Stretch One Delicious Secret to Kicking Your Sugar Addiction Can’t quit your sweet tooth? This secret hack makes kicking your sugar addiction easy, achievable, and pretty darn tasty. By Jillian Billard Presented byIf you’ve ever tried to give up sugar (or even just omit it from your morning coffee) then you probably know just how difficult it can be. Not only are added sugars hidden in a number of unassuming foods (according to the American Heart Association, the average American unknowingly consumes about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day), they’re also highly addictive. Luckily, there are lots of ways to curb sugar cravings, naturally. And collagen—everyone’s favorite wellness beauty secret—is one such way. Collagen maintains blood sugar—so you won’t have those extreme peaks and crashes that sugar inflicts. Without the constant fluctuation, your brain won’t crave that sugar fix that happens when your blood sugar gets low. But let’s go back to sugar for a moment. Is sugar all that bad? Eric Stice, a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, says they’re comparable to drugs like cocaine, which activates the same dopamine release in the brain. And like any addictive substance, the more we consume, the more we need to satisfy our cravings. Also, it just tastes really freaking delicious. But a calorie is a calorie, right? Is sugar really all that bad? To the dismay of those of us with a sweet tooth, science says yes. Excess sugar intake can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, inflammation, and high triglyceride counts, which are all risk factors of heart disease and cardiovascular issues. It can also put us at risk for cancer, diabetes, and premature skin aging. Plus, while consuming sugar may give us a quick fix or mood boost, in the long run, it can lead to depression, and major fluctuations in energy levels, resulting in what are commonly known as “crashes.” Now, this isn’t to say that you have to go “cold turkey” on the stuff—due to its addictive nature, it can be difficult to wean off of sugar. So how can we stop consuming so much sugar without feeling like we just got run over by a truck? Luckily, studies show that by implementing certain foods and making small lifestyle changes, we can kick sugar without actually missing it that much. The key? Protein, baby. Protein is a satiating macronutrient that provides sustained energy by balancing blood sugar levels and keeping you feeling full. Which is where collagen comes in. Collagen FTW Collagen is a key protein that can help curb sugar addition. In its powdered form, it’s a super easy supplement to any diet. If you want all of the benefits and none of the flavor or added sugars, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is a great option. It dissolves completely in both hot and cold liquids, so you can put it in anything from coffee to smoothies to a plain ol’ glass of water. If you’re looking for something with a little more flavor, Vital Proteins also makes a number of delicious collagen powders and creamers (with no added sugars!) ranging from Vanilla to Dark Chocolate Blackberry. In addition to curbing your sugar cravings, collagen also supports healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, joints, and muscles. As with any diet, balance is key. You don’t have to completely cut out sugar. (In fact, Vital Protein’s blog has pages of recipes with healthy alternatives to traditional sweets that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth). Rather than restriction, alleviating a sugar addiction is more about maintaining balance so that we don’t feel energetically depleted or out of control. Collagen helps to create this equilibrium that alleviates the “roller-coaster” effect of sugar. To get you started, we’ve added a simple snack recipe from Vital Proteins that’s sure to satisfy without causing a midday slump. Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bites INGREDIENTS 1 cup whole rolled oats 1/4 cup pecans 1/2 cup raisins 3 tbsp chia seeds 2 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides 1/2 cup creamy almond butter 3 tbsp maple syrup 1 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp nutmeg 1/8 tsp sea salt INSTRUCTIONS Add the ingredients to the bowl of a large food processor. Process until the mix is chunky and sticky, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. It should hold together well when pressed between two fingers. Use a cookie scoop to portion the bites evenly. Roll them between your palms to form a ball shape. Place them on a lined sheet pan and into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set. Keep chilled until serving. Presented by Vital ProteinsVital Proteins is the collagen brand for simple, whole food nutrition that boosts health and wellness from the inside out. The brand’s collection of elixirs, blends, and capsules is thoughtfully created with high quality, all-natural ingredients that contain key proteins and nutrients needed to look and feel your best. Through their collection of great-tasting collagen-based nutrition, they maintain their mission to nourish those who wish to live a life without limits by providing a path to natural, youthful vibrancy.