YOU HAVE A SWEET TOOTH – HONEY!
Most of us develop a sweet tooth as we grow older. It is almost an addiction with most people and they seem to crave for something sweet – especially after a meal. I know a lot of people who even miss a meal to accommodate a dessert. Most people reason that their bodies `needs’ it therefore it craves for it!. Its like saying my body needs the `nicotine’ therefore I must smoke !
Although sugar addiction is common, it is relatively easy to kick the sugar habbit as compared to giving up smoking or alcohol. Years of poor diet, fast foods, poor stress management, improper intake of essential vitamins and minerals especially zinc and chromium creates sugar imbalance in our body. This increases our craving for sugar. If you have abused your body with 5 – 6 years of eating refined carbohydrates like white bread, pizza, chocolates, cakes, desserts, restaurant foods, soft drinks, ice creams, you may end up creating a blood sugar imbalance, develop hypoglycemia and a sweet-tooth. Most doctors recommend consuming a little sugar to combat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This might work instantly and correct the symptoms but will worsen the condition (hypoglycemia) in the long run. A diet that is rich in whole grains and complex carbohydrates like Brown Rice, Bajri and Jowar or whole wheat rotis, vegetables and good quality protein foods can help stabilize blood sugar and minimize the desire for sugar.
Why is table sugar so bad?
When natural sugar is refined and concentrated, the nutrient in it are taken away and the natural balance is upset. Refined sugar passes quickly into our bloodstream and gives our pancreas and stomach a shock. It promotes acidic conditions which makes our body use up more minerals ( to maintain alkalinity). Even calcium is used up leading to bone problems later in life. Consuming refined sugar weakens our digestion and assimilation of nutrients is also hampered. This leads to blood sugar imbalances and further craving for sugar.
Please note that consuming table sugar in small quantities as in tea or coffee may not cause problems but in large amounts, sugar leads to obesity, diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart diseases, tooth decay, eczema, acne, yeast infections, cancer, poor memory, violence, negative thinking, mood swings, irritability, self-pity etc.
Are all sugars bad ?
Most natural sugars contain some mineral and enzymes and do not upset the body’s mineral balance. Honey for instance has more calories than white sugar. It is much sweeter than sugar and has medicinal properties. It helps to moisten dryness, treats dry cough and corrects a hoarse throat. It is more effective when taken in lukewarm water. Honey is also used for treating high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, constipation, chronic fatigue due to `over work and physical stress, menstrual problems etc when honey is taken directly with a spoon it may irritate your throat. To reduce its strong effects you can take it in warm water.
But remember that these natural sugars like dates, honey, raisins, fruit juices have almost the same effect on obesity, diabetes, cholesterol etc as white sugar. So if you suffer from such medical conditions, use these natural sugars sparingly. As for those with a terrible sweet tooth, here’s what you can do
OVERCOMING A SWEET-TOOTH
- The best way to overcome a sweet-tooth is to stop taking table sugar completely as it is the main reason for triggering a sugar craving. You may find it difficult for the first week to 10 days. After that your craving will be considerably reduced.
- Years of eating refined foods makes your body deficient in zinc, B-vitamins and chromium. This adds to the sugar craving. Supplementing with these vitamins for a period of 2-3 months may help reduce your sugar craving.
- Increase intake of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and protein in the form of eggs, whole pulses, curd, soya nuts etc. This helps to stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings.
- Increasing fiber in your diet will also help. Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables automatically increases fibre. You could also take a tablespoon of isabgol daily for increasing fibre.
- Sometimes a sugar craving is caused by hyper-acidity which results from consuming too much non-veg or fried and spicy foods. Lack of exercise may also cause acidity and indigestion. To combat this, go off non-veg for 30 minutes every day.
- Hypoglycemia is a stage before diabetes. If your sugar craving seems out of control get a fasting blood sugar test done along with a CTT test. This will show you how your body reacts to glucose intake and your problem can be corrected by careful monitoring.
- If you have tried everything and are still unable to control that sweet-tooth then honey; have natural sugars like dates, fruits, dried figs, raisins etc, as you probably do need some sweetners to sweeten your life.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1-800-843-0206/+91 86575 61727
For further information, Visit www.health-total.com