Self Management Tips from a Dietitian
Table of Contents
Cut off the sugar! Those are the words everyone fears hearing from a doctor, but do not they ring particularly true for someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes? The more you are warned about something, the more alluring it becomes, much like the forbidden fruit in the proverb. Desserts are the same way too! What if, however, we told you that even if you have diabetes, you do not have to give in to your desires for sugary foods?
Why is sugar so addicting? How does a person develop an addiction to it?
Why sugar is so enticing is because it causes a dopamine response in the brain. A joyful chemical is released in the brain after eating sugar. As a result, eating any amount of sugar produces a calming dopamine response.
Sugar triggers the same reward circuits in the brain as cocaine and other illicit drugs, which is why it causes such powerful cravings.
What is Diabetes?
The medical term for diabetes is diabetes mellitus, and it is characterised by persistently high blood glucose levels in the affected individual. A buildup of glucose and other sugars in the blood, caused by uncontrolled diabetes, increases the risk of health problems including strokes and heart attacks if the condition is not treated.
The most common kind of diabetes, type 2, impairs the body’s response to insulin. The body keeps making insulin, but the cells stop responding to it as well as they used to.
Sugar and Diabetes:
When we talk about sugar and diabetes the only question which comes in our minds is that whether the sugar causes diabetes or not?
- As a result, the solution for type 2 diabetes is a bit more involved. Despite the fact that we know sugar does not directly cause type two diabetes, being overweight does. Weight gain occurs when a person consumes more calories than their body needs, and sugary foods and drinks tend to have a high-calorie count. You can see how easily gaining weight from consuming too much sugar may lead to type 2 diabetes.
Signs of Sugar Addiction
- Chronic yearning for sweets and sodas.
- Overeating occurs when one satisfies a need for a certain meal while not being very hungry.
- Lack of action in response to concerns about reducing intake of specific foods.
- Overeating might leave you feeling lethargic and tired.
- Problems with your health or social life as a result of your eating habits, which may lead you to fall behind in class or lose your job, despite your stubborn refusal to change.
- To the point when increasing amounts of the coveted items are required to get the same level of pleasure or to alleviate the distressing feelings associated with the cravings.
To make room for sweets in your daily meal if you have diabetes, you may do either of the following:
- Substitute a sugary food for part of the carbs if you are worried about the glycemic index.
- Swap out a high-calorie food item with a lower-calorie alternative and make up the difference with a sugary treat.
- But watch how many carbohydrates you eat. The question is how.
How to keep sugar and carbohydrate intake in control if you have diabetes
- Read labels: Read the labels on your food before you consume them. You may enhance your diet and weight management efforts by maintaining a food diary.
- Low-calorie sweeteners: If you want to enjoy a sweet flavor without adding extra calories or carbohydrates to your diet, try using low-calorie sweeteners.
- Watch out for sugar-free foods
- Plan your sweet treat: Pick up a dessert or a special dinner to enjoy just for yourself. As a result, you will be better able to resist temptation and keep your diet going strong while satisfying your cravings for sweets.
- Do not be too hard on yourself: There is no quick fix for gradually decreasing your intake of unhealthy foods or resisting cravings. Do something kind for yourself every once in a while.
Reasons why I should beat sugar addiction:
Several major health problems may be exacerbated by sugar.
- Overweight is a possible result.
- Atherosclerosis is one of the possible outcomes (heart disease)
- It may contribute to the formation of acne.
- Cancer may be caused by insulin resistance caused by sugar.
- Distressing feelings may result.
- As a result, it may lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Tips to beat Sugar Addiction:
Advice on how to cut down on sugar consumption is provided below.
- Don’t mistake tiredness, boredom, or anxiety for hunger
If you are feeling tired, it is time for a rest. You may try weaving, reading this book, or getting on a bike ride when you are bored instead of snacking on sugary foods.
- Drink Plain Water:
We often confuse thirst with hunger. Added sugars mostly come from beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. The easiest thing you can do to lessen your sugar cravings is to switch from sugary beverages to water. If you find it difficult to consume plain water, try flavouring it with a piece of citrus or some soda water.
- Eat healthy and filling meal”
The next time you are feeling tired and hungry, resist the urge to go for a cookie and instead grab a protein-packed snack like a hardboiled egg, celery, and natural almond butter, or an apple with certain cheddar.
- Removing Temptation:
When supermarket shopping, avoid buying desserts that have added sugar. Load up on low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and fruits and vegetables. Sweet tooth? Seasonal fruits like watermelon, cherries, and berries are not only delicious but also nutritious additions to any diet.
- Distracting yourself:
After around 20 minutes of maintaining yourself occupied, you will be pleasantly delighted to find that your need for sugary foods has diminished significantly. If you are still hungry, use it as a sign that you need to eat something substantive.
- Healthy activity and Exercise:
Endorphins, sometimes known as the “feel good” hormone in the brain, are produced when you exercise, and they are healthy. Additionally, they are effective in reducing appetite. Getting outside for a brisk 20-minute walk, run, or bike ride may do more than just lift your spirits; it can also help you resist temptations.
- Better Sleep:
Getting a sufficient amount of sleep each night—ideally between 7 and 9 hours—may reduce sugar cravings and improve overall health.
Sugar consumption per day may be reduced by as much as 10 grammes if sleep quality is improved. Fewer sugar and carbohydrate cravings were observed by this group compared to those who kept to their regular sleeping routines.
Final conclusion on beating Sugar with diabetes:
It is OK to treat yourself to a sweet treat every once in a while, but cutting down on sugar can help you manage your diabetes and improve your brain, heart, teeth, liver, and waistline.
- The Impacts of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) on Cardiovascular Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- The British Diabetic Association operating as Diabetes UK, a charity registered in England and Wales (no. 215199) and in Scotland (no. SC039136). https://www.diabetes.org.uk/
- Centers of disease control and prevention https://www.cdc.gov/
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqx030 and https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqx030/4794751
- Dr Anaya Mandal, MD (Specialized in clinical pharmacology) topic: Sugar cravings worsened by lack of sleep https://www.news-medical.net/medical/authors/ananya-mandal