It's no shocker we eat a lot of sugar in this country. According to the American Heart Association, the average four to eight-year-old eats 21 teaspoons of sugar a day, but they should only eat three to four teaspoons. The average adult eats about the same amount, 22 tsp., which is also about 5 times the limit amount of added sugar recommended for adult men and women. I doubt any of us adults actually thinks that the sugar we consume is good for us, and yet we do little to manage our intake- particularly during times of stress. In Julia Ross's book, The Diet Cure, she writes, "many clients have told me that they got hooked the very first time they got a high from ice cream, sodas, or cookies. Personally, I think of refined sugar as a drug. When white sugar was first introduced to Europe int he 16th century, it was kept under lock and key, because of its potency. It was worth its weight in silver and they even called it "Crack"! Just because sugar is legal, cheap, and easily available doesn't mean that it isn't destructive."
The author goes on to say that "if you eat sweets a lot...you will exhaust your adrenals eventually. This is true if you diet a lot too, because your blood glucose is always low when you diet. Dieting is a big strain on the adrenals. There is no greater strain that impending death, which is what the adrenals perceive starvation dieting to be. But Any extreme or prolonged stress will overtax them. "
So how do we combat our desire to eat sweets, especially when we can't complete avoid stress and we are constantly bombarded with opportunities to eat sugar?
1) Manage your stress as best as you can with communication and scheduling: When we talk about our problems that can't eat us up inside- so we won't use food to stuff our emotions down. When we schedule our lives, we have less stress in the first place and can anticipate our needs.
2) Stop dieting: Eating a lower calorie diet may seem like a good idea in the first place, but we can only survive on fewer calories if we are getting a TON of nutritional density out of the calories we eat. Most of us need to eat at least 1200-2000 calories a day minimum to meet our daily needs. Anything less puts our body into a starvation setting and increases our desire for quick sugary carbs.
3) Eat a protein or a fiber with your carbs: Eating a protein or a high fiber food (like veggies or whole grain brown rice) slows down the rate of the sugar absorption so we don't have such a big surge in insulin release to handle the processing of the high sugar intake. When we absorb the energy we eat more slowly we are less likely to have large swings in our blood sugar- we stay more stable, and therefore have less cravings. Ideally you should be getting 30-35 grams of fiber a day. Use a supplement if you needed...we love UltraFiber Plus.
4) Add these 2 amino acids to your day: Adding two 500 mg capsules or L-Glutamine three times a day between meals improves your brain chemistry by balancing out the energy the brain needs. Taking 50-100mg or less of 5HTP 2-3 times a day increases our natural serotonin levels so we feel more emotional stability and self-confidence.
5) Get your sleep: Carbohydrates and sugar are purely an energy source, like the gas you put in your car. When you are low on energy, you crave more quick fuel...like sugar and carbs. Boost your energy by getting your Zzzz's.
6) Remove the tempting food from your environment: If it isn't there to eat, you won't be able to eat it. Pack your kitchen full of veggies, fruits, and lean meats instead. When a craving comes along, do your best to eat a little protein and wait about 10 minutes. The amino acids in the protein should help the craving subside. This trick works especially well for those of you who feel you cannot remove all tempting foods because of kids in the house.
You may not have to give up all your sugar...just do your best to cut back at every opportunity you can!