Trying to break the sugar habit is challenging but with some thoughtful planning it can be done…and must be to achieve optimum health! Here are some tips to help make it easier to achieve that goal:
1. Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day. Water is a great stabilizer when it comes to keeping your metabolism balanced. Often, your body’s need for water is interpreted as a desire for sugar.
2. Eat more fiber filled foods — vegetables, fruits, legumes [beans], whole grains, peas, lentils, etc. Studies showed that consumption of diets containing fifteen percent cellulose fiber for six weeks resulted in a significant reduction in hepatic triglyceride levels and a marked influence on the absorption of administered cholesterol. Meaning that diets rich in fiber tended to have the effect of decreasing high blood sugar and cholesterol levels. An ideal amount to aim for each day is 35 grams — this is easily achieved with 5 to 7 servings of vegetables per day!
3. Limit “added sugars” to your daily diet and eat only natural sugars such as those found in fruits, vegetables, and even whole grains contain natural sugars. Added sugar is that which is added to processed food and drinks during their making, as well as sugar you may add to your food at home, such as over breakfast cereals, or in cake recipes and so forth. Added sugars are the sugars you should limit in your diet as these can add up to dangerous levels and raise your risk for diabetes, hormone imbalances, and weight gain. Naturally-occurring sugars like those found in fruits and vegetables are generally fine as they are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that aid in digestion and metabolism.
4. Artificial sweeteners aren’t the answer. Many “low-sugar” or “sugar-free” products on the market today contain chemical substitute sweeteners that are designed to be a less fattening alternative to sugar. This is because they mimic the flavor of sugar yet do not affect insulin levels and they trick your brain into thinking it will receive a burst of energy. But such energy doesn’t arrive because artificial sweeteners have no useful energy / calories and cannot nourish your body. Soon after consuming them you will find yourself craving sugary carbohydrates.
There are three sweeteners that you can use that do not trigger insulin reaction. Use them in moderation in tea, coffee, or desserts as they have a negligible effect on blood glucose and will help you control carbohydrate cravings. They are stevia, xylitol, and SLIMTEVIA®.
Stevia: Known in South America as the “sweet herb”, stevia (Steviol glycoside rebaudioside) has been used for over 400 years without ill effects. It has been used widely in Japan for more than twenty years and is rivaling Equal and Sweet’N Low as more people in the US are using it as a natural sugar substitute. It’s 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, so just a small amount of stevia will sweeten coffee or tea. You can use it for anything you might use sugar in, including baking. It’s naturally low in carbohydrates, has no known side effects, and is a great option when you have sugar cravings.
Xylitol: Was discovered in the late 19th century and has been used extensively in Europe since World War 2. It is fairly new in the U.S. market, but is rapidly increasing as more people become aware of its unique health benefits. The body does not require insulin to metabolize xylitol, which means it produces a lower glycemic response than sucrose or glucose. It is 100 percent natural and can be found in fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms. It also occurs naturally in our bodies, with up to fifteen grams of xylitol manufactured daily during normal metabolism in an average size adult. It can be found in gums, mints, candies, toothpaste, and as a pure sweetener from selected outlets, or online.
SLIMTEVIA® is a new, all-natural sweetener that has the lowest glycemic index of all sugars and does not spike blood sugar or trigger your body’s insulin response. It’s made from the stevia plant and pure fruit sugar (fructose), and also contains fructooligosaccharides (FOS). FOS is a dietary fiber that slows its digestion, thus lowering blood sugar levels and also produces an important “food” for the friendly bacteria in the human gut to thrive on, which means it will strengthen your immune system. Because it is three times sweeter than sugar you only need one-third as much to get the same amount of sweetness as you would from a full teaspoon of sugar. It tastes the same as sugar and can be used in all the same ways that you would use sugar — for baked goods, desserts, and in tea and coffee . Just remember to use one-third less than sugar in your recipes because it is three times as sweet as sugar. It can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/7ayfa4b
Remember these healthy blood sugar lowering habits:
• Avoid products labeled as “low calorie”, “sugar-free”, “diet”, or “no sugar added”, since they all likely contain sugar additives.
• Start the day off with a balanced breakfast that contains healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates. This will help keep blood sugar levels stable and ward off sugar cravings later in the day.
• Remember to drink water and stay well hydrated throughout the day. Have a large glass before any meal as you will tend to eat less and not be driven to snack on simple carbohydrates.
• Keep a bowl of fresh ripe fruit nearby to snack on, to relieve your sugar cravings. The fresher the fruit the more succulent and satisfying it will be.
• Take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to support your body’s nutritional needs.
• Avoid products that have sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or sugar alternatives on their ingredient list. Sugar can be disguised as evaporated cane juice, can sugar, beet sugar, glucose, sucrose, maltose, maltodextrin, dextrose, Sorbitol, fructose, corn sugar, fruit juice concentrate, barley malt, caramel, and carob syrup.