Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that sugar is the number one enemy when it comes to living a healthy, well balanced diet. You’ll also know that avoiding sugar plays a key role in weight loss and getting rid of unwanted fat.
However there are other downsides, apart from weight gain, that come with downing the sweet stuff. Eating too much refined sugar can make us feel tired, lethargic and moody. Whilst eating sugar makes us feel good in the moment, which is why so many people turn to sugar for comfort, it gives us an instant burst of energy and boosts our 'get-up-and-go' temporarily. The problem is that it puts us down just as quickly as it picks us up. A sugar rush causes our blood glucose levels to rise, giving us an immediate energy high, which is soon followed by a crash, leaving us feeling tired, irritable and craving more sugary foods!
But what can you do if you have overindulged, or have had a day of eating far too much sugar? Don't worry, it happens to the best of us! Here are a few mindful tips to keep you fuller for longer, so you don't have to constantly reach for the bad stuff:
1. Don’t go hungry
The worst thing you can do is try go hungry to make up for your sugar binge. This will just result in being starving later on, perpetuating snack cravings, making you more likely to overeat and be tempted by the sweet stuff again. Instead get back to wholesome, nutrient-dense food, which will fill you up and leave you satisfied. Aim to eat 3 main meals and 2 snacks per day.
Simple carbohydrates, like sweets, cakes, cookies, sodas and white bread and rice, elevate blood sugar levels quickly. If you eat too much, the sugars are rapidly absorbed in the blood in the form of glucose. Glucose provides instant energy but if not burned or used up (which it rarely is, unless these foods are consumed right before a workout), they are stored as fat, leading to weight gain, and nasty mood swings!
2. Go for drinks with no added sugar
Don’t even be tempted by pure fruit juice or adding sugar to your tea or coffee, as this peaks your blood sugar levels just as much as a can of Cola. Opt for green juices or smoothies over soft drinks, and flavoursome herbal teas such as peppermint, liquorice and green tea throughout the day. Drinking green tea is actually a scientifically proven way to manage your blood sugar, according to an analysis of 17 studies on green tea published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It linked this fragrant tea to lowering fasting and long-term blood sugar levels. One study even found that green tea increases the body’s ability to burn fat!
3. Spice it up
Cinnamon in particular has been found to help lower blood sugar, which impacts on your body’s ability to burn fat and also helps reduce cravings. Sprinkle it onto your cereal, porridge, yoghurt or coffee to help regulate your blood-sugar levels, thereby reducing sugar cravings and boosting energy levels throughout the day.
4. Keep busy
If you feel tempted by more sugar after your binge (which is normal!), now’s the time to keep busy. Do something productive or call a friend, anything to keep your mind off sugar – you can do it!
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