Malaysians are the 8th largest consumer of sugar in the entire world, and 1 in every 5 Malaysian is a diabetic. That amounts to about 3.4 million of our citizens with this blood sugar issue.
In a report by The Star, consuming:
- A single can of fizzy drink = 13 teaspoons of sugar
- Our ‘healthy’ isotonic drinks = 11 teaspoons of sugar
- A kid’s favourite ‘fruit juice’ and blackcurrant drinks = 9 teaspoons full
However, the most shocking finding is that even baby formula consists of sugar! And it’s 13 teaspoons full in a single serving too. Yikes!
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends:
- A maximum of 4 teaspoons of sugar a day for children
- Not more than 5 for adult women
- Max 9 teaspoons for adult men
What happens when we actually cut off sugar from our diet immediately? According to Quartz, sugar addiction is real, just like addiction to drugs!
Addiction includes binging, withdrawal, craving and cross-sensitization.
Binging is when you start binging on other foods to compensate for the loss of sugar, such as bread, rice, noodles, and so forth. Since carbohydrates are complex sugars, they eventually break down into sugar anyway.
Meanwhile, withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
So, how do you overcome this terrible addiction to one of the most heavenly-yet-evil foods ever? Here are 7 steps that have been scientifically proven to work and are highly recommended according to Make Your Body Work.
Step 1: Remove all temptations!
You have to get rid of every sugar and processed food from your home, office, car, or wherever you may stash them. Majority of the processed foods often contain sugar; even if they don’t, they usually convert into sugar after consumption.
These processed foods include canned foods, cereals, snack bars, candies (duh), and many more. Instead, opt for fresher, non-processed ingredients!
Step 2: Skipping breakfast is a big no-no
Since a very young age, we have been told that breakfast is super important. Well, it really is. After fasting for about six to eight hours during our sleep, our body needs to be fed immediately. Hence, break the fast, geddit?
By skipping meals (breakfast in particular), you are depriving your body of nutrients and energy. This will ultimately lead to cravings for sweet things because your body needs instant energy.
A balanced diet is also important, so ensure you have adequate carbohydrates, protein and fat in your breakfast.
Step 3: Drink LOTS of water
When dehydrated, our body will start craving sugar and our metabolism rate will slow down, which causes our body to store fats.
Here’s a chart of how much water we should consume based on our weight:
In fact, this recommendation is just the minimum amount of water you should be drinking. Health experts recommend us to drink more!
Plain water is also one of the most natural ways to detox rather than drinking those detoxing teas.
Step 4: It’s okay to snack, but opt for healthy grubs
We tend to get hungry in between meals, and that’s completely normal. This is when we usually reach our hands into the jar of cookies, chips, and other sugar-loaded things.
Well, smack that naughty hand of yours and snack on some healthier options instead such as carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, sweet potato fries, fruits and even Greek yogurt. Well, you get the point, fresh is good.
Just remember that when you are hungry, you will start to crave for sugar. Hence, snacking is totally okay so long as you reach for the good stuff!
Step 5: Move that booty
Moving your body helps to balance out your blood sugar levels. When you consume glucose, your body will either use that sugar as fuel or convert it into fats.
Moving your body will allow the sugar to be used as fuel. Fret not, you don’t need to do some killer gym routine or run 30km just to burn the glucose out.
Simple exercises such as dancing, taking a walk, playing with your kids, or even just stretching is good enough. As long as you move your body, the sugar will turn into energy and not stored fats.
Step 6: Don’t stress out lah…
Yes, stress is also a major contributing factor to sugar cravings. Consuming sugar releases a hormone called serotonin, which is a calming and relaxing hormone that works to reduce stress and anxiety levels too.
Of course, there are so many other ways to reduce stress aside from just sinfully digging into that tub of ice cream. For instance, breathing exercises, meditation, drinking a hot cup of tea (with no sugar!), and more.
Step 7: Get enough quality sleep
Getting adequate sleep every night and with a fixed cycle is very important. The quality of your sleep can affect your cravings for sugar. If your sleeping pattern is messed up, you’ll automatically want more sugar.
So, set a fixed time to go to bed every night and stick to it. Research suggests that sleeping at 10.30pm and waking up at 6.30am is the best timing.
Of course, it also depends on your own schedule but aim for about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night; that’s the most ideal!
Following these simple steps will definitely help reduce and eventually get rid of our sugar addiction and lead us all into a better, healthier nation. I mean, who would be proud to be the 8th country in the world that consumes sugar the most?
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