Sweets... don't you just love em?
Bet you wouldn't if you knew what effect they had on your body (read our article here to find out more)
The ‘Eat Clean’ movement has grown considerably over the last few years. With more and more information being hidden from us by food companies, it’s no wonder that people want and demand to know what’s really in their food.
Food labels can be ambiguous at the best of times and as a nation, obesity is a problem that can’t be ignored anymore.
Sugar is now in the firing line. Not only because it can help contribute to obesity levels but also because of its effects on our bodies.
Too much sugar in our diet can leave us feeling sluggish, leave us lacking in energy and contributes to the on-going diabetes epidemic. Not to mention the quick ‘sugar highs’ followed by those dreaded sugar lows.
Now if I told you that you had to permanently give up sugar what would you say?
It can’t be done? I can’t do that? Or would you be willing to embrace a life without sugar?
Well… if you are one of those who thinks that it can’t be done, then look again. Here in our article, we’ll help you learn to cut back on sugar and how it can help shape your waistline and change your life.
Our top tips for cutting back on sugar….
Take your time to look at the ingredient list on your produce
When looking for sugar, you need to pay attention to anything ending in ‘OSE’ so for example fructose, sucralose, glucose. These are all forms of sugar. We also need to mention that another form of sugar is honey, avage, molasses and syrups. Corn and rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup. If these ingredients are higher up on the list, then the product contains more of that ingredient.
2. Don’t go cold turkey
It’s easy to rush into things and think ‘I need to cut sugar out of my diet NOW’
However, the reality is that a total sugar detox will hit you in the face like a bat. It is likely to be really hard to stick to. If you have a sweet tooth and find that you are consuming a lot of sugar every day, then detoxing will almost feel like it’s impossible and mentally we will quit before we’ve even started.
Why not go easier on yourself? Look at cutting back over a period of time. Again look at those labels and see how much sugar is contained within that item of food then ask yourself this.
Do you really need it? or is it that you want it? If your answer is that you want it rather than need it then now ask yourself… Do you want to eat that item more than cut back on sugar?
You’ll find your answer with those 2 easy questions.
3. Recognise those small steps
It may sound small to you but they really are a big deal! I bet after just a few weeks you’ll notice a difference in your energy levels and how you look. Your cravings will certainly subside and I bet you even drop a few lbs.
It really is WIN WIN
If you have a lapse and eat cake or biscuits don’t make such a big deal of it and think ‘oh I’ve blown it’ as you haven’t at all. You’ve just hit a minor snag and it can easily be rectified. Embark back on your low sugar diet and draw a line under it.
4. Listen to your body
We’ve all been there. You know that feeling when hunger strikes, the fast food van pulls up outside the office and you think oh I’ll just have this (usually a sweet treat or bag of crisps) Resist that urge. I mean do you really want those 200 calories of nothing?
5. Keep a sugar diary
It's not time consuming unless you want it to be. Simply making a note of what you have eaten and the grams of sugar in the product is a great way of keeping track of your sugar intake. If you are competitive like me, try to have a competition with yourself to reduce the amount each day. I think it may also be an eye opener to see just how much food you really do eat.
6. Protein Power Protein is great at helping us stay fuller for longer. As we feel fuller, we are less likely to go and turn to those sugary snacks. Get yourself organised, pack a protein packed lunch box and take it with you. Don't head out to the supermarket on an empty tummy as you are more than likely to pick up a sugar snack on the way out - hint! there's a reason why the chocolate bars are placed by the tills
7. Try dark chocolate
Ok. So white chocolate is synthetic (and in my opinion tastes it too). Milk chocolate well I won't lie, yes it is nice but have a look at the wrapper of any chocolate bar and i'm sure you'll be shocked at how much sugar it contains. Dark chocolate usually has a lower sugar content and due to the bitter taste, our taste buds can't eat as much as milk chocolate so you are more likely to eat less dark chocolate than you would milk chocolate.
8. Eat more fruit
Fruit has naturally occurring sugars and yes eating too much fruit can be just as bad for you as eating confectionery but like I say 'everything in moderation'. Fruit is full of vitamins and minerals where as confectionery has no nutritional value at all.
9. Eat, sleep, exercise, repeat
As said earlier, sugar releases serotonin into our bodies making us feel happier. Guess what?! exercise has the same effect. It may seem like a chore at first but once you allow yourself the time to get into a routine with exercise you'll start to make more positive changes to both your body and mind.
You'll notice as you cut back on sugar that you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Headaches aren't uncommon. However, after a few days you'll notice so many health benefits - weight loss being one of them. You'll also notice that your palette will change. Foods that didn't taste so sweet before will now take on a whole new taste identity. It really can be liberating & exciting
Need some extra mojo to help you cut back on sugar? Read our post about what sugar actually does to the body - scary stuff
Get that #fistpumpfeeling & cut back on your sugar today.
Alleyne is a qualified weight management counsellor, author and columnist.
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