Sugar is the enemy of weight loss for several reasons.
First, it contains almost no nutrients, but a significant number of calories.
When you eat foods with very few vitamins and minerals, your body sends a signal to continue eating until your needs are met. This means you could end up eating a lot of calories trying to meet your needs. Second, sugar is highly addictive.
A recent study has found that high glycemic foods (i.e. foods high in sugar) trigger the section of the brain generally connected to addiction. Is it any mystery as to why you have a daily chocolate craving?
How to Spot Hidden Sugar in Processed Foods
One way to combat sugar cravings is to stop eating so much sugar. In order to do this you really need to become a sugar “detective” because sugar is in places you wouldn’t expect! Almost all the processed foods we eat have sugar! It is found under a variety of different names, including:
Sucrose, Maltose, High fructose corn syrup, Molasses, Cane sugar, Corn Sweetener, Beet sugar, Fruit juice concentrate, Turbinado, Rice syrup.
Look for any words ending with –ose, which generally means sugar. If you see one or more of these words at the beginning of the ingredients list), you may want to consider making a different choice.
Also, check the nutrition facts panel, if you see more than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams on a label - put the item back!
How about Artificial Sweeteners?
You may be tempted to swap real sugar for artificial sweeteners to still satisfy that “sweet” craving.
Artificial sweeteners trigger receptors in the tongue, which are meant to identify sweet-tasting foods. The receptors then trigger the body to release insulin, a hormone that signals the cells in the body to store food.
If levels of insulin are consistently elevated, your body is getting the message to “store” calories, i.e. fat, all the time. This is the opposite of what you are looking for if you want to lose weight, you don’t want to store more fat!
How to Avoid Sugar
The best way to avoid too much sugar is to always choose real, whole food. An excellent rule of thumb is that 90% of your diet should be unprocessed, unrefined, whole foods.
Eating more protein and fat may also help. Protein and fat help increase the feeling of fullness and prevent fluctuations in blood sugar to help reduce cravings.
An In Shape Mummy Health Shake is a healthy way to get your sweet fix. It is high in protein and can help stop sugar cravings.
Lastly, try to practice mindful eating.
Before eating anything, ask yourself “Am I really hungry?” If the answer is no, then figure out why you want to eat. Are you stressed? Tired? Sad? Are the kids making you nuts?
Instead of eating, which in the long-run will just make you feel worse, try to address what you are really feeling.
Maybe it’s time for everyone to go for a walk or for mummy to have a little break!