Times of Oman
Nov 26, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 06:36 PM GMT
Not so sweet
October 3, 2013 | 12:00 AM

For most of us, controlling sugar, reducing it or skipping it altogether is one of the most difficult and unacceptable thing to do. It is only when disease strikes us when we actually start thinking about the whole sugar issue.

It is not just the white crystals that we add to our tea/coffee or any other food; most of the sugar that we consume everyday is hidden and disguised and we all happily and unknowingly consume. Few examples of hidden sources of sugar are:

• Aerated drinks which is nothing but coloured sugar water.
• White breads, biscuits
• Morning cereals
• Ice cream, chocolates, candies, cookies, sweets, etc.
• All the canned, tinned, bottled, packaged juices contain loads of sugar
• Jams, jellies, pies, pizza, pickles, etc.
• Ketchup and sauces, etc.

The bitter truth is that sugar is responsible for more than half of the diseases we have today. Since sugar can be consumed easily in large quantities, there is also a tendency towards obesity.

The excess sugar we consume is stored in liver — making it bloat like a balloon. When this happens, glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids which are taken to every part of the body and stored like in belly, thighs, hips, etc.

What can we eat to satisfy our cravings for sugar?

We must remember that the maximum source of energy comes from sugar — that's why we all have a natural craving for something sweet. The function of the body is to make energy out of food and the body extracts sugar from whatever we eat. So if the maximum source of energy comes from sugar — in its natural form that can be immediately used by the body for cellular energy — then what are the foods that will provide this kind of energy?

Fruits are the only thing that is sweet in nature so when your body is asking for energy or you have a sweet craving, your body is actually asking for natural sugar with maximum energy i.e. fruits which are absorbed directly. The only foods through which the body cannot make or break sugar for energy is refined white sugar because it contains no nutrients at all.

Smart ways to handle your cravings
Stock up your kitchen with natural and easy to bite fruits like grapes, bananas, mangoes, plums, cherries, peaches, etc.

• Keep dried fruits handy.
• Going through the motion of biting and chewing a whole fruit like an apple, pear, etc., can instantly satisfy a sweet craving and also give you loads of energy especially if eaten on an empty stomach.
• Chewing on spices like cardamom, aniseed, etc., can also help sweet craving.
• Use healthier substitutes for sugar while cooking like fruit syrup and purees, honey, dates syrup, etc.

Monika Seth/Nutritionist and diet consultant specialising in weight loss at Al Raffah Hospital

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