16 Tips to Break Your Sugar Addiction

June 3rd, 2010

Sugar Drinks

Sugar has been my biggest nutritional challenge over the years. When I was riding two to three hundred miles a week, I got by with it but it wasn’t good for me. Now that I don’t have the time to ride as much, it’s affecting me even more. Here are some good tips for cutting back on sugar.

Breaking the Sugar Addiction: 16 Tips

by Jamie Jefferson

It seems as though added sugar is in everything these days, from ketchup to salsa to soup. It is everywhere, I suppose, because we have come to expect it to be.

And it is not just the white stuff we need to worry about. “Refined carbohydrates,” such as white bread and white flour products, produce the same reaction in our bodies.

Researchers have linked sugar consumption to everything from cavities to wrinkly skin, as well as wide range of much more serious health problems.

Some research has been cited that says sugar has not been proven to be a direct cause to these health problems and may not even be directly linked to them, but when you consider that added sugar is basically non nutritional calories, the lack of nutrition and obesity can cause health problems in themselves.

Sugar, some researchers say, can lead to the damage of healthy cells, and can lessen the effectiveness of white blood cells, leading to a weakening of the immune system. Too much sugar means lots of empty calories, too, which can lead to obesity. As any parent knows, when you fill up on sugar, you simply are not hungry for nutritious meals. And sugar can make you hyperactive and irritable, too, as it knocks your body out of whack.

When you eat sugar, your blood sugar spikes. So your body secretes insulin, which sends your blood sugar crashing. The result? Irritability and fatigue. Plus, you are hungry again and probably craving another hit of sugar, and so the cycle repeats itself anew.

One of the nicest things you can do for your body (and your mood) is to reduce your intake of added sugars and refined carbohydrates.

What is the Daily Recommended Sugar Intake?

The World Health Organization recommends reducing your intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of your total caloric intake. That means, if you eat 2,000 calories, you should eat less than 12 teaspoons of sugar each day. The US Department of Agriculture also recommends limiting your consumption of added sugar to between 6 and 12 teaspoons of sugar each day, depending on your daily average caloric intake. (Six teaspoons a day for people who eat 1,600 calories; 12 teaspoons if you eat 2,200 calories each day.) Keep in mind that a single 12 ounce soft drink contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.

To find out how much sugar is in some of the items in your cupboards, look for Sugars (measured in grams) on the Nutrition Label. Then divide the number of grams by 4 to get the number of teaspoons. So, 12 grams of sugar is 3 teaspoons of sugar. Sixteen grams of sugar is 4 teaspoons.

How to Break Your Sugar Addiction

So how do you start to reduce your sugar intake? Here are some tips.

1. Try decreasing your intake of added sugar gradually

It can be difficult to suddenly cut all added sugar and refined carbohydrates. Try taking a week by week approach. One week, add less sugar to your morning coffee. Next week, replace your afternoon soda with bottled water. The following week, replace white bread with a whole grain alternative. Before long, you will find that the foods (and drinks) you used to love now taste sickeningly sweet. And you will likely find it easier to keep your moods on an even keel, too.

2. Keep notes on your sugar intake in your journal or Daytimer

How does decreasing your sugar levels impact your energy levels? Your mood during the day? Your ability to fall asleep at night? When do sugar cravings hit? It might be helpful to start with a Sugar Fast for a day or two. See how one day without added sugars affects you.

3. Make easy substitutions

Buy brown rice instead of white rice, for example. Brown rice has a nice, nutty flavor, and takes just a bit longer to cook. The next time you go to the store, experiment with all kinds of whole grain alternatives. You might find some new family favorites.

4. Keep healthy snacks readily available, and rely on a bit of protein in your snacks to keep your energy levels high

Keep a small bowl of nuts on the table, along with fresh fruits. When you are hungry for a mid afternoon snack, opt for lean protein and complex carbs.

5. Indulge in moderation

If you are a chocoholic, treat yourself to a square of fine chocolate at the end of a long day. When the chocolate is quality, you will not feel the need to have more and you will be more apt to take your time and savor it. When you do indulge in a sugary snack, keep it small, eat it slowly, and eat a bit of protein, too, to help moderate those blood sugar spikes and dips.

6. Dilute the fruit juice

If you or kids love fruit juice, try diluting it gradually to the point where you are just adding a splash to the top of water.

7. Become a sugar detective

You can start by knowing the alternate names for added sugars, often found in ingredients lists. These include any ingredient that ends in the suffix “ose,” including sucrose, dextrose, fructose, lactose, polydextrose, maltose, and galactose. Also, look for the following: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, carob syrup, turbinado sugar, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, cane juice, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, beet sugar, and sorbitol.

8. Avoid replacing added sugar with artificial sweeteners

Your best bet is to gradually reduce your taste for sweet foods, not to replace them with chemical alternatives. On ingredients lists, look for sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame K, and neotame.

9. Avoid the center of the supermarket as much as possible

That is where most of the processed foods are shelved. Instead, shop the perimeter for healthy, raw foods.

10. If you have young kids, go to the grocery store by yourself

You may be less apt to come home with sugary treats. Plus, you can take more time to examine the labels for hidden sugar. If your kids are grade school age or older, take them along and enlist their help as Sugar Detectives. Give them each a list of hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners and turn it into a game.

11.Carefully measure how much honey you put in your tea and how much sugar you put in your coffee

Aim to put in a bit less each day or each week until you are drinking it either unsweetened or with just a bit of sugar.

12. Buy items that are not sweetened, and add sugar only if you find that you need to

This will help you wean off the sugar gradually.

