Are you having a hard time losing weight or keeping your weight down? It turns out that weight loss may have less to do with the amount of food you eat than what you eat. That may explain why the diet you’re on is not working. According to health experts, keeping a balance between blood sugar and hormones is pivotal to weight loss. This may be difficult for people who have developed a dependency on sugar to carry them through the day. Sugar addiction is easy to acquire but hard to kick. In fact, it is easier to quit other addictions such as alcohol, smoking or drugs than to quit sugar. Some people use artificial sweeteners to reduce their sugar intake. While artificial sweeteners may cater to your sweet tooth without the guilt, a new study shows that artificial sweeteners may interfere with your body’s natural ability to calculate calories based on food’s sweetness. That may lead to overindulgences which in turn may lead to weight gain.
There is an inherent danger in consuming too much sugar and refined starches. In Singapore, where good food is easily accessible, sugar lurks in many local staples including desserts, snacks and simple carbohydrates found in rice and noodles. Too much sugar consumption can cause a spike in insulin. Elevated levels of insulin in the body can cause fatigue, depression and obesity. Various studies show a link between eating foods high in sugar and a number of diseases including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart disease. A recent study indicates that it may contribute to cancer. If you suspect you have any of these conditions, it is advisable to consult your health provider for health screening.
If you’re looking for ways to lose weight, why not start by changing your sugar intake habits. Here are three simple ways:
Consider Natural Sweeteners
Sugar may get a bad reputation from medical reports but you may not have to ditch all sugar consumption. There are a number of natural sugars that break down slowly to prevent insulin spike. Agave nectar is one of them. Agave nectar is a naturally sweet syrup from a blue agave plant, a large succulent resembling Aloe Vera. The Aztecs have used this liquid to flavour their foods and drinks for centuries. Because of its low glycemic index (GI), many health conscious consumers have made the switch to this natural sweetener.
It may be difficult to find agave nectar in Singapore. However, you can always order it online. A good alternative is Luo han guo, traditionally used in Chinese medicine. The fruit extract is nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar and it has been used as a natural sweetener in China for centuries. It is now finding its way into the world of natural sweeteners in the western market.
Consider Stevia, a Dietary Supplement
Stevia is an herb in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. Glycosides, a chemical found in its leaves, accounts for its incredible sweetness. It is 15 times as sweet as sugar. Despite its sweetness, Stevia has no impact on blood sugar level and is virtually calorie-free, making it a suitable sweetener. Various studies have shown that Stevia is safe and non-toxic and countries like Japan and America have used this dietary supplement for some time now. You can find Stevia in a powder or liquid form and it can be used to sweeten beverages, desserts and for general cooking purposes.
In a study of 60,000 adults in Singapore, researchers found that drinking as few as two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week may raise the risk of pancreatic cancer by 87 percent. Apart from pancreatic cancer risk, sugar-rich drinks may promote obesity and a number of health problems discussed above. Why not consider water? According to researchers, water may help you to shed pounds as it has no calories and fills you up. Most health experts agree that drinking at least 8 glasses of water is desirable for good health. If you find plain water too boring, add a spritz of lemon or lime.