The *s* word. Should I go sugar free?
Sugar free is something we’ve been hearing everywhere. Everyone seems to have quit sugar or gone sugar free. There’s so much info out there, so what’s this craze all about? We asked Dietitian, Daena , for the low down on what it means to go sugar free.
We all eat sugar.
Sugar is actually our body and brain’s main source of fuel. And unless we are ONLY eating meat or seafood – we all eat sugar. Bit of science geek talk: the carbohydrates found in fruits, veggies, grains, dairy, break down in the body and convert into sugar.
A little bit of sugar isn’t going to de-rail your health efforts.
When we decide to cut foods out of our diet, such as sugar, we biologically start to fixate on them. This is innate in us, it comes from our hunter-gatherer days. When we cut out food from our diet, our body experiences this as a form of starvation and the cells in our body don’t know we are voluntarily restricting our food intake, so it shifts a gear and turns on survival mode. Our metabolism slows down (because it doesn’t know when it’s going to be fed again) and the food cravings dial right up. So moral of the story? A little bit can go a long way.
Rather than going completely sugar free, try adding more whole foods.
There is compelling science to suggest that people who chose a way of eating that is highly varied and largely based around the five food groups, regardless of whether they have other foods in their repertoire that contain added sugar, they enjoy a much lower risk of chronic disease than people who don’t. The message here is actually about including MORE variety in our diet rather than cutting foods out! I encourage you to eat across the food groups and also a variety from within these food groups. Some quick and easy go-to’s are: adding fruit, yoghurt, nuts and seeds to morning porridge; adding grated veggies to Bolognese sauce, or adding lentils and cooked grains to salads.
Lastly, enjoy your sweeties mindfully.
Rather than going completely sugar free, perhaps eat it yo sweets mindfully (I'm a poet and didn't even know it). What’s mindful eating you ask? Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention, on purpose and in the present moment when it comes to food. Being curious and really engrossing yourself in the food experience with all of your senses! Being distracted whilst we eat means we can miss the opportunity to really savour and enjoy our food.
How many times have you eaten something and then realised “the pack's empty, I hardly tasted that” or “where did that bag of chips go, it was full a minute ago?” Mindful eating can help to teach us to be aware of our bodies and how it's feeling before, during and after a meal.
So go enjoy ya sweeties with a healthy dose of mindfulness! One of our go-tos? Of course, our delicious FUNDAY Natural Sweets – those Sour Peach Hearts are on point!