Did you know that nearly 8 in 10 people fantasise about having a sweet treat at least once a day? I would have to admit to craving something sweet a number of times each day and usually succumbing to that urge! That’s why this March I’m taking part in the British Dental Heart Foundation’s ‘Ultimate Dechox challenge’ – cutting out all chocolate and sweet treats throughout the entire month.
For a chocoholic like me, this is going to be a mammoth task, especially combined with the fact that all sweet treats are a no go – that’s dessert, sweets, cake, hot chocolate, biscuits, ice cream – the list is endless. However, with the increasing number of references to sugar in the news from the Sugar Tax debate, to the shocking revelations that some speciality coffees from well-known coffee shops contain a staggering 25 teaspoons of sugar, it’s hard to brush this issue aside and not take action.
It’s recommended that an adult has no more than seven cubes of sugar per day but when you’re snacking on sweet treats throughout the day, it seems easy to go over this limit. Take my stock of leftover Christmas chocolate as an example. Each Milk Tray chocolate contains four grams of sugar, whilst each Lindtt chocolate contains five grams and who really has just one? So, why is it so hard to resist temptation?
Like tobacco or alcohol, sugar is in fact addictive. It can act as a mood booster as it prompts the release of serotonin into the blood stream, giving us a welcome lift in mood. Sadly, our bodies can’t tell when we have had enough of certain types of sugar. Fructose doesn’t trigger a feeling of fullness in the same way sugars like glucose do, instead, eating fructose puts us at risk of overeating. As fructose makes up 50% of sucrose, which is commonly used to sweeten processed foods, there’s a clear need to be wary about what we’re eating. What’s more, many scientists believe that children are born with a sweet tooth, preferring sweet flavours over any other, leading to the childhood obesity issues that are so prolific today.
With this in mind, it seems clear why I find it hard to resist dipping into a box of chocolates or nibbling my way through half a pack of biscuits. During Dechox, not only will I be cutting out all sweet treats, but I also want to learn more about how much added sugar there is in our shopping basket, the impact of too much added sugar on our general and oral health and discovering tasty alternatives to my usual treats that will spur me on to keep up reducing my sugar intake in the future.