Opinion

SPOTLIGHT ON NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE: How to decrease sugar in your diet Part 2

By Dr. Andrea Hornyak, Spotlight on Naturopathic Medicine

Sugar
(Fotolia)

Sugar (Fotolia)

Food:

Instead of eating processed/packaged cookies that are high in sugar, set-aside time to make cookies from scratch so you control the amount of sugar you’re eating. Try adding bananas or applesauce in place of sugar in the recipe.

Fill up on a plate of protein and vegetables so there really is no room for dessert.

Donuts and pastries may seem like a quick answer to breakfast hunger, but try quick cut oats with grated apple and cinnamon instead.

Fermented carrots, beans or pickles will curb your sugar craving and make a great quick snack.

When a chocolate craving appears, choose organic dark chocolate with 70 per cent or more cocoa.

Always read the label on anything you buy and choose the products that contain less sugar and more protein and fibre. As a general rule, the longer the shelf life of a packaged food, the worse it is for your health.

If you choose to eat a packaged food that has more than six grams of sugar per serving, only eat one serving.

Add spices to your food to help regulate your blood sugar such as cinnamon, ginger, oregano, garlic and turmeric.

Consume soluble fibre to lower blood sugar and make you feel full. Sources of soluble fiber include oats, beans, sweet potato, broccoli, apple, pear, citrus fruits, almonds, and flax seeds.

Instead of eating pastries, try a glass of milk.

Make the majority of your food choices Low Glycemic Index (Low GI). These include most protein sources and vegetables. Low GI foods take longer for your body to digest because sugar is released more slowly into your bloodstream.

Some examples of food with a low GI: whole grain pasta, apples, oranges, pears, peaches, plums, beans and lentils, wild rice, porridge

Some examples of food with a high GI: mango, watermelon, raisins, white rice, white bread, white potatoes, crackers, bagels, pie, pastry, donuts

It's best if you eat local fruit, milk, kefir or homemade yogurt as part of a mixed meal. Your body will then absorb the simple sugars more slowly as they are mixed with fibre and protein. For example, mix high GI foods with nut butters, eggs or chickpeas.

Eat a good breakfast to help regulate your blood sugar levels throughout the morning. A high GI food such as cereal or white toast and jam quickly raise your blood sugar and decreases your immunity.

Eat a variety of foods during the day like local beef jerky, nuts or seeds so that your food is more appealing. Try adding local red or green peppers, raspberries or grapes.

Snack on hummus with vegetables or cheese, rather than crackers, bagels or muffins.

Eat between two and four snacks during the day that do not contain preservatives, including an after-dinner snack to help keep your blood sugar levels steady.

Drinks:

Trade in your habit of drinking soda pop, energy drinks, and pesticide laden sugar-sweetened fruit juice with blueberry herbal tea, homemade iced tea (add one tea bag to four cups of water and 1/2 lemon) or kombucha (fermented tea).

Keep a pitcher of water in your fridge and infuse it with fresh lemons, oranges, limes, or berries.

If your usual coffee is a “double double,” try it with just cream or milk. It takes about a week for your taste buds to get used to it, but then if you go back to adding sugar, you will be repulsed at how sweet it is.

Reduce your intake of candy, alcohol, and fruit juice. These foods contain simple sugars that are easy for your body to absorb and quickly raise your blood sugar.

Dilute organic, no sugar added fruit juices with water. Use about one quarter juice to three quarters water, and drink once a day. The rest of the time, opt for water and other drinks without sugar.

Activity:

Do something daily that helps you to alleviate stress, as cortisol causes blood sugar levels to rise. Chop wood, bake, cut the grass with a push mower, beat the dirt out of your outside mats, etc.

Exercise every day to help lower your blood sugar levels.

Try to get at least seven hours of solid sleep every night, as a lack of proper rest increases appetite and sugar cravings.

The next time you want to reach for something sweet at work, drink one cup of water, take a five-minute walk and breath in some fresh air.

Eating sugar should be a treat, instead of a daily occurrence. If you indulge in sweet foods and drinks only on special occasions, you won’t feel so anxious or stressed, and your body will thank you for it.

Dr. Hornyak has been in private practice as a Licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine since 2006. For more information, phone the Norwich Medical Centre at 519-863-2338 or visit www.vitalforcenaturopathic.ca.