WARN­ING SIGNS of sugar ad­dic­tion

Prevention (Australia) - - Nutrition Know-how -

The 21st cen­tury diet is filled with sugar, but it’s hid­den away in the highly pack­aged foods in our su­per­mar­kets and so we hardly even no­tice how much we are eat­ing on a daily ba­sis. But once you start tak­ing no­tice, there’s no go­ing back.

Sugar has be­come such a com­mon part of our daily diet that many of us don’t even no­tice how sweet many ev­ery­day foods are. But con­sider this: back in the 1880s it took hu­mans five days to con­sume the amount of sugar we now gulp down in a sin­gle can of soft drink. How strong is your need for the sweet stuff? Find out and start prac­tis­ing th­ese sim­ple healthy fixes.

WARN­ING SIGN #1

You feel fam­ished, even af­ter eat­ing ‘healthy’ foods all day. Chances are sugar, which has very lit­tle sati­ety to fill you up, is un­wit­tingly sneak­ing into your day.

Try this in­stead:

Pay at­ten­tion to food la­bels and spot the sugar cul­prits. Fruit juice con­cen­trate, rice malt syrup and agave are other names for sugar.

WARN­ING SIGN #2

You use sugar to man­age your emo­tions. Com­fort foods stir up favourable flashbacks that can help soothe us when stressed, but sci­ence shows it’s only a brief, tem­po­rary re­lief.

Try this in­stead:

Try a daily med­i­ta­tion as a bet­ter way to calm your emo­tions. All you need is about 20 min­utes and a quiet space of your own.

WARN­ING SIGN #3

You’re sneak­ing out of the of­fice for a sugar fix. Con­sum­ing sugar lights up your brain’s re­ward cen­tre, flood­ing your brain with the feel-good neu­ro­trans­mit­ter dopamine. The prob­lem: just like street drug ad­dicts, sugar junkies de­velop tol­er­ance and need more to get a fix and keep rid­ing the high.

Try this in­stead:

Add more fresh foods into your diet, think ve­g­ies (even frozen ones), and crunchy salad. Sprin­kle a hand­ful of nuts and/or seeds onto ce­real or eat as a snack in­stead of sweet treats. And en­sure you eat protein at ev­ery meal such as eggs, lean meat, fish or tofu. Th­ese sim­ple ad­di­tions to each day will give you sus­tained en­ergy, rather than the roller­coaster of highs and lows you’re used to.

WARN­ING SIGN #4

You’re ig­nor­ing the la­bels. So you know that pack­aged foods can be sneak­ily high in sugar but you re­sist check­ing the la­bel on sauces, frozen meals and salad dress­ings in your trol­ley.

Try this in­stead:

Trade pack­aged for fresh wher­ever pos­si­ble and use herbs and spices for flavour­ing in­stead of prepack­aged va­ri­eties. Cook­ing more at home will help. Even if you’re busy, ded­i­cate a day to mak­ing a big batch of home­made food that you can freeze for the week ahead. It's much eas­ier to con­trol your sugar when you cook your food your­self.

WARN­ING SIGN #5

You’re de­vel­op­ing a sugar belly. Foods con­tain­ing sugar are of­ten the hard­est to re­sist and the ones we go back for, be­yond our body’s nat­u­ral ‘full’ sig­nals. Sweet treats, desserts and sug­ary snacks are high in kilo­joules, and can add to your waist. Try this in­stead:

Start your sugar step­down with our seven-day plan on the pages ahead. On days one and two, eat the meals you nor­mally would and pay at­ten­tion to your re­la­tion­ship with sugar, how you snack, and note when you eat sugar to al­le­vi­ate stress – and how you feel af­ter­wards. Keep­ing a food log is a great tool to use at this time.

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