Case Study #03 The Su­gar Seeker

Men's Health (UK) - - 7 New Ways To Lose 5kg -

First, let’s clear up a ma­jor mis­con­cep­tion. The “lone gun­man” the­ory that puts added su­gar at the cen­tre of ev­ery­thing that’s wrong with our di­ets is a fal­lacy. So far, the ev­i­dence that it’s worse for our waist­lines than other fast-act­ing carbs (such as white bread) is flimsy.

If you overdo it on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, how­ever, it can quickly be­come a prob­lem. In the ab­sence of fi­bre, car­bo­hy­drates flood your blood with glu­cose and your brain with re­ward chem­i­cals – cre­at­ing an itch that’s hard to scratch. It’s a phe­nom­e­non that Martin, Carmichael and oth­ers are try­ing to map at Pen­ning­ton, feed­ing sub­jects sug­ary drinks or sweets and then com­par­ing their FMRI scans when they look at im­ages of foods af­ter­wards.

The Pre­scrip­tion Read­ing food la­bels is only ef­fec­tive if you know what you’re look­ing for. Gen­er­ally, any­thing end­ing in “-ose” (glu­cose, su­crose, mal­tose) is an added su­gar, and you’re as likely to find these in pre-dressed sal­ads and break­fast oats as you are in “treat” foods.

Re­mem­ber, too, that in­gre­di­ents don’t ex­ist in iso­la­tion. Fi­bre, pro­teins and fats will slow the re­lease of glu­cose, cush­ion­ing the crash that leads to fur­ther crav­ings. Tem­per­ing this by adding healthy fats and pro­teins to your next plate of pasta will there­fore have a greater ef­fect than sim­ply turn­ing down a square of choco­late.

Fi­nally, it’s worth con­sid­er­ing that in­ad­e­quate sleep may play a part in your sweet tooth. A study in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion found that those who un­der­sleep by 50-90 min­utes (that’s most of us) eat 12g more su­gar per day on av­er­age. Sweet dreams.

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