If you’re already having second thoughts about your New Year’s resolution to quite the sugary stuff, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Researchers at University of California found that eating sugar shuts down the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
In other words, sugar soothes us when we’re feeling stressed, which could be making us come back for more and more.
The good news is, says a new defence plan by Budget Direct Life Insurance, is that there are some easy steps you can take to win the war over your sugar addiction.
1. Have a high protein breakfast
Replace cereal in the morning with a high protein breakfast, advises Budget Direct. Many cereals are high in sugar, while a protein-rich breakfast such as an omelette or scrambled eggs will help keep you fuller with less food.
2. Track sugar intake
There are plenty of apps you can download to your phone which allow you to keep a food diary, showing how much sugar you’ve eaten in a day. MyFitnessPal is a good one as you can scan foods with the app’s barcode using the camera on your phone and it will give you a full nutritional breakdown.
3. Pimp your yoghurt
Fruit-flavoured yoghurts may look healthy, but some of them contain up to 24g of sugar per pot. Instead buy some plain yoghurt and add fresh berries and nuts to the top.
4. Adjust recipes
A lot of recipes call for sugar, but most will work without it, or without as much. Try halving the amount of sugar called for in the recipe next time you cook – and see if anyone notices the difference.
5. Quit fruit juice
Fruit juice contains all the sugar of fruit, but none of the nutritious fibre. Instead of juicing, eat fruit whole for your kick of fructose, and drink water with a squeeze of fresh orange juice if you are bored of plain water.
6. Alternate alcohol and water
On average, alcohol makes up 11 per cent of an adult’s daily sugar intake, with a glass of wine reportedly being as calorific as a piece of chocolate. Instead, alternate your tipple with a glass of water to reduce the sugar intake and keep yourself hydrated.
7. Switch your spread
You may not think twice about what you put on your toast, but there’s a lot of secret sugar in jam, syrup and especially chocolate spread. Instead, try peanut butter and sliced banana on toast as a healthy, sugar-free alternative.
8. Stop drinking sugary tea
One easy way of upping your daily intake of sugar is by adding sugar to your tea. So, if you do this, try to quit by slowly reducing the amount of sugar in your tea by half a teaspoon each time. Black tea is a low-calorie drink with a lot of health benefits, and is reported to lower the risk of cancer.
9. Keep sugar out of the house
It’s simple, really: if there’s no sugar in the house, you won’t be able to eat any. And never go shopping when you’re hungry as you’re more likely to pick up sugary treats. Instead, visit the supermarket on a full stomach.