Monday, July 6, 2015

Dr. Axe: Cutting Sugar and Eating Healthy

How to Stop your Sugar Cravings

We should eat more fruit. We should eat organic (or beyond organic). But a lot of times when I’ve asked patients over the years, “Why could you not stick with a diet before?” they would say, “Because of the cravings. I started craving sugar so much.

1. Get more protein in your diet.

Protein actually will help balance out blood sugar and so that really helps with sugar cravings. That really is the biggest reason there. Some of the best protein foods out there include:

2. Consume more healthy fats.

Your body can burn sugar for energy or fat for energy. If you stop consuming as much sugar, start consuming more fat. Just make sure it’s healthy fats, the kind common in theMediterranean diet. Your body will become a fat burner, which will also help weight loss, but that will actually reduce your sugar cravings. The best fat for that is actually coconut or coconut oil.

3. Get more fiber.

Fiber helps you stay fuller longer. It also supports detoxification and can reduce candida symptoms in your body. Candida is a major cause of sugar cravings. You want to aim for 35–40 grams of fiber a day. Start consuming more high-fiber foods, especially vegetables and nuts and seeds, like chia seeds and flaxseeds.
Other good sources of fiber include:
It’s also important to eat a high-fiber diet because fiber is more than just a regulator. Dietary fiber can also help with the following conditions:

4. Consume more sour or probiotic-rich foods.

Things like probiotic yogurt and kefir are, in fact, sour because of the good bacteria found in them. They fight off and reduce candida in your body, which is why you reduce sugar cravings.
So again, consuming probiotic-rich foods, like kefir and yogurt, fermented vegetableslike sauerkraut and kimchi, and also sour foods like apple cider vinegar is fantastic. Using apple cider vinegar on a salad or apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in your water throughout the day can decrease your sugar cravings.
More probiotic foods include:
  • Kombucha
  • Natto
  • Coconut kefir
  • Kvass
  • Raw cheese
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Brine-cured olives
  • Salted gherkin pickles

5. Switch to stevia.

Stevia is a no-calorie, natural sweetener that’s a good replacement for sugar if you’re looking to overcome those cravings temporarily.
Just beware. Not all stevia is created equal, which is why stevia side effects can vary. The three main types stevia are:
  1. Green leaf stevia — This is the least processed of all types of stevia, and the leaves have basically been dried and ground into powder form. This stevia is sweet, slightly bitter and isn’t quite as potent as most stevia products. It’s about 30–40 times sweeter than sugar and the type of stevia that I believe is the best option.
  2. Stevia extracts — Some brands of stevia today extract the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside), which doesn’t have the health benefits found in stevioside. This type of stevia may be a better option than other regular sweeteners but there aren’t many studies available yet showing its effects. It’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar.
  3. Altered stevia and Truvia — This is the type of stevia that you want to stay away from and in reality isn’t stevia at all.  The problem with these stevia products is the processing and added ingredients.
This point cannot be stressed enough: Not all stevia products are created equal. There is a HUGE difference between consuming real stevia and the chemically processed Truvia.
If you follow those five steps above, you can kiss your sugar cravings goodbye.

The Best Sugar Alternatives

Another way to curb your sugar cravings and recover from a sugar addiction is to use healthy sugar alternatives. Try these natural sweeteners instead.

Raw honey

One tablespoon of raw honey has 64 calories and has less impact on glycemic load than a single banana. It’s important to note that these are the benefits of raw honey. Once honey has been pasteurized, it loses the many of the health benefits that raw honey brings to the table.


Dates are loaded with potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6. From the date palm tree, they’re easily digested and help to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Evidence shows that dates may help to reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood and may reduce the risk of stroke.

Coconut sugar

Now, more and more people are using coconut sugar as their natural sweetener of choice because of its low glycemic load and rich mineral content.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is an outstanding source of manganese, and contains calcium, potassium and zincRich with antioxidants, this all-natural sweetener helps to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. Select darker, Grade B maple syrups, as they showcase more of maple syrup’s nutritional benefits.

Blackstrap molasses

All molasses is obtained from raw cane sugar, made by boiling it until it’s a rich sweet syrup. Blackstrap molasses comes from the third boiling, concentrating its nutrients and providing for its deep, rich flavor.

Balsamic glaze

Balsamic vinegar is rich in antioxidants that destroy free radicals, rich in the enzyme pepsin that helps to promote healthy digestion, and it tastes great. That’s why it’s included in my healing foods diet.

Banana puree

Bananas are rich in fiber and potassium, and a good source of vitamins B6 and C. They’re also naturally sweet with a subtle flavor, making them a perfect natural sweetener.

Brown rice syrup

Brown rice syrup starts with brown rice that’s fermented with enzymes to break down the starch. The liquid is then heated until the syrup consistency is achieved. The result? A thick, amber-colored, sweet syrup perfect for recipes calling for corn syrup and other unhealthy sweeteners.

Real fruit jam

The key here is real fruit jam. Berries, stone fruit, apples, pears and grapes are great replacements for sugar in recipes. You can use commercially available fruit jam; just be sure there is no added sugar or pectin. It’s better to make your own sugar-free jam with organic fresh or frozen fruit. It’s easy and economical.

Dr. Axe