The average American eats about 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily. This is around 350 calories.
Removing those calories from our diet will make a huge difference in our weight loss - especially stubborn belly fat.
Related - 17 Tips to Lose Belly Fat Fast
Eating sugar causes chronic inflammation. This affects how we fight off the nasty bug that's going around the office and other bodily functions.
One study actually showed that eating 100 grams of sugar, which is about 32 ounces of soda, reduced white blood cells' ability to fight bacteria by up to 50%.
Sugar's addictive quality makes it hard to give up, and that extra-large caramel macchiato that you get every morning doesn't help at all.
So if you're like me and you want to quit having sugar cravings, let's jump in and check out these five tips.
Deal With Sugar Cravings
#1 - Eat Regularly
Consistently feeding your body a balanced meal throughout the day keeps your blood sugar levels steady.
If fighting hunger makes you cave into finding a quick sugar fix (like myself), make sure your meals contain plenty of protein and fiber to help you feel satisfied. Nutritious fats also prolong satiety and provide great flavor to any dish.
Staying on top of your hunger levels will keep you from feeling the need to grab something sugary.
#2 - Eat Natural Foods
Sticking to naturally sweet foods will satisfy your sweet tooth without sending a wrecking ball of inflammation.
Berries, apples, carrots, pears, sweet potatoes, and even beets are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
These foods are naturally sweet and contain loads of fiber which causes the sugar to get absorbed into your bloodstream slowly.
This helps you skip that sugar crash that will leave you craving more later. A cold piece of fruit is a great way to get a sweet snack while also getting loads of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
#3 - Sleep Enough
Not getting enough sleep affects your mental and physical performance. On top of that, your hunger hormones are thrown out of whack.
When you are sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin, which is why you always seem hungry.
One study showed that men who were sleep deprived ate an average of 340 additional calories than their well-rested counterparts. Most of these calories were from sweet snacks.
Not getting enough sleep has also been associated with drinking more caffeinated sugary sodas.
It's no surprise that getting enough sleep is important, but getting an extra hour of sleep can be the difference between keeping your diet in check and completely derailing your efforts.
#4 - Keep Your Gut in Check
Your gut bacteria have been shown to sway what you crave.
Changing up the micro bacteria in your gut will curb cravings and help your body "want" healthier foods.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kimchi all have probiotics that are great for your gut and allow more good bacteria to grow.
Shout out to Papa G's vegan restaurant for introducing me to a TLT (Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato) sandwich that actually rivals a real BLT.
Quit being afraid to try new things, you'll seriously surprise yourself.
#5 - Eat Bitter Foods
Bitter foods are the opposite of sweet foods. Eating bitter foods have been shown to help slide back the scale of your sweet tooth. No, I'm not talking about eating sour patch kids.
Bitter foods like grapefruit, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, and radishes all have a unique "bite" to them.
Another great thing about eating bitter foods is that when you do eat something sweet, they will taste sweeter.
Wrapping It Up
The more you cut back on sugar, the easier it is to eliminate it. There is one more thing I'd like to mention; all sugars are not created the same.
The sugar you eat from a banana or a couple of oranges is not the same sugar you get in a can of soda. So find a fruit that you enjoy and start replacing your sugary snacks with them.
It can be hard at first, but it works.
Your taste buds turn over around every 21 days, just like other cells in our bodies. The longer we cut out sugar and start eating well-balanced nutritious foods, the fewer sweet-craving taste buds we will have left.
Look, you know sugar is bad for you, right? Eating sugar in moderation and limiting yourself to enjoying a reasonable amount is fine.
Eating sugar becomes a problem when everything you eat has highly-processed sugars and no nutritional value at all. So start slowly incorporating healthier foods into your diet and start cutting out as much sugar as possible.