Ten Tips to handle your Sugar Obsession

We live in a sugar addicted world. Today, you can find sugar (natural or synthetic) in almost every food. And unless you are indulging in your sweet tooth only once a week, sugar can have a detrimental effect on your health. Excessive consumption of sugar has been associated with increased incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity and tooth decay. We show you how to get a handle on your sugar obsession.


1. Home in on homeopathy


Homeopathic remedies can be helpful. These include lycopodium for sugar cravings associated with feeling anxious before an important event, and nux vomica for cravings combined with a need for caffeine, chocolate and/or alcohol when under pressure.


2. Love your smile


When a sugar craving strikes, just imagine yourself with a gap-toothed smile. Sugar and mouth bacteria combine to produce acid, and acid dissolves teeth. Some fizzy drinks contain seven teaspoons of sugar and are as bad for your teeth as battery acid. So limit these and watch your sugar hits in between meals. Drink with a straw, chew sugar-free gum or eat cheese after meals to neutralize acid in the mouth.


3. Move it


Japanese scientists have proved that preference for sweet food and drink declines after physical activity. Take a page out of Paris Hilton's book and exercise - it will curb your sweet tooth, release feel good endorphins and reduce your waistline - what's not to like?


4. Spot hidden sugars


Even if you don't add sugar to tea or munch sweets, your intake may still be higher than the guideline daily amount (GDA) of 12 teaspoons. Manufacturers 'hide' sugar in unlikely foods including cereal, baked beans, low-fat 'diet' foods and ready meals. Avoid it by cutting out processed fare.


5. Read between the lines


Processed food labels may describe forms of sugar in different ways. Look for corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, glucose syrup, hydrolyzed starch, invert syrup, lactose, maltose and treacle. Also check the amount under 'carbohydrates from sugars'. If it's over 15g per 100g, it's a high-sugar food.


6. Get fruity


Use fresh or dried fruit to sweeten yoghurt and cereal. Instead of fizzy drinks, whizz up a berry fizz - a low-calorie, antioxidant-rich taste bud tingler.  Puree a handful of berries, pour into a large glass and top up with sparkling water. This contains just a small amount (2-3g) of natural fruit sugars that release energy more slowly, so are better for you than processed sugars, plus it contains vital nutrients.


7. Try a supplement


The mineral chromium may help stabilize blood sugar levels and so reduce cravings. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found this may therefore help with weight loss. Take it with your lunch if you're prone to mid-afternoon chocolate cravings.


8. Don't deprive yourself


Allow yourself something sweet at each meal, such as a fruit mousse, a scoop of ice cream or a couple of squares of chocolate. But decide beforehand how much you're going to have, and stick to it. Deny yourself altogether, and you're more likely to lose control and overindulge between meals.


9. Try nature's sweeteners


Although still high in sugar, antioxidant-rich honey (especially manuka) is slightly lower in calories and has been shown to fight bacteria, and ease digestive problems, allergies and sore throats. Use syrup instead of sugar in drinks and baking. Thanks to its low glycaemic index (GI), it won't result in the same blood-sugar highs and lows.


10. Downsize


Simple portion control can cut your intake dramatically. If you can't resist treats, buy the smallest chocolate bar in the shop. When eating out, share puddings with a friend or partner. If you like a biscuit with your cuppa, put one on a plate, don't sit next to the tin. Eat slowly and savor the taste.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.

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