By Alice Palmer
Nutrition consultant and author of The Detox Kitchen Bible, Rob Hobson, says, "It has been recommended that we all aim to eat no more than 30g (6 tsp) of added sugar per day, but findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey have shown that the average UK adult consumes double this amount (60g or 12 tsp)."
He continued: "This includes table sugar and other sweeteners such as honey, which are also found in many foods that we eat on a daily basis such as breakfast cereals, cook-in-sauces and of course soft drinks, puddings, cakes and confectionary."
Studies have suggested that sugar is eight times more addictive that Class A drugs such as cocaine. Sugar affects individuals in different ways, however research carried out David A. Kessler, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests the more sugar you eat, the more you will crave sugar.
Overcoming a sugar addiction may seem pretty hard to break, and as Rob said, sugars are hidden in pretty much all foods on supermarkets shelves. If you're looking for an action plan to give up sugar, read on to find out Rob's top tips.
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How to give up sugar
Rob suggest starting slow, giving up sugar suddenly is not going to help your cravings in the long run.
"Cutting down can be tough and going cold turkey rarely gets long-lasting results" , he said.
He continued, "Sugar cravings can put a big spanner in the works and psychology plays a huge role as mood, boredom and habit can drive your desire for the sweet stuff. A lack of sleep, skipping meals, hormones and visual temptation can also contribute to sugar cravings."
" A useful approach is to make small changes to your diet such as reducing the sugar you add to coffee or tea, choosing lower-sugar food products and switching sweet treats for healthy alternatives such as fresh fruit to ween yourself off sugar slowly."
What happens to my body when I give up sugar?
If you're craving the sweet stuff, here are 11 of Rob's top tips to give up sugar and tame those sugar sugars.
1. Include a source of protein, healthy fats and fibre with every meal to prevent blood sugar imbalances that can leave you craving a quick fix between meals.
2. Try using spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg in place of sugar as they have a sweet taste and work well sprinkled on yoghurt or added to smoothies or coffee
3. Take chromium supplements, try Healthspan Chromium (360, £14.95) it helps to regulate blood sugar levels and this may help to reduce cravings between meals.
4. Sniff vanilla! Sounds weird but some people find this helpful to alleviate sugar cravings.
5. Try low calorie hot chocolate drinks.
6. Get busy as idle hands make for the devil’s work. Evenings are one of the times most people crave sweet treats. Try going out for a walk, do something around the house or have a nice bath with a good book rather than flopping in front of the TV with a packet of Haribo.
7. Try drinking a large glass of water when you get a craving. Dehydration can be confused with hunger.
8. Try chewing gum as it has been shown that in some cases this may ease cravings. Obviously go for something sugar-free!
9. Don’t skip meals. If you let yourself go ravenous then as your blood sugar drops you’re more likely to crave something sweet.
10. Chill out! Stress can have a major impact on cravings as we seek out comfort foods.
11. Don’t get caught out and keep something healthy to hand such as a banana or dried fruit.
There is plenty of room in a healthy diet for a little of the sweet stuff. For most of us, denying ourselves the odd sweet treat completely often leads to bingeing so cut down slowly, eat mindfully and try Rob's tips above to help fight sugar cravings.
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