In light of Sugar Awareness Week, nutritionist, life coach and founder of Nosh Detox, Geeta Sidhu-Robb tells us why we should be cutting back on the sweet stuff
By Geeta Sidhu-Robb
Most adults and children in the UK consume too much sugar, but how exactly does it impact and affect our bodies? Some of the ways in which sugar can severely impact your health include liver damage, weight gain, elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Sugar has no added nutritional value and it displaces other nutritional foods from your diet with its extremely high-calorie value, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain and subsequently a heightened risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Excessive consumption of sugar can also lead to tooth decay and liver damage similar to that seen as a result of alcohol abuse.
The NHS currently recommends that adults have no more than 30g of sugar per day, and children between the ages of 7-10 should have no more than 24g. It is vitally important that we, as the paying customer, are fully aware of what we are buying and eating. Read on for the foods to watch out for and ways in which you can curb your sugar cravings.
Foods high in refined sugar
Sweets and confectionary
Fizzy drinks and fruit juices
Biscuits, buns and cakes
Dairy products such as fruit yoghurts
10 ways to reduce sugar cravings
Eat denser sugars
Denser sugars, such as the naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, come with fibre so that they take longer to break down in your body and don’t give you the high and crash that comes with refined sugars.
Eat food in its most natural state
It is less likely to have been processed with added sugars.
Fresh is best
Opt for cold-pressed or fresh juices as opposed to pasteurised – the heat used to eliminate harmful bacteria in the pasteurisation process also removes good bacteria.
Eat more often
When you are satiated you don’t crave sugar, and it becomes harder to eat.
Don’t skimp on the protein
Try to incorporate good sources of protein and healthy fats into every meal. This will keep you full for longer and leaves you feeling satisfied. It also controls your blood glucose levels.
Take a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement, including omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D3. Nutrient deficiencies make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients also seem to improve blood sugar control including chromium, vitamin B3 and magnesium.
Catch those Zzz’s
When we are tired we turn to sweets instinctively to give us fake energy.
This does wonders to curb your cravings.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners
They do little to alter your desire for sweets and they can be just as bad for you as sugar.
Even sweeter than sugar, agave nectar is extracted from the same plant from which tequila is made. With a taste similar to that of honey, agave nectar is a perfect addition in hot tea.
Not a surprising substitute; honey is produced by bees using the nectar of honey. This popular substitute can be used to sweeten up a variety of dishes.
With a thick, dark brown consistency, molasses are packed full of antioxidants which boast a variety of health benefits, including eye health, immune system and skin health.
Coconut Palm Sugar
Made from ‘sap’ – the liquid that circulates through the coconut plant – coconut palm sugar is classified as a low glycemic index food which can help diabetics control their blood glucose levels.
Extracted from the yacon plant and sweet like honey, a little yacon syrup will go a long way. Fructooligosaccharides – or ‘FOS’ for those struggling to pronounce – is the active ingredient in yacon syrup which feeds friendly bacteria in the stomach, which in turn helps the metabolic process.
About Geeta Sidhu-Robb
Geeta Sidhu-Robb is a qualified nutritionist, raw chef, life coach and holistic health specialist. She is also the founder and CEO of Nosh Detox – the UK’s first home delivery service of non-pasteurised juice diets and meal plans, with an esteemed clientele featuring the likes of Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.