Avoiding the sugar trap
- Zero nutritive value, high blood sugar levels and 'empty' calories - three things that you get from regular consumption of white sugar.
Of all the things wrong with our food habits, consuming sugar is one that we overlook the most. We begin our day by adding sugar to coffee/tea. Then, during the day we have our sugar sojourns as we consume various food items like processed food, baked goods and soda.
Anjali Khanna, a Delhi based Nutritionist says, “When you put white sugar into coffee or to baked goods, the bloodstream absorbs this simple sugar quickly, causing surges in glucose levels.”
Negligible nutritive value, high blood sugar levels and 'empty' calories - three things that you get from regular consumption of white sugar. High sugar consumption over a period of time increases the risk of being overweight, obesity, dental issues and diabetes.
Did you know that the average Indian consumes close to 19 Kgs of Sugar in a year? In a country like ours where Sweets are an inherent part of our festivals and culture, unchecked sugar consumption can lead to a variety of lifestyle problems later in life.
A WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.
So how can people reduce their sugar intake? A positive lifestyle change is needed.
It’s time to realise that the time to cleanse sugar from your diet is NOW. Let’s see how:
Emphasis on whole foods
When you follow a no-sugar diet, aim to eat whole foods, because processed foods usually contain refined ingredients or added sugars. Diets that focus on whole foods include options like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, poultry, or tofu, fish, whole, unprocessed grains, and legumes, nuts and seeds.
You should also include dairy in your diet, such as plain yogurt, simple cheeses, and milk.
Make a smart switch
Honestly, your favourite cup of tea/coffee probably won’t taste as nice without Sugar. Well, the good news is you do not need to have that unsweetened tea or coffee or give up on your favourite desserts entirely. A smart way to eliminate sugar from your diet, while keeping the taste intact is to opt for sweeteners. Replacing sugar with low calorie sweeteners like Sugar Free can help you satisfy your sweet cravings while without the unnecessary calorie intake from sugar. You can opt for Stevia-based sweeteners like Sugar Free Green, which are made from Stevia leaves that are naturally sweet!
Plan your diet
Systematic sugar reduction needs a diet plan. When a person feels hungry, they may be more likely to reach for a sugary snack. Pack your kitchen with nutritious and healthful alternatives like home cooked snacks, instead of processed packaged snacks or foods with trans fat.
Anjali Khanna says, “Kids or adults, they all splurge on foods high in carbohydrates and empty calories like pizzas, pasta, burgers, fries, donuts, biscuits to name a few. These are all high in sugar as they contain invisible sugar in the form of carbs. This is as bad as the visible sugar we add in our foods and beverages.”
Spice up the flavour
The palate often misses sugar because it has no other flavours to replace it. However, people can easily add many sweet tasting herbs, spices, sweeteners and natural alternatives.
Common spice replacements include cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla. Common sweetener alternatives include Stevia based sweeteners like Sugar Free Green. These can be a flavoursome addition to coffee, oatmeal, or yogurt.
If you're used to adding sugar to your food and drinks, give yourself another option like sweeteners. It’s a smarter choice as you don’t need to give up sweets, just give up white sugar.