My favourite part of mealtime is at the end when the dessert is served. In fact, I love sugar so much, I have been known to eat sugar from the bowl when there are no cookies or cake left in the house. Unfortunately for women (and myself), the daily recommended allowance of sugar a day is a measly six teaspoons, and for men, it’s nine teaspoons, while children should have less than six teaspoons per day.
There are roughly four grams of sugar per teaspoon, meaning women and children should get no more than 25 grams of added sugar each day (those under 2 should get no added sugar) and men should get no more than 36 grams per day. It saddens me greatly to admit that sugar provides no nutritional value, and simply empty calories, devoid of vitamins, minerals, protein, or fibre.
While sugar substitutes can be beneficial and safe, they can also mess with your metabolism and fuel hunger, and an excessive intake of sugar substitutes can confuse the body’s natural response to sugar and can cause blood sugar to be stored in tissues. This can cause hypoglycaemia and can increase overall food intake.
Not sleeping well can affect your sugar cravings. Studies have shown that poor sleep habits can lead to an increased craving for sugar.
Is It A Craving Or Is It Hunger?
Often when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just having a craving. What’s the difference? Next time you want to reach for that delicious bar of fruit and nut chocolate, ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if its just a craving for some chocolate. If it is in fact a craving you are having, try and hold off for 20 minutes to half and hour and see if you are still craving the chocolate bar. Sometimes, delaying the gratification can stop the craving.
You can also try to replace that craving with a healthier substitute. Whenever I experience a craving for cake, I try to distract myself. If that doesn’t work, I will snack on some raisins or dried fruit.
Carb-Rich Breakfast? Add In Some Lean Protein
A study that analysed the MRI scans of people eating a high-protein breakfast found reduced activity in the regions of the brain associated with cravings, so try adding some protein to your breakfast and see if it helps you cut down on sugar later in the day.
Go for portion control
Because sugar addiction is biological and not emotional as is so often thought, portion control might not work for everyone. I personally find that buying my desserts in single serving sizes helps with portion control. I also buy enough for that day, so even if I wanted to eat more, I can’t.
Skip The Sugar In Foods That Aren’t Sweet
Things like ketchup and salsa don’t require sugar, yet are full of it. Sugar can be found in many condiments and sauces, and that’s something important to bear in mind so we do not exceed our daily intake.
Sugar is the most popular ingredient added to packaged foods; a breakfast bar made with ‘real fruit and whole grains’ can contain 15 grams or more of added sugar. In fact sugar is hidden everywhere in our food supply. Adults, children, and even babies are unknowingly conditioned to desire sugar because of this, so always check ingredient labels for hidden sugars.
Are You Hungry, Or Simply Thirsty?
Very often people confuse thirst with hunger. So when the need for sugar hits you, try drinking some water first. I find drinking non-sweetened flavoured sparkling water helpful in curbing my need to attack the sugar bowl. The logic is that staying well hydrated leaves you feeling full, which in turn prevents you from snacking on sugary foods. In a study conducted, it was found that people who increased their daily water intake decreased their daily sugar intake.