December 13, 2016 9:32 am Leave your thoughts
Are you trying to cut down on sugar? Or thinking of removing added sugar from your diet altogether? If so, then you’ll know that it’s not easy. Sugar is thought to be just as addictive as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and so on – and perhaps even easier to get hold of than any of those! If you’re contemplating sugar withdrawal, here’s what we at Naturally Good Food can do to help you along the way.
What is sugar withdrawal?
Sometimes called ‘sugar detox’, sugar withdrawal basically means cutting out added sugars from your diet. It’s impossible to remove sugar from your diet altogether, as it’s present in natural form in virtually everything, including grains like quinoa, and vegetables. Some people withdrawing from sugar will refuse to consume natural fruit sugars – while others consider these to be fine. Whatever your precise definition of sugar, it’s certainly a good idea not to eat too much: heart problems, increased cancer risk, diabetes, general weight gain and ill-health are well-known issues with over-consumption.
Tips for cutting down on sugar
- It’s best to cut down gradually: have a little less sugar in your hot drink, or dilute a cold sugary drink a little further.
- Try some alternatives to refined sugar: date syrup, for example, agave nectar or tropical forest honey. These are sweet, but different to sugar, and accustom your body to new, more natural tastes.
- In the short-term, try natural sweeteners, such as xylitol and stevia. In the end, you’re aiming for a diet that doesn’t need sweeteners of any kind – but as a first step, these give you sweetness without the ‘sugar rush’.
- For a sweet treat, try some of our dried fruit, rather than something made with refined sugar: dates are wonderfully sweet, as are figs, raisins and sultanas.
- Get rid of sugar surges caused by refined carbohydrates: replace these with complex, wholegrain carbohydrates, such as those found in our Wholefoods section.
- Don’t go hungry: if you do, you’ll be tempted to lapse! Eat meals rich in protein, and based on wholegrains, to keep yourself feeling full and to release energy slowly. Don’t be afraid of full-fat foods.
- For added taste, where you might usually use sugar, think about sprinkling a spice like cinnamon or nutmeg. Or, try toasted nuts or seeds on top of (plain) yoghurt, rather than something sugary.
- Give a herbal tea a go – these give you flavour without the need to add sugar. See our range here.
How to cope with withdrawal symptoms
The severity of sugar withdrawal symptoms varies from one person to another. Symptoms are likely to include headaches, other aches and pains, mood swings, nausea, feeling like you have flu, and enormous cravings. How can you deal with them? We have a few suggestions….
- Exercise is one way, as it not only distracts you, but cheers you up, by oxygenating the body.
- Drink plenty of water: it can be hard to distinguish sometimes between thirst and hunger.
- Eat nuts and seeds: they give you the satisfaction of a nibble, and of something tasty and energising, without sugar.
- Herbal teas: again, these can be hugely comforting!
Is sugar withdrawal worth it in the end?
Those who have withdrawn from sugar wholeheartedly agree that it is – in fact, they’ll rarely stop talking about it! They say that they feel a great deal healthier, look healthier and are much more energetic. If you want to give it a try, think carefully about how to manage it, using the tips above. And if you’re not sure, why not try cutting down just a little – it can only be of benefit.
Tags: agave nectar, agave syrup, cinnamon, date syrup, dates, dried fruit, figs, Herbal Tea, honey, nutmeg, Nuts, raisins, Seeds, Stevia, sugar, sugar alternatives, sugar withdrawal, sultanas, Tropical Forest, Wholefoods, xylitol
This post was written by Yzanne