Sugar & Our Diets

We all know sugar is bad for us and recent WHO (World Health Organisation) recommendations now state we should reduce our sugar consumption from 12 Teaspoons per day to 6 Teaspoons approximately 50% to maintain good health. The impact of sugar on our health is starting to rapidly emerge and the long-term effects are becoming apparent such as obesity, diabetes, fertility issues, heart attacks and strokes.

A Difficult Task

This task is going to be difficult goal to achieve considering all the temptations placed in the way. Supermarkets, stalls, pubs, restaurants, fast food, shops in garages – everywhere you look, convenience and unhealthy snack foods are available. It is no wonder we have a worldwide problem with obesity. The weekly food shop is a feature of family life and one of the sources of additional sugar in our diets.

The Weekly Shop

Have you ever got home from doing the weekly food shop and looked at your shopping bill to realize you spent a lot more than you intended, bought food you don’t need and purchased treats like biscuits, crisps and sweets without intending to buy them at the start. Believe it or not, the Time you go shopping, whether you have a Shopping List or not and something to Eat before you go will all affect your ability to make good choices in the weekly shop and spend less.

When you are in a big supermarket with so many choices to make, you have to make a lot of decisions about what to buy particularly for a big weekly shop. Research presented by Roy Baumeister in his book ‘Willpower’ highlights the fact that as we make decisions throughout the day our ability to practice self-control diminishes. During the food shopping experience, you are essentially presented with so many decisions that they wear you down until your willpower is eroded and your ability to rein in your spending is gone.

Designed For Temptation

Supermarkets are designed to tempt you to make impulse buys. Think about it, most supermarkets have the biscuits, crisps, cakes, chocolates, sweets available at the entrance to the store and then strategically placed throughout the store. How much time do you spend stopping yourself from buying the yummy unhealthy food, exercising self-control by saying no to yourself and all of a sudden despite your best intentions you cave at the check-out and make a last minute sugar purchase.

It is all down the impact of making so many decisions in such a short space of time. The more decisions you have to make during your shopping experience, the more your willpower drops, and you start to become irritable and tired as your glucose levels fall from practicing self-control. So all of sudden at the very end you finally snap at the end and buy the chocolate or crisps supermarkets so considerately put in front of you to tempt you to make that purchase.

Avoid The Trap & Get Healthy

The good news is you can avoid the shopping trap, save yourself a few bob and a few pounds on the scales by following the steps below.

  • Eat something that balances and maintains your sugar levels before you shopping, a low G.I food would be your best bet. You can avoid the sugar slump that can occur when exercising your Willpower.
  • Do up a shopping list and stick to it. Check your press before you go and do a meal planner. The less actual decisions you have to make in the supermarket the less self-control you have to use.
  • Try and go as early as possible in the day as your self-control will be higher.
  • Try and do it alone so you can focus, partners or children will add to the trolley.
  • If you are tired, rest before going out if possible or put it off until the next day. When you are tired you are more likely to be overwhelmed by decisions and buy more food.
  • If you feel you need a little extra support, talk to a specialist about Dietary Therapy and they will help you.

Have a go and let us know how you get on…. or if you have any questions on dietary therapy or anything else in this article please feel free to Contact Us with your questions.

Post by Pauline Mc Cormack