For all those who were at Fit for Life, I thought doing a follow-up post might be a helpful supplement to the 5 minutes I get with you on Thursday nights. For last week’s talk, check out this post from last week’s talk.
FIT FOR LIFE RECAP
When you read a food label, 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar. For some common UK foods, this is what it can look like…
|Grams of sugar||
Teaspoons of sugar
|Rice Krispie Treat||9||2|
|Sweet Chili Sauce||20||5|
|Nature Valley Apple Crisp Bars||12||3|
And be aware that even “healthy” snacks can contain a ton of sugar. These are sugar’s more discrete aliases: Corn sweetener • Corn syrup • Dextrose • Fructose • Sucrose • Glucose • High-fructose corn syrup • Invert sugar • Lactose • Maltose • Malt syrup • Raw sugar • Cane crystals • Cane sugar • Fruit juice concentrates • Evaporated cane juice
Other surprising foods with hidden sugars: salad dressings, jarred tomato sauces, baked beans, bbq sauces and marinades, and of course- the beloved sweet chili sauce.
WHY CUT SUGAR?
When you eat sugar, your blood sugars shoot up (I know you didn’t have to read a blog post to hear that part, but wait for it…) and along with it your energy and mood shoots up as well. You are on a sugar-driven serotonin high. The problem is there is usually an equally sharp crash in your blood sugars, leading you to seek out more sugar to bring your mood and energy back up. As this cycle continues, you can be left feeling more sluggish and low.
Also, sugar leads to inflammation. When you eat sugar occasionally, you experience a minor inflammatory blip that, with an otherwise healthy diet, is something your body can handle easily. When you indulge frequently, however, this blip, blip, blip turns into chronic (or long-lasting) inflammation that can overwhelm your body’s defenses and contribute to the development of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Eek is right.
STOPPING THE CRAVINGS
I’ve already written a post listing 5 strategies to cut sugar cravings. Let me add to that by giving you a practical tool to help you think through a nutritious, blood-sugar stabilizing snack.
fruit/vegetable + protein/healthy fat = perfect snack
The fruit and vegetable part of the equation is a no brainer. Good proteins & healthy fats include…
- boiled egg
- nut butter
- tahini sauce (try this)
When you need a sweet treat, you can’t get any better than fruit (one of my favorites is frozen blueberries with a splash of oat milk. Yes, you will get blue teeth.), but dark chocolate is great, too. The darker the better. When you go for 70% dark or higher, it only takes a small square to give you your fix. The darker the chocolate, the more the antioxidants as well.
THE TRUTH OF IT
I hate to say it, but you are going to feel awful when you first cut sugar. You will likely be bugged at life and slightly obsessing over sweets. Sorry, champ. This WILL go away after 3-5 days (not research based, but from personal and client’s experiences), at which point you will feel GREAT from stabilized mood and energy levels. That initial hump, though, is the pits. Fight through, though. It’s worth it.