Let us face it, I like sweet things probably more than most of the people reading this post. Sugar, is the reason we love cakes, chocolates, cookies, pies, rolls, ice creams and the long list of delicacies that I am leaving out for the sake of simplicity (pretty sure that a list of sweets will be taking not just this post but many future posts as well). Not only that, sugar makes our drinks special, be it hot beverages or cold – they all seem to be extra special with a little dash of sugar. Imagine hot chocolate, coffee, shake, or just plain tea without sugar – not the same off course.
The problems with sugar though are many, and we are just about to start the understanding of how sugar intake actually works for our internal organs. At a glance, not only sugar is bad if you have diabetes, it may also have a link with heart diseases and blood pressure problem. If you are healthy and well, it still has an impact on your calorie intake, only if you monitor things in very much detail will you be able to manage a balanced intake of calories if you have a sugar tooth.
There are though alternatives to manage sugar cravings and although the solution first seems impossible, it certainly is possible if you manage the start well. Dr. Lona Sandon R.D. an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas believes that if taken in moderation, sugar has actually no impact. At just a meager number of 15 calories per tea spoon, sugar is perfectly fine in our diet as long as we can balance out some of the less important items in our daily diet
The Foods to Avoid:
The fizzy drinks, the colas, they may look great and taste great and we may have developed habits of having one with lunches, or with fast food are actually containing way too much sugar in them. Despite the fact that fast food restaurants are offering free re-fills (not always), and you see tremendous campaigns around these drinks, the simple fact of the matter is that they are not very great for your health. They are harmful for the teeth, help in gaining extra calories without even realizing and have a certain addiction to them which is really hard to ignore. Beer contains nutrition value – no doubt – but it also contains excess calories that are really hard for modern era people to burn. Although not pertinent in women but beer belly is a common incidence among men due to excessive drinking.
The trick is to not totally cut of the habit at the first incident, although super beneficial to straightaway kick of a bad habit, chances are the cravings will actually get the best of you and you will end up getting back to the old habits. Take-away meals, fast food joints, night out at the bar and other gatherings will all skew you back towards the old habit and you will end up drinking even more than before. A better approach to such a major habit change is taking a small step, building on the success offered from the first step and moving on to bigger better step.
The best possible way to do this is to accurately estimate the intake and halve it for the first few weeks. If you are drinking 2 liters of cold drinks and beer, reducing the intake by half will be the first step. Switching over to “diet alternatives” can also work, with the similar intake but lacking in taste, they can offer a good starting point for you on cutting of the silent sugar.
The second major chunk of sugar intake comes in the form of desserts – chocolates, cakes, pies, ice creams and so on. For a person like me, dessert is always worth considering and main course is sometimes not that important. A good dessert and even a plain bland meal becomes epic – although there have been instances where even a good dessert has been unable to rescue a bad meal (but we can safely say most often than not, a good dessert is a good deal maker for me)
Cutting on this chunk is extra difficult and in most cases this portion of the deal takes time. What can actually help here are the sugar alternatives that are available in the market. Stevia roots have been known to people and companies for their sweet taste, the only problem in the past had been there bitter after taste (a bit like licorice) and that has mostly been the case with most products made of stevia extracts. A few companies have now been able to overcome these problems and have been able to form extracts from the sweetest part of the plants eliminating the after taste.
Although it is not exactly like the good old sugar, it currently is the second best thing to it and me for one is actually very happy about that.
As long as you are able to control the unnecessary sugar intake, it is possible that you will be able to balance your diet even on your own. The first step is the hardest, but once you have been able to cross the first hurdle, things will appear better and easier.
Photo credit: Aih.
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