Eat less sugar, you’re sweet enough already 🙂
We all are affected by sugar one way or another. As good as the sugar tastes, it is not good for your body and mind.
Though sugar is naturally found in fruits and it is to be taken along with the fruits. Where fibre helps in digestion and remaining sugar helps in providing energy to the body. But this natural formed sugar is processed in various forms of sugar and thus they are bad for our bodies.
Excessive sugar consumption is linked to many diseases like high blood pressure, weakened immune system, high cholesterol, abdominal fat, dental cavities, weight gain as well as anxiety, mood swings and depression.
We all are addicted to sugar to some extent. Where some are less addicted and some are heavily addicted. This sugar rush makes difficult to cut down on sugar. So if you want to cut down sugar intake, you’re thinking right. Eating less sugar in general is beneficial for overall physical and mental health. These are some ways that can help you in ditching sugar from your diet.
Read the label
Sugar is a very big business. Many food companies add sugar to their products so that you become addicted to them. So, even when you go to a health food store, you have to be a smart shopper and always read the label before buying anything.
By sugar, we are not talking just about table sugar, chocolates, cookies and condiments. Remember, almost all type of packaged foods have sugar in one form or another whether they are pasta sauce, salad dressings, granola bars, sports drinks, ketchup, packaged meals, low fat yoghurt, canned soups and dairy free milk.
When you’re buying anything ‘low fat’ thinking that you are choosing a healthier option but in reality, low fat products are high in sugar despite having lower calories. Low fat products do not taste as good as the regular products. So for compensating good taste, food companies add excessive sugar in these products.
Sugar has several different names on the label like, Sucrose, Dextrose, Dextrin, Agave nectar, Corn syrup and many more. Some sugar(Agave nectar, Corn syrup) are less processed than simple sugars(Dextrose, Sucrose). But don’t be fooled because sugar is still sugar, especially when you are trying to fight addiction.
If you identify any of these names on the label, it doesn’t mean you have to throw the product. What matters is the amount of sugar! If it says 1-2 gm of carbohydrate, it’s still fine to buy.
Set a fair goal
Going cold turkey with sugar intake is not a wise idea. So start with the small simple changes in your diet.
If you are having dessert after each meal then reduce it to once a day. After a few weeks, make it once a week. Stop giving yourself a sweet-treat all the time if you are an emotional eater.
Complete elimination of sugar from the diet is not possible because all bread, cereals, pasta and rice contain sugar. We can reduce the quantity of simple carbs and replace them with complex carbs.
There are some foods you can have when you crave sugar.
- Instead of ice creams or cookies, have fresh fruit smoothies
- Eat dates- They are good source of potassium, fibre and iron
- Eat dried fennel seeds
- Eat sweet potato
- Another tip is-Eat all your meals regularly
Eat fresh fruits
Start having a bowl of fresh fruits in the breakfast. When you eat fresh fruits in the morning, you will crave less for sugar throughout the day. Or whenever you crave for sugar, eat a fresh fruit.
Fruits have sugar in them in the form of fructose but apart from that they also have good amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals. But be mindful with the quantity because some fruits have more sugars than the others.
Pay attention to your mental health
There is a connection between our mind, brain and body. There are certain foods that affect our brain and moods, sugar is one of them. Consumption of heavy sugar leads to anxiety issues and depression. Stress, sugar and your brain are interconnected.
On the consumption of sugar, Dopamine is released. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which makes us feel really good. Since it makes us feel good, we tend to repeat the instinct that makes us feel really good and hence day by day we become addicted to sugar. So often when we are sad or anxious, we crave for sugar because your brain also sees sugar as a reward.
The refined sugar what we eat these days is much more dangerous than what we find in the nature as a result our brain becomes flooded with dopamine. Now the dopamine signaling that is meant to guide our dietary decision has now been taken over by the sweet foods. So some people seem powerless without sugar-loaded food and can not control themselves. As a result, the mental and physical cravings for sugar becomes more stronger which is called addiction.
Mindfulness practice can alter emotional eating. Lower emotional eating has been observed after the mindfulness meditation. This is the another reason to add mindfulness meditation to your daily routine.
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