A sweet tooth is natural from our cavemen days – but the sweetness came from foods like berries. Everyone enjoys a sugary treat but with modern food choices and isles of processed food in the supermarkets we are consuming more added sugars than ever before. It is said the average Brit consumes approx. 34 tsp of sugar per day!
Compare that to the recommended 7tsps a day of added sugar for age 11 years – adult.
We know that sugar has an addictive drug like affect. And regularly eating sugary foods leads to the vicious cycle of more cravings and sugar highs and lows. Added sugar is found in cakes, biscuits, drinks, cereals, bread, sauces, soups and low fat products to name a few!
Excess sugar can contribute to many conditions such as tooth decay, Diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, dementia and symptoms such as hyperactivity, sluggishness, fatigue, concentration problems, weight gain, digestive issues, brain fog, loss of muscle mass and yeast infections. Refined sugar can contribute to low grade inflammation in the body. This can add to joint or other pain.
So what are the positive effects that can happen when you give up added refined sugar or greatly reduce it. Well after an initial “detox” period of feeling worse, headachy, tired and generally grotty we can feel many benefits:
• There is an improvement in immune function and you are likely to experience less colds, flus and infections
• Your skin can soften, be less wrinkly and puffy
• Cravings can vanish or greatly reduce
• Hormones become more balanced
• You lose weight more easily (as excess sugar is stored as fat)
• Your moods are likely to be more balanced – less mood swings, anxiety, irritability and better sleep
• Energy levels are more stable and consistent
It is not always easy to “quit sugar” or greatly reduce it, it takes time – but the health benefits can be great. You have to decide what you are ready to do. Here are a few tips to help reduce sugar:
Eat regular meals with proteins, healthy fats and plenty of veg
Swap to lower sugar cereals, eat more real food, reduce ready made and processed foods
Gently look at any emotional eating patterns when you are tired, stressed, anxious or low
Try to get enough sleep as poor sleep triggers hormones to crave sugary and junk foods
Try to mindfully be aware of your want for sugar and with practice you may be able to let the intense need pass.
Have healthy foods in your house, keep temptations out of reach.
Did you know sour foods such as lemons and pickles can help curb cravings
The herb cinnamon and amino acid L-Glutamine can help curb cravings. When I take 1tsp Glutamine in water or a smoothie I definitely notice my want for sugar or carbs vanishes!
I cannot tolerate much added sugar at all now – so I suffer mentally and physically when I do have a binge! But I don’t berate myself I just start again with foods I know my body likes! Anne xx