive changes. 

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