WHO doesn’t love sugar? Whether it’s with a cuppa, the jam on your scone or that 11am chocolate biscuit, it is truly delicious.
But consuming too much sugar increases your risk of being overweight, which in turn can lead to issues such as type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease.
The NHS says Brits eat too much sugar – eating on average around 700g of the sweet stuff each week.
That equates to around 140 teaspoons of sugar per person every seven days.
But it’s easy to be fooled when it comes to the sugar we consume, as it’s often hidden in the food we eat – be it in bread or pasta sauces.
Sugar shouldn’t make up more than five per cent of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day – that’s about 30g for anyone over the age of 11.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth though, you might find it harder than others to cut back on sugar.
Numerous studies have shown that eating sugar in excess contributes to the amount of visceral fat you have, especially around the abdomen and liver.
Speaking to UK Times, David Stache, a nutritionist from sports nutrition brand Warrior, says resisting the urge to reach for a sweet treat can be tough, even if you’ve got the strongest willpower.
He says ignoring these urges can be easier said than done, but there are ways you can outsmart your sweet tooth…
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1. Don’t ignore the label
David explains it’s important to know roughly how much sugar you are eating in a day, as we can all be easily fooled.
“There are plenty of hidden sources of sugar in many products, and people are often paying no attention to the sugar content in food – which can often be what makes your cravings worse,” he says.
Food labels are important as they tell you exactly what nutrients and ingredients are in your food.
According to the NHS, high sugar foods contain 22.5g or more total sugar per 100g, compared with foods that are low in sugar, considered to contain 5g or less total sugar per 100g.
Lots of packaging uses a traffic light system to help you with healthy options and it’s always best to go for foods that are mostly green and not too red.
By just checking food labels, you could be on track to losing belly fat as you will be eliminating some calories from your diet.
2. Drink up
Next time you have a craving for something sweet, try having a drink of water, says David.
“While this might not seem as satisfying as the doughnut waiting for you, sometimes your cravings can be caused by dehydration, which your body can confuse for cravings.
“So, wait 10 minutes after you have had a drink and see how you feel.
“You may find the craving fades away because your body was actually just thirsty,” he said.
But if you are hungry, step away from the doughnut and try snacking on something else instead, like fruit or nuts, which don’t have the same artificial sweeteners and fats that lots of the on-the-go foods have.
3. Up the exercise
David says exercising is the best way to move yourself away from the foods you are craving, because it releases ‘feel good’ endorphins that can help reduce unhealthy cravings.
“Going for a brisk walk, or a short jog, whatever you want to do to get moving, will help to outsmart your sweet tooth,” says David.
“If you don’t have time to go out, even doing some lunges or burpees in between your morning meetings will help take your mind off those sugar cravings.”
Being in a calorie deficit is really one of the only ways to lose weight, meaning you’re consuming fewer calories than you burn.
Exercise is a great way to burn calories, but also has lots of other benefits including boosting your mental health.
4. Find a substitute
Generally, people tend to crave sweet treats after a meal, or as a pick-me-up in the afternoon to get them through the working day, says David.
Rather than ignoring that 4pm sugar craving, it might be helpful to find a healthier substitute that will satisfy your sweet tooth while also providing a nutritious snack.
David says to look for something high in protein and low in sugar, so you’ll feel full after having your snack, not desperate for a biscuit still.
He adds that snacks high in fibre, such as the Warrior bars, could also help.
5. Set goals
For a sugar addict, getting through the day without a sweet treat is incredibly tough.
David however says the longer you can hold out without giving in to temptation, the easier it gets.
“Over time, as you ditch the sugary foods for more nutritious options, your taste buds and preferences will change too, meaning the sugary snacks you once craved, taste less desirable.”
6. Clear your house
Sometimes, if you just don’t have it in the house, you won’t be tempted.
David says throwing out all the junk, processed and sugary foods in your house could be a good idea for people who struggle with control and he says the snack cupboard should also be banished.
“If your house and office are full of sugary temptations, it will make it so much harder to resist, so try to surround yourself with healthier options”, he adds.
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