Not all sugar is bad: 5 ways to satisfy your post-holiday sugar cravings in a healthy way

Illustration by Getty Images

  • If you love sweets and still have some unhealthy snacks in your kitchen cabinet, you may find yourself struggling.
  • According to researchers, not all sugar is bad. It’s okay to eat whole foods that contain natural sugar.
  • However, problems occur when you consume too much added sugar, which manufacturers add to products to increase flavor or extend shelf life.

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done eating all those delicious treats we gave ourselves during the holiday season, sweets included.

Although sugar gets a bad rap, according to Harvard Health Publishing, sugar occurs naturally in all carbohydrate-containing foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products. It’s okay to eat whole foods that contain natural sugars.

A study published in the Saudi Medical Journal revealed the good functions of sugars in our bodies.

Once we consume sugar, its primary function is to provide us with energy for our brain and nervous system which regulates the performance of daily activities.

Read more | Your body has an internal clock that tells you when to eat and sleep and you could have a heart attack

Sugar is needed to metabolize fats, thus preventing our bodies from using proteins for energy, which are needed as structural components. It is a backup source of energy, an energy source for the brain and muscles, helps maintain body temperature and aids in muscle and skin formation.

However, problems occur when you consume too much added sugar, the sugar that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavor or extend shelf life.

In a 15-year study, Dr. Frank Ho, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues found that people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of developing a heart attack. death from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar.

The effects are also severe in children. The study says that high intakes of sugars (and their products) are common in this age group.

“It increases negative effects, such as juvenile delinquency, hypersensitivity, anxiety, inability to concentrate, increased adrenaline level, decreased ability to learn, and decreased milk drinking,” the study says.

Read more | Being “hungry” is real, and researchers have advice on how to deal with it

Here are some suggested healthy alternatives:

1) Dark chocolate is something you can eat without harming your body. There are many options such as Lindt Excellence 70%, 85% or 90% cocoa. Limit to two squares a day. 2) Dates are rich in fiber, potassium and iron that help in increasing your energy. You can eat a handful of dates and almonds for a delicious and crunchy snack.

3) Sweet potatoes contain starch that is rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

Read more | Eating a limited number of selected foods? Research shows it could be in your DNA

4) Berries are a nutritious option for quenching sugar cravings. High in fiber and low in sugar, they also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

5) Yogurt is rich in protein and calcium, which helps control your cravings and satisfies your appetite. One of the healthiest options, as it is free of added sugar.

You may find yourself looking for other foods to satisfy your sweet cravings, Dr. Ho warns, such as refined starches, such as white bread and white rice, which can spike glucose levels, and comfort foods high in saturated fat and sodium, which also cause problems. heart healthy.

Sources Saudi Journal of Medicine. Harvard Health Publishing