Could You Be Addicted To Sugar?
When you hear the word addiction, you often think of alcohol and drugs. But it’s possible to become addicted to all kinds of things. Do you continue to shop online even though you know you’re getting into debt? Does your body crave sugar? Can you not function in the mornings without that first cigarette? The nature of addiction means that the urge to do something is incredibly difficult to ignore. Despite the fact that you’re aware that what you’re doing is bad for you, you continue anyway. With rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes increasing, it’s thought that many people may be addicted to sugar. You may think you have a sweet tooth. But could you cope without sugar? Or do you frequently succumb to cravings?
Are you addicted to sugar?
Eating excessive amounts of sugar may not put you at risk of illness or injury in the short-term. However, if you frequently consume large amounts, your risk of developing health problems will rise. Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dental decay are all linked to lifestyle factors. Scientific research suggests that we have an innate love for sugar from an early age. There’s also an addictive element, as sugar provides an energy rush. It also brings about changes in the brain that give us a high. Added to the fact that we struggle to know when to stop with sugar, it’s easy to see why most people eat too much.
There’s a difference between enjoying sugary foods and being addicted to sugar. You may be addicted if you go out of your way to buy sugary drinks or candy. Hiding food away, eating in secret and lying to others may also be warning signs. In some cases, you may also experience cravings when you don’t have sugar.
How much is too much sugar?
The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of around six teaspoons of sugar. However, a single can of soda contains almost double this amount. You may think that you have a healthy diet. But if you analyzed the sugar content of your meals every day, you may be surprised. As well as the obvious offenders, ‘healthy’ products can also harbor hidden sugars. Sauces and condiments, soups, and ready meals often contain a lot more sugar than you’d think. Low-fat foods can also be deceptive, as more sugar may be added to enhance the flavour.
Cutting down your sugar intake
Before you start making changes to your diet, keep a food diary using an app. This will show you how much sugar you’re consuming on an average day and highlight the worst foods and drinks. You can start by trying to cut out foods that have no nutritional value, such as chocolate bars. It’s fine to have a treat from time to time. But confectionary shouldn’t be a staple. If you’re getting a lot of sugar from fizzy drinks, try and replace them with water, sugar-free cordial or homemade juices. Avoid shop-bought smoothies as they contain a lot of added sugar. If you buy a breville 800jexl juicer, for example, you can prepare healthy juices at home. Try and cook at home, rather than buying ready meals or stopping at a fast food restaurant. When you’re cooking, you can control how much sugar and salt you’re adding to the pan.
When you’re shopping for groceries, take a moment to read the nutritional information. Moderate your intake of foods that contain a lot of sugar, and look for healthier alternatives. If you add sugar to your tea or coffee, replace it with sweetener instead. You can also try and reduce the size of portions. If you crave something sweet after dinner, for example, have a couple of squares of chocolate rather than the whole bar. Your body will soon get used to the changes you’re making.
Image taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/johngreenaway/5933927973
If you’re worried about your diet, or you need advice, your doctor will be able to help. They can provide healthy eating plans, and give you tips to cut down your sugar intake.
Most of us enjoy a sweet treat from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with indulging every now and then. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with consuming too much sugar. If you’re worried that you may be addicted to sugar, try and make changes to your diet and your daily routine. Making simple swaps like exchanging sugar lumps for sweetener and soda for diet drinks can have an instant impact. It’s also a good idea to see your doctor and get some healthy eating recommendations.