If you’re fond of sweet treats, you probably also know how hard it is to cut down or give them up. Research has shown that one reason the sugar habit is so hard to beat is because it affects us in the same way as addictive drugs.
Another reason we crave sugar is that it is everywhere, not just in your cup of tea, cake, biscuit or fizzy drink. Sugar has sneaked its way into the most unlikely of foods, such as soups, ketchup and even bread. And the more you eat, the more you want.
So how can we avoid these hidden sugars? “An easy way to check if a food is high in sugar is by looking at the nutritional information,” says Yours Diet Club nutritionist Catherine Matthews. “Any food that contains more than 10g of sugar per 100g is considered to be high in sugar.
“You can also check the ‘traffic lights’ on the front of the package,” says Catherine. “If the traffic light for sugar is red, then think again. Also watch out for seemingly healthy foods, including low-fat foods, that may have added sugar to make up for the reduced fat content.”
Here are a few more suggestions to help you beat the sugar habit:
Beef up protein
Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates so including a little protein, such as low-fat dairy products, in every meal will help you to keep sugar cravings at bay.
Fill the gap
If you cut back sugar, replace it with something else that will cheer you up, whether that is exercise or watching your favourite soap.
Make better snack choices
Cutting out chocolate doesn’t mean you need to avoid snacks altogether. Just choose healthier options, such as crackers, nuts, fruit or a small portion of cheese.
Eat three meals per day
Eating regularly will help to control your blood sugar. Yo-yoing sugar levels can increase cravings.
Naturally sweeten up
Adding berries, fruit and spices can sweeten your meals and help reduce cravings.
Tell family and friends that you are off sugar, so they don’t call round with a packet of biscuits or box of chocs.
- There's more health and diet advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.