Crush your sugar addiction with these top tips from nutritionist Kim Pearson
Sugar dependence isn’t something to smile about. Many of us crave sugar-laden treats, but over time this can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. So, if you’re considering weaning yourself off sugar try these tips for success.
1 Check your labels
Current NHS guidelines indicate that adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day. This includes sugars that have been added to food or drinks, and those found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit and juices. So, it is recommended that you check the nutritional content on your food labels for high levels of the sweet stuff. Sugar masquerades as fructose, maltose and glucose, so ensure that you check for these ingredients, too. The higher up the ingredients list sugar appears, the more the product may contain. If you can make this first small step, you’ll be able to slowly cut down your intake.
2 Make smart swaps
We know the road to being completely sugar-free may be a long one, so if you satisfy your cravings one step at a time by incorporating sugar alternatives then you just might conquer your addiction. Try swapping the sugar that you use in teas and cakes with stevia or Xylitol. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon though; instead, remind yourself of the health benefits involved in cutting down and you’ll be able to get back on track.
3 Include more protein
Protein-rich foods are ideal for keeping you full, and may help to banish your sugar cravings. Include chicken, salmon, steak, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds in your diet to help slow down the absorption of sugar and prevent glucose spikes, which, in turn can reduce your need to grab the nearest sweet treat.
4 Cut down on refined carbs
Reduce your refined carb intake by following a low glycaemic index (GI) diet. This may help you control your sweet cravings by minimising spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels. Refined carbs such as white bread and white rice can be replaced with non-starchy vegetables, beans, brown rice and natural granola, to name just a few.
5 Check your store cupboard
Look no further than your spice rack to satisfy your sweet tooth. Ingredients such as cinnamon or vanilla extract can be added to your morning porridge or baked goods to give them a sweet taste without the health risks. Alternatively, you could try adding ginger, nutmeg, and orange or lime zest to the mix for a bit more diversity.
Credit: Kim Pearson