With Sugar Awareness Week fast approaching on 14th - 20th November 2022, here's some top tips for cutting down your intake.
Dr Michael Mosley is a health writer, former medical doctor and founder of The Fast 800. He shares the reasons behind sugar's addictive nature.
'From the first bite, consuming sugary food triggers a cascade of neural events that leads to a powerful urge to keep eating,' he says.
'Within the midbrain, pathways release dopamine, driving sugar addiction by rewarding and reinforcing consumption. Studies have shown that the neural chains transmitting pleasure from eating sugar are very similar to those activated by cocaine and heroin.
'Indeed, neuro imaging has shown structural similarities between the brains of obese people and those with established hard drug addiction.'
So how can you curb the habit?
- Always chose the full fat option. Low fat generally means all the good stuff has been removed. It has instead been replaced with additives and sugar. With full fat products you will feel fuller for longer
- Drink water. Soft drinks and fruit juices are extremely sugary
- Keep an eye out for ‘hidden sugars’ in processed foods. Swap these for less processed alternatives. Eating ‘diet’ foods like fat-free crisps or biscuits can lead to overeating – they leave the body wanting more
- It is okay to use sugar substitutes but also try to wean yourself off of sugar. Although artificial sweeteners have zero calories, they may actually cause sugar cravings. It might be better to scrap them completely!
Updated 20th October 2022