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How to break the sugar habit - and boost your health in the process

‘Eat less sugar.’ It may be a sweet suggestion, but the reality is not as simple. Picture: Pexels

‘Eat less sugar.’ It may be a sweet suggestion, but the reality is not as simple. Picture: Pexels

Published May 12, 2022


Eat less sugar. It may be a sweet suggestion but in reality it is not so simple. Most of us will overindulge at times.

But the more sugar we consume, the more we want. However, the good news is that people can break the sugar addiction.

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Nutritional consultant and health and wellness expert Vanessa Ascencao says that a diet high in sugar can lead to chronic inflammation which is linked to a host of health issues such as a weakened immune system, increased gut permeability, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic infections, and auto-immune diseases.

Ascencao says, however, that excessive sugar consumption can be a difficult habit to break as sugar is not only found in cakes, sweets, and cold drinks but is hidden in foods such as bread, crackers, white rice, sauces, cereals, and fruit juice.

“These foods can lead to insulin spikes and change the body’s chemistry, interfering with the hormonal system and increasing unhealthy cravings. Increasing intake of foods that are rich in nutrients will digest slower, can help curb sugar cravings, improve blood sugar levels, increase energy, help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic illness,” she says.

Below Ascencao shares a few ways to cut down on sugar and live healthier.

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  • Choose whole, natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, oats, and brown rice. Increase intake of healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, cold-pressed olive oil, and fatty fish. And eat small amounts of lean protein like eggs, fish, and chicken.
  • Drink lots of water, manage stress, exercise daily, and supplement with spirulina which is shown to help balance blood sugar levels, is a powerful immune booster and detoxifier and helps to increase energy.
  • Avoid processed or packaged foods, avoid sugary drinks and make healthy smoothies instead.
  • Prepare meals at home, plan meals ahead and make your own sweet treats.
  • Reduce sugar a little at a time and give your body time to adjust.
  • Read the label when grocery shopping.
  • Practice mindful eating, eat slowly, and avoid distractions during meal times.