We all are drawn to sweet foods because our brains love sugar. The human brain likes sugary foods because it leads to dopamine hormone release, which is associated with happiness. So, after eating sugary foods, we get a rush of pleasure and feel we are in control, but we are not. Also, our body does not appreciate added sugars due to their adverse reaction to our health. We all know that sugary foods cause inflammation in the body, leading to many health conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and fatty liver disease, to name a few. But the problem is that we still eat way more sugar than our body can handle because of our inability to connect our bodies with our brains. As a result, we are in a constant struggle between our body and mind. Our brain wants more sugar because it wants to stay happy and in control, but our body wants less because it wants to stay healthy and disease-free.
However, sugar craving is a genuine and natural phenomenon, so there is no need to feel guilty about it. In fact, humans are born with preferring sweet taste over sour and salty taste, which is why babies reject sour and salty foods. The problem is that we are in constant search for happiness and unrealistic control, so our brain is asking for more and more sugar. Unfortunately, happiness and real control are hard to find these days, but if we can figure out our happiness and control somewhere else, not on the sugary foods, then we are more likely not to indulge in sugary foods. We need to remind ourselves to feed our cells, not our emotions.
Like many others, I must admit that I also have a sweet tooth and sugar cravings. Being a health professional, I also know that sugar can be detrimental to health if consumed in unhealthy quantities. Instead of avoiding sugar entirely or looking for unsatisfactory artificial sugars, I try to focus on healthy sugars to satisfy my sweet tooth.
The healthiest form of sugars would be honey and fruits because they provide beneficial nutrients and a happy sweet taste. In contrast, table sugar is extracted from plants and refined further to bring out its purest sweetest form but no nutrients. However, you have to give table sugar some credit for being real, pure, fat-free, sodium-free, and without any other molecular modification to make it low calorie or no-calorie.
My advice to enjoy this sugar season guilt-free would be to try your favorite sweet dish in moderation made with real healthy sugar.
Here are some of my favorite sugars’ Glycemic Index (GI) Facts adopted from the Sugar Association website.
Date sugar, Coconut sugar and Agave: *Low GI
Table sugar and High fructose corn syrup: *Moderate GI
Here is the link if you need more information on other forms of sugar and sugar substitutes.
If you are planning on to make a dessert then you can try this fruit cake
it is a Red Dot dessert due to being high in fat and added sugar but still have these healthy qualities per serving and can be consumed safely in moderation.
- Moderate in calories
- A healthy balance of total carbohydrates, and dietary fiber
- Contain zero trans fats and low in sodium
- Good source of Vitamin A (11% DV), Vitamin Bs (9-11% DV), Folate (13% DV), manganese (14% DV), and selenium (11% DV)
- It also provides.43 cup equivalent of healthy whole fruits serving
I will end my sugar talk with my favorite quote from a Buddhism axiom:
If you look for sweetness
Your search will be endless
You will never be satisfied
But, if you seek the true taste
You will find what you are looking for.
NOTE: This page can be only used as general guidance to a healthy and balanced diet for your health and wellness. This is not medical advice. Please consult your health care provider prior to following any diet plan and or purchase our Medical Nutrition Therapy Plan to ensure your personal medical nutritional needs.
Thank you and have the Happiest and Healthiest Thanksgiving!