Some governments are making you pay for sugar highs.
To combat rising obesity rates and diabetes, they are imposing taxes on saccharine drinks and treats. Guzzling that ice-y, satisfying Coca-Cola is just going to cost you in more ways than one.
Britain introduced the Sugar Tax in April, joining Mexico and France in levying taxes on sodas. Norway raised its taxes on chocolates in January. The World Health Organisation came close to passing a worldwide recommendation to tax sodas in June. The 21-member panel, including heads of states and health ministers, voted but failed to reach a consensus.
If you’re adamant about having your sugary delights, we’ve got news on substitutes.
Try swapping out sugar in your life for cinnamon. The sweet spice can be stirred into your morning latte or sprinkled onto warm toast for flavour.
The Christmas staple is not only a healthier alternative to sugar. It also stops you from impulsively reaching for the candy bar at the checkout counter.
Nutritionist Wendy Riddell, who is also a fitness trainer at propagates at fitness provider UFit, says cinnamon curbs sugar cravings by regulating insulin levels.
“When you have a lot of sugar in your diet, your insulin levels spike. The insulin levels go down once sugar leaves the blood. The highs and lows in insulin levels give us sugar cravings. Keeping insulin levels consistent stops the urge to eat sugary foods.”
Riddell only knows too well the benefits of a sugar detox. She runs the Clean and Lean Challenge, a four-week programme designed by UFit to rewire eating habits.
“They usually feel lighter, not necessarily just on the scales,” says Riddell. “Their digestion system is working better, their mental abilities are sharper. They are not so emotionally driven, mood swings tend to settle down. Sugar really affects our hormone balance, and our hormones are key to our moods.”
Riddell gives Keyyes three suggestions on how to quit the sweet stuff.
Quitting sugar is brutal
A sugar detox, if executed successfully, can result in brutal withdrawal symptoms.
Difficult side effects could be splitting headaches, nausea, and insomnia. “The first week is the toughest, you have to have to go cold turkey and push past it. It takes anything from three to seven days to get past the sugar withdrawal,” says Riddell.
Drink lots of water to alleviate a migraine, or brew yourself a pot of peppermint tea to ease nausea. Eating good, healthy fats in the form of avocado, eggs and fish helps to combat the withdrawal symptoms.
Make cauliflower your best food friend
Diet food doesn’t have to be bland and boring.
The versatile, low-sugar cauliflower will allow you to indulge in chicken rice, muffins and pizzas.
“Mash cauliflower and add water into it, and you can turn it into anything, from cauliflower rice to hummus. Cauliflower doesn’t have a strong flavour, so you can change the flavour quite easily. Its natural colour is also closer to rice and mash,” says Riddell.
Starchy foods, like rice and bread, are often overlooked sources of sugar. The foods’ carbohydrates, when eaten, are broken down by the body, leading to a spike in blood sugar level.
The cauliflower’s cousin, broccoli, is a great substitute too. Both vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals and boost cancer-fighting properties.
Be wary of bananas
Think twice about popping bananas to replace normal meals.
The fibrous fruit may be a go-to diet snack because it’s filling and provides a quick energy boost, but bananas are secret sachets of sugar.
A single banana will wipe out half of your daily quota of eight to 11 teaspoons of sugar.
Riddell recommends going for avocado. “A lot of people think bananas are healthy because it’s got a lot of potassium. You can turn to the avocado for potassium, and it’s much lower in sugar content.”
An entire avocado has only about a gram of sugar. You would have to eat 20 avocados to hit the sugar level of a single banana.