Livewell: Health Insurance & Wellness Blogs | Max Bupa
SUGAR - THE BITTER TRUTH
FROM SWEETS TO DIABETES
Excess sugar leads to an increased risk of Type-2 diabetes. That’s because excess glucose levels in the blood cannot be broken down by the insulin secreted by the pancreas. This usually results in insulin resistance over the long-term in your body, which can have a cascading effect such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.
HOW SUGAR BECOMES ADDICTIVE?
Excessive sugar triggers large amounts of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that makes you happy. So, while it makes you feel good for that moment, it makes your brain crave even more for sugar just like other drugs such as cocaine and heroin. This results in continuous sweet cravings and binge eating, which has a domino effect on your brain and overall health. Worse, it can even lead to a behavioral change over a period of time and create mental illnesses like ADHD, and depression.
IS THERE A WAY OUT OF THIS ADDICTION?
Just like any other addiction, it is definitely curable. Though, it might be more difficult as sugar is so easily accessible at every nook and corner, unlike hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Tough measures and strong actions will lead to visible results.
HERE’S HOW TO GO CLEAN ON SUGAR:
BREAK UP WITH SUGAR AND START AN AFFAIR WITH HEALTHY FOODS
First things first, you have got to stop eating all that excess sugar. Empty that sugar bottle in your house. Replace the colas with fresh juices and smoothies. Eat healthier snacks throughout the day, which will keep you away from the hunger pangs. Keep fruits and nuts by your side, which will keep you full and away from the sweets.
NO SWEET, JUST SWEAT
Exercise is a key to control your sugar cravings. That’s because it regulates glucose levels in the body and improves insulin secretion. This keeps your weight and heart in great shape. Plus. It also keeps you motivated and focused to lead a healthier life and not crave for anything sweets.
FORGET REFINED, GO THE WHOLE GRAIN WAY
Refined sugars have 0 nutritional value, therefore, stay away from refined sugars and grains, which only result in spiking your sugar levels. Instead opt for whole grains, which contain complex carbohydrates, fibers, and nutrients, which are released slowly in the bloodstream.
LOOK FOR THE HIDDEN SUGAR
Many ‘Fat-free’ or ‘low fat’ foods contain plenty of sugar. So, these foods can be misleading. Make sure you read all the ingredients properly before picking up any food or drink.
KEEP A PLAN AND REWARD YOURSELF WITH SOMETHING SWEET
Keep a weekly or monthly meal plan. For example, eat whole-grain cereals for breakfast. Try dipping honey in yogurt and smoothies instead of sugar. Replace the choco-chips with a plateful of nuts, salads, and hummus. If you can stick to the plan, then pat yourself on the back and reward yourself with a dessert. This way it will be a win-win situation as you will get to eat healthier stuff and will be motivated to eat that odd dessert. It will be like your sweet cheat day.