How to break the sweet white habit
Cakes, cookies, chips, chocolate. Ah, the stuff coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancers and Alzheimer's disease are made of. It's a well-known fact that refined carbs, starches and sugars directly impact on insulin and blood sugar levels.
Geoff Jowett, (B. Sp. Sc) creator and founder of Bodytrim, weighs in on the dangerous effects of the sweet white powder: 'The image on the right represents what Nutrition Australia deems to be a healthy eating guideline. Placing importance on breads, rice and pasta is the most famous example of misinformation about carbohydrates ever issued."
The greater the intake of carbohydrates, the more the body's insulin depends on that intake rather than stored fat. It is this greater intake of carbs that leads to cravings and hunger and the reason that the thought of having another chocolate bar just an hour after eating one is always so tempting.
As blood sugar increases after a high-carb meal, insulin levels rise, the excess blood sugar is turned into fat and after the usable energy is burned off, blood sugar levels drop causing hunger often only an hour or two after the carb hit. That's when the sugar cravings start. It's not unlike the feeling you'd get from a drug. You begin to feel ravenous, shaky, moody and ready to crash. Even then, insulin won't let go of the stored fat – it's just waiting for another carb hit. The only way to pry open insulin's fingers to let go of those fat stores is to moderate the insulin response by limited and ideally ELIMINATING the intake of refined sugars and keeping all other carbs to about 40% of your diet.
Geoff's top tips on eliminating refined sugars from your lifestyle:
Eliminate carbohydrates from your diet for a few days: this means cutting out all simple and starchy carbohydrates so things like fruit, pasta, bread, rice, crackers, noodles, and sweets or cakes etc. While this may seem extreme, it's needed to rid your body of the dependence on carbohydrates for energy. Doing this will help to get rid of carbohydrate cravings as you'll no longer have the rise and fall in blood sugar and insulin levels. After a few days, you'll be surprised at how much better you feel and how much more energy you have- and carb cravings will be gone!
Start to take notice of labels: When you do you'll realise just how much unnecessary sugar is in your diet. Consider 4g equals 1 teaspoon of sugar. This will put the sugar content into perspective when reading labels, especially for soft drinks, juices, cordials and yoghurts which can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar! Make a point of NOT buying products that have more than 10g sugar per 100g.
Replace sugar with sugar substitutes: While sugar substitutes have received negative publicity in the past, the current consensus by governing bodies is that they pose no threat to our health, with the way in which we consume them in Australia. The bottom line is that when used in moderation, sugar substitutes or artificially sweetened products are a great way to cut down on added sugar in your diet, while still allowing you to enjoy sweet foods.
Understand correct portion sizes and timing for your carbohydrate foods: Foods like fruit, bread, pasta and rice certainly have their place in our diets but for optimum health and weight management they should only be consumed in small amounts and earlier times in the day. Most people eat way too big portion sizes and far too frequently throughout the day. A good portion size is 1 cup of cooked pasta or rice, or 1 cup of chopped fruit.
Know the good from the bad: When it comes to carbohydrate foods there are certainly healthier options than others and ones which will give you longer lasting energy and not cause you to crave more. Opt for low GI options which have a gradual effect on your blood sugar levels, such as wholegrain bread, wholemeal pasta and basmati rice. These options also provide added nutrients compared to their more processed versions such as white bread, pasta, rice and potato.