If you’re craving sweets, you’re probably wondering just how bad it is for you (what you can get away with) and why you’re having this craving. Most of us crave sweets at various times in our lives. Recently, there are lots of questions on sugar intake from dieters on the sugar reduction diet or a sugar free diet.
What’s Wrong With Sugar?
How To Reduce Refined Sugar From Your Diet
Ayurveda On Sugar And Craving Sweets
Craving Sweets: What You Can Do
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Refined sugar provides a quick source of energy, it has no nutrients in it. In addition, sugar increases calories and thereby causes weight gain. Sugar also causes various health problems like heart disease, tooth decay and immune problems. Sugar is associated with the development of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Let me explain what exactly is refined sugar. White and brown table sugars are refined, meaning, they have gone through a chemical process that removes impurities and beneficial nutrients. Refined sugar is made from raw sugar, and has undergone a refining process to remove the molasses.
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If you have the habit of taking dessert after each meal, try to skip those or reduce the quantity. This is because ice cream, cake, candy, cookies, brownies and pastries are loaded with refined sugar. Instead of unhealthy desserts, you can opt for a slice of fresh fruit.
Avoid sugary drinks. Replace sugary drinks, like soda, sweet tea, lemonade and even fruit juice, with water. This can save you calories and protect your health. You can always flavor your water with some freshly sliced cucumbers or lemon.
Most of the processed food that we use in our pantry has refined sugar in it as an ingredient. When grocery shopping, always look for refined sugar and avoid using items which have sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, cane crystals and corn sweetener.
Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, add fresh fruit (try bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots).
Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar. Try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg.
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Madhura rasa, the sweet taste, is considered the most important of the six tastes. Here madhura refers to naturally sweet foods like milk, ghee, rice, wheat and other grains and legumes, as well as sweet fruits, dates, honey and jaggery. Madhura does not refer to refined sugar.
Madhura rasa pacifies Vata and Pitta dosha, and aggravates Kapha. Madhura rasa originates with the combination of Prithvi (the earth element) and Ap (the water element). The sweet taste is congenial to the body and improves the quality of body fluids, blood and also nourishes the Ojas. It soothes the sense organs and improves reproductive health.
Another important fact is that Ayurveda recommends the intake of the sweet taste first in any meal. This is because initially when we take a meal our digestive fire will be at its maximum. When you have the sweet taste first, it will be digested well. The sweet taste is heavy in quality and needs good digestive fire to be utilized by the body.
If you’re craving sweets, here are some tips to satisfy your sugar cravings in a healthy way.
Make home cooked healthy meals, rather than take-out or processed foods.
Drink green tea or herbal tea instead of milk tea with sugar. Or you can replace dairy with coconut milk.
Palm sugar is a healthy sugar supplement. It pacifies Kapha as well as Vata and Pitta dosha.
You can always try naturally-sweet recipes like coconut covered dates, a handful of raisins or dried mango. Sweet potato makes a nice snack, and homemade chocolate with maple syrup can help satisfy your sugar cravings.
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