Hi RGers! This is Grace here, writing on behalf of INNATE. To add some context, We are proud to say that Rollagranola magnificently manufactures our healthy snacks. INNATE is a wellbeing brand that considers our body, mind and soul, creating products both consumable and tech.
Disclaimer: Writing this article meant I was pondering ‘all things sugar’, leading to an intense sugar craving. Whilst I researched the severe issues surrounding society’s consumption and attitude to sugar, all I wanted was a sugar hit. The irony is inescapable, yet herein lies the issue. Although most of us are informed of the damage of sugar, society seems to function alongside the ritualistic consumption of it. ‘Did you know sugar is as addictive as cocaine?’ is frequently recalled. Then, in the next breath we organise to meet up for a catch up over a great slab of cake. So, why is it that sugar is irresistible for so many of us?
The first answer, as previously alluded to, is addiction. The way the brain and body respond to sugar is not dissimilar to cocaine. One example is that dopamine is secreted, invoking pleasure, but it immediately demanding more. Unlike the dopamine released from completing a project or an exercise session, it creates a vicious circle of instant gratification with little satisfaction. Your brain and gut bacteria start shouting at your body: ‘just a couple more pieces of chocolate’. More chocolate, more dopamine, more demand… for more. We quite quickly become trapped in this cycle mirroring addiction. In fact, this series of consumption quickly followed by craving can be named; the glycaemic roller-coaster. When we eat foods with a high glycaemic index, like Carbohydrates (generally speaking) and sugar, our blood sugar level spikes. Consequently, our body must exert a significant amount of energy in bringing our blood sugar levels back down. Hence, we are back at square one, maybe hungrier, or even hangry (God forbid). By choosing foods with a low glycaemic index, it is much easier to control our appetites, thus avoiding that reflexive reach for the chocolate. Additionally, by devouring said chocolate we only destine ourselves for more hunger crashes. It seems the glycaemic roller-coaster is one to be avoided, especially if the fuel creates a comparative cycle to cocaine.
Furthermore, perhaps more worrying, is the ease of leading oneself into this cycle without any awareness of doing so. The NHS suggest 30g of sugar a day, equating for 5% of our calorie intake. This sugar intake can occur from better sugars, fruit being the obvious one, not just sweets and chocolates. However, we are also being surreptitiously fed sugar simply by shopping at a supermarket. One unexpected example is ready made meals. There is 50.7g in a single serving of Sainsbury’s Sweet and Sour Chicken, far exceeding the suggested daily limit. I think most people would intuitively agree that homecooked meals are healthier, but possibly not to such a drastic degree. I was certainly shocked. The article titled ‘Mindful Eating’ explains that our gut craves what we feed it (here is the link for more information https://www.innatefood.com/mindful-eating-eating-for-your-own-body/). In short, our gut can quickly become attuned to an excessive sugar intake, which it is being fed both overtly by us and covertly by society.
At Innate we champion the approach that awareness is power, whether that is related to emotional nourishment, such as recognising our subconscious emotions or appreciating how we physically fuel ourselves. Listed below are a couple of tips that have stopped me from reaching for a slice of cake in my current state of sugar fascination:
- Philosophy and food. Alongside a practical understanding of how we should nourish our body, there appears to lie a much more philosophical approach to our food. I consider the wider importance of eating mindfully in ‘Mindful Eating’ if you are interested. However, in direct relation to sugar, there appears to be a forbidden fruit syndrome. The more we are told we should not have something, the more we crave it. This may be the reason for my undeniable desire for sugar as I write this article. Therefore, it is essential to set realistic targets to be constructive. If we become obsessive, avoiding sugar will seep into our consciousness persistently. This normally leads to launching us back onto the roller-coaster, as we gorge on the forbidden fruit, otherwise referred to as a relapse.
- The wider diet. By satisfying the body with the correct nutrients, it is easier to avoid indulging in the societal drug, namely sugar. Also, if we have a diet that fully nourishes are body, we should avoid the states of intense hunger, which appear to lead to ‘relapsing’ as well.
- Slowly but surely. Be kind to yourself. As previously mentioned, an obsessive approach will most likely lead to greater temptation. Consider yourself re-training your gut bacteria. Training is a journey, with ups and downs and a journey takes time. Additionally, using substitutes such as dates can help with the weaning process.
- Attention and intention. The cravings will come but instead of mindlessly reaching for chocolate, recognise it and direct your attention to the detriment of sugar, you could even read this article. If we reflect on our intention on avoiding sugar it should encourage us on our journey. Surely the desire to cut back on sugar arises from self-love and not to set ourselves up for failure with unreasonable rules. It could be more useful to thank ourselves for attempting the journey, rather than begrudging our longings for sugar. Gratitude takes the power away from the craving and directs it back to ourselves, mind and body alike.
We hope that gave you some food for thought =)
See you in two weeks when we’ll be exploring the physiological impact of stress and offering some strategic tips.
If you’d like to check out our savoury supersnacks (in their signature flavours, Beetroot and Butternut Squash) ((refine sugar free!))- please head on over to our Amazon here.