So I’ve recently started to live the Paleo lifestyle, this means food going back to basics. You eat what our ancestors thousands of years ago would have eaten so fruit, vegetables and grass fed meats. Sugar is a no go, except obviously the natural sugars, which occur in the fruits known as fructose. A nickname for Paleo is the ‘caveman diet’, were not just going back 5000 years (when dairy and grains had already been introduced into our diets) were going back a few hundred thousand years, to when cavemen didn’t have any idea about bread or milk. So this means dairy and grains are excluded too.
I have found it difficult to stick to these ‘rules’ of eating but mostly resisting to chocolate, sweets and bakery treats is the worst. People often say to me ‘your so slim though, you don’t have to worry about that’. Erm… yes I do. You should always be aware of how much you’re eating, for women 90g of sugar is the max we should intake per day and it is very easy to go over that mark.
Obesity is said to soon over take smoking as the leading cause of death 1. THERE IS A NATION SUGAR RUSH ! A PANDEMIC!
So why then are coffee companies like Starbucks allowed to create their new range of drinks containing more than 102g (to put it into perspective, that is 20 teaspoons). The new range of Frappuccino have hit the market in the US and one drink is worth a whole day of your GDA (guideline daily allowance). 2.
Sugar has been proven to have strong links to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other life threatening illnesses. So it isn’t a subject that can just be brushed under the rug. If you look at many product ingredients that we use regularly and are found in most people’s kitchens, the second or third ingredient (written in mass order), sugar is often right up there.
Here are the most common sugars, some of which you may not have realised are sugars at all:
Sucrose – this sugar is found in fruit and vegetables. This is the most common sugar that we consume as it is extracted from sugar cane and sugar beet in order to be packaged and hit the supermarket shelves.
Fructose & Glucose – Also found in fruit vegetables & honey
Lactose – Yep this is also a sugar, found in dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt.
Maltose – Extracted from grains for products such as malt beer.
Your body processes all these sugars in the same way. It will spike your insulin levels, and then send them right back down as quickly as they went up, making you feel tired and ultimately leaving you craving more.
The top 5 best thing to do to avoid over eating sugars:
1.Make sure you are aware of the ingredients of the products you are eating. You will be stunned at all the foods big industries are hiding salt and sugar in. Even a simple can of tomatoes can be loaded with sugar so always read the labels! If you can, it is best to stay away from all processed foods & ready meals completely – the fresher the food the easier it is to control exactly how much of everything you are eating. Add sweetness to foods using natural flavours (and zero calories) like vanilla bean, vanilla extract and spices. Try adding a sprinkling of cocoa or vanilla powder or a dash of nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon: according to a meta-analysis in the Journal of Medicinal Food, cinnamon has been proven to naturally regulate blood sugar, which helps control your appetite
2.If you are unsure, keep a food diary of your normal eating habits for a week and see where you are unnecessarily eating sugars. A great app for this is MyFitnessPal which comes pre-programmed with the ingredients of almost every food you can think of.
3. Keep the amount of fruit you eat lower than your veg. Fruit is healthy, but if you’re looking to lose weight or simply keep sugar levels down, less is better. Fruit smoothies should always be about 30% fruit 70% veg. Berries are a great fruit to snack on and cruciferous vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and kale, are great for regulating the body’s sugar levels.
4.Cut down or better still, cut it out all together! Identify the sources of sugar in your diet, and decide what you can do without and where you can get by with less of. Read the labels! If you buy packaged bread, try making your own, it’s easy, great fun and then you know exactly what’s in it. Simply swapping cereal brands might make all the difference – and nobody needs 4 teaspoons of sugar in their tea! It might taste odd at first but the body is a creature of habit, it will get used to it & thank you in the long run. Ditch the biscuits and make your own fabulous cakes – this is one of my all-time favourites Paleo Cakes. And don’t be tempted just to switch to things with artificial sugar in them – it’s proven that these can actually make you GAIN weight, the idea is to get rid of your sweet tooth, not to retrain it to like another kind of sweetness!
5.Think protein and fat. Unhealthy carbs loaded with sugar can cause blood sugar to rise rapidly (and dive just as quickly, leaving you hungry again). To minimize this rapid rise and fall, pair protein, healthy fats, and fiber with your meal, all of which can slow down the release of blood sugar in your body and keep you full for longer. (At breakfast, that means adding almonds to your usual oatmeal or pairing eggs with your morning toast, and for your midday snack, a slice of turkey breast or cheese along with your apple, suggests Thomsen.) Fats are a key player because they help keep you fuller for longer, thus helping to decrease your desire for sugar, adds Sanfilippo. Focus on fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil.3.