Three years ago South Africa implemented a big stand against sugar in an effort to cut down on our obesity numbers: a major tax on sugar. More than just wanting consumers to pay more for their sugar fix, the government hopes that the sugar tax will help combat our country’s increasing obesity numbers, with a sugar tax that now stands at 11%.
As professor Karen Hofman of University of the Witwatersrand explains: “The campaign to get the levy increased is based on the growing body of research showing that sugar is addictive, that it is harmful to people’s health and that it is overwhelming the country’s health system.” Luckily Hofman’s research is showing that it is working. Are you keeping your sugar in check? It’s totally fine to indulge in a treat every now and then, but we live and eat in a world where sugar addiction is hidden in the sneakiest ways! As we approach the colder weather sugar cravings can get a little high, but as a major issue in South African health, here’s some easy things you can follow to keep your hands out of the cookie jar.
Start with protein
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Opting for sugary breakfast cereals, however, defeats the purpose – sweet, starchy foods will only make you crave more sugary snacks. Instead, start your day with a good serving of protein and good fats such as eggs and avocado.
Choose whole foods
Make sure your diet includes plenty of fresh food in its most natural form – in other words, food that isn’t processed. The problem with processed food is that it often has loads of hidden sugar and will only make you crave more. Be particularly vigilant about checking the sugar content of food that is sold as ‘healthy’ but convenient, such as granola bars and takeaway salads.
Get your zs
You’ve heard it a thousand times, but getting sufficient sleep is important for mental and physical well-being. It’s when you’re tired that you crave sugar for an energy boost.The problem: you come crashing down from the sugar-high and then need more sweet things to pick you up. Yet, a good night’s rest can do wonders
to help break this cycle of lethargy.
Pop a (healthy) pill
Make sure you include good-quality vitamin and mineral supplements in your diet – ideally something that contains omega 3, vitamin B3 and magnesium. These help with blood- sugar control, aid in curbing cravings and assist in feeling fuller for longer.
Satisfy cravings smartly
Sometimes the craving for sugar is just too real. Instead of chomping on a chocolate, rather eat fruit – not only does it contain natural sugars (which are easier to digest), but it will keep the hunger for something sweet at bay.
Read the labelS
If you need to eat something that’s processed (in other words, it comes with a label), make sure you know what you’re putting into your body. Keep in mind that the longer the list of ingredients, the more likely sugar is to be included. Also, make sure that you check the grams of sugar per serving and to choose the product with the least amount.