Cutting added sugars or going on a sugar-free diet is one of the best decisions you can make nowadays. Excessive sugar consumption is extremely common and is linked to multiple diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or dental cavities.
According to the World Health Organization, one out of three adults (39%) in the worldwide population was overweight in 2016. Sugar linked health problems can affect our everyday lives, our mental health and even be deadly. On World Diabetes Day 2019, we bring you some ideas on how to go on a sugar-free diet:
Learn where the craving is coming from
In order to make a change in your life, you first got to understand where the craving for sugar is coming from. Studies have determined that sugar consumption can be linked to anxiety and depression. As sugar increases your serotonin levels and can put you in an energy hype.
But it’s been demonstrated that this spike is only temporary and, after an hour or two, your body returns to the same hormonal levels as before. Due to this, sugar consumption is also linked to mood swings and emotional instability.
Every time you feel like eating candy or get a slice of that cake, take a minute or two to think: How are you feeling? Are you angry, sad, stressed, bored? This may be a huge factor in your sugar consumption. To avoid consuming too much sugar try to practice mindfulness if you’re doing it out of a mental or emotional state.
Fruits are your best friends
Even if sometimes you’re taking sugar as a way to cope with emotions, there are times where your body does need sugar. Sugar is very important as it provides you with calories, needed to fuel your energy and keep you going through the day.
Almost every food out there contains sugar. Because of this, it is a mistake to think you’ll go on a 100% sugar-free diet. What you want to do is look for the “good” kind of sugar. Added sugars, found in processed foods, candies and soda, are the evil twins of sucrose, fructose and glucose, the kind of sugar you can find in fruits.
If you’re planning on leaving sugar, keep in mind you want to avoid added sugars or “free sugars” as they’re called. Evidence has demonstrated that those are the kinds of sugar linked to tooth decay, diabetes and other kinds of health issues. So if you’re going through an episode of sugar-craving, try changing foods with added sugar for fruits. You’ll see how your mind and body start feeling better without the consequences of added sugars.
Get enough sleep
Cravings not only depend on nutrition. Sometimes other health factors affect our need to consume certain kind of food.
Sugar helps your body get the energy it needs to go throughout the day. If you’re not sleeping enough, your body will crave for other sources of energy to keep the rhythm of your every day life.
Our English speaking doctors recommend sleeping 8 or 9 hours a day to get the energy needed. A good sleep will regulate your appetite hormones (leptin and ghrelin) and help you get through your day without craving for so much sugar.
Experiment with food
If you’re one of those who easily sprinkles sugar upon every cup of coffee, upon your bowl of cereal, etc, you’ll find it hard not to miss the taste of sugar in your every day diet. Your palate is probably used to the taste of sweet in your food, and it can be hard to go on a sugar-free diet and let go of the old habit of having a little sweet at the end of the cup or simply the ritual of sprinkling it into the bowl.
Take this opportunity to expand your palate limits. Experiment with different flavors and foods, replacing sugar in your every day meals with other sweet foods.
You can change sugar for cinnamon or vanilla on top of your coffee, or try change your added-sugars to a less processed kind of sweetener, such as organic brown sugar.
Cutting added sugars is not always easy, but it will always be satisfying and your body will thank you for it. If you feel like you might need professional help or just a medical checkup to examine your glucose levels, book a visit with one of our English-speaking doctors in Barcelona.