That white powdery substance that you just can’t get enough of, sneaking off to get your next hit, it’s all you can think about all day long and simply makes you feel oh so good. The crashes are awful but you just want more and more, the harder you deny it; the more you want it! And no, we’re not talking about that white powder – sugar, we are talking sugar.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s hardly some dangerous, hard hitting illegal drug, but there is one thing they have in common – they can both become addictions. The more you have, the more you want and no nasty side effect can stop you from getting your next dose.
So why is sugar bad for us?
Firstly, don’t let people tell you that sugar is natural. Yes sugar comes from the sugar cane but first it goes through a man made process which involves the cane being washed and cut before having its juice extracted. This juice is bleached, alkalised and clarified before the sugar crystals are separated from the molasses. The sugar is then dried and conditioned in order to produce the granulated sugar we find in our supermarkets (if you want to see the full process click here)
In a nutshell sugar contains a whole heap of calories, but provides us with absolutely NO nutrients. NO proteins, NO essentials fats, NO vitamins and NO minerals! The sweet substance is also related to a whole host of health problems; including obesity, liver disease, diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, and as we all probably know, bad teeth.
It is recommended that we obtain 10% of our daily energy intake from sugar, however, in 2014 experts suggested that we halve this amount, bringing our daily allowance to the equivalent of 6tsp a day. To put this into perspective a 250ml serving of Tropicana Orange juice, a 330ml can coke and a 250ml can of red bull all contain 6tsp sugar (I’d stick to water if I were you!).
So how can we start consuming less sugar?
I know it’s not easy and that’s exactly why I’m writing this post. Lately, I’ve fallen victim to sugar addiction, it’s become my ‘drug’of choice and I’m having a hard time breaking free. First Christmas came and, like most people, I thought, whats the harm in relaxing my diet for a while, and then BANG! before I knew it, it was February and I was still consuming high sugar foods on a regular basis (hence my lack of blogging). So, I’m here to say, lets do it together – I’ve done it before,I can do it again…and so can you!!!
Here are my Top Tips for giving up sugar for good:
THROW IT OUT
You know that treat drawer you have, ‘just in case you fancy something’(like every day) CHUCK IT AWAY!!! If it’s not in the house, you can’t have it. Removing temptation is key – can you really be bothered to get out of your PJs and brave the cold at 9pm on a Sunday night when Downton is about to start??
KEEP A FOOD DIARY
Keeping a log of the foods you eat will shock you. It all adds up, those works drinks followed by pizza on a Friday night, takeout Saturday and Sunday lunch followed by dessert and chocolate back in front of the TV – I mean, you deserve it after a long working week right? Wrong! You deserve to treat your body with the nutrients it needs.
EAT MORE REAL FOOD
Probably the most important point on this list! The more nutrient dense our food is the better we feel and the more energy we have. Yes sugar is a quick fire way to get an energy boost, but forget the energy drinks and that 3pm bar of chocolate – we can get all the energy we need with a completely natural, balanced diet. Consuming foods like Almonds, Bananas, salmon, eggs and kale will fuel our body with the energy it needs to carry out the day. (I personally prefer to follow a Paleo blueprint when it comes to my diet).
IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS
Does that hard day at work make you reach for the wine or that tub of Ben & Jerrys? or is it all that alcohol from the night before? Whatever it is try to address the root of the problem, not hide from it in a bowl of sugar!
STAY AWAY FROM ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
While you are consuming sweet products you are plain and simply still feeding your cravings. Which brings me to my next point…
GO COLD TURKEY
Removing added sugar from your diet will be hard at first, you will probably experience headaches and fatigue, but your body will adapt to your new diet, your blood sugar levels will neutralise and your cravings will go. You may even lose your sweet tooth for good!
And so there we have it…
As of today – I will be cutting all added sugars from my diet and I want you to join me! If you need any extra help or motivation please feel free to comment below or send me an email. I am highly passionate about nutrition and love helping out in any way I can.
Before I go a few little pointers…Be careful of the fat free ‘health’products being pushed in our faces these days…how do you think they still taste great? – the fat is replaced with sugars and sweeteners. Remeber, Fat is not the enemy! Also, try to avoid eating too much fruit – you should get most of your five fruit and veg a day from veg, however, 2-3 portions of fruit a day won’t harm you is more than enough.
I hope this article has helped anyone struggling with sugar addiction, even if it’s just to recognise the harm you are doing to your body.
Please note: I am not a certified nutritionist or health professional. All my findings are a result of my own independent research and readings.