By Dan Hughes
As a self-confessed sugar fiend I feel it is an area of my nutrition that really needs kicking into touch for good. For too long it has been holding me back from really hitting my nutritional and performance goals.
It’s 3:30 p.m. I’ve just finished work and the sugar cravings are relentless. I’ve tried satisfying them with a handful of almonds and a banana that I found in the bottom of my rucksack, but I’m still struggling NOT to sabotage my healthy nutrition with a 4 pack of triple chocolate muffins from Sainsbury’s (which I usually get and eat in car on the way home).
WHY do supermarkets put all the naughty foods on special offer and by the entrance?
I NEED HELP!!
We all know the negative effect that sugar can have on our body.
The list keeps growing: Weight gain, increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, plus a higher risk for diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Research now suggests that sugar is addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centres of the brain as cocaine or heroin. Just like those hard-core drugs, getting off sugar leads to withdrawal and cravings, requiring an actual weaning off process.
So what to do?
I have heavily researched this subject (as it is close to home) and have complied my best practices to finally kick the monkey.
Fresh fruit contains fructose, which is metabolised differently than ‘Haribo’ and it’s still a satisfying treat. Although fruit is better than sweets and chocolate it’s not ideal, so be careful and restrict your intake to a few servings per day. Eating too much has been linked to increased visceral fat, which increases your chance of type 2 diabetes.
Know Where It’s Hidden;
Foods like salad dressings and yogurt may not taste sweet but sugar is often added to low-fat versions of products to make them tastier. Even foods like multi-grain bread contain about 2 grams of added sugar per slice. Look for brands that have the label “no added sugar.”
Empty the cupboards;
Rid you home of any naughty treats and remove the risk of a relapse. If its not there you can’t eat it. Although I’ve tried this and have found myself going to the shop at 9p.m. to buy treats when the cravings become unbearable. So will power is essential and you will need a distraction.
Have a distraction;
When the cravings hit hard you better be ready. As mentioned you will need WILLPOWER to beat this but also having a distraction massively increases your rate of success. When you get a craving try to distract yourself with something that will take you mind to a totally different place i.e. making a phone call to a family member, reading a blog (hopefully mine!) or going for a walk around the office. This is a method regularly used in cognitive behavioural therapy and is proven to help. Whatever it is just make sure it is adequately distracting.
Manage you magnesium levels;
Craving chocolate in particular? Research shows this reaction may be particularly common among people deficient in magnesium. Beat cravings by eating plenty of magnesium-rich dark leafy greens and nuts. Also as a last resort you can supplement magnesium into your diet, which has honestly changed my life (as many of you in the studio might have spoken to me about).
So, in conclusion, YOU CAN DO THIS! Studies show that cravings tend to die off after about three days and by the seventh day you should be out of the woods.
On top of that I will be starting the process myself as soon as I get back from my holiday, on Monday 24th April 2017, so you can follow my progress through my video blogs on social medial – feel free to join in.