By Sanjaya Eramudugoda
If you have a sweet tooth, you will like eating sweet foods, especially sweets and chocolate. People have a craze to eat sweets. Despite a need to reduce the intake of sugar-based food, it is a difficult task to curb one’s greed for sweets.
However, this desire can be somewhat controlled by reducing the intake of additional sugar. This won’t be completely effective but if you follow a systematic plan, you can get rid of a reasonable amount of excess calories from your food.
Saying no to sweetened drinks
A considerable amount of sugar enters our body through sweetened, carbonated and fruit drinks. Consider the amount of sugar entering our body through soft drinks, tea, coffee and flavoured milk. It is much better to drink water instead of turning to these drinks. If you desire something flavourful, make lemon, lime or orange juice. If you think you cannot avoid drinking beverages like tea and coffee, take them with less sugar and cut down on the number of times such drinks are taken.
Bid goodbye to artificial additives
Artificial sweeteners used as alternatives to sugar may appear to be one way to get rid of sugar addiction. However, artificial sweeteners being able to rid the body of excess fat has not been proven scientifically. As these artificial sweeteners too are very sweet, addiction to sugar will increase. This has been proven through various research.
Eat with a clear mind
Always stop to think before you develop a craving to eat or drink something containing sugar. Is the craving a result of hunger or is it due to mental stress? Examine the reasons for this craving. Then it will be easier to control your food intake. Taking a short walk or having a conversation with a friend will help you overcome your desire for sweets. In addition, while having meals, concentrate on the meal and do not allow your mind to wander. This will allow you to enjoy the taste of your food and get over the need to have something sweet.
Always be aware of sugar content in foods
When purchasing food and drink, always get into the habit of reading the labels. This will help you have an idea about its nutritional value and natural content. If any label on a food or a drink product indicates that the sugar content is over 8g or that additional sugar has been added, it is better to put this back on the rack. If the sugar content is not indicated on the label of an item, it is evident that this item has no added sugar and therefore you need not worry.
Our bodies respond differently to natural sugar compared to added sugar. Additional sweeteners contain sucrose, dextrose, sorbitol, manitol, honey, agave plant extract, dextrin, moltodextrine, corn syrup with excessive fructose and other syrups. If any base material ends with ‘ose’ or ‘ol’ it contains sugar. Sucrose is identified as an alternative to sugar.
Get used to natural foods
It is about time we realised that life does not revolve around how much sugar we consume. Fresh fruits or dried fruits with natural sweetness, unsweetened yoghurt, grains with the bran intact and vegetables should be consumed instead, to lead a healthy life.
Further, these foods provide protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre, which are required by our bodies. These proteins are present in low content in sweet foods. The presence of proteins and fibre in our bodies makes food digest much slower, thereby regulating the sugar levels in our systems. This also prevents frequent hunger and limits the daily caloric requirement of our bodies.
Therefore, it is time to say goodbye to sweet foods and give more preference to fruits, vegetables, grains and unsweetened yoghurt, for longevity.