The Prevalence of Sugar in Our Food Products, Why That’s a Problem and How to Curb the Craving
Wanting to lose weight or reduce inflammation? We all know snacking on fewer sugary treats is an essential first step. They’re full of empty calories, cause cravings and satisfaction is short lived. How often do you find yourself cursing that slab of chocolate you couldn’t resist after dinner whilst inspecting your not-so-flawless complexion in the mirror the next morning?
You meticulously read the labels on savoury foods like sauces, prepared meals including salads and other seemingly innocent crackers and cereals, so you already know that sugar creeps into far more products than just those in the sweets section. This is a major concern we address at KnowIT. Through ensuring any added sugars are clearly displayed alongside the products we present, we guide you away from isles of uncertainty and lead you to ingredient insight.
So, why is being on top of our sugar consumption so important?
One of Our Waistline’s Worst Enemies
Many foods and – very specifically – beverages are filled with various forms of sugars from ‘corn syrups’ to all those ‘ose’ ones like ‘dextrose’ and maltose.
With excessive sucrose inducing insulin sensitivity, glucose spiking blood sugar and fructose causing hunger pangs, gaining weight is a given if you’re consuming a lot of added sugars. Your body’s ability to fuel you efficiently is impaired, undesirable fat is stored and the whole ordeal isn’t conducive to a peak-performing metabolism.
Something important to note is that choosing a ‘Sugar Free’ sweet treat is not always the solution. Artificial sweeteners can be bad news for your health, sugar cravings and BMI!
Inflammation and Consequent Concerns
Sugar can be seen as “the universal inflammatory”. You don’t need to have an individual intolerance; it appears to affect us all.
Elevated sugar consumption can trigger or aggravate type 2 Diabetes, depression and a horde of autoimmune diseases. And in case that wasn’t enough, it seems it’s aging us too. A process called glycation causes sugars in our system to impact the proteins that regenerate our collagen and keep our skin looking youthful and plump.
Addressing the Sugar Addiction
Concerned by weight gain, inflammation and aging, it’s likely you’re looking to limit your added sugar intake. The snag is, sugar isn’t easy to eliminate. Not only because it’s added to so many – often unexpected – products, but also because it’s literally addictive. It releases opioids and dopamine. When you eliminate it from your diet, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms in the form of sugar cravings.
But how to quit?
According to holistic Dr Mark Hyman, you need to undergo a sort of detox and lifestyle change. This can reset your brain in as short a span as 10 days, he claims. Completely cutting out all forms of sugar and processed foods, powering up on protein, sufficient fat and non-starchy carbohydrates and getting enough sleep (ideally not less than 8 hours) seem a recipe for success.
Think how often we polish off a perfectly adequate meal yet still hear ourselves saying, “Now I feel like something sweet.” If you include healthy fats you’re likely to be left feeling fuller and more satisfied. Whether it’s a dollop of nut butter, drizzle of Extra-Virgin olive oil or scoop of avo… instead of being too concerned with the high calorie count, think about how feeling dissatisfied with a meal can lead to binging your way through countless more empty and harmful calories.
By refreshing your diet with plenty of whole foods that don’t have all the added sugars, your body begins to recognise and appreciate natural sweetness. This can mean reaching for a handful of blueberries may actually come to be a satisfying alternative to those speckled eggs you’ve been eyeing out in the pantry.