Why Do We Need To Reduce Our Sugar Consumption?
Why Are We Drawn To Sugar?
The human tongue can detect four basic flavours salt, sour, bitter, and sweet. We are naturally drawn to sweet because we are primates, animals that evolved to eat fruit from the trees! Knowing this makes sense for primates, including us to have a highly developed palate for sweet things. When we taste Sugar, it releases feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, making us feel happy. Sugar is highly addictive and we all consume it in some form or other, whether in your morning tea, lunchtime sandwich, or after-dinner dessert, sugar is always there. Sugar is sneaked into our sauces, yogurts, bread, and even supposedly healthy granolas.
There have even been studies to compare the brain function in response to someone who binges on sugar compared to someone that takes heroin and shockingly they are almost identical!
When was sugar discovered?
Sugar dates back to around 4,000 BC when it was discovered in the form of sugarcane by India. The word “Sugar” originates from the Sanskrit word Sarkara meaning ground or candied sugar and has been known by many different names over the centuries, including “Sakur” by the Persians, “Azucar” by the Spanish and “Zucchero” by the Italians. Sugar was high-priced and considered a luxury but over time its cultivation spread around the world. Today Sugar is one of the world’s oldest commodities making it a multi-billion-pound industry.
This interesting timeline depicts the epic journey sugar has made. http://www.sugarhistory.net/who-made-sugar/sugar-timeline/
Why we should reduce our sugar consumption?
- Sugar can cause us to age more quickly.
- It can affect the cells in our immune system that target bacteria causing us to fall ill more often.
- Excessive sugar consumption can lead to Tooth decay and bad breath.
- Long-term overeating can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain.
How Do You Know You Have A Sugar addiction?
– Craving salty foods which is usually a sign that your body isn’t getting the right amount of nutrients.
– You treat yourself to a chocolate bar when you’re having a stressful or bad day.
– You are always tired and to give yourself a boost you reach for a sweet treat.
– Not feeling satisfied until you’ve had dessert.
– You always choose sweet over savoury.
To overcome sugar addiction
Choose the right kind of sweet treats to enjoy, fruit is a great alternative in moderation as it contains naturally occurring sugars too.
Consider taking a prebiotic as poor gut health can increase cravings.
Eat healthy well-balanced meals consisting of protein, carbs, vegetables, and healthy fats – helping you stay fuller for longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels, helping to stop cravings.
When a craving happens reach for a protein snack instead of a sweet snack such as some beef or salmon jerky – to help relieve the cravings and stop the urge.
Avoid any temptations – remove any bad foods you may have in your cupboards.
Limit alcohol as its also high in sugar and can increase sugar cravings
Chew gum – it helps with cravings as it can increase the feeling of fullness and help you eat less.
Add some cinnamon to your porridge or sliced apples – research has shown that cinnamon can actually reduce sugar cravings by controlling your blood glucose levels.
Get a good night’s sleep – this is very important as lack of sleep can lead to bad food choices.
An interesting article I read by Wendy C. Fries talks about more ways to combat sugar cravings, She really goes into detail about how to fight them before they start.
There are lots of extra tips you could start using today.
Check it out
How much Sugar should we be consuming?
The UK government recommends that free sugars – sugars added to food or drinks, and sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and purées – should not make up more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day.
Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes).
Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes).
Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).
There’s no guideline limit for children under the age of 4, but it’s recommended they avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it.
Free sugars are found in foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and some fizzy drinks and juice drinks. These are the sugary foods we should cut down on.
Sugars also occur naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and milk, but we don’t need to cut down on these types of sugars.
Be aware that these are included along with free sugars in the “total sugars” figure that you’ll see on food labels.
Find out more about nutrition labels and sugar for help on how to tell the difference.