Low sugar diets and sugar cleanses are all the rage these days. Eating programs like the Whole 30 and the Blood Sugar Diet are just a couple of examples of widespread interest in cutting back on dietary sugar. Why bother with a sweets cleanse? We outline everything you need to know in Part 5 of our #foodfadstofollow series.
What is a Sweets Cleanse?
While there are naturally occurring sugars like fructose in fruit and lactose in milk products, there are lots of other sugars and sugar derivatives out there. Honey, processed sugars and high fructose corn syrup are just a few examples and are often used for baking and sweetening foods at home, and added during the manufacturing process.
During a sweets cleanse, you cut back on all dietary sugars for a period of time. Whether you follow an established eating plan like the Blood Sugar Diet or the Whole30, or simply set your own rules, at the end of the day, you want to cut out all added sugars from your diet.
Two hundred years ago in North America, the average person ate roughly two pounds of sugar a year. Today, the average North American consumes almost 100 times that amount – between 150 and 200 pounds of sugar a year. During this same timeframe, obesity rates have risen dramatically, along with heart disease, certain types of cancers, and Type II diabetes.
Research continues to show that high levels of dietary sugar increase the risk of heart disease and bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. This trend has now expanded beyond the confines of high-income countries and has become a global concern.
Is it a concern for Cambodia?
The Cambodian diet is a very healthy one. Compared with other neighbouring countries, Cambodians consume relatively low amounts of sugar. In the Western Pacific Region, Cambodia sits 8 out of 18 for total sugar consumption. Singapore and Malaysia consume three times more sugar than Cambodia while Bruneians consume twice as much as Cambodians.
The trend in the region mirrors the global trend: increased sugar consumption and increased disease. In 1991, Cambodians consumed 0.6kg of sugar per capita per year. Twenty years later, in 2012, that number skyrocketed to 17kg per capita per year.
Looking to clean up your diet and improve your health? Try a sweets cleanse.
6 tips for a successful sweets cleanse
1. Know your limits
Stