Helpful hints to help cut out sugar from your diet
Enquiries tend to follow trends and this week has been no exception. It might be just coincidence but following last week’s budget, I have received a number of calls from people wanting to cut out sugar from their diet. I guess that what I will actually be working with is a sugar addiction, most of these enquiries will have come from people who have already tried to quit sugar and failed. So why is sugar so addictive?
Well there is a fairly simple explanation; our bodies evolved at a time when food was harder to come by and survival was paramount. We were programmed to seek out the highest energy sources possible – those high in fat and sugar – because it wouldn’t be certain when we would next eat. This is why sugary foods trigger a reward response in our brains and is why they become so addictive. Our ancestors were also more active, having to hunt and gather our food. With a more sedentary lifestyle now, we expend less energy but are consuming more calories, so perhaps it’s not surprising that we are on average three stone heavier than we were in the 1960s, according to the Change4life health campaign.
The widespread availability of sugary foods has pulled us into a vicious cycle of poor diet choices. Consuming high sugar foods means that our energy requirements are met but without meeting our nutritional needs. Our brains tell us to keep eating until we have what we need, but we just keep eating more of the same low-nutrient, high sugar (or fatty) foods.
Not all sugars are bad for us. It is the refined sugars, produced from raw, natural ingredients that is the problem. They overload our bodies with a flood of glucose that is difficult to metabolise and puts stress on our organs. White industrial sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup are thought to be the worst.
So how do we wean ourselves off these high sugar foods?
Read the labels – Get into the habit of checking food labels and familiarise yourself with the various different names for sugar. Look at the food table and see the percentage of sugar per 100%. Eat less of those that are high in sugar or cut them out completely.
Replace refined sugar for alternatives – honey, maple syrup, stevia, molasses, agave syrup, monkfruit, coconut palm sugar, fruit sugar and brown rice syrup.
Eat regularly through the day – Balance blood sugars by eating three meals per day with some healthy snacks in between. Each meal and snack should be high in protein to keep you fuller for longer, as protein is digested more slowly.
Eat wholegrains – Brown rice, oats and rye release energy slowly.
Avoid caffeine – Caffeine causes a reaction in your body that releases sugars quickly into the bloodstream from our energy stores. This is followed by a dramatic dip in energy that leads to you reaching for the next fix, usually sugar.
Cut out or down on alcohol – Alcoholic drinks can be high in sugar.
Try taking supplements to keep sugar urges at bay – L-Glutamine, B Complex Vits, Chromium and Magnesium have been shown to help, however please seek advice from a nutritional expert before taking.
Go cold turkey – I deliberately left this until last as I know this won’t be for everyone! Cut out all sugar except for fresh fruit for two weeks. If you tell yourself you are doing it just for two weeks, it seems more manageable. During this time your taste buds and habits will adapt. When you try sugar again it tastes artificial and sickly, and you will most likely not want to eat it in the quantities you did before.
Of course addictions can be difficult to break but Clinical Hypnotherapy can be an effective way of breaking down unconscious patterns of behaviour and working with the mind-body connection to lessen cravings. If you would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help with sugar addiction or any other addiction, please don’t hesitate to contact me on email@example.com
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