It is estimated that we now consume about 1Kg of sugar every day! That’s around 35 teaspoons of sugar a day.
Seem like a lot? Well actually it’s very easy to consume this and a whole lot more.
Here’s a confession…
I’m a bone fide Sugar Addict!!
I have a real sweat tooth, always have, since I was a little girl. It’s little wonder, being brought up by an Irish grandmother there was a pudding after almost every meal, even if that was just a piece of fruit. Then there were the sweet rewards for doing well at school, the sweet treats to celebrate high days and holidays…sweet..sweet …sweet.
As I grew into a young woman and had my own money to spend I continued the sweet treat behaviour. By the time I was in my 30’s I was a fully fledged sugar addict.
Of course I’ve been around the diet block… I know only too well the pain and drama of the yo yo diet roller coaster. My weight went up and my weight went down, but one thing still remained constant. My sweet tooth!
Actually more than that..my reliance on sugar. Cereal and sweet tea to get me going in the morning, a little something sweet mid morning, a sandwich meal deal for lunch, another little something to help me beat the afternoon slump and keep me from falling asleep at my desk, pasta for supper and of course a little something sweet to finish the meal. My whole diet was pretty much all based on sugar in some form. I always had some sugar craving.
Something had to change. I had to get a hold of the sugar in my diet. Beyond my little daily sweet treats, I didn’t think there was much sugar in my diet. Boy was I wrong! My Sugar Monster had a strong hold on me.
Sugar is Just Sugar isn’t it?
Its the stuff in the sugar bowl, in the chocolates, in the soft drinks. That was the sugar I needed to cut down.
There are many sources of sugar in our diets, some we may not even have considered as sugar before.
First there are the Natural Sugars. Sugars contained in fruits, vegetables, dairy produce and complex carbohydrates. These Natural Sugars are slower to be absorbed by your body and are a great source of natural energy.
Then we have Elective Sugars. As the name suggests these are the additional sugars you choose to add into your diet. Often in the form of sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, jam on your toast or sugar added to beverages.
Finally we have Hidden Sugars. This is probably the most dangerous of sugars…this is sugar that has been added to everyday foods like yoghurts, bread, sausages, pasta sauce etc etc to make it taste better. The reason this type of sugar is so dangerous is that because it is hidden it can be hard to calculate how much you are eating and even harder to cut from your diet.
Not all sugar is bad, BUT, we must relearn to consume sugar in moderation. This can be hard as our taste buds have become some accustomed to tasting sweetness in almost every food that we eat.
Taste Buds Corrupted by Sugar.
Quite frankly life is too short to not have a little sweetness in it. But there is no denying that we have become a nation of Sugar Lovers.
Our taste buds have changed, for example we have become used to the sweetness of canned tomato soup, so that now a real tomato tastes bland. We are used to the sweetness of soft drinks that plain water tastes insipid and natural yoghurt is so boring with nothing to tip onto the top or discover at the bottom. You can see how this begins to escalate frighteningly quickly.
Sugar, Sugar, Sugar!
Do you remember a time when you tasted the first strawberry of summer and it tasted divinely sweet? That’s when your taste buds were uncorrupted by Sugar.
The Body Retreat’s 3 Step Plan
At The Body Retreat we recommend the following 3 step plan to start to reclaim control of your sugar habit, break that sugar addiction for good.
REMOVE, REDUCE & RE-THINK
Remove the Hidden Sugar, Reduce the Elective Sugar and Re-Think your Natural Sugar Consumption.
First and very importantly. Remove the Hidden Sugar.
Start to get label savvy… read the labels of the foods you consume most often. You can only avoid it if you are looking for it. Look for sugar in all its guises. It may not be listed as just sugar, look for cane juice, brown rice syrup, agave syrup, fructose, maltose..in fact look for all the “tose’s”. You probably already know that the ingredients are listed in order of amount, so you don’t want to see sugar in any form too high up the list of ingredients…or to many times. Once you are savvy with your labels begin to cut out those dishes or foods with lots of added sugar.
Reduce the Elective Sugar.
Be honest, how much sugar are you adding into your daily diet? Are there sweet treats, soft drinks, sugar in your tea. Begin over the next week to make a concise effort to simply reduce this little by little through the week.
Re-Think Your Natural Sugar Consumption.
If you have a sweet tooth, don’t simply replace sweets and treats for fruits and other natural sugars. You can still overcome sugar through natural foods. For example a glass of orange juice can around 28gm of sugar, to put that into context, a can of coke has 40gm, not as much difference as you may have thought. When you have fruits, starchy veg, cereals, grains etc…remember that they are a form of sugar so re-think the amount of these food that make up your daily diet.
Now, you might be tempted to think that you can bypass this process and simply swap your sugars for artificial sweeteners…well no. Thats a whole other unhelathy can of worms and I’m going to get into that in the next post, Sugar Alternatives, the Good, the Bad and the Down Right Ugly!
If you want to find out more about how you can quit sugar then why not download our free 5 Day Sugar Detox Programme.
p.s We love questions here at The Body Retreat and to us there is no such thing as silly question. So if you have a question about this post or about quitting sugar in general then please pop it in the box below.