Too much sugar, especially on an empty stomach, leads to insulin sensitivity, high blood sugar and a downhill, vicious metabolic circle of weight gain, fatigue, depression and low immunity. Furthermore, the oxidative stress of excess sugar will make your skin wrinkle faster and increase the body’s susceptibility to injury. There are very simple ways to avoid these side effects of excess sugar without putting a dent in your happiness and your social life… here are 20 TIPPs.
- Start the day with proteins. The amino acids in proteins help make glucagon, the hormone that opposes insulin and helps control blood sugar. Plus protein keeps you fuller for longer!
- Have healthy fat with your carbs. Add avocado to your toast instead of butter. Natural fat slows down food absorption and prevents insulin hikes.
- Breathe! Stress causes sugar craving. Take a few deep breaths and recite a mantra when you’re thinking goes into negative mode.
- Eat apples and natural apple products like apple sauce. Apple pectin, the fiber found in fruit, improves blood sugar status and balances cravings.
- Read the label! Foods and drinks that are marketed as healthy, like smoothies, tomato sauce and enhanced waters, may contain added sugar. Make your own at home!
- Go back and reread the labels of the snacks you eat regularly. Replace sugary snacks with fruits, veggies and plant proteins, like raw walnuts and berries.
- Another food that contains sugar is dairy. While the lactose in milk and yogurt contain naturally occurring sugars, many options contain sugary added flavors. Choose plain yogurt and milk, and add blueberries, cinnamon or chia seeds for extra flavor.
- Eat eggs. Eggs contain choline, which is mandatory for liver health, which is essential in sugar metabolism.
- Drink plenty of water! Dehydration is a source of stress and sugar craving. In fact…
- Your sugar craving may actually be salt craving from dehydration. Drink a homemade veggie smoothie and avoid the chips; excess salt harms the kidneys and the brain.
- The lactic acid in yogurt and the acetic acid in vinegar help keep blood sugar from going up. Make homemade dips and eat with raw veggies prior to meals or bring them to your next summer barbeque.
- Out of Sight, Out of Bite – do not buy and hoard what you want to avoid. In fact, clean out your pantry and toss your sugary products out.
- The brain is the highest consumer of energy. Moderate exercise feeds the brain and lungs with oxygen and reduces sugar cravings all day long.
- Avoid sugar on an empty stomach, as your body will absorb it rapidly into the bloodstream which may cause sugar swings that will lead to anxiety, sleepiness and hunger.
- Eat as much whole, fresh and natural foods as possible (and they are in greater abundance in the summer)! By doing so, you avoid added sugars while benefiting from the nutrients and antioxidants that fruits like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries possess!
- Keep your digestive track in good shape this season. The bad bacteria that can live in the intestines actually craves sugar. Eat sauerkraut, pickles or other fermented vegetables, to provide beneficial bacteria and balance into your digestive system!
- Eat every 3 to 5 hours to keep your blood sugar levels stable. You can even break up your meals into smaller meals so they are more manageable.
- Summer road trip planned? Eat beforehand and bring your own snacks so you won’t be stuck eating fast food. Also, opt for water over sugary sodas and iced coffee drinks.
- Not on a road trip? Still make a habit of keeping a healthy meal or snacks and drinks in your car trunk or backpack, just in case you end up away from home for a longer period of time. Otherwise, you will end up hitting the vending machines or snack aisle.
- Use herbs and spices when you cook. They have high antioxidant value and, when used in moderation, can help protect from free radicals caused by consuming bread and other products with glucose.
Summer is trademarked with sugary treats like ice cream and carbohydrate-heavy sides like potato salad. You can still have a great summer and enjoy the season by making subtle changes in your day-to-day life!
Don’t carry your mistakes with you on your shoulders. Put them on the ground and use them as stepping stones.