Fighting the Sugar Addiction!
Frequent readers will know we’re not only firm believers of exercise and fitness, but also of maintaining a consistent and well balanced diet. Keeping in tune with previous posts including, Controlling The Cravings and Good Fats, Bad Fats – Which to Choose and Their Benefits today’s post focuses on managing your diet and controlling the nasty sugar cravings! Remember, exercise is essential, however, results will only become noticeable once your diet becomes consistent – follow our tips and fight off that sweet tooth today!
The Sugar Addiction
The sugar addiction is the result of a four stage process in which the individual becomes conditioned to constantly crave sweets. The result? The obesity epidemic growing steadily across the nation each day – leading to health issues such as weight gain and chronic disease.
- Stage one refers to the ‘stimulus’ stage, in which the individual eats the sugar
- Stage two involves the dopamine release into the brain; which is heavily involved in the ‘reward-motivation’ response. The consumption of sugar acts as the reward, as insulin is secreted and blood sugar levels fall causing the sugar addiction
- Stage three results in blood sugar levels falling rapidly. Increased insulin levels are stored as fat which results in higher body fat and weight gain – and so the body craves the now converted sugar high
- Stage four occurs as low blood sugar levels increase cravings.
To explain this with a little more detail – refined sugars are referred to as simple carbohydrates. These cause spikes to glucose levels, which unless converted to energy are then stored as fat. And so, sugar spikes offer nothing more than a small surge in energy, followed by a lethargic mood and no macronutrient value. However, with a little motivation and know-how, you can train your body to fight the sugar cravings.
Fighting the Sugar Addiction
- Keep a diet log – there’s plenty of smart phone applications to make this a much simpler task, however, it is practically mandatory for store bought items to include a nutrition profile on their products to inform consumers of what they are consuming. The old-fashioned pen and paper approach can help calculate your daily intake if you don’t have a smart phone.
- In keeping track of what you are consuming, it may become evident that you are well over recommended daily consumption levels. You should be consuming roughly 10 grams of sugar to every 500 calories. Record a certain allowance of sugar each day, and gradually decrease this over time.
- Be mindful whilst shopping, don’t be afraid to check nutritional labels, and don’t blindly purchase items advertised as low in sugar; as they often contain nasty additives – substitute instead!
- Eat more fruit and vegetables! They contain fructose, a natural form of sugar which is slowly digested keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
- Eat breakfast! It simply isn’t stressed enough, however, a good breakfast will not only decrease the late night cravings, it will also help avoid over-eating come dinner time, provide you with prolonged energy throughout the day and leave you feeling more content.
- Drink water! Water consumption helps ‘flush’ the system, and also helps in keeping you fuller for longer helping you avoid nasty sugar cravings.
Feel free to try out any of our low-sugar substitute dessert recipes including easy protein pancakes, low fat vanilla cheesecake and delicious protein balls.