Sugar has become hard to avoid for many of us. It is hidden in many packaged foods and easily creeps in excessive amounts into our daily diets. A diet high in sugar can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, chronic fatigue, headaches, hormonal problems and mood disturbances.
Four Types of Sugar Addiction
Needing sugar for an energy boost
Using sugar to elevate mood and deal with stress
Craving sugar due to a yeast overgrowth (yeast feed on sugar)
Managing hormonal imbalances with sugar e .g. Pre-menstrual craving)
Here are some tips for cutting out sugar:
Stop eating foods that are obviously high in refined sugar. E.g. soft drinks, cakes, lollies, biscuits, fruit juices, processed breakfast cereals and other sweet snacks.
Then progressively cut out high GI foods, i.e. carbohydrates that convert to glucose quickly. E.g. white bread, pasta, pastry, white flour and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, parsnips
Aim to replace the above mentioned foods with low GI equivalents; this will help satisfy that sweet tooth as your diet is transitioning. E.g. cherries, grapefruit, apples, pears, strawberries, grapes, oranges and kiwifruit
When eating low GI fruits try combining them with a handful of raw nuts and seeds or a tub of good quality yoghurt. This helps keep blood sugar and energy levels in balance
If you must have a sweet thing, have one or two bites to satisfy the craving, enjoy it and move on
Aim to sleep well. Inadequate sleep has been associated with increased insulin resistance and fatigue can cause you to reach for sugary foods for an energy boost
Try using natural sweeteners such as Stevia or the sugar alcohols (e.g. xylitol, erytritol, maltitol). When baking try using agave syrup, it is a cactus derived low GI sweetener that is a good alternative to honey or maple syrup.
Sugars to Avoid
Honey (Yellow Box is a low GI alternative)
Over a week or two you will find yourself craving sweet things less and your energy and mood should lift and improve. Once blood sugar levels are consistently stable, hormones and other glands will also stabilise and you will find yourself not turning to sugar to override the physical effects of hormonal fluctuations if they arise.
Article Contributed by Susan Hunter