Ok, this is a big one because probably all of us are a little (or a lot, in my case) addicted to sugar. And this whole quarantine situation doesn’t make things easier when it comes to snacking!
For me, this started at a very early age and because there wasn’t much awareness regarding the negative impact sugar has on the body, it really affected me. And although I‘be been fighting this for more than 5 years now, it‘s still the reason why I don’t have the abs I want. 😂
On a more serious note, sugar doesn’t only affect our looks but also our energy levels, it increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, it affects our immune function, it accelerates ageing and stress, etc.
Surprisingly, I didn’t realise I have a sugar addiction until I was in uni and Paul had to point that out. So, the first step in overcoming sugar addiction is simply to recognise it.
1. Recognise your addiction
Check out the six signs of sugar addiction:
1. You hide your sugar intake
Do you have a secret stack of chocolates in your closet? Well, no one hides broccoli there, so you are guilty. 🙈
2. You can’t have enough sugar
Erin Akey, a nutritionist and chef, said the need for more sugar to satisfy one’s craving is a definite sign of sugar addiction, as the tolerance for sweets has built over time. I’m very guilty of this!
3. There is always a place for dessert
When even a filling meal is not enough, and there is still place for a dessert, that’s another strong sign of sugar addiction.
4. Cravings get salty
Lisa Richards, a nutritionist who created a low sugar, anti-inflammatory diet said that cravings for salty and savoury foods were the body’s way of telling you that you need to take a break from sugar and eat something more nutritious.
5. Quitting sugar leads to withdrawal symptoms
Realizing that excessive sugar intake is not healthy, a sugar addict may try to quit. However, as consuming sugar has become a behavioural addiction, as well as a chemical one, the body is likely to show signs of distress or withdrawal.
6. Consuming sugar is a way to calm down
While some smoke a cigarette when stressed, others grab a doughnut or some fast food to rely on the "feel good' effect of sugar. Turning to sugar to cope with life stressors or other issues is a psychological symptom of sugar addiction, according to Lin Anderson and Aaron Sternlicht, licensed therapists specializing in addiction.
2. Take Action
Although I tried many ways to cut down on sugar, these are my most effective tips:
🥬 Don’t drink your calories
I used to be a big fan of soda until I realised how much sugar hides in these bottles.
🥬 Remove temptation
If I have a pack of ice cream in the freezer, I will eat it all in a day. But, if there is nothing around, I will eat a banana. We all know that it’s less likely for you to have sweets if you need to get dressed and go to the shop to buy them.
🥬 Never say never
You won’t succeed against sugar if you completely cut it out. I’ve been there and it lasted for a week or two. So instead of going cold turkey you can always stay mindful and keep it moderate. Currently, I am at one or two snacks per day and I’m trying to replace them with fruits. Summer can be a great period for doing this as there are so many sweet fruits available to buy locally!
Carrots & peppers are a great healthy treat for your furry friends too!
P.s: please mind our unfinished kitchen! 😅
3. Stay Informed
The University of California San Francisco posted a very good article about sugars that are 'hidden in plain sight.' Because nowadays everybody knows that added sugar is bad, companies decided to put different names instead of 'sugar', so their profit would remain high. In reality, there are 61 names for sugar:
Agave nectar/ Barbados sugar/ Barley malt/ Barley malt syrup/ Beet sugar/ Brown sugar/ Buttered syrup/ Cane juice/ Cane juice crystals/ Cane sugar/ Caramel Carob syrup/ Castor sugar/ Coconut palm sugar/ Coconut sugar/ Confectioner's sugar/ Corn sweetener/ Corn syrup/ Corn syrup solids/ Date sugar/ Dehydrated cane juice/ Demerara sugar/ Dextrin/ Dextrose/ Evaporated cane juice/ Free-flowing brown sugars/ Fructose/ Fruit juice/ Fruit juice concentrate/ Glucose/ Glucose solids/ Golden sugar/ Golden syrup/ Grape sugar/ HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup) / HoneyIcing sugar/ Invert sugar/ Malt syrup/ Maltodextrin/ Maltol/ Maltose/ Mannose/ Maple syrup/ Molasses/ Muscovado/ Palm sugar/ Panocha/ Powdered sugar/ Raw sugar/ Refiner's syrup/ Rice syrup/ Saccharose/ Sorghum Syrup/ Sucrose/ Sugar (granulated)/ Sweet Sorghum/ Syrup/ Treacle/ Turbinado sugar/ Yellow sugar
For source and more information click here.
If eating fruits and vegetables is difficult for you, try mix them up in a juice! Drinking one or two a day really does a difference in my cravings. Here is the recipe of the juice I did today (one of my favourites):
🧡 2 carrots
🧡 1 red pepper
🧡 a few slices of ginger depending on preference
🧡 2 oranges
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