13. Steer clear of sugars for breakfast

When you start your day with a sugar blast and crash, you may find yourself in a vicious cycle for the remainder of the day. Start your day with healthy lean protein and complex carbs. Try natural whole grain breads and cereals for breakfast, along with a lowfat protein, such as skim milk, cottage cheese, or yogurt.

14. If you need to lose weight, consider a diet plan that focuses on reducing sugar intake

The Sugar Busters Diet Plan is probably the most well known. The idea of this diet is to reduce your intake of sugar and high starch carbohydrates, focusing instead on lean protein, low starch veggies, and whole grain carbs, in order to lose weight. Many of the low GI diets out there use this method, as well.

15. Be careful not to make sugar taboo in your household

With children, especially, when you swear off something completely, you run the risk of creating a mystique around the forbidden food. Instead of running a completely sugar free household, make sure your children understand the effects that sugar can have on their bodies and their moods, and then help them understand the beauty of moderation. Encourage them to eat low fat protein and help them develop a taste for healthy whole grain carbs.

16. Focus on well balanced, nutritious diet, instead of simply swearing off all sugar

Your cravings will slowly and naturally fade once you gain a better understanding of why they are cropping up in the first place.

(This article is for informational purposes only. Please discuss any dietary changes with your doctor.)

Jamie Jefferson is a frequent contributor to Momscape.com, where you can find diet reviews and special promotional coupons on the most popular weight loss programs.

Article Source: U Publish Articles

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Excuses, Excuses

January 11th, 2008

I’ve had way too many good reason not to workout such as being sick, the Holidays, working on my garage, etc. Spring is coming and now is the time to be training.

via The Everyday Athlete

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Campylobacter Is No Fun

December 5th, 2007

Last Monday night I felt a little cold when I went to bed. I woke up a couple times during the night and felt cold. We drop the temperature in our house to 60 degrees at night but I’m normally plenty warm.

Tuesday morning I had a headache but Tylenol pretty much took care of it. By noon I had a worse headache and Tylenol wasn’t doing much good. I went home from work around 4 and was having chills.

I was hoping a nap would help and I’d feel better. Instead about the only times I got out of bed for the next 48 hours were for way too many trips to the bathroom. During that time I lost 5 pounds although it was mainly from dehydration and my weight bounced right back.

Thursday evening I felt descent. I went to work Friday and felt pretty good all day. Soon after I got home I started having bad abdominal pain and making trips to the bathroom again.

I got bad enough that I ended up going into the ER. Based on my blood tests, the doctor was pretty sure it was food poisoning and not the stomach flu that has been going around. He gave me some medication for pain and antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria.

Yesterday I got confirmation from my doctor that it was food poisoning. I also got a call from the country health department because I had campylobactor. Normally it occurs in isolated cases but sometimes there are outbreaks of it. They asked a bunch of questions about what I had eaten and where. They said most likely it came from something I ate over the Thanksgiving weekend but didn’t really pinpoint what.

Yesterday I spun very easy on the bike path for about 40 minutes. I felt pretty good so I headed over to Ute Valley today. I’ve been wanting to get over there now that I work close again. I could tell I was still pretty fatigued. I only rode about 45 minutes but that’s about all I had. I’m also still feel like sleeping a lot.

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Sinus Infection Prevention

October 7th, 2007

Sinus Rinse

It’s fall and we’re heading into the cold part of the year. At least here in Colorado, sinus infection are common with cyclists during this time of year. I’m not sure exactly why but I think it was to do with the really dry, cold air and breathing hard while training. It’s also when we get more colds and try training too much before we get over them. My non-active co-workers also are more likely to have sinus infections during the winter too but not as bad as cyclists.

For the last several years, I haven’t made it through a winter without being on antibiotics at least once for a sinus infection. Not only do I have bad summer time allergies but I’m also allergic to molds and dust. I have some congestion most of the time which contributes to my sinus problems.

With my extra job stress this year, I’ve been on antibiotics 4 times for sinus infections. The last time was about 2 months ago. The biggest thing that makes it hard for me to train while on antibiotics is that it messes my stomach up. That makes it hard to eat enough on long rides and can cause a bonk. Eating yogurt and taking iFlora or Digest Caps really helps my stomach.

This last time I was on pretty strong antibiotics for 18 days. Within a week of finishing the antibiotics, I was feeling like I had a sinus infection again. I was doing everything that I know to do. I was taking antihistamines, using nasal spray and Mucinex.

When I was in to my asthma and allergy doctor’s office to get my allergy shot, I told them I was having trouble again. They said I really should be using the Sinus Rinse. A couple years ago they had tried getting me to use it too and had given me a free one.

I had never used it. You use it to spray a saline solution up one nostril and let it run out the other side. That just didn’t seem pleasant to me. My dad had been using it for a while and had told me it doesn’t feel that bad and had really helped him.

They gave me another one even though I told them I still had the other one. I figured I’d give it a try to try to avoid taking more antibiotics. It ended up not feeling bad at all and I got a lot of crud out of my nose. The key is to bend over enough so the solution doesn’t run down your throat. I’ve also found when I’m really stuffed up it helps to take a really deep breath and hold it while squirting the solution up my nose.

Even after using it once, my sinuses felt better. After a couple more days of using it, my sinuses felt fine. I used it for a couple weeks and then felt well enough and quit using it. After several days, my sinuses started bothering me again. I guess I need to use it every few days to keep things cleared out.

According to the list on the website of places to buy the Sinus Rinse, it should be easy to find at a drug or grocery store. My free one only came with 5 packets for making the solution but I think the ones in the store come with 50 packets. I bought a box of 100 packets at Walgreens once the ones that came with mine ran out.

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