Almost two months of autumn are already behind, but there is a whole cold season ahead of us. More than ever, you want to bury yourself deeper in the blanket, turn on your favorite TV series and reinforce the pleasure with a bucket of ice cream or at least a bar of chocolate. Limiting yourself in all carbohydrates at once is not a good idea, but you still need to monitor the amount of sugar eaten - not in order to fit into last year's jeans, but for the sake of health and wellness. We will tell you how to reduce the amount of sugar consumed without denying yourself too much.
Watch out for more than food
A large amount of sugar enters our body not only with food, but also with drinks. It is estimated that the average American consumes an extra 400 calories per day from liquids. And even if soda is not so popular in Russia, we love to have some tea, not skimping on sugar. Swap juices for water with lemon wedges or fruit slices, and your usual black tea for a more aromatic fruity, spicy or herbal sugar-free. It is better to exclude sugary carbonated drinks from the diet altogether.
Nutritionists say: everything that is not water is food. This is not a call to count the calories in every drink, but a reason to remember that many of them contain sugars that we often don't need at all. Of course, in the cold season it is especially difficult to drink enough liquid, but try to follow the conditional daily norm: drink warm water, carry a compact thermal cup with you and constantly maintain the water balance in the body. Scientists claim that craving for sweets is associated with dehydration.
Fruits are better than juices
The trendy juice diets today are actually not as healthy as they seem. Just remember the documentary Sugar by Damon Gamo, in which the director, deciding to eat "right", begins to rapidly gain weight. Gamot finds out that a powerful marketing ploy is hidden behind the mass promotion of healthy food and that conditionally "healthy" products contain a considerable amount of sugar. Fresh juices in tall glasses are tasty and beautiful, but fruits are useful primarily because of the fiber that is left out of the way when squeezing juice: it is she who is responsible for reducing the rate of absorption of sugar into the blood and maintaining the glycemic index.
In addition, all fruits contain fructose. If as a whole, one large fruit can be enough for saturation, then in the form of juice you can easily drink three or four times more - and many times more sugar will enter the body. It has been proven that apples, pears or blueberries in the daily diet reduce the risk of diabetes, but the use of juices, especially packaged juices with added sugar, works exactly the opposite. If you don't want to give them up at all, you can from time to time replace the fresh juices with fiber-rich smoothies or freshly squeezed vegetable juices.
Alcohol is one of the main suppliers of sugar to the body, especially if you are partial to cocktails. There are about 160 calories in one glass of red wine, about 140 calories in a glass of beer, and almost 250 calories in one daiquiri (equivalent to half a bar of chocolate). Of course, you want to have fun, so you can just choose the lesser of evils and switch to less sweet drinks - dry wines and at least strong pure alcohol. It would be nice to make it a rule to drink a glass of pure water for every glass of alcohol: this will help you not feel completely bad in the morning and save yourself from a headache. The more sugar in your drink, the worse the hangover the next day: the ethanol contained in alcohol, when interacting with glucose, provokes the production of lactic acid in the body, from which the general condition worsens. And the worse we feel, the more we sometimes want to solve problems with Nutella Bank.
You can't do without sugar at all, but you can replace foods with a high glycemic index with more useful and nutritious counterparts. We talked about the role of the glycemic index in the material on carbohydrates. Instead of milk chocolate, try bitter, higher cocoa, sweeten the tea with Jerusalem artichoke syrup or coconut sugar (their glycemic index is lower than other sweeteners). Eat breakfast with oatmeal instead of cereal and replace white rice with brown rice.
Fruit, despite its sweetness, is a great snack option. The most useful are citrus fruits, apricots, pears, kiwi, apples and, of course, berries, which are much more difficult to get in cold weather. But bananas or grapes too often should not be leaned on: the glycemic index of these products is very high. If you want to pamper yourself with sweets, try making unusual desserts with nuts, fruits and dried fruits. Most of the lowest sugar treats are vegan and rarely use refined flour and sugar.
Distinguish brain signals
Sometimes the desire to eat the cake whole or to swallow a bucket of ice cream is associated with a lack of vitamins and minerals in the body. Some research suggests that the constant craving for sweets is often due to a lack of magnesium. So if for the third week you are intolerably hungry for chocolate, and there are dozens of bars eaten, perhaps you need magnesium, which can be obtained in nuts or in the form of vitamins. When you are constantly drawn to baked goods and you can’t get enough of it, it is believed that what you really need is not a croissant, but nitrogen, which fish and meat are rich in.
It is difficult to say how reliable these data are, but an attempt is not torture: there are tables with the most frequently desired foods and equivalents that are better to toss to the body instead of sweets - using these tips, you can try to compensate for the missing substances in the body. Even if the role of patterns is exaggerated, perhaps replacing chocolate bars with nuts, and three rolls instead of lunch with baked fish, it will be possible to get rid of frequent overeating, and the cake eaten after the main course will not turn into a reason for feeling guilty.
Often we add sugar to drinks or food to enhance the flavor or even add it to foods we don't like. Try experimenting with spices and herbs: the brain receives signals about food not only through taste buds located on the tongue, but also through smells. You can add cinnamon or vanilla to your usual morning oatmeal, ginger, lemon and even turmeric to water. In Ayurveda, it is believed that in order for the body to be completely satisfied and there is no desire to chew after dinner, six basic tastes should be combined in the meal: bitter, spicy, salty, sweet, astringent and sour. We do not suggest eating according to Ayurveda (this is still an alternative medicine), but you can find something useful in this approach. For those who have a subtle taste of the nuances of tastes, it is easier to get enough of a simple meal, and then the desire to supplement dinner with a piece of cake will arise less often.
Seizing sadness and stress with sweets is a well-known way for everyone. Sugar actually raises the level of serotonin, the so-called hormone of happiness, but the effect of sweets is short-lived: the hormone insulin reacts quickly enough to the intake of sugar and lowers the level of glucose in the blood. As a result, fatigue, drowsiness sets in, and another desire to eat sweets arises. If possible, it is better to stimulate the production of serotonin in more beneficial ways. Proven methods include exercise, walking, sexual intercourse, and animal contact.
Sleep deprivation and sugar intake are closely related.If we sleep little and poorly, the body does not have time to recover, and the lack of energy interferes with fully functioning. To compensate for this, we desperately begin to look for resources in everything that surrounds us, and, of course, fast carbohydrates are the easiest way to give a boost to the brain and body. Do not neglect your night's rest and find a way to make it better for you. Using this and other simple life hacks, you can reduce dependence on sweets without denying yourself too much. Attempts to completely eliminate sugar from the diet and constantly avoid it in all possible ways are best left - they will not lead to a healthy relationship with your own body.
Photos: chones - stock.adobe.com, 5second - stock.adobe.com, severija - stock.adobe.com, Mara Zemgaliete - stock.adobe.com