So let’s start with the basics:
What is sugar?
Sugar is a natural ingredient that has always been a part of our diet. All sugars are carbohydrates found naturally in most foods that provide the energy needed for our body.
However, nowadays, sugars are also added to a lot of foods to enhance their flavour, taste and texture. These are known as “free sugars”.
If you carefully read the food label, most of the processed foods we consume contain added sugar.And no, companies will NOT just list it as “sugar” but rather hide behind scientific names such as glucose, maltose, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, molasses and invert sugar.
There are estimated to now be around 60 different names for these “free sugars”. Hence, it’s extremely important for you to read the labels and know how to identity “sugar”.
You might think, “I don’t eat much sugar”, but the reality is you might be consuming high amounts without even realizing it. Here are top 5 signs you might just be addicted to sugar!
Imagine this scenario. I really want to treat myself to that slice of cake. Gosh that’s so good, I want more, that wasn’t enough. Maybe I shouldn’t, but oh well, just one more slice and I’ll stop.
Before you know it, you've consumed 5 slices and you still want more! And you feel extremely regretful and guilty immediately afterward.
Sugar addition isn’t just about sweets. ALL carbs turn into sugar in our body. So even if you may not have a sweet tooth, but if you crave simple carbs, such as pastries, biscuits, white bread, pasta or pretzels, then, you’re really craving sugar!
Hence even if you are full and satisfied with a healthy meal, you would still want to snack on simple carbs.
You might be wondering, what? But that has nothing to do with sugar! It’s important to know that a healthy body always strives towards balance.
So if you find your body craving for a lot of meat or salty foods, this may be a sign that your body is seeking balance due to large intake of sugar.
Have you ever eaten so many cookies that you experienced one or more of the following symptoms: headache, gas, bloating, fatigue, or sleepiness? If so, those are symptoms of a sugar hangover.
You do this a few times a week, if not every day, even if you know it makes you feel crappy afterwards. To you, the short-term benefits of eating the cake, cookies, or chocolate are worth the unpleasant aftereffects.
You told yourself, I’m going to breakup with sugar, and that’s exactly you did. However you experience immediate withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, low energy and even mood swings. Before you know it, you’re back to snacking on sugar to make you feel better.
If you say yes to 4 out of 5, then chances are you might be addicted to SUGAR!
Natural Sugars vs. Added Sugars
Let’s look at the difference between natural sugars and added sugars.
Natural sugars are present in foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk. They are part of the whole food and contain fiber or protein.
On the other hand, added sugars or also known as “free sugars” are sweeteners that do not occur naturally in a whole food but are intentionally added by manufacturers to improve the taste or texture of a product. Added sugars are empty calories and contain no nutrients whatsoever. They do more harm than good to your body.
It’s important to note that our body does not distinguish between the different types of sugar and breaks them down in exactly the same way, whether it’s natural or added sugar.
Saying that however, foods containing natural sugar such as fruits have beneficial nutrients like fibre, which aids digestion and keeps you full. You’ll not experience blood sugar spikes after eating a piece of fruit in comparison to drinking a can of soda.
Overall, you will still need to control the total amount of sugars because excess amount of both types of sugar in our liver can lead to health problems.