Oh, the carbohydrates! Why, oh why, oh why, do we have to be stuck with that persistent and seemingly never-ending sweet tooth? I don’t know if you have ever thought about it, but from the three basic food ingredients – that is carbohydrates, protein and fat; our tongues have taste receptors only for carbohydrates? Yes, indeed, we cannot taste fat or protein until spiced it with other flavors, but we certainly can taste sweet.
The reason for this is that carbohydrates are important for our diet and crucial for many bodily functions. Our brains, for example, operate on carbs only. Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned by modern weight-loss craze to consider everything sweet to be next to only pure evil. Yet, not everything that is sweet is necessarily bad for you or makes you fat.
In fact, our tongue’s ability to sense the pleasantness of carbs only proves that Mother Nature has equipped us with a reinforcing mechanism to consume lots of healthy, vitamin and mineral packed fruits and vegetables. And unless you are on a very short term and very restrictive weight-loss program, you should feel free to indulge your sweet tooth in fresh fruits and veggies as much as you’d like.
On the other hand, there are many ways, in which we consume sugars in a very unhealthy and fattening manner. Our everyday diets are crammed with refined sugars in prepared foods, sauces, snacks and drinks. Many of these sugars are hidden. That is, you are not necessarily aware of consuming a substantial amount of carbs, unless you are in the habit of reading all of your food’s dietary labels.
Here are a few tips on how to eliminate those “bad” carbs from your plate. First of all, learn about sugar substitutes. And, no, I am not talking about carcinogenic; two molecules shy of plastic stuff. Yacon syrup, for example, is a completely natural product made of a potato-like root that not only tastes sweet, but has also been used in ancient times as a popular go-to-cure for various ails. Yacon syrup has many antioxidants and is known for its great potential to battle candida (that is yeast) in our bodies.
Once you are able to drop the obvious, let’s move on to the less obvious sugar intake. Make yourself read nutritional labels. No, I don’t presume you spend your life with a calculator in hand trying to figure out the calories in and calories out. Forget calories. Instead, go straight for the “grams carbohydrates” data on the label. You will be surprised how much sugar you are consuming “unknowingly” in your drinks, cereals, prepared meals, even health-foods, such as yogurts and fruit juices.
Speaking of fruit juices – switch to eating your fruits in solids and concentrate on drinking more pure water instead. Occasionally juicing your own fruit is fine; but remember that pasteurization (i.e. cooking) of juices manufactured professionally lowers the health benefits, while preserving or even increasing the sugar intake. So, switch from a glass of orange juice in the mornings to eating a full orange and drinking a cup of green tea instead.
Going from sugary sodas or “coffee-flavored” drinks to diet options is a no brainer. However, there is a trick to curbing your sweet cravings as well. Stop by the candy aisle. What? Did I just say what you thing I said? Yes, I did. If you are like most other people, you do have strong cravings for sweet stuff, often right after a hearty meal. That’s the reason for the invention of desserts. So, while you can torture yourself and try to fight your sweet tooth, or give up and overindulge on a 1000-calorie brownie that you scourge down in half a minute, I will be on the “skinny” side enjoying long minutes of caramel or fruity sweetness with a 20 calorie candy, or two.