This title may really surprise you. Most people believe that the single biggest contributor to their weight problem is sugar or sweets, when actually they are not the same. Even if some would sort to having piece of hard candy to satisfy a craving, in all likelihood, they will say, “No that’s not what I want.” This is because what they are craving is fat foods, or something like a premium ice cream or a brownie or piece of rich chocolate candy.
Whether you crave for rich sweets or not, the drive to eat them creates problems. In fact, some believe that a person can crave sugar in an addictive fashion. This theory is based on the fact that sugar releases a chemical in the brain that makes the person feel calm and relaxed. Problems arise when the calm feeling does not last very long and the person then craves more sugar and with greater frequency to produce this feeling. Whether this theory is true physiologically is not important. What is important is knowing whether this scenario describes how you relate to sweets. If so, you must take action to deal with the problem.
There are two distinct ways to deal with a craving for sweets. The first is the most effective and the most difficult. Of the people who will try this method, less than 1 percent will stick with abstaining from all sweets, sugar, and even sugar substitutes in a long-term basis. In doing this nearly impossible task, you will notice that the craving for sweets lessens each day and virtually disappears within two weeks. The problem with this approach is that if you cheat, possibly with even one sweet indulgence, you will return to craving the sweets. Think of people you know who quit smoking, even for long periods of time. Just one cigarette gets them smoking again.
The easier and more sensible alternative is to eat sweets moderately, to your advantage. With the advent of numerous low-sugar and artificially sweetened items, this is not difficult as long as you pay attention to calories and fat. Fat is considered the most detrimental form of caloric intake, as it has more than twice the calories of carbohydrates and protein. Sugar has the same amount of calories as carbohydrates (it is itself a carbohydrate). If you doubt this, just look at a box of corn flakes and sugar frosted flakes and you’ll see that ounce for ounce the calories are the same. This does not mean it is okay to eat sugar when you are craving for sweets. But if you are going to get in trouble, at least do it with sugar alone instead of sugar in fat.
Remember, there is evidence that we metabolize sugar and other carbohydrates more effectively than we do fat. In other words, there is thought to be a thermodynamic burn from the digestion of carbohydrate. Fat, however is believed to slow down metabolism. A few example of where sugar works in place of fat is using jam instead of butter or margarine on toast, or using a sweet marinade such as juice in place of oil for meat and chicken. There are numerous desserts that are fat-free but do have sugar or juice used as a sweetener, including cookies, frozen yogurt and other frozen desserts, muffins, and so on. Of course, sugar substitutes lower the calories even more.
You cannot eat anything you want as often as you want, regardless of the calories content. Most overweight people want to nibble often creating an unconsciousness about their eating lifestyle which leads to a multitude of problems. Among them is the lack of satisfaction after eating, caused mostly by the guilt associated with over consumption. This feeling is usually verbalized as, “I don’t know why I even ate that, it really wasn’t good.” So, to be able to enjoy what we eat, and whether it’s sweets or other food, the best thing is to plan it, enjoy it, and control it.