You know sweets undermine your weight loss efforts and threaten your health, but you can’t stop eating them? You’re not the only one! According to CDC, our foods and drinks contain too much added sugar, predisposing us to health problems ranging from obesity and type-2 diabetes to heart disease, and more.
Some fruits, dairy products, and vegetables contain a natural form of sugar (fructose, lactose, etc.) that is safe for our body. Others are processed, and their processing involves adding sweeteners, like cane and beet sugar, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, dextrose, honey, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, or sucrose.
To prevent added sugar from becoming a threat to our health, we should limit its consumption to 10% of our daily calorie intake. For example, in a diet that involves consuming 2,000 calories/day, added sugars should account for no more than 200 calories.
As usual, the theory is much easier than practice. Even though we know what we need to do, and we have our health and looks as the main motivation to do it, we can’t. Our body craves sugar, and we eventually give in to our cravings. The reason goes beyond the great taste of sweets and sweetened beverages and has physiological and psychological implications.
Our hormones love sugar – When we get hungry, the hormones our stomach, pancreas, and bowel release (glucagon-like peptide, insulin, and ghrelin) basically beg for food. They send signals to our brain, which translates these signals into hunger, cravings, or satiety. When we eat sugar, our body consumes it fast and turns it into energy bursts. We get used to the energy hits and feel the need to experience them more often.
So there you have it: our mind and our body crave sweets. We know too much sugar is bad for us, but we don’t know how to quit consuming it, or at least control the amount we consume. Is fighting sugar cravings a lost battle? Some may say it is, but we disagree.
Now that you know your enemy, and how it affects your body, winning the battle is just a matter of devising the right strategy and sticking to it. The following tips should help.
If the above lines didn’t make it clear enough, let me reinforce it: no one expects you to give up sweets completely. However, it is one thing to satisfy your sweet tooth once in a while, and with a measure, and a completely different thing to indulge on processed sweets whenever you feel an impulse to do it.
Keep your cravings under control, and satisfy your sweet tooth with measure following the above tips. Your body, your mind, and your health will thank you. With time, even the burden on your budget may decrease, but you won’t know until you’ve tried it.