HOW SWEET IT IS!
With the cooler weather upon us, many of us find ourselves craving sweets. You’re not alone! Read on to get the latest on sugar and TIPS on how you can shrink your sweet tooth…as easy as ABC….
The World Health Organization recently recommended a sharp drop in sugar to 25g or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. The reasons for this change are the various physical and mental health concerns excessive sugar consumption has been associated with:
- Diabetes & insulin resistance
- Obesity & weight gain
- Tooth decay
- Heart disease
- Harm to cholesterol & triglycerides
- “Empty Calories” no vitamins or minerals
- Increased fat in abdominal cavity - visceral fat
- Fat deposits in liver
- Decreased satiety which can contribute to higher calorie intake
- Mood Swings
- Depression & anxiety
- Cognitive abilities & memory
All sugars are carbohydrates found naturally in most foods and their main nutritional value is in providing energy. Sucrose, or table sugar, is extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane. Sugar is also added to many foods such as sweets, chocolate, cakes, fizzy drinks & many juices.
Read nutrition labels to help you choose foods with less added sugar, especially since many foods that we do not consider sweet contain a surprisingly large amount of sugar. Packaged soups, ketchup, tomato sauce, salad dressings, cereal bars, flavored waters and ready-made meals are among these surprises. Beware! In the ingredients list, added sugar may be called: glucose, sucrose, maltose, corn syrup, honey, hydrolyzed starch, fructose or molasses. Food labels show ingredients in order of content, so the nearer the beginning of the ingredient list the sugar (or other name above) is, the more it contains.
- More than 22.5g of sugars per 100g is considered HIGH
- 5g of sugars or less per 100g is considered LOW
- If the amount of sugars per 100g is in between these, it is considered MEDIUM.
Replace sugary, fizzy drinks and juice drinks with water, herbal teas or unsweetened fruit juice. Remember that even unsweetened fruit juice is sugary, so think about diluting it with water or sparkling water.
- Try sugar-free or reduced sugar varieties of drinks & food.
- Replace jam, marmalade, syrup or honey by sliced fruit or lower-fat cream cheese.
- Replace sweetened breakfast cereals with wholegrain & unsweetened varieties. For my healthy breakfast ideas, click here.
- Try healthier snack options without added sugar, such as fruit, nuts, rice cakes, oatcakes or plain popcorn.
- Chew Gum in order to replace that sweet temptation. It has been shown that chewing gum can be helpful in controlling appetite & reducing sweet cravings.
Reduce gradually the amount of sugar you add to hot drinks, cereal or yogurt until you can cut it out altogether.
Experiment halving the sugar in recipes or replacing some sugar by fruit puree which works for most baked goods.
Plan ahead & decide to spoil yourself with the occasional “sweets”. Allowing yourself to have small amounts of forbidden foods can prevent high calorie bingeing.
Having something sweet on an empty stomach can make blood sugar rise quickly & give you cravings for more making your intention to “eat just one” impossible. A sweet treat following a balanced meal, a protein snack or a fruit can help keep blood sugar in check & might even “crowd out” the desire for more than one.
MOST IMPORTANT…KNOW YOUR ABC’S!
Assess – Breathe – Choose
This mindfulness exercise can be used to help you decide whether that sweet treat is really worth it. Studies have shown that taking time to smell, taste & appreciate allows us to better recognize when we’ve had enough. Consider quality & if you do not LOVE it, empower yourself & discretely pass on it! If you do LOVE it….savor & enjoy SWEETIE!!