Photo: Joe Buissink
Bad news: Your sugar habit may be worse for you than you think. It can lead to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and tooth decay when consumed in excess, according to Registered Dietician Danielle Colley. Since sugar is lacking any essential nutrients, it's just empty excess calories. In other words, for brides trying to lose weight, it's the first food you should limit, Colley says. That can be tough since the chemicals in sugar make it addictive. “Consuming sugar causes a release of dopamine which is a compound in the brain that makes us feel good,” Colley says. If you find yourself reaching for a sweet treat after every meal, you may be an addict. The key, according to Colley, is to wean off of it. “In addition to looking your best for your wedding day, reducing sugar consumption is good for overall health,” she says. Here are Colley's tips on how you can get started:
Know your consumption.
While the USDA doesn't have a recommended sugar intake for Americans, it does recommend women limit their added sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons per day. That can be hard to do when added sugars aren't listed on food labels. Colley suggests taking control by limiting sugar added by you to 2 teaspoons a day.
Start cutting back.
It is always better to wean off a sugar addiction as cutting it all together can lead to harder cravings and binge eating. “In addition, cold turkey can cause headaches and irritability,” Colley says. That could be trouble for a stressed out bride. Besides, there is room for the occasional sweet in your diet.
Get all sweets out of your home and office.
Out of sight, out of mind. Having to head out to get your sweet fix may be annoying enough to make you skip it.
Start with your morning cup of coffee or tea.
If you just can't drink it black or plain, gradually add less sugar. Cut two packets to one-and-a-half and after one week try just one.
Avoid all sugary beverages.
Try water flavored with citrus instead of sweet sodas, Colley suggests.
Don't switch to artificial sweetener.
“Artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar and thus may exacerbate the preference for sweet foods,” Colley says. Especially when your body is being duped into thinking it's getting sugar. The end goal here is to limit your cravings for sweet taste.
Try dark chocolate.
Love chocolate and just can't get through wedding planning without it? Dark chocolate has less sugar and a rich flavor so you don't need as much to satisfy your cravings, Colley says.
Start sharing desserts with your husband-to-be.
Cut portions wherever you can. “Share your dessert with your fiancé and limit yourself to only a few bites,” Colley advises. Soon you may be able to only have a taste! Imagine that.
Have a full fridge of healthy options and eat regular meals.
Don't let yourself get to the point of starving. “When we are very hungry we reach for the easiest and fastest types of foods which are often full of sugar, fat, and calories,” Colley says.