If you find yourselves always reaching for the biscuit tin come 3pm, or wonder why your energy levels plummet along with your forehead into your keyboard, then this is the post for you.
Whether you're a Haribo, Skittles or chocolate lover, or even a fan of those low-fat Muller type yoghurts, then this post is also for you. Here at IAIT, we are making September a sugar-free month (sugar-free September, anyone?) and we're challenging you to join us.
Ladies, we are going to help you quit and ditch the habit. Sugar, sugar, we are through...
Not convinced? Just hear us out. However much we love the taste of sugar (and, let's face it, sugary foods taste pretty darn spectacular, else why would we do it?), it's not good for us. We know it's not, right?
You see, not only does sugar contain a whole heap of calories with zero nutrients, but it also rots your teeth. It's highly addictive and can cause premature ageing and wrinkles. It can lead you to pile on the pounds, or act as a stepping stone to insulin resistance (yep, that will lead to Diabetes and a whole host of other problems), and it's even been linked to a whole heap of other diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
It's bad, isn't it? And trust me, I could go on and on and on about the side effects of sugar, but I won't. Just remember: sugar is bad for you.
Anyway, I've spent the past three years as a fully-reformed sugar addict - and, honestly, I've never looked back.
The first few days were hell. I felt grumpy, got headaches and was seriously a living nightmare. But after that...well, my life was transformed. A few weeks into quitting the white stuff, I found that my skin started glowing, pesky little wrinkles faded into oblivion, my energy levels were soaring. Oh, and the weight literally dropped off me. All those stubborn, hard-to-shift pounds melted away, and my body looked leaner, tauter and more defined - and that was even before I started exercising!
So, do you want to join us? Here are our top tips for going sugar-free this September - let's do it!
P.S If you really can't go cold turkey and are looking for healthier sugar alternatives, read my blog on Lucy Bee Coconut here.
TOP TIPS FOR GIVING UP SUGAR
1) Sweeten With Cinnamon
Not only does cinnamon add a natural sweetness and spice to your food, but it also works at lowering blood sugar levels, meaning it will help to prevent spikes. Try stirring it into coffee, porridge or even adding to dishes such as chilli to feel the full effects.
2) Get Your 8 Hours of Sleep
I know, I know. Easier said than done, right? I'm really bad at this one, BUT lack of sleep means your body's hunger hormones go haywire. Levels of Ghrelin - which triggers the hunger sensation - increase, while Leptin - which makes you feel full or satisfied - plummet, leaving us more likely to reach for the Starmix.
3) Eat a High Protein Breakfast
We all know that we should be breakfasting like Kings (or Queens) to help us feel our best throughout the day. If you start the day with a protein-packed breakfast, then your body will maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day. Scrambled eggs on rye bread toast are a fantastic option, or try adding protein powders (we love First Protein) to your morning smoothie if you like to keep it light.
4) Eat Plenty of Fats
I know, I know - we are going completely against the grain here; for years, you were told that fats make you fat. Quite simply, this isn't true. In fact, fats can help you lose weight. You see, fats help you to stay feeling full, which means you won't feel the urge to grab the chocolate biscuits. A great fat to try is Lucy Bee Coconut Oil - as a medium fatty chain acid, your body uses it for an instant energy boost, rather than storing it away as fat. Simply add to your favourite foods and go!
5) Quit Processed Foods
From tomato ketchup to pasta sauces, shop-bought yoghurts and cereals, the foods you find on the supermarket shelves are often loaded with sugar. Terrifying really, especially when many of these foods target your health-conscious dieter. Our advice? Make everything from scratch! If you cook for yourself, you can not only rustle up some incredibly healthy, tasty foods (we are huge fans of good, honest stews in winter), but you also know that you're not adding any unnecessary sugars to your diet.
6) Always Check the Labels
Many of the foods you buy that you think are good for you (Special K, we are looking at you!) are often high in sugar, meaning you'll put on weight rather than lose it. If you are unable to cook from scratch, then read the labels first - and also look for hidden sugars in the ingredients. Beware of anything ending in "ose"and the following ingredients are also names for sugar: Cane juice, Dehydrated cane juice, Cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Caramel, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diatase, Diatastic malt, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbinado, Sorghum syrup, Refiner's syrup, Ethyl maltol, Maple syrup, Yellow sugar.
7) Don't Juice
Juicing is just another way of mainlining sugar, so try to avoid fruit juices, however good for you they might sound. If you do want to juice or make a smoothie, then try to do it using mainly vegetables instead of 100% fruits. If it's not sweet enough, try adding lemon or lime instead.
8) Rethink Your Snacks
Always wondered why you weren't losing weight? Check your snack drawer! Many of the snacks you thought were healthy - granolas, cereal bars, dried fruits - are actually full of sugars. Cut back and try snacking on avocado, nut butters or handfuls of nuts instead.