Sugar is in everything and is one of the hardest things to cut out.
Industry, government and NGO’s come together to celebrate successes in reducing our sugar consumption - and decide where to head next. Front and centre is the governments childhood obesity plan - taking action to cut obesity among young people. One in three kids in the UK are overweight or obese. There’s no doubt sugar is a culprit.
On average children and teenagers are consuming nearly three times as much added sugar as they should pushing 15% of their daily calories or a massive 20 cubes a day. Adults consume less - around 11 per cent - but still more than double the recommended amount.
1. Simple swaps
Start with simple steps that aren’t too detailed and complicated to implement. Start looking at your breakfast and swap your butter and jam for slices of avocado. Swap your cereal for eggs on toast. Let’s look at nutritionally dense foods such as eggs, oats with almonds and yoghurt. What we eat for breakfast sets us up for the rest of the day and determines blood sugar levels for the rest of the day so we don’t crash by 4pm.
2. Fat is fab because it fills us up
Notice when you crave sugar and try to increase your intake of fats at the meal prior to the usual craving time. Move away from labelling saying low fat or diet food. These foods contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for lack of flavour and fat, which will send you on a roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Healthy fats are our friends so look at increasing avocados, nuts, seeds, fish and eggs to help keep you full too.
3. Get more sleep
Sleep and relaxation Is key. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar are the most readily usable forms of energy for an exhausted body and mind. When you are chronically stressed and tired your body will crave the quickest form of energy which is sugar.
4. Label your emotion
We’ve borrowed a technique from Buddhism here, try mentally naming the emotion that’s driving you towards temptation. This could be sadness, loneliness, boredom or anger. Try and feel it, label it (perhaps even write it down) and let it go. We tend to tell ourselves our emotions are bad, this isn’t true. We can feel them but we don’t have to act on them. Practise a meditation or breathing technique to calm yourself and unwind.
Experiment with spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamon will naturally sweeten your food and help reduce cravings.