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3 Steps to reducing sugar in your diet

Does your sweet tooth get the better of you at times? Try as you might, you struggle saying no to that last chocolate bar. Believe it or not, sugar can be an addictive substance. Foods with high levels of sugar cause a release of dopamine, a natural chemical linked to happy emotional responses in the brain. While we all love that feeling of happiness, excess sugar has a negative impact on our health. The most obvious being weight gain, but it also weakens your immune system and increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Reducing sugar in your diet is a necessary step to improving your health – it’s also not as hard as you think. Follow our three simple steps to cutting down your sugar intake:

Step 1: Give yourself time when reducing sugar intake

As with any addiction, quitting takes time and perseverance. If you’re serious about reducing sugar in your diet, one of the best approaches is taking things slow. Waking up one day and deciding to go cold turkey might be a bit of a shock to your system. Cutting out sugary treats from day one also puts added pressure on you. One slip and you feel like you’ve failed. No. While some people have the will power to turn their backs all of a sudden, the gradual approach is more realistic for others.

To allow yourself the best chance at success, give yourself a month or more to lower your sugar intake step by step. By the time you reach the ‘no sugar’ stage, your palate will have adapted to the lack of artificial sweetness. You won’t even miss it. As long as you believe in yourself and commit to the process, you’ll see results.

Step 2: Cut down your main source of sugar first

It’s important to realise that sugar hides in many forms – processed foods, sweetened juices, sugary snacks. You need to identify your predominant source of sugar before you can cut it from your diet. Is it three spoons of sugar in your coffee? Maybe it’s the box of cookies you can’t put down. Or perhaps it’s the innocent looking processed bread in your lunch tin. Either way, the excess sugar needs to go. Once you start minimising the primary suspect, reducing sugar in the rest of your diet will follow.

As soon as you’ve pinpointed your sugary weakness, you can start planning a gradual retreat. Whether it’s excess sugar in your tea or a couple of bottles of soda a week, lower your intake a little at a time. For the first week, it might be one less sugar or half a bottle less. Maybe it’s making one box of cookies stretch longer. However you choose to do it, give yourself a realistic time frame.

Step 3: Eat more real food

Sugar hides in unlikely places. From processed foods to condiments and even healthy looking treats such as fruit and energy bars. Often people opt for fruit juices or low-fat foods expecting them to be healthier. But unfortunately, many of these have hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners in the mix. With this in mind, reducing sugar extends beyond just cutting down on junk food. The best way to clean up your diet is with real food. Throw out the ready meals, steer clear of take-out joints and prepare your meals from scratch. The simple act of cooking for yourself, using fresh ingredients, will cause a drastic improvement. In fact, after some time without processed foods, you’ll begin to notice the sugar cravings less and less.

Now you know how to start reducing sugar in your diet, it’s time to put your plan into action. Once you’ve cut down your cravings, you’ll begin feeling happier, healthier and more energetic. Ready to invest in your wellbeing? Let us help. Our medical insurance plans provide members with affordable access to primary care, helping you stay on top of your health. Compare our plans and request a callback. Our knowledgeable agents will explain all the benefits.