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.
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
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
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!