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Conquering the Sweet Tooth: Practical Steps for Sugar Reduction and Natural Sweetness Enjoyment

Author: Yean Toh | Published date: December 28, 2023 | Category: Nutrition

The sweet tooth

Practical Steps for Sugar Reduction

One of the most important steps towards better health is therefore to stop. or at least drastically reduce, your sugar intake. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Avoid processed foods and soda drinks. Even processed "health foods" like energy bars often contain too much sugar.
  • Avoid cakes, pastries, ice cream and other sweet snacks and desserts. It's okay if you eat cakes on special occasions a few times a year. In many traditional cultures, sweets.
  • Do not add sugar to your food and drinks. A bit of sugar in your coffee or tea may be are eaten only on festive occasions, not as desserts after almost every meal. okay, but not if you add several teaspoons each time, and drink several cups of coffee or tea each day. If you enjoy coffee or tea, try black coffee without sugar or Chinese tea.

It is not easy to stop eating sugar. Some vegetarians have shared that they found it easier to stop eating meat than to stop taking sugar! One major difficulty faced by many people is that they have a "sweet tooth". As a result, foods that other people consider "sweet" or even "very sweet" may taste "normal" to them.

Overcoming the "Sweet Tooth" Challenge

To get rid of your sweet tooth, you need to re-train your taste buds. The most effective way is to stop taking sugar and sweet foods altogether. At first, all your foods will taste bland. After about two weeks, your taste buds will become more sensitive and you will find that even bland foods - like plain rice start to taste slightly sweet. As a bonus, because your taste buds have become more sensitive, your foods in general will become more delicious. You will discover subtle and complex flavours that you never knew before. You will realise that flavours are not simply sweet, salty, pungent and so on. There are more subtle variations.

Enjoying Natural Sweetness Without Added Sugar

To enjoy the natural sweetness of foods without adding sugar, try these steps:

  • Chew your food very well. Saliva generated from chewing contains enzymes that convert starch into maltose, which tastes mildly sweet.
  • Eat more vegetables that are naturally sweet, such as carrot, cabbage, pumpkin, onion, etc. Learn cooking methods that bring out the natural sweetness of foods. Onion, for example, tastes pungent when raw. But when cooked slowly, over a small fire for a long time, onion becomes sweet. The same is true of most starchy vegetables. When cooking beans, add a small pinch of sea salt towards the end of the cooking period (after the beans have softened) to draw out the natural sweetness. 
  • Change your mindset about certain foods. Many people have no problems drinking Chinese tea without sugar, yet they must add sugar to regular tea. Likewise, they take Japanese green tea hot and without sugar in Japanese restaurants, but cold and sweetened as a canned drink. In the case of coffee, many Westerners drink a light coffee without sugar. Asians favour a strong bitter coffee with plenty of added sugar. 
  • If you have candida or yeast infection in your intestines, have it treated. Otherwise, the yeast in you will make you crave sugar.

This content is adapted, with permission, from Book 1 of 2 : The Wonders of Nutrition by Dr Ang Poon Liat. MBBS, M.MED (PAED), MRCP (UK PAED), FAMS, MD.

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