Shedding a few extra pounds becomes increasingly difficult as we get older. There are many reasons why we put on weight, including stress, age, lack of activity, and – of course – diet, which plays the largest role in weight management. Considered a growing problem in America, obesity contributes to numerous health problems.
When we age, our metabolism slows down, making it far more difficult to shed pounds. So even if you’re eating the same as you always did, you must work harder to lose weight. But if you’re not getting a good night’s rest, you could contribute even more to your weight problems. Let us explain…
Poor Sleep Increases Sugar Cravings
A poor night’s sleep increases your sugar craving, and by now you very well know all the health-related problems that sugar can cause, weight gain included. Research has found that when we are tired, we crave the white stuff even more, so limiting your sugar consumption can be quite a challenge.
Researchers looked at brain scans from 23 young, healthy adults first after normal sleep and then again after a sleepless night. The researchers found that impaired sleep affected the frontal lobe of the brain responsible for decision-making, but brain activity was increased in other areas, including the reward center. These findings help explain why we crave unhealthy foods when we don’t get proper sleep.
Matthew Walker, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, explained, “What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified. High-calorie foods also became significantly more desirable when participants were sleep-deprived. This combination of altered brain activity and decision-making may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese.”
Now that we understand the negative impact of insufficient sleep, the solution is quite simple: Improve sleep to reduce sugar cravings and maintain healthy weight.
Tips to Help Cut Out Sugar
Aside from getting proper sleep, here are some other ways to cut out sugar for overall health benefits.
Toss the Table Sugar
Reducing the amount of sugar you consume can positively impact your health. A straightforward way to reduce sugar intake is to get rid of the table sugar in your home. You won’t be tempted to add sugar to your coffee or other foods if you have no sugar. While this may seem like a small change, it can significantly affect the sugar you consume daily. Getting rid of your table sugar is a good place to start if you’re looking to reduce your sugar intake.
Swap Out the Soda
For many people, soda is a daily staple. However, it’s important to be aware of the health risks associated with soda consumption. Soda is high in sugar and empty calories, which can lead to weight gain.
In addition, the sugar in soda can contribute to cavities and other dental problems. Moreover, soda has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, there are many health benefits to swapping out soda for healthier choices. For example, reducing your sugary drink intake can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, you may also experience weight loss and improved dental health. So next time you reach for a soda, consider swapping it out for water or another healthy option.
Anyone looking to cut sugar intake can try using vanilla extract. This natural sugar substitute can be used in various ways, providing a delicious flavor without the sugar high. Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol, which extracts the flavor compounds from the beans.
These flavor compounds are responsible for the characteristic aroma and taste of vanilla. The extract can then be used to flavor cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats. For a sugar-free sweetness, vanilla extract can also be added to coffee or tea.
Anyone who has ever tried to reduce their sugar intake knows that it can be a difficult task. Sugar is added to so many foods, from breakfast cereals to pasta sauce, making it hard to avoid. One way to reduce sugar intake is to use sugar substitutes. Many sugar substitutes are available on the market, but not all are healthy. Stevia is one of the most healthy sugar substitutes. It is made from an herb and has no calories or harmful side effects. It can be used in baking and cooking and can even be added to coffee or tea. If you are looking for a healthy way to reduce your sugar intake, Stevia is a good option.
Reduce the Sugar You Add to Hot Drinks
Reducing the sugar in hot drinks is a great way to improve your health. Hot drinks are often loaded with sugar, so by reducing the amount of sugar you consume, you can make a big difference to your health. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to your cappuccino or hot chocolate to give it more flavor when cutting down on the sugar. This will not only entice your tastebuds, but it also has several health benefits. Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and calm the digestive system. So, not only will you be reducing your sugar intake, but you’ll also be getting some health benefits too. Win-win!
Balance Your Carb Intake with Lean Protein
While sugar is found naturally in many foods, such as fruits and vegetables, it’s also added to a lot of processed foods, including candy, cookies, cakes, and sodas. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and health problems like diabetes and heart disease. One of the easiest ways to reduce sugar intake is to balance carbs with lean protein. Protein-rich foods like fish, chicken, turkey, and tofu help to slow stomach emptying, which can reduce cravings and help you feel full longer. So if you’re looking to cut back on sugar, be sure to include plenty of protein-rich foods in your diet.
Switch To Less Refined Options
If you’re trying to reduce your sugar intake, one simple change you can make is to switch to less refined options. That means swapping white bread, rice, and pasta for wholegrain versions like oats, granary and whole meal breads, brown rice, and pasta. Wholegrain varieties contain more fiber, which can help reduce the spike in blood sugar levels than refined carbs can cause. Plus, they tend to be more filling, so you’re less likely to snack later on. So making the switch to whole grain carbs is a win-win when it comes to reducing your sugar intake.
Reduce Liquid Sugar
Many people don’t realize that sugar can be found in many common beverages. Fruit juices, soft drinks, and even some types of alcohol are all high in sugar. To reduce sugar intake, try to stick to one glass of fruit juice daily and limit sweetened drinks to the weekends. Herbal teas and plain water are great sugar-free options, or you can add a slice of lemon or other citrus fruit for a natural hint of sweetness. You can easily reduce your sugar intake and improve your overall health by making smart choices about the beverages you drink.
By following these tips – along with getting a good night’s rest – you can help limit your sugar intake, manage your weight, and improve your overall health.