Sweet! Here Are 5 Ways to Ease Back on SugarExercise and Nutrition
As the afternoon creeps along and your lunch gurgles in your stomach, it’s natural to feel like taking a nap under your desk at work. Some of us reach for coffee or tea, and some of us go right to the workplace snack bowl. Some of us do both.
Before long, the afternoon sugar rush becomes an essential part of your routine, maybe even an addiction.
“Many experts agree that sugar fits the criteria of an addiction,” said Rowe Hudson, director of Lee Health Solutions. “It stimulates the brain; people continue to consume it despite its harmful effects and a desire to quit; you can develop a tolerance to it; and many people experience withdrawal symptoms after removing it from their diet.”
Eating too much sugar causes insulin levels to rise, which leads to tense artery walls, which then leads to higher blood pressure and risk of stroke and heart attack. Plus, too much sugar can affect your looks.
“It contributes to aging in general, but most noticeable are the extra pounds and wrinkles,” Rowe said. “Too much sugar can damage collagen and elastin, which keep skin youthful.”
So what can you do to curtail the habit?
Remove junk food from your environment: This is a tough one because candy and chips and sugary drinks are probably in high supply at your workplace. Most health experts agree that junk food can be replaced with fruit if you need something sweet. How about a bowl of blueberries? A sliced apple? A sloppy slice of watermelon? You may need to start with taking the candy off your desk or taking the long way around that co-worker’s office who always keeps the snacks in clear view.
Stay hydrated. Most of us know that drinking lots of water is a key to battling many health issues. But you may not know that we sometimes mistake thirst for hunger. A belly full of water is likely to decrease your sugary cravings.
Eat before going out and before grocery shopping. You’ll be less likely to splurge on candy and baked goods this way. Some experts suggest only shopping the perimeter of your local grocery store and avoiding those pesky middle aisles with all the brightly colored treats. Also, eating breakfast in the morning is more likely to fill you up and help you avoid that late afternoon crash.
Read food labels: Memorize these words: high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar and evaporated cane juice. They are all alternate names for sugar.
Identify emotional triggers: This is perhaps the most difficult one to address. Do you eat more sugar when you are depressed or anxious? Do you scarf the Skittles when you have to push through the afternoon and get that report done? Once you realize the pattern you can make a conscious decision to do something else instead: Read, go for a walk, talk to a friend, or substitute a different food. And it’s always important to remember to be kind to yourself: You are going to slip up, and one candy bar isn’t the end of the world. Be nice and do better the next day.
To contact a Lee Health Dietitian visit Lee Health Solutions or call 239-424-3120.
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