Cutting out sugar is a great first step towards success in your weight loss journey and in improving your overall health. Not only does sugar lead to increased obesity rates, but in excess, it is an underlying cause of everything from heart disease and diabetes to acne and chronic fatigue syndrome.
High consumption of sugar leaves you feeling tired, sluggish and irritable, and robs the body of essential nutrients which are required for carbohydrate metabolism.
If you are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you are probably familiar with the need to remove all tempting sugary treats from your house, drink lots of water and to be prepared for initial withdraw symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. But here are 6 other important things you should go to increase your chances of success:
Increase vitamin E and zinc rich foods
Vitamin E and zinc are both required for the regulation of insulin within the body. Having a low intake or deficiency in either of these micronutrients can lead to an inability to regulate glucose and insulin and this can lead to sugar cravings, or worse yet the inability to properly process sugar and remove it from the bloodstream, setting you up for diabetes. Good sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds and oysters, while vitamin E is found in almonds, green leafy vegetables and nut and seed oils.
Chromium is another mineral that functions in helping with blood sugar regulation and insulin control. The body dose not need a lot of chromium, but a deficiency in it can lead to poor insulin management within the body, which in turn leads to poor blood sugar control. If you are having issues with sugar addiction because your body is unable to properly control your insulin release, it may be beneficial to supplement with chromium. To obtain chromium through food, whole grains and shellfish are both good sources.
You are more likely to crave sugar, and cave to giving in to sugar, if your blood sugar hits low levels like what happens when you get very hungry or go a long time between meals. Without regular caloric intake, your body mobilizes stored glycogen, but this still leads to cravings for sugar because your stored glycogen is not suffice to last for long periods of time. When you do eat, since your blood sugar levels were so low, it leads to s spike in your insulin levels, followed by a crash later, which then simply initiates a repeat of the cycle. Eat every 3-4 hours to avoid this cycle of craving.
Limit carbohydrates at breakfast
When you wake up, your body is in a fasted state and your blood sugar is low. The natural, overnight fasting period that occurs between dinner and breakfast is an important component to maintaining digestive and liver health and aids in weight loss. The trick however, is to avoid a carbohydrate heavy meal at breakfast. Eating things such as cereal, toast and jam or a pastry at breakfast will spike your blood sugar, since it is low from not eating all night. That mid morning crash you feel, where you head out for a second (or third) coffee and a snack from Starbucks is the resulting blood sugar crash and you have set up this cycle to continue all day. Instead have a protein heavy breakfast that also offers a source of healthy fats, but that is low in carbohydrates such as a green smoothie or an omelet. As a general rule, try to consume a combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat at every meal to help stabilize blood sugar.
Increase your intake of healthy fats
Healthy fats play so many important roles in our body and limiting your fat intake while trying to cut out sugar is not likely to bode well for success. Instead, in an effort to reduce your sugar, increase your intake of healthy fat. It fills you up and is important for healthy digestion, and acts as an anti-inflammatory within the body. Furthermore, healthy fats are essential for good brain function. When you are cutting out sugar, you will likely experience brain fog, headaches and difficulty concentrating as sugar is the brains main fuel source and reducing your inake will require a period of adjustment by the brain. Having the fat there will buffer this adjustment time and reduce your symptoms.