Fight back against sugar: Tips to help overcome the cycle of excessive sweets

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Before moving to Germany, I avoided sugar and refined carbohydrates like the plague. But now that I am living here, I find it hard to refuse all the amazing breads, pastries and carbohydrate-loaded wonderfulness that Germany has to offer.

I have realized that sugar truly is an addiction. While I realize sugar is not the best substance to eat all day long, it is a hard cycle to break. Studies have actually shown that intense sweetness can have a greater neurological reward than narcotics. Withdrawal from sugar can sometimes cause the same neurological symptoms as withdrawal from nicotine, morphine, and alcohol.

Many of us have used sugar as a reward for ourselves and children. It is convenient and readily available. Sugar is a mainstay in our holiday and birthday celebrations. So how is it possible to break free of the sugar addiction? Here are some tips I have discovered during my own battle against sugar.

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Sweetening your coffee.

Are you a coffee drinker? Do you make your cup a bit more tasty by adding artificial sweeteners? If so, start fighting your sugar addiction here. These artificial sweeteners can cause you to crave sugar the rest of the day. They also cause your brain to crave more calories throughout the day, which could result in weight gain. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners can actually change the way your body metabolizes sugar. In a nutshell, skip the artificial sweeteners starting first thing in the morning with that initial cup of Joe.

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Water, water, water.

I find it extremely difficult to resist sugar when I am dehydrated. One of the most important parts of overcoming sugar addiction is staying hydrated. You may think your body is craving food and sugar, when in fact it is really dehydrated. Drinking green tea is also a great way to counteract a sugar craving.

Eat real food.

Keep your diet loaded with nutritious foods. Keep plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts and eggs on hand and ready to eat. You should always eat a carbohydrate and a protein together or a fat and a protein together. Never eat fats and carbohydrates together. Eating this way will better regulate blood sugar, increase satiety, and promote better bodily absorption of nutrients. The bottom line: eating healthy, nutritious foods reduces sugar cravings.

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Find an alternative.

Deal with sugar cravings by taking a walk, having a cup of tea, drinking a glass of water, having a handful of nuts, or eating a piece of fruit. Fill that sugar void by finding an alternative that works best for you. There is plenty of mind and body satisfaction in overcoming sugar addiction. If you fall off the wagon, climb back on.