You probably haven’t spent a whole lot of time wondering what happens to your body after you eat something sugary – it goes in there with all the rest of the food you consume and keeps you alive – end of story.
Well, sugar is definitely important to staying alive. Carbohydrates are our primary source of energy and play an important role in the functioning of the internal organs, the nervous system and the muscles, but our systems do not need sugar in the quantity that we are used to.
Today, an average Briton is consuming 161 teaspoons of sugar a week which is 92 grams a day, the equivalent of about 23 teaspoons. UK Children alone average 3 times the healthy limit of sugar every single day!
The World Health Organization would like to see the number get down to 25 grams a day for both men and women (6¼ teaspoons).
High amounts of sugar can wreak havoc on our immune systems, hormones and digestion. Some of the negative effects include premature aging, weight gain, fatigue, bone loss, mental fatigue and depression plus it is a major contributing factor to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
How much sugar do you consume in a day?
At first thought you probably think, “not that much”.
Let’s have a look, starting with breakfast. For example, you begin your day with 2 slices of toast with jam and a small strawberry yogurt – a total of 31 grams of sugar.
Mid-morning you have a blueberry muffin from your favourite coffee shop – 29 grams of sugar.
For lunch you decide to go easy on the calories so you have a salad with Italian vinaigrette and a slice of whole wheat bread – that’s another 14 grams of sugar.
For an afternoon pick-me-up you have a can of pop – 39 grams of sugar.
And then for dinner you have some pasta with grilled chicken and store bought tomato sauce – that’s 9 grams for the sauce and about 2 grams for the pasta.
The GRAND TOTAL: 124 grams of sugar or 31 teaspoons! (Remember you are aiming for 25g or 6.25 teaspoons)
That’s a bit of an eye opener for sure and I’ve been amazed at just how much sugar
is hidden in things I didn’t even realise had sugar in them!
7 Tips to Help You Break the Addiction
To get you started here are 7 top tips I use in all my programmes with my clients. See if you can incorporate them into your everyday life and see the benefits on your waistline and energy levels.
1 – Grab a Drink – and no I don’t mean wine! Often cravings are a sign of dehydration or thirst so try drinking a glass of cold water first and waiting 5 minutes.
2 – Stop fluctuating and start balancing: Get your blood sugar levels steady first by eating breakfast within an hour of waking. After that make sure you are eating regularly and have healthy snacks every couple of hours. Eating a balanced meal while sitting down calmly is very important (and not in front of the TV!)
3 – Start combining: Eat carbohydrates with a fat and protein at each meal and snack. When sugary foods are taken on their own it can quickly satisfy hunger and lift energy, but it leaves room for future cravings when energy begins to slump a few hours Protein and fat will help you stay full and keep you blood sugar levels more even.
4 – Plan your day: Meal planning and grocery shopping might seem like an added stress as I know you are already too busy, but really it can be a lifesaver. Planning your meals means that you can control your sugar intake on a meal to meal or day to day basis and if you have planned meals and snacks ready to go you are less likely to fall off the wagon or reach for convenient sugary food choices.
5 – Make a list: Why do you want to quit sugar? Make a thorough list of why it is important to you and then refer back to it when a craving.
6 – Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits, sweet veggies and spices: Nature provides us with an abundance of naturally sweet foods (which when you stop eating refined sugar will start to taste sweeter as your tastes change). Ensure that you include things like sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, figs and cinnamon into your diet and when a craving hits why not try eating a piece of fruit instead.
7 – Assess your mood: Are you feeling unsupported, tired, angry, stressed or overwhelmed? Try to observe when you reach for food in these situations and find waysof dealing with these issues before you reach for the sweets. For a quick fix take 3 deep breaths – it has been clinically shown to reduce stress.