Do You Really Have to Give up Sweets

Giving up Sweets

I get this question a lot regardless of whether a person is on a diet or not. Well the answer is that if you consume a lot of refined sugar in your day to day food choices then I would say that it’s a good idea to cut back on the sweets. You don’t need a Dietician or an Obesity or Weight Loss Consultant to inform you that having a sweet tooth can lead to weight gain. I have said this in my blog posts before and I will say this again – Weight gain is both visible and invisible. Weight gain creeps up on you in visible ways as in the ways that you can see on your tummy and waistline and in the invisible way that your liver accumulates fat. Too much consumption of foods containing refined sugar can also lead to accelerated aging. Another negative side effect of consumption of too much sugar is decreased immunity – which is your body’s reduced ability to fight bacteria and viruses.

Whenever you are faced with a dilemma as to the sugar content of anything you are consuming, take a look at the sugar content on labels and watch out for the term “added sugars”. Even if you do not see sugar listed on the labels as an ingredient, that does not mean that sugar is not present. Many a times, you could be misleaded about the sugar content with words that end in –ose such as dextrose, fructose, lactose, galactose, glucose, sucrose, and maltose. Some labels also hide the sugar content in words like syrup and juice. Examples include corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maple syrup,  malt syrup, and cane juice. There are also other less obvious names for sugar such as dextrin, honey, hydrogenated starch, invert sugar, rice malt, nectars, molasses, polyols and sorghum. If you are someone who is careful of what you are putting into your body you must memorise these words and consider it as a part of your new “health lingo”!

Everytime you go to shop at the supermarket, be mindful of what you are buying and take a long hard look at the sugar sources. It is not always obvious when certain foods are high in sugar content. For example, do you know that a single serving of tomato ketchup, granola bar, dry fruits or a frozen dinner meal can contain the same amount of sugar (sometimes even more!) than a serving of sugary morning cereals!

I do know that giving up on refined sugars can be extremely difficult because of the fact that it can be extremely addictive. If you have been addicted to sugar for the longest time it can be very difficult to just quit cold turkey. Like all other bad habits, it can take several weeks or even months to break the cycle of a bad habit. Eating too much of sweets and sugary substances is one of the most harmful habits. But breaking it is not going to happen overnight. Start slowly and stay committed. If you need guidance, just contact a trained Dietitian or Nutritionist to help you understand how to slowly wean yourself away from foods that contain too much sugar. As a Dietitian, I help my clients to not immediately restrict something from their diets so much so that all you can do all day is think about candy and ice cream!

Change Your Thought Process

A lot of times I counsel my clients to change their thought processes. Over time, many people have learnt to reward themselves with sweets for a job well done or for reaching certain goals. So my work is to reprogram their thought processes. A lot of people think weight loss is just a question of eating right and exercising. But I would go a step further and say that it takes a weight loss counselor like me to reprogram the minds of people. It takes hard mental work to disassociate the emotional relationship that people have with foods. Here’s a free tip – When you have the craving to have something sweet, try and change your routine. Instead of reaching for a laddoo or that tub of ice cream in your freezer have a piece of fruit which has complex carbs as well. If that wont work for you, try and stick to a small piece of chocolate or a couple of scoops of ice cream which has less than 150 calories.

Sugar is Not your Enemy

Sugar does not have to become your enemy. It is unrealistic to think that you can remove all traces of sugar from your diet. That can only set you up for disappointment. Just be aware at all times of how much refined sugar you are consuming – that’s all!

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