Sugar (including fructose), unlike fat or other foods, interferes with the body’s appetite creating an insatiable desire to carry on eating, AKA- addiction! With obscene amounts of sugar present in so many products (even those posing as health foods) it’s easy to build up an addiction without even knowing it, add this to the emotional addiction of using sugary foods to calm anxiety and make us feel better on a bad day and it’s easy to see what we are really up against!
High sugar, carbs and low fat diets lead to more insulin secretion which causes a neurotransmitter imbalance in the form of reduced serotonin, GABA, dopamine and acetylcholine. Low levels of GABA can also result in anxiety or nervousness leading to increased appetite and cravings.
What can we do?
Start the day right – have a breakfast of protein, fat and phytonutrients. Breakfast smoothies are ideal for this. Starting the day with sugary or starchy foods will result in cravings throughout the day. As a rule, incorporating protein and/or fat with each meal will also help control blood sugar levels. And of course, exercise! – it will reduce tension, boost energy, release serotonin and replace the need for a sugar lift.
Reducing stress will also help, stress causes a rise in levels of cortisol which increase blood sugar levels and lead to sugar cravings.
Other changes to make to your diet…
✔ Increase vitamin B rich food like organic beef, wild salmon, hallibut, oats & avocado to boost GABA production
✔ Increase high fibre food which form glutamine in our body and is a precursor to GABA, ideally – flaxseeds, nuts, high fiber veggies, lentils or berries & oily fish
✔ Add MAGNESIUM, it helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce stress, found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, mackerel, brown rice, bananas, figs & RAW CHOCOLATE!!
The best sugar replacements…
You can naturally sweeten your foods with Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. There are also a few direct sugar replacements listed below…
✔ Rice syrup: It’s a natural sweetener, made from fermented cooked rice. You can find it in health food stores, and some supermarkets. But make sure the ingredients panel lists only rice (and water)
✔ Stevia: is a natural alternative, derived from a leaf and contains no fructose
✔ XYLITOL: A natural sugar form found in plums, strawberries, raspberries and birch trees
✔ Erythitrol: is a natural occurring sugar found in small amounts in various plants, fruits and fungi, including mushrooms. It has not impact in blood sugar, it is non-caloric, non carcinogenic and helps to fight radicals
Recommended ‘Sweet Treats’
✔ Cacao – An antioxidant that gives you an intense chocolate hit!
✔ Chai – add these little protein-y seeds to a natural yogurt, they will fill you up and do wonders for digestion
✔ Coconut water/oil – It’s sweet but contains no fructose so will satisfy the sugar craving
✔ Macadamia & Almond Paste – A thick dollop of macadamia or almond paste on a rice cake
✔ Whey protein: nutrients in whey protein (glycomacropeptide) stimulates the release of cholecystokinin, which is an appetite suppressing hormone (we recommend Lomax Intelligent Fitness Nutrition, of course!)
This post has been written by Natalia Otero Sancho, The Chelsea Nutritionist, one of our amazing nutritional therapists here at Lomax Bespoke Health. For more information or to book your one-to-one nutritional consultation with Natalia, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively call us on 020 3055 0970.