Looking to reap the rewards of going sugar-free? Nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill shares her top tips to kicking the sweet tooth once and for all
Is it time to break up with your sugar habit? Many of us view the start of a New Year as the time to hit reset, ditch the sweet stuff (again), and reap the rewards of a nutritious diet. But easier said than done!
Fortunately, Jacqueline Alwill, nutritionist and ambassador of kombucha specialist Remedy, says that ditching the sweet stuff can actually deliver benefits way sooner than you expect.
According to Alwin: “People often see the results far sooner than they think — clearer skin, increased energy levels, weight loss and mental clarity are a few benefits worth mentioning to help you muster up the motivation to reduce your sugar intake.”
So, ready clear out the cupboards, wave goodbye to the doughnut addiction and trade the sweet stuff for a bite of something far more nutritious? And not gnaw your partner’s arm off in the process?
Here, the whole food chef shares her handy guide to going sugar-free…
1 Call on your Community
Like with exercise, quitting with a fellow sugar fiend can help you stick to your goal. “Like anything, it’s easier to do a challenge with a friend, family member or partner — build a support network to help keep you motivated for the first couple of months of going sugar-free.”
2 Be Mindful of Withdrawals
It’s true; the more sugar you eat, the more you crave. And as with any addiction, anticipate
withdrawals and a sharp slump period. “Many studies have shown sugar stimulates certain areas of the brain in the same way as drug and alcohol addictions. It’s highly addictive and challenging to quit but, with the right mindset, anything is achievable,” Alwill explains.
To combat this, she says to be mindful of your emotions and take measures to help minimise stress during this time. “Everyone’s experience differs, but you may find intense waves of cravings, mood swings, dizziness and nausea — stay strong as the benefits will soon outweigh the withdrawal symptoms.”
3 Plan your Meals
The first week will be the toughest, and Alwill warns you should be prepared logistically, as well as mentally. “Plan your meals for the first week and try to avoid eating out in those early days, as you’ll find sugar is added to so many takeaway restaurant-prepared meals, and found in all those ‘extra’ foods and snacks on the go.”
4 Exercise Daily
Doing something active each day can help in a number of ways. “Reduce your stress levels by
exercising each morning — do something you love and keep it low-impact in the first few weeks. Think brisk walking, yoga or pilates,” she recommends. There’s even science to back this up. “Interestingly, a 2015 study found short bouts of physical exercise may reduce the craving for sugary snacks. Win!”
5 Eat More Protein
In a nutshell, protein will keep you full for longer and will be your best friend during this taxing window. “To avoid reaching for a sugary snack, fill up on protein to keep your hunger levels at bay and boost your energy.
Try to eat protein with every meal on your sugar detox, whether it’s an animal protein such as fish, chicken, red meat, dairy and eggs or, if you’re a plant-based pro, fill up on legumes, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, nuts, seeds and whole grains.”
6 Increase your Fibre Intake
Want to prevent a sugar-withdrawal meltdown? “Take control of your blood sugar levels by loading up on fibre-rich foods such as vegetables, legumes and seeds. They will also ease your sugar withdrawal symptoms.”
7 Stay Hydrated
Thirst is often confused with hunger, Alwill says, so reach for the good stuff to keep hydrated. “Beat sugar cravings by increasing your water intake and ensuring you reach the minimum 2-3 litres per day. If you’re craving sparkling, switch up your fizzy drink to a naturally sugar-free alternative like Remedy Kombucha.”
8 Stay Focused
Once you’ve survived the withdrawals you’ll start to feel the benefits of quitting sugar, but Alwill
explains your sugar habits won’t change overnight for good. “Change is powerful, but you have to practise to make it a habit. You need to revisit the change-factor frequently before it all clicks.
Things don’t click overnight, it all takes time, patience and practise. Congratulate yourself for making a change for the better and stay focused.”
Remedy is available in selected flavours from Tesco and online at Tesco.com.
For the full Remedy range, visit Remedydrinks.com/uk.