How to Lose Weight Well: Dieters discover weight loss
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The NHS recommends eating no more than 30g of free sugars a day for adults. Free sugars are found in foods like sweets, cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks. A can of cola can have as much as nine cubes of sugar, which is more than the recommended limit for adults. Eating too much sugar has also been linked to weight gain.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Nutritional Advisor at Bio-Kult, Claire Barnes, explained: “There is evidence to suggest that increased intake of sugar is associated with an increase in body weight and according to a World Health Organisation review of clinical trials, a reduction in free sugar intake (sugar added to foods and beverages and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates) reduces body weight.”
The expert added that sugar isn’t the only factor to weight gain, the total calories eaten per day is also a contributing factor.
Claire said: “Therefore a number of drivers need to be addressed when looking at weight gain, such as unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, mood disorders, etc. In the long-term, making sustainable healthy lifestyle choices may be more appropriate for weight loss, rather than simply cutting out sugar.”
With sugar being in nearly all foods, is it bad to eat too much sugar?
The expert explained: “Sugar is essentially a stimulant. It raises blood glucose levels, which gives a short-term boost in energy. It also alters brain biochemistry, stimulating neurotransmitters such as dopamine (our reward hormone), adrenaline and noradrenaline in the brain. However, the more we consume, the more is needed to gain the same effects. This can lead to over-dependence on sugary foods and drinks just to feel ‘normal’. This is the reason sugar is often viewed as an addictive substance, similar to caffeine, alcohol or cigarettes.
“In addition, the energy boost you receive is short-lived and usually followed by an energy slump. This is because high amounts of sugar in circulation can be damaging to our arteries, kidneys, eyes and other organs, therefore our bodies react quickly to remove excess glucose from the bloodstream.”
According to the nutritional advisor, when too much sugar is eaten, it causes a constant release of high amounts of insulin.
“This can result in high levels of fatigue and is a major risk factor for conditions such as type II diabetes,” said Claire.
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Reducing sugar intake isn’t easy, but there are some alternative foods that can replace high sugary foods.
The expert said: “Often when trying to reduce sugar, many people will simply replace white sugar with unrefined alternatives such as maple syrup, coconut sugar, rice syrup, honey and products described as ‘refined sugar free’.
“Whilst some of these are a little sweeter than processed white sugar (meaning less can be used) and may contain some nutrients, they have exactly the same effect on our blood glucose and can be just as addictive as sugar.
“Alternatively, certain spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom are lovely natural sugar-free sweeteners which can even help to balance blood sugar levels. They can be added to porridge, yoghurt and sprinkled onto fruit. Cinnamon tea is also a great drink to have mid-afternoon or after dinner for a sweet finish, to deter you from reaching for the chocolate or biscuits.”
Claire also recommends trying to make your own versions of favourite foods at home.
This way, you know exactly what has gone into the food, rather than buying packaged foods which may have a high level of sugar and sweeteners.
She added: “Ideally, prepare foods in bulk and store these meals and snacks in the freezer. A nice sweet snack to make and have ready for when a sugar craving is unavoidable, are cacao and coconut energy balls.
“Simply blitz up oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, cacao powder, dates and coconut oil in a food processor until the mixture sticks together, roll them into small balls and sprinkle with cacao nibs and desiccated coconut, these can be kept in the freezer and thawed slightly before eating.”
The expert also recommends starting the day with a high protein breakfast.
Claire said: “Many people’s breakfast (often consisting of cereals, toast and fruit juice) tend to be high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
“Whereas a breakfast rich in protein and healthy fats, has shown to help keep us feeling fuller for longer and reduce snacking on sugary foods later in the day.
“Ditch the sugary breakfast cereals and toast and instead opt for a protein rich alternative, such as eggs with avocado, spinach and mushrooms, or alternatively a bowl of porridge oats, topped with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and cinnamon.
“You may be surprised to see how this positively affects your energy levels and the food choices you make later in the day.”
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