If you feel like it’s a constant battle to ditch the sweet stuff once and for all, then fear not as you aren’t alone! Sugar is highly addictive and it’s designed to make you want more and more which is why it has been used in products all over the world to keep customers coming back for more. But why exactly should we be giving up refined sugar? The Detox Kitchen founder Lily Simpson says “Refined sugar has no nutritional value other than calories, and the way the carbohydrates are processed in the body has been strongly associated with weight gain, obesity and other chronic health problems. Excess sugar also plays havoc with blood sugar levels, which can indirectly affect our hormones, stress levels and mood”. Not good.
Lily has kindly shared her top tips on beating your sugar addiction for good and reaping all the benefits!
Clean out your kitchen!
The best place to start is in the kitchen, having a purge of your fridge and cupboards, getting rid of anything that contains hidden sugars. This includes juices, cereals, jarred sauces, supermarket peanut butter. Instead try making your own. Cooking from scratch and avoiding processed foods is the best way to have more control over your diet. Homemade sauces and nut butters will not only be better for you but will also taste better too! It takes no time at all to whip up a fresh tomato sauce or blitz chickpeas with tahini and lemon juice for a moreish hummus.
While this might sound restricting, we promise you it really isn’t. Now is your chance to fill your shelves with delicious, vibrant and seasonal fruit and veg, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein (fish, white meat), as well as herbs and spices. Try and have some fun with it, cook dinner this week using an ingredient you wouldn’t usually go for and really experiment with flavours, using your nose as a guide. You can check out the recipe section of our blog for some inspiration.
Get clued up on “natural sugars”
Remember, sugar is still sugar. Our resident nutritionist Rob Hobson says “There is no healthy sweetener and the word healthy should never be used in terms of sweeteners. People often talk about natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup containing other beneficial nutrients but the amount you would need to eat to gain any useful amount would mean eating a huge amount of sugar.” Hobson advises consuming no more than 6 tsp per day (30g) of added sugars, this includes those found in fruit juice, honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup.
Recognise old habits
Hobson advises that craving something sweet after a meal is most likely to do with habits acquired from childhood or emotional eating. Try breaking the habit by keeping yourself busy or looking at other ways of dealing with emotional stress. When I am trying to curve my sugar intake I use a very simple technique that definitely works: I wait for at least 5 minutes once I have the craving, normally the craving passes. If it doesn’t I have a glass of water and then the craving usually passes. If it STILL doesn’t then I’ll reach for a piece of fruit!
And last but certainly not least, eat more! Hobson states that according to research, nutrient deficiencies may make sugar cravings worse, as some nutrients appear to improve blood sugar control including chromium, vitamin B3 and magnesium. So the best thing you can do to avoid that mid-afternoon sugar craving is to eat a diet that is rich in protein, healthy fats and fibre, which will help to maintain your blood sugar levels.
This is what our detoxes are all about; stripping out the nasties that are hidden in so much of our food, and replacing them with whole, natural ingredients that work with our bodies, not against them. Why not let our team of experts create and deliver a nutrient dense, delicious, well-balanced diet to your door by booking onto one of our detoxes this week.
The Detox Kitchen have two central London delis, a detox delivery service and a fitness studio located on the lower ground floor of their flagship deli in Fitzrovia. Rob Hobson is a registered nutritionist (www.robhobson.co.uk) and nutritionist at the Detox Kitchen.