Sugar Addiction – How Can We Beat It?
Let's sweet talk
Let’s sweet talk…
Have you been watching Sugar Free Farm on ITV? Well, it’s basically six celebrities taken out of their busy schedules and put on a farm where they have to undergo a sugar free diet. It’s really interesting to watch to see how the celebrities cope without their daily sugar fix and their reactions to their new diet. It was before this programme however, that sugar had been getting a lot of press about the health issues and negative effects it has on the body, and I think it’s with this programme that the nation are, now too, really starting to understand the effect sugar has on our body.
Sugar is addictive. I’m going through something myself right now, I mean chocolate and wine are just the greatest, and I can’t stop thinking about carrot cake, I don’t if it’s because there’s one staring at me at work, I just don’t know, what is it all about?!
Jamie Oliver is out and about, doing his thing, fighting to turn the world against sugar with his documentary Jamie’s Sugar Rush which was aired on Channel 4, he delved in to finding out about the effects of eating too much sugar and came to conclude that, globally, 42 million children under the age of 5 are obese or overweight, and could raise by 2020 to 60 million, which is frightening. Jamie Oliver has a plan on how to reduce our sugar intake by pleading to the Government to put higher tax on fizzy drinks and what not – which I am all for, but what are we going to do to help ourselves? We can let Jamie Oliver fight our battles for us but we need to help ourselves too, by making a conscious effort to reduce our sugar intake. The negative effects of sugar are simply countless – Jamie Oliver is banging on about it Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) is harping on about it, heck, even my dad is going nuts about it.
So how can we help ourselves? Everyone tells me to have a handful of fruit, some blueberries or raisins or a square of dark chocolate – I mean I don’t know what’s worse, having to have fruit as a substitute sugar fix (which don’t get me wrong I LOVE fruit, but it’s not the same is it… when you have a slice of cake in your head, you want a slice of cake, not 5 blueberries…) or teasing yourself with ONE, measly piece of 80% dark choccy, COME ON. There needs to be some other solution for us folk with zero willpower. Do we just go cold turkey? or are we allowed it in small prescribed doses, or would that just make us worse and head all out for a binge?
I think personally, the best way for us addicts to give up or reduce our sugar is to be aware and knowing of the health issues surrounding too much sugar in our diet. The more we educate ourselves of the impact it has on our bodies and remind ourselves when we have a craving, perhaps we can talk ourselves out of it. “Moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips” kind of thing, but maybe in a more deeper way, instead of thinking of it as a lifetime on the hips, maybe think of the long term effects it has on your body, internally. If you’re willpower is weak and you can’t think rationally before digging in to a triple chocolate fudge cake with ice cream and sprinkles, then maybe we need to go look at other ways to reduce and help our cravings.
I say, distract yourself. 9 times out of 10 the reason I’m craving something sweet is because I’m bored, it may not be the same for you, you might have a reaaaaal problem in your hands, but for me, it’s because I’m bored. By distracting myself I’m taking my mind away from sugary snacks and I’m focussing my attention on something else, for example this article… I’ve suddenly lost my appetite for something sweet and looked at the negativity is has on my body instead… Then decided to bitch about it in an article. Ha! Take that carrot cake!
Brush your teeth, if you’re in an appropriate position to. No one wants to eat or drink anything after you’ve brushed your teeth because 1. it tastes like poop and 2. you don’t want to ruin your lovely, clean, pearly, whites. The minty toothpaste might do the crave busting for you…
Some simple steps that will lead you to the path of recovery…
1. Even though we subsidise fruit for the sugary snacks that we are oh, so, craving, remember fruit is loaded with sugar too! Obviously it’s all natural occurring sugars, but don’t over do it with your fruit as too much can be just as harmful.
2. Watch your alcohol intake. Wine, beer and mixers and the worst for you, so when you’re on a night out stick to your vodka and sodas and by soda I mean that fizzy water, not soda pop, or your dry gin and slimline tonic.
3. Stop looking for ‘low fat’ labels on food products. Low fat just means full of sugar instead. Most of the time when we read food labels we don’t understand half of the products thats in them, but believe me, it’s just more confusing words for sugar. Fats aren’t bad, it’s the sugar we need to be more careful of. We need fatty acids in our body as part of a well balanced diet. However, there are two types of fatty acids, essential, and non-essential, essential fatty acids come from foods such as nuts, grain, olive oil and green leafy veg, which we need in our body. Non-essential fatty acids such as trans and saturated come from sugary foods, which we do not need, and lead to problems such as, high cholesterol, diabetes and a higher risk of cancer. So swap the low fat, for full. Be aware, be educated.
4. ‘Out of sight out of mind’ and there’s no saying like it. If you succumb to buying sugary treats then you’ll know they’re in the house, so refrain from buying them, if you can. If you do buy them for your friday night treat then keep them out of sight. Have a fruit bowl on your kitchen top so that you can easily grab an apple instead of searching for that Mars Bar you hid. Having a sugar craving is very much impulse and you don’t think logically until after you’ve ate the chocolate bar and you’re full of regret. Having something in sight that you can grab, such as fruit, is the perfect way to try and curb the crave. Having the chocolate or biscuits or whatever it may be in sight, is not g0ing to help.
Sugar is ruining our health globally, and here in the UK too, it’s costing the NHS around £500 million a year because we can’t control ourselves. We are rotting our insides and we are rotting our teeth too. What is it going to take before we quit sugar? Loose a couple teeth? Develop type 2 diabetes? None of us want that. Let’s be more shrewd with our food choices and aware of hidden sugars. Let’s be honest it’ll do everyone a favour if we can reduce our intake. The healthcare system, the dentists and us! The pros of quitting sugar are endless. We don’t have to go all Davina McCall and quit forever, unless you want to because she is flawless, but narrowing it down and you will immediately feel the benefits, healthier skin, more energy, believe it or not, and a healthier gut! You can do it.