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Now it is 2015 and a new year I am back to being strict again and noticed on Twitter that quite a few people were saying they were thinking about giving up sugar for the new year. So, I thought I would write a post with some tips which will hopefully help those of you out there who are thinking of doing this. If you want to know more reasons why to quit it may be best to read my original post, however if you know why you want to - keep reading!
1) Prepare yourself!
I'm not gonna lie to ya, at first it will not be easy! Especially if you have a major sweet tooth - I don't have a particularly sweet tooth at all and found it hard in the beginning but it WILL get easier and you WILL feel the benefits of doing it - if you are struggling, remember these facts:
- Sugar has been linked to illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimers, Metabolic Syndrome as well as premature ageing and memory loss.
- Sugar is addictive, it is a drug and it has no nutritional value whatsoever.
- Sugar plays a HUGE part in weight gain because your body doesn't recognise it nor know what to do with so stores it - around your organs which is also very dangerous.
- Eating low GI foods rather than consuming sugary snacks or drinks is much better for keeping you awake and energised throughout the day - sugar sends your energy levels way off of their natural scale which is why sugar highs are only very temporary and why you come crashing down later, because sugar is addictive and your energy levels are way off your body craves more sugar and thus the circle of reliance is born. Low G.I. foods are slow release foods so your energy levels stay consistent and you feel fuller for longer.
2) Get savvy and know how much sugar you should be having:
No one really knows how much is too much do they? We are all so busy it is easy to lose track of what we have eaten but it really is important, especially if you eat a lot of packaged food.
For women it is recommended to consume no more than six teaspoons per day and for men it is no more than nine. Now the reason I say that you need to be more aware if you eat packaged foods is because nine times out of ten, one of the products ingredients is sugar and it can sometimes be one of the main ingredients, so watch out!
3) Remember there is a difference between natural sugars and refined sugars:
Some fruits and vegetables have natural occurring sugars which is why many decide they should avoid them while trying to give up sugar - personally, I say this is a big no no. Fruit in moderation is fine and will even help you with any sweet cravings you may be experiencing plus, unlike a chocolate bar, fruit also has a lot of nutritional value and vitamins. Lastly, the amount of natural sugar in fruit is minimal and so not harmful, you would have to eat a hell of a lot to make it a problem.
Added sugar or refined sugar is the bad stuff. The kind found in chocolate, sweets, cakes and so on.
3) Read labels:
Boring? Yes. But once you are in the habit of doing it it will be second nature plus, if you are truly serious about cutting out sugar or shrinking your waist line, what's a minute glancing over the ingredients in the long run? Sugar is in sauces, gravy granules, yoghurt, low fat ready meals, breakfast bars even fresh orange juice to name just a few things.
4) Make your own meals and snacks.
If you are used to relying on freezer dinners or snacks that come in wrappers maybe you need to rethink your eating. ANYONE can cook, it doesn't have to be complicated and this way you know exactly what is in your food. Snacks can be raw veg and houmous or natural nuts or fruit. Meals that promise to be 'low fat' are laden with sugar to make up for loss of flavour the fat brings and while for years we have been told low fat is the way to keep slim, it is starting to look as though that isn't the case (with regards to natural 'good' fats not saturated fats). Home made dinners are by FAR yummier as well as healthier - my hubby's home made lamb rogan josh curry is beyond delicious and it is just meat and spices - no bad stuff whatsoever! Same with his home made pizza - no sugar in the base and just passata and veggies on top. Yummmm.I have worked jobs where I have been out of the house 14 hours a day and would still always make a home cooked dinner so there are no excuses!! :)
5) Learn the other names for sugar, hidden away in the ingredients list:
Those cheeky manufacturers are onto us, they have many different names for sugar to throw us off of the scent and fool us. Look out for ingredients ending in 'lose' or 'tose' such as sucralose or fructose.Corn syrup is another term, if you are unsure just google any unknown ingredients.
6) Cut down on fizzy drinks:
A lot of people forget about drinks and don't count the calories that are in them. Are you one of those who can easily drink a few cans of fizzy drinks a day without thinking? add to that if you have sugar in tea or coffee and it all adds up big time. Start cutting down now. Water is hydrating and filling. Good for your skin and hair, staves off hunger, makes your skin glow. It is good stuff! It also flushes out toxins.
My last little tip would be to keep a food diary at first to see what you really eat and BE HONEST. Do it on a typical days eating, not a day when you are being 'good' and you may find you eat more swugar than you first thought.
I hope this helps! If you have any other questions please get in touch!
GOOD LUCK!! xx