- Diet & Weight Loss
Ambushed by Sugar?
Cannot Lose Weight - Sugar may be Your Problem
Do you know that typically we eat around 20 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is twice what we should be eating. That figure doesn't count sugar from fruit and it adds up rather quickly as many sugars are hidden in foods where we least expect to find them.
The processed food we eat, such as yoghurt, which we consider healthy, is not really as the food industry takes simple raw ingredients such as grains for cereals, or tomatoes for sauces, removes the nutritious part, adds sugar to make them tastier.
The low fat label is the worst in this arena as the fat has been removed and replaced again by sugar for taste.
Cutting down on our sugar intake is a good idea. Look at the following menu:
Breakfast: Cereal + Fruit Juice
Mid Morning: Yoghurt
Mid Afternoon: Cereal Bar
Supper: Pasta with chilli salsa sauce
If you think that it is a pretty healthy day's menu you would be wrong, as typically that menu could have you eating 28 teaspoons of sugar!
The tub of flavoured yoghurt alone has 4.5 teaspoons of sugar, the chilli salsa sauce contains 6.5 teaspoons of sugar and your cereal bar, 4 teaspoons.
▪ Canned corn - 0.5 tsp per 100g
▪ Ketchup - 1 tsp per tablespoon
▪ Baked Beans - 1-2 tsp per half can
▪ Savoury crackers - 3 tsp per 100g
▪ Fruit Flavoured Yoghurt Drink - 15 tsp per 250ml bottle
Even organic packaged foods often contain significant amount of sugar. While many of them are preferable to their non-organic counterparts, be aware of the sugar content.
How Sugar Affects Your Health
Sugar has no nutritional value and it's habit forming, so the more sugar you eat the more you want. So what is sugar doing to your body?
Sugar provides a quick burst of energy and around 30 minutes later the blood sugar levels drop leading to cravings for more sugar. It's hard to stop at just one piece of chocolate as it triggers the release of the neurotransmitter, or pleasure chemical, dopamine, in the brain. Sugar, not burned off, is stored as fat in your body.
The pancreas must release insulin to respond to high-sugar foods. Constant insulin spikes can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can become type 2 diabetes, while also increasing the risk of heart disease.
Marked highs and lows in blood sugar levels affect mood, energy, attention and concentration. One scary fact is that high sugar diets have also been associated with depression and memory decline.
A diet high in sugar causes inflammation that can make skin age quicker. A process called glycation makes sugar molecules bind to the proteins, such as collagen, in your skin making the surface tissue more inflexible. So if you constantly ate a diet high in GI carbs and sugar the older you would look.
How Sugar affects the Brain - TED-ED
So What Can We Do About Sugar Cravings?
Satiety signals, or the appetite regulating hormone release that tells your brain you're full, takes about 10 minutes from when you are finished eating. So waiting just 10 minutes before looking for pudding can make that craving disappear.
Luckily the high sugar craving cycles also work in reverse. When you eliminate added sugars you could possibly have cravings, headaches and perhaps a low mood which, more often than not, lift by the sixth day as the cravings disappear. As your taste buds readjust you find that foods you previously craved are simply too sweet.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO CUT DOWN ON SUGAR
• Sweeteners: Stevia is a calorie free sweetener that comes from a plant and appears to be a safe alternative which doesn't spike blood sugar.
• Condiments: Horseradish, mustard and mint sauce are low in sugar. Salad dressing an be made with ingredients such as sesame or olive oil, lemon or lime, mustard, soy sauce or chilli powder.
• Diet Drinks: Contain no sugar but can keep you wanting that sugar taste. Try sparkling water and add your own squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange for a fruity taste.
• Yoghurt : Use plain Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt and chop up a fresh fruit to add to it.
• All Bran: Has 3 teaspoons of sugar in the cereal. Swop for Shredded Wheat which has no added sugar but has less fibre.
• Pasta Sauce: Up to 6.5 teaspoons in a jar. Rather make your own sauces.
• Prepackaged Soup, Canned Veg: Make you own soup and use frozen or fresh Vegetables.
- Add Cinnamon:
- Known to help keep blood sugar level. Add to plain yogurt and fruit or porridge for breakfast.
Protein at every Meal:
- Have a little protein such as eggs, nuts, seeds, lean meats and poultry, soya products, e.g. nut butters or tahini, at every meal and for every snack.
- Drink plenty of water
Know your sugar Craving:
- If your weak spot is say 5pm, have a snack such as almonds or walnuts and a piece of fresh fruit one hour before.
- Take a daily 15 minute walk during your work day will halve the amount of chocolate you eat even when you're stressed.
10 Facts on the Dangers of Sugar - Alltime 10's
Spot the Sneaky Sugar Attack
Read the label:
Look at sugars per 100g on labels, 15g or more per 100g is a high-sugar food. About 5g per 100g is a low sugar food. Aim to take your sugars to 10-12 teaspoons per day or 50g.
Sugar can be disguised as maltose, dextrose and fructose and may also be listed as molasses, treacle, high-fructose corn syrup and maldodextrin. Honey, brown sugar and most syrups are also counted as sugars.
Understand Label Listing
If sugar is in the top three ingredients, then that is a high-sugar food, but manufacturers sometimes list sugar in different forms, so what matters if the 'per 100g listing"
When reading "Nutrition Facts" labels remember that 7 grams of sugar is equal to around 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Be wary of reduced fat and fat-free products, sugars are often added to mask the loss of flavor when fat is removed cutting out fat, but not necessarily calories.
If the label says 'no added sugar', never assume that means it is a low sugar item.
Need to be Weened off the Sugar Cycle
Start slowly by identifying where you consume the most sugar, is it soft drinks, hot drinks, sugary snacks or a nightly dessert. Then cut out just one of these things at a time until your diet is 100% sugar free. Soft drinks have a huge impact on a sugar levels and these include cordials and so called fruit juices.
Somethings are easier said than done, one of these being sugar in your tea or coffee for example. Of course the best way to drink either of them is completely sweet free. Neither sugar and nor sweetener, that way the true flavour of your blend comes through, and what a lovely surprise that can be! Drop your spoons of sugar by half a spoon each week until you are down to zero. That way a large chunk of your sugar diet has been cut out.
If you find it too hard to go completely sweet-free, start slowly by using unrefined sweeteners such as pure maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar. These sugars still have their minerals and vitamins intact. Try a bit of raw honey and butter on toast, or a bit of honey in a cup of tea. Drizzle pure maple syrup into unsweetened yoghurt and top with fruit or berries, or lightly sweeten a homemade muffin recipe without too much guilt.
Pass your good sugar habits on to your children, and they will thank you for not helping to turn them into sugar addicts.
Give your children water, not juice to drink. Most children consume more sugar than their daily allowance and fizzy drinks and fruit juices provide the biggest source of sugar for youngsters aged between 4 - 18. The next biggest contributor is found in cereals and cereal bars.
Other help - Sugar causes so many problems
- Natural Ways to Lower Blood Sugar - Avoid Diabetes
Low or high blood sugar - how your body handles it. Natural ways to help with this increasingly common insulin resistant condition. How to avoid Diabetes Type 11
- How Do I Avoid Diabetes?
How to avoid diabetes. You can prevent diabetes by looking after your health, as this is a very serious disease which has more than doubled in the last decade.