In recent times, you must have heard all about the dangers of sugar consumption. The reasons to quit this sneaky little devil are endless: sugar consumption has been proven to be the cause of common diseases such as diabetes, liver and kidney dysfunction, obesity, cardiovascular disease, some studies even suggest cancer. Now, even though we can intellectualize and theoretically comprehend the downside of sugar, it is another thing to be able to opt out of it when that 5-o clock crash at the office strikes and we find ourselves going to the vending machine for a quick sugar fix.
It’s no secret that sugar is a highly addictive substance: it alters the biochemical pathways in our brain and tampers with our dopamine receptors. For us to get the next dopamine spike, we need a greater dose of sugar, that is why the vast majority of snacks contain some form of sugar, more specifically fructose, because it’s cheap and keeps us addicted.
If you want to kick the sugar habit, or at least help reduce its unnecessary overconsumption, you can adopt some of these alternatives to calm sugar cravings, naturally.
- Raw Cacao Nibs: If you are one to go for chocolate bars to relieve a sugar craving, you will appreciate this one. Cacao nibs are the bean where chocolate comes from, in its raw state, without all the processing that turns it into your afternoon sugary snack. Packed with fibers, antioxidants, magnesium, potassium and iron, raw cacao nibs are your new go-to snack!
- Bananas: Delicious and healthy, there’s nothing like a good ol’ ripe banana to satisfy your sweet tooth. Naturally sweet, bananas also contain high amounts of resistant starch or pectin, which helps in reducing appetite and makes you feel full. Inexpensive and easy to find, bananas are the perfect, 100% natural snack you always want to keep in your bag
- Coconut Milk Yogurt: Because it’s always nice to end a good meal on a sweet note, coconut milk yogurt is a great choice to replace your every day sugary desserts. Naturally creamy, coconut milk yogurt is a tasty treat you can enjoy with a little agave or stevia, berries or nuts. Vegan and sugar free, this is yet another wonder of the coconut!
- Almond Butter Bars: Cereal bars are a tasty treat that may seem like a healthier choice than a chocolate bar, but unfortunately, most of them are packed with added sugars that the body doesn’t need, and that in the end, don’t make it that much of a healthy choice. You can alternatively try making your own bars (no baking needed!), with simple ingredients such as almond butter (less sugary than peanut butter, just as delicious), rolled oats and nuts for crunchiness, and you can either use honey or dates to keep the ingredients together and give the bars shape.
Keep in mind that very often we turn to sugary snacks to avoid an unpleasant feeling, whether it is emotional pain or just plain boredom. Mindfulness meditation can really come in handy in these moments, to recognize the real reason behind our snacking habit or sugar craving, and then be able to make a smarter, higher decision to preserve our wellbeing.
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