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Sugar content is more complex than you think


Your body was designed to process complex sugars like those found in apples, beans and barley. These complex sugars tend to be processed slowly. Food with sugars that are processed slowly are known as low-glycemic foods.

We know that candy, cinnamon rolls and cake with frosting contain sugar, but what about bagels, chips, crackers, pretzels, French fries and other processed foods? These are known as simple carbohy­drates or high-glycemic foods. Unfortunately, when they are digested, they act exactly like refined sugars. They create the same sugar highs and lows as their sweet counterparts … and leave you craving more.

The National Institutes of Health reported that a low-carbohydrate or low-glycemic diet may be a wise choice for weight loss and maintenance and disease prevention.

Break your sugar habit

Choosing to cut sugar from your diet is a commendable choice. With effort and determination you will succeed, but be prepared for your body to go through sugar withdrawal.

Like other habits your desire and strategy to beat the sugar habit will be a unique choice. Some people prefer to put themselves on a strict regimine that eliminates all sugars including those found in fruit, dairy (lactose) and refined grains.

Other people may not choose to eliminate added sugars all at once, but will start substituting one or two foods at a time with healthier alternatives. Choosing to add more vegetables each day, drinking water throughout the day, and eliminating processed foods is a good way to start to de-sugar your diet.

No matter which method you choose, you will be training your taste buds to enjoy the real taste of food. After a while you’ll notice that you don’t need as much sugar and that foods that are high in sugar taste too sweet.

A key to success is not to let yourself get too hungry. Snacking on high protein and high fiber foods like yogurt and nuts or whole grains, and eating fiber and protein at each meal will help curb your sugar cravings.

Protein-rich and high-fiber foods take longer to digest and maintain a more consistent glucose level in your bloodstream. They make you feel full longer, which curbs your hunger. It is especially important to eat a high-protein breakfast to start your day off right.

Alternate your sweet drinks with water. If you enjoy soda or sweet tea have your beverage, but next time drink the same amount of water. If you reduce your serving size, it will also help you reduce your sugar intake.

After a while, you’ll find yourself choosing sweets that are good for you. Instead of three teaspoons of sugar on your oatmeal, you will begin to prefer the sweet taste of fresh berries; or be satisfied with a glass of milk and a banana. You may also start to notice that after you’ve indulged on sugar-loaded sweets, that you don’t feel as good afterwards.

Another weapon in the fight to gain control of sugar is exercise

Psychologically, when you start to work out and feel better, you also have a desire to change the way you eat.

If you do not currently have an exercise or activity program, start out slowly. Work up to the recommended level of 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be dull. Biking, hiking, jogging or walking with good friends or dancing to great music counts.

If you feel a craving for sugar, get outside and go for a walk or ride a bike for 15 or 20 minutes. It may eliminate your cravings.

Be patient. It may take a couple weeks for your taste buds to adjust to lower levels of sweetness. As your body adjusts, you’ll start to feel better mentally and physically.

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