Do you get instant feelings of regret after reaching for the biscuit tin or having that extra piece of chocolate? You are definitely not alone! A new study has found that British workers look in the fridge or food cupboard 13 times per day!* Our experts share why we feel the urge to snack and how we can do this without damaging our health!
Why do we snack?
Psychologist and author, Corinne Sweet, explains “People snack for many, individual reasons: often it is to do with habit, as it is a learned behaviour. We often want to snack when our sugar levels drop, or due to our Circadian rhythms, at ‘low energy’ times of day. It can also be for psychological reasons: bored, irritated, afraid, annoyed, etc. Some people may also snack because the food is simply there, in the environment. Most of us are surrounded now by chocolate bars at checkouts, muffins and pizza on every street corner, and few of us can avoid the temptation.
Sugar is the enemy
It’s no secret that sugar is a highly addictive substance that can have negative effects on our health when consumed frequently, so if you’re gorging on foods that have a high sugar content, this could be the reason why you’re feeling guilty! Cutting out sugary snacks is much easier said than done, especially if you’re grazing on them frequently. Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns explains, “Sugar is quickly broken down into glucose in our blood – the type of sugar that converts directly to energy. Our blood glucose level goes very high at this point, and this is when we feel energised. But because high levels of glucose in our blood are harmful to the body, it releases insulin, which then quickly removes the glucose and stores it as glycogen or fat. As well as causing us to put on weight, this surge in insulin often makes our blood sugar level drop too low, causing an energy dip, concentration problems, and cravings for yet another boost of sugar – and so the cycle continues.”
Eat Fresh and Often
By preparing your own meals and snacks you can control exactly what kind and how much sugar is going into your diet. If you feel you want something sweet you can substitute sugar with other sweet flavours such as vanilla or citrus zest, which provides you with the flavour but not the calories. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of ‘Natural Alternatives to Sugar’ explains, “Ensure you are eating little and often during the day to keep your blood sugar steady.” If you let yourself become ravenously hungry during the day you are more likely to suffer from energy slumps and reach for a quick sugary fix. This can lead you into a vicious cycle as a sugar hit won’t keep you feeling full for long, leaving you looking for your next sweet fix. However, by eating fresh food throughout the day, you will keep both your blood sugar levels and energy levels constant, helping you avoid that sweet sugar hit.
Ditch the sugar
Where to start with the sugar cull? “You can add sweetness to foods in other ways. For example, you could add carrots, raisins, dates, figs or bananas as natural sweeteners. Many people now make wonderful cakes from naturally sweet vegetables such as beetroot and carrot,” advises Dr Marilyn Glenville, the U.K’s leading Nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.marilynglenville.com). Don’t forget to switch up your snacks! Sugary snacks are causing more harm than good and your body is receiving no nutritional benefit. Ditch the chocolate, biscuits and sugar-filled cereal bars and introduce the likes of berries, full-fat Greek yoghurt and almonds. Blueberries and raspberries are sweet and delicious, yet low in natural sugars and packed full of nutrients. Mix them in to some full-fat Greek yoghurt with a small handful of almonds for a healthy snack that will keep your fuller for longer.
Need a little help to curb your sugar cravings?
As mentioned earlier, sugar is highly addictive so you may need a little help ditching them. Equigluco by Quest Nutra Pharma (£12.99, www.qnutrapharma.com) is a specialist formula designed to support blood glucose regulation. It contains chromium and green coffee extract, which helps to balance insulin levels to help keep those afternoon sugar pangs at bay.
Can’t live without that chocolatey flavour?
Do you have a self-confessed sweet tooth that constantly craves chocolatey and sweet flavours? If this is you, simply switching up your snacks to healthy foods may not do the trick. Not to worry, Slissie is here to help! Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, you can try using Slissie (from £24.99, www.slissie.co.uk), which is the first of its kind as it delivers flavourings, from chocolate to caramel coffee, which instantly help you resist those sweet calorific snacks.
How does it work? Psychologist Corinne Sweet explains, “The smell (olfactory senses) and taste (tastebuds) combine to trick the brain into thinking that the appetite has been satisfied. If you are craving chocolate, and satisfy that craving with the taste and smell, it is then possible to move on, feeling replete. With real food, often the chocolate eaten after the first couple of squares is not tasted. It becomes a repetitive behaviour, or habit, to keep eating, but it is not really necessary beyond a square or two. We keep eating because we are then on automatic pilot. Slissie may therefore be a very clever way to help the brain think the craving has been satisfied, and appetite is therefore replete.”