Reducing sugar cravings and resetting your taste buds can benefit your health.

 

Consuming sugar can lead to health problems. When sugar is converted into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream, it causes spikes in blood sugar levels and increases insulin release. This can be harmful over time, leading to organ damage, inflammation, insulin resistance, and increased risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Eating sugar can diminish the function of the liver, kidney, heart, skin, and brain.

 

Whir, whir, whir, the sound of the blender disturbed the peace of the morning. Annie frowned at its sound but smiled as she watched as the ingredients were mixed into crumbly flour. “Perfect,” she thought as she emptied the blender contents into a mixing bowl.

LJ put his arms around her waist as she added a cup of mashed sweet potato. “What’s cookin’ good lookin’?”

“I’m making Sweet potato cookies.”

“Right on time because we are out of cookies.”

“Annie smiled and, facing LJ, said, “I deliberately stopped buying store-bought cookies because I want to wean us off sugar. I noticed we started looking for something sweet after dinner and were starting to over-indulge in them. At least I am, but you were eating more and more ice cream.”

“Well, yes, I’ve been overdoing it. You know, sugar is so sneaky. It’s that first bite; my brain lights up, and then it’s off to the races. That first spoon of ice cream makes me lose control, and I can’t stop.”

“You’re right,” sympathized Annie. “Sugar is addicting. It triggers dopamine release in the brain, causing pleasure. However, repeated consumption desensitizes dopamine receptors, requiring more sugar for satisfaction. This creates a craving cycle and the risk of overeating. Since it can be hard to break the sugar craving, I thought we could start with these cookies. Their only sweetness comes from the sweet potato, so you’ll get a hint of sugar, but more importantly, you’ll get the fiber, vitamins, and minerals found in the rolled oats and sweet potato, which will be filling and satisfying.”

“I’m all for getting sugar out of our diet. If it helps avoid premature aging and dementia, I’m all for trying.”

“Okay, one of the best ways to achieve success is gradual reduction:

We should reduce the amount of sweets we consume each day but do it gradually. Abruptly quitting sugar might lead to binge eating later.”

“There’s another recommendation: Add Fruit to Your Diet. By adding fruit to our meals, they provide natural sweetness as well as essential nutrients that processed sugar lacks. Whole fruits like berries, apples, and citrus are the best, but I also like ripe bananas; they can be filling.”

“That’s a good idea. Another one is Start Your Day with Protein. Greek yogurt, quinoa, chia seeds, and cottage cheese are great protein sources. Since you like bananas, what do you think about when you hear Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie? It includes a banana, peanut butter, plant-based milk, spinach, and protein powder. It is creamy and satisfying.”

“I think I’m going to start tomorrow with one.” LJ continued, “Another way to reduce sugar in our diet is to choose unsweetened foods purposefully. Plain yogurt, rolled oats, and whole-grain cereal are healthy, and adding fruit for sweetness will help us have better control over sugar intake.”

“Yes, and don’t forget to Exercise,” said Annie as she playfully did a jumping jack.

Regular physical exercise has many health benefits, including lowering a desire for unhealthy, high-sugar, and high-calorie foods. It’s sort of like once you put in the work, you don’t want to ruin the results of your effort by eating the wrong food.”

“Yeah,” laughed LJ. Some people use exercise as a reason to indulge, but it’s like going two steps forward and three steps back, leading to major frustration. Another tactic to reduce sugar in your diet is to Cleanse Your Palate. Gradually ease off highly flavored processed foods to eliminate them. Over time, your taste buds will become more attuned to subtler flavor variations. Here are steps to help achieve this goal:

  1. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. This helps flush out toxins and reduce cravings.
  2. Eat whole foods: Focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These nutrient-dense options can satisfy your body’s needs and reduce cravings.
  3. Eat balanced meals with a combination of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. This helps keep you satiated and prevents sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.
  4. Avoid sugary beverages: Eliminate sugary drinks like soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks.
  5. Read labels: Avoid products high in added sugars and choose healthier alternatives.
  6. Plan and prepare your meals: preparing your food means you have better control over the ingredients, including sugar content. Focus on cooking at home using natural ingredients.
  7. Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can increase sugar cravings. Ensure you have an adequate sleep routine to support your overall health and reduce cravings.”

“Sounds like we have a plan and just in time,” said Annie as she removed the cookies from the oven.  “As we know, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so we must be patient and remember that small changes can lead to significant improvements. By being mindful of sugar intake, we can support our health and protect our organs.”

 

Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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