Sugar. We all hear about how bad it is and how the risks of suffering diabetes are just around the corner. There seems to be a lot of information, a whole lot of misinformation and many people struggling with it.
Added sugar is everywhere and in everything. It is easy not to know what to do about it. Here we give you three steps that will help you cut sugar and get back on a healthy life.
BE AWARE OF WHAT SUGAR DOES TO YOU
We tend to think of sugar as a danger when consumed in excess and over a long period. But how much sugar is bad? How long does it take?
It is crucial to understand that every grain of sugar makes your body react and affects how it works. Yes, your body can tolerate sugar, but in certain conditions and amounts. Let’s see what it does to our bodies.
When you eat sugar, it enters your bloodstream and our blood sugar levels spike. If you are running, for example, the sugar would be used as fuel and burn off quickly. Most of the time, however, we are not. To lower it to normal levels, your body releases insulin.
Insulin will try to store the excess sugar away, and when your muscles are full, will turn them into fat. When this process is repeated over and over again, your cells become insulin resistant. This means that your body will produce more and more insulin, increasing insulin resistance and also storing more and more fat. That is how diabetes develops.
Sugar also affects your brain and behaviour. It is pretty common for people to talk about sugar highs. This also affects your concentration abilities and that of your children.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR ACTIONS
Sugars are naturally present in many foods. This is alright. It is the added sugar that we need to concern ourselves with. Like everything in life, it is a lesson to be learnt. It will take some time for you to make the transition. Don’t worry.
What is important is to take action every time you can, without lying to yourself. Cravings are not stronger than you. Neither is sugar ‘addiction’. Don’t let these abstract concepts take power away from you. You make a choice, every single time: to eat or not to eat added sugar.
LIVE ONE CHOICE AT A TIME
Don’t see this as a lifelong struggle. Concentrate on the choice in front of you. They will get easier.
Drop soft drinks. Forget about Coke, Gatorade or even Frappés. Hydrate your body with water and a few drops of lemon (natural) or cucumber. This will help you replenish the minerals you might have lost and no sugar!
Don’t keep sugary snacks and foods near. The temptation is not your friend. Keep other snacks, such as fruits and nuts around. You’ll slowly stop craving sugar and start looking forward to those healthy snacks!
Do not, I repeat, do NOT reward yourself with sugar. If you are good for 6 days and have a huge cake on the 7th day, you are telling yourself that sugar is a prize you win for not eating sugar. It is contradictory and will not help you in any way. The reward should be how you feel, how you look, your energy levels and, above all, your health!