Sugar and Its Ilk: Sweet Nothings

Eliminate/Reduce Sugar

So, you think you’re not an addict? Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine!


Sugar Addiction Cycle


This is how sugar gets you hooked!

Table sugar tops the list of empty calorie foods devoid of any nutrients. Excess sugar in the body gets stored as fat in the body cells (especially belly fat) leading to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

Sugar


Some sugar sources are good & some not-so-bad

Natural Sugars: They occur naturally in the following foods:

  • Fruits like pear, apple, banana, plum, orange, pineapple, berries, kiwi, papaya, muskmelon and peach
  • Vegetables like red capsicum, onion, sweet potato, carrot, beetroot, celery, broccoli and mushrooms
  • Whole grains like wheat, maize, sago, rice and soy flour
  • Dried fruits like raisins, prunes, dried apricots and dried figs (in moderation)
  • Low fat dairy products like milk, paneer and Greek yogurt
  • Dried beans like kidney beans, chickpeas and black-eyed peas
  • Jaggery (in moderation)
  • Honey (in moderation)


Sugar miscreants (the bad guys) to be bumped off

Added Sugars: These are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared to make the food taste more appetizing. These add calories that are bereft of any nutrients or fibre. Some added sugar types are table sugar, corn syrup, corn starch, tapioca syrup, maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, caramel, invert syrup, etc.

Items with added sugars include the following:

  • Confectionary items like cakes, pastries and cookies
  • Candies and chocolates
  • Dairy products like ice cream, flavoured fruit yogurt and sweetened milkshakes
  • Dried fruits and nuts with added sugar syrup/coating
  • Desserts like fruit cream, halwa, kheer, laddoos, etc.
  • Sauces/spreads with added sugar like coleslaw, barbecue sauce, ketchup
  • Breakfast cereals like muesli with added sugar, frosted wheat bits, raisin bran crunches, chocolate flakes, fruit loops, etc.
  • Beverages like soft drinks, energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, canned fruit juices and sports drinks


Sugary foods masquerading as ‘health foods’

Sugar with its wily ways can sneak in stealthily into your body through many of these so-called health foods. Therefore, read the labels carefully to scout for sugar with its numerous alternate names.

Some examples of these ‘health foods’ loaded with sugar calories are:

  • Canned fruit juices
  • Energy bars/granola bars/protein bars
  • Energy drinks
  • Commercially available trail-mix with choco-chips, sweetened coconut flakes and glazed fruit bits
  • Commercially available creamy peanut butter made with sugar or honey
  • Sauces, dips, dressings and spreads like chilli salsa, honey mustard
  • Low-fat diet foods like namkeens with added sugar
  • Store bought dried fruits like cranberries and dates with added sugar
  • Commercially available milkshakes / flavoured yogurts / smoothies / probiotic drinks / frozen yogurt with added sugar
  • Flavoured water/vitamin water
  • Digestive biscuits, excluding sugar free types
  • Brown sugar - it has same amount of calories as white sugar


Some smart & some whacky tips for sweet-tooth management

  • Do not stock any sugary foods in your kitchen
  • Eat 4-5 small meals at regular intervals
  • Eat more protein packed meals
  • Get enough sleep


When sweet cravings strike

  • Take a small walk to distract your mind
  • Call up a friend to take your mind off food
  • Drink water or some herbal tea
  • Drink lemon water without adding sugar
  • Grab some sugarless fruity chewing gum
  • Gargle with a mouthwash or brush your teeth. The aftertaste doesn't mix well with sweets and you'll probably lose your craving quickly


When sweets are all you can think of, go grab

  • A piece of fruit
  • Dried fruits: 2-3 dates/1-2 figs/2-3 plums/5-6 raisins
  • One small square of dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • Frozen grapes/watermelon cubes
  • Dark chocolate covered almonds
  • Small cup of Greek yogurt with chopped fresh fruits

Sweet Allowance

Remember, many foods are natural sources of sugar like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and therefore, your body doesn’t need any more sugar. So, try eliminating sugar in other forms. However, if giving sugar up completely is not an option, a little sugar in your morning tea/coffee or an occasional indulgence within moderate limits is just fine. Just don’t forget to keep your maximum daily allowance of sugar to a maximum of one tsp per day.


So, eat less sugar…you’re sweet enough already! Even better…quit!