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Are you addicted to sugar: here’s how you can break the attraction

Dr. Muffi    15/6/2018   |   Friday

Do you need that 3 pm sugar rush?

Do you crave that chocolate bar immediately after dinner?

Can you not pass a bakery without popping in and treating yourself to something sweet?

Chance are you probably are addicted to sugar!! A bunch of French scientists conducted a study in rats and they found that they chose sugar over cocaine even though they were addicted to cocaine.

So when we are talking sugar, does it only mean the table sugar that we add to our cup of tea in the morning or that piece of chocolate we ate post lunch? Unfortunately these are only the most obvious sources of sugar – the ones that were don’t see are the sugars hidden in ketchups, ready-to-eat meals, cold drinks, bakery goods and low-fat versions of foods.

Now, why the big fuss about sugar?

Sugar in excess amounts is a leading cause of dylipidemia (high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL – the good fats), which is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

Excessive intake of sugar also leads to obesity, which is one of the leading causes of diabetes. India is only second to china when it comes to the number of diabetics. We have approximately 63 million diabetics which is expected to rise to over a 100 million by 2030.

All carbohydrates ultimately break down into sugar but the problem is that sucrose or table sugar is made up of glucose and fructose, and fructose is not metabolised the same way as other carbohydrates. In fact it tricks our brains into thinking that we are not full and that is why we keep craving more. In addition, this excess fructose gets stored in our livers, causing fatty liver disease.

Fructose is present in almost all foods in the market today – it is the hidden sugar in processed foods. So even though we might cut out the most obvious sources of sugar, we need to be aware of the hidden ones. Therefore it is important to read those labels... don’t be fooled into thinking that low fat is healthy. It might actually be doing you more harm than good.

Some of you might argue that fructose in also present in fruits but it is not present in that high an amount to cause us harm. In addition, fruits also provide us with a lot of other beneficial nutrients other than just fructose and calories.

So if we look at the bigger picture, we can see that sugar is making us fatter and sicker but you need to be smart in the way you weed it out of your life. Here are some tips to get you started, which we share with our patients at Digestive Health Institute:

  • Start by gradually reducing the amount of sugar you put in your tea everyday
  • Start reading labels and look out for sugar, glucose, fructose and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • The next time you feel a sugar rush, grab a fruit to cut the craving.
  • If you are addicted to soft drinks and cannot give them up altogether, dilute some fresh juice with sparkling water as a substitute.
  • Give yourself time. It takes at least four weeks for your palate to accept change but once you start saying no to sugar, you will feel fresher, more energetic, experience fewer mood swings and lose weight.


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