Kick your sugar habit.
by Lou Rubic
Sugar is in the nutritional spotlight at the moment and for good reason. Added sugar in your diet is simply no good for you. Sugar intake is linked to cardiovascular disease and we have known for sometime that sugar accelerates dental decay, obesity and type II diabetes development.
Sugar has played a role in human diets for more than 10,000 years and the demand for the sweet crop doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Is it any wonder when Australians each consume roughly 49kg of sugar a year, not just in added sugar, but in the form of milk products, soft drinks, fruits and vegetable juices, and cereal products. The World Health Organization recently recommended we severely cut back our sugar intake to 10% of our daily kilojoule intake, even better to get it below 5% or 6 teaspoons a day (1 standard can of soft drink contains 10 teaspoons of sugar).
So why can’t you stop eating it? Humans are born with a genetic predisposition to sweet tastes and sugar has been compared to addictive drugs by inducing the same reward and craving regions of the brain. Sugar is addictive and when introducing super concentrated sugary foods, certain hormones are released that trigger pleasure feelings. This is fine on the odd occasion, however when consumed regularly the body adapts to these increased hormones creating a maladaptive response – disease. Check out this great TED talk by psychologist Douglas Lisle on this phenomenon called “The Pleasure Trap”. Douglas shows how that even though we know certain foods are not the best for our health, we are drawn to them over and over again.
You may not think you have much sugar in your diet, but if you are struggling with your weight, feel sluggish, suffer with mood swings, poor immune response, then it’s time to kick the sugar habit. Just about all boxed cereals, bottled or packet sauces, bottled salad dressings, fruit juices, cakes, biscuits, and many other packaged foods contained sugar. Challenge yourself to this: for three days eat only vegetables, organic eggs, fish, raw nuts, seeds and water. Nothing processed, no added sugar. You will desensitise your mind to sugar and you will find your resolve to make better, healthier choices so much easier. It’s only three days, you can do it!
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