Cravings and food preferences aren’t the only things that draw us towards sugar. Habits or external cues are also a factor. Today, you’ll look at your typical routine to pinpoint the times and situations that trigger cravings. For instance, how many of us sit down and… Just eat – without TV, Internet or (naughty!) a bit of work? If you’re not one of those rare people, practising mindful eating may help you feel more satisfied, with less sugar.
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that people who eat or drink while they’re distracted require far greater intensities of taste – sweetness included – to feel satisfied. In one part of the study, people who made and tasted lemonade as they memorised a seven-digit number ended up with a 50 percent higher sugar concentration in their drink than when they had to memorise just one number. In other words, a healthy meal may be flavourful and fulfilling if you eat it mindfully, but seem bland if you’re distracted with work or TV. And this can prompt you to eat even more sugar after dinner, just to feel satisfied.
Look back at your food log again and think about the triggers that led you to reach for sugar, and jot them down on a chart like the one on pages 32 to 33. Really try to pinpoint the reason each weak point increases your vulnerability to sugary foods and come up with solutions. Keep these at hand – they’re your craving-fighting secret weapons.
Your intake of Secret Sugars and Sugar Mimics
We’ve combined Secret Sugars and Sugar Mimics into the same step, because the two categories often come together as a package in foods. Secret Sugars are the ones you wouldn’t expect to find in prepackaged, mostly savoury foods (but also in fruitbased products). Sugar Mimics are substances that aren’t sugars, but crash your blood sugar just the same. Just like you did yesterday for Straight-Up Sugars, place an “SS” – Secret Sugar – next to all the foods that you may not think of as containing added sugar, but that do. Do the same for Sugar Mimics – use “SM” as your mark. Here’s what to look for…
Kitchen makeover, part 2
Remember what you did yesterday? Do it again! After you review your food log, head to your fridge, freezer and cupboard and find sources of Secret Sugar and Sugar Mimics. But this time, there’s an extra step.
Read the ingredients list on the back of the food’s package before you make a decision about what to do with it. Look for sugar by one (or more) of its names. Not everything contains them. As for Sugar Mimics, most (eg wholewheat bread, instant oats and cereal) contain added sugar as well.
Tortillas, wraps, pita bread and wholewheat pasta are reintroduced in Phase 2, so you can stash them away until then.