Monday, July 13, 2009
The average American consumes almost 160 pounds of refined sugar each year. A recent article in the British Medical Journal described sugar as "as dangerous as tobacco" and proposed that it be re-classified as a hard drug. There is no physiological need for any of us to eat refined sugars, it does us no good and if you are looking to shed a few pounds, it is a great place to start.
1. Decide why you want to stop eating too much sugar. Your motivation might be to lose weight, feel fitter, to reduce a yeast infection or simply to set a better example for your children.
2. Identify the sources of sugar in your diet, and decide what to cut out completely and what to cut down on.
3. Go into your kitchen and throw out anything you have decided not to eat or drink anymore. If you can't do this because you live with your family or you are a child, then put all of the ST (sweet things) in a drawer or shelf out of sight and - hopefully - out of mind!.
4. If you don't want to give up all the candy, then make a chart of the days of the week. Decide how much sugar you are allowed to eat a day. For instance, on Mondays you need an extra kick in the coffee so you can have 2 sugars in it. Or on Saturday you go out with your friends so you are allowed to have a dessert. You can decide how restricting or not your graph is.
5. Eat a good breakfast of toast or cereal to keep you going through the day. These release energy slowly, so you will be less likely to crave sugar.
6. Replace your sugary snacks with healthy ones. Carrot sticks, nuts and dried fruit are easy to carry around.
7. Eat more fruit. but drink less pure fruit juice, which is high in sugar in another form (fructose).
8. Drink your coffee or tea without sugar. You can add cream to either (not advisable if you want to lose weight), and/or honey to your tea. If you're used to adding a lot of sugar, then wean yourself off gradually by the teaspoon or packet. Eventually you'll get used to it and you may discover the more subtle flavors of coffee or tea that were overpowered by sweetness before.
9. Avoid processed foods. Shockingly, sugar is to be found in most tinned vegetables, ready meals and convenience foods.
10. Recognize also the different forms sugar can take: sucrose, fructose, dextrose, palm syrup, corn syrup, golden syrup, honey... they are all sugars, although some are metabolized more slowly.
Tell your friends and family what you are doing and why. Chances are, they will be really into it and help you.If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, telling him might be a good idea so they don't buy you chocolates or are offended when you don't eat the cake they order. Decide on your goals and then hold yourself to those goals. Never permit exceptions! Read the labels on all foodstuffs - the most unlikely things have sugar in them: baby foods, tinned vegetables, crisps. These are the "hidden sugars" that do so much damage.Putting black pepper on strawberries makes them taste sweeter. There is also a herb called Sweet Cicely - beloved of diabetics - which does the same thing. Strange, but true!Another natural sweetener is Stevia, which is popular in Japan and South-America, but hard to obtain in Europe and USA. It is easy and fun to grow your own plants, though.