Sugar is sweet and tastes good — and we all eat far too much of it
The World Health Organization recommends a maximum of six teaspoons of sugar a day. We Europeans eat sixteen in average. Although it has long been known, too much sugar makes you sick. Obesity, tooth decay and diabetes are just three of many effects that come with excessive sugar consumption.
Know those sugar traps
It is important to know, where sugar is in, because it is not always easy to see. Free sugars such as glucose (dextrose), fructose (fruit sugar) and sucrose (table sugar) are not only found in chocolate, biscuits, honey and soft drinks. They are also contained in many other processed foods in large quantities.
In one tablespoon of ketchup there is hidden already one teaspoon of sugar, and in a can of soda is usually more sugar than one should take in per day. Also cornflakes, muesli mixes, ready meals and canned foods are often among the big sugar bombs. Many have high sugar content, hiding behind terms such as sucrose, syrup, maltose or fructose.
But why do we love sugar so much?
Already the prospect of sugar activates our reward system. In our brain messengers are released that provide elation. So if you get used to it too quickly, you get in danger to get addicted. This habituation already begins in infancy, and stays often for a lifetime. Because sugar is widely and easy available, and also very cheap. So it is not surprising, that many of us cannot get enough of the sweetened substances, which supposedly sweetens our live.
Particularly critical are sugary drinks, since besides sugar they do not contain further nutrients and are quick and easy to access and can be consumed in large portions. Thus they promote obesity and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The reduction of sugar begins on your shopping list
Who want to look after their sugar intake while shopping, should have a close look at the Nutritional Facts: All types of sugar contained in foods are listed there. Also pay attention, where the information of sugar contained is placed, since the ingredients are listed in order of their amount. What comes first, is also in large quantities in the food.
Defend yourself and be prepared
Who anticipates that the sweet hot-hunger will come, however, can be armed for instance with a delicious apple, a yogurt with fresh fruit or a handful of trail mix. It is important that you have this little snacks with you, when you need them. But even a glass of water or a short break with some exercise and fresh air, can help to aliviate that craving for sweets.
It is really easy to reduce your sugar intake while drinking. A squeeze of lemon in mineral water, mint leaves or ginger slices in unsweetened fruit and herbal infusion provide a rich and sweeter flavor without adding additional sugar.
Reward yourself for staying sugar free
The less sugar you use in, the more intense the taste of it will be. The regular consumption of sugar in confectionery and beverages, make even sweet fruits such as cherries or strawberries taste sour. That, however, will change already after a few weeks, if you start using less sugar. Thus you reward yourself for a healthier diet, with richer flavors and enjoyment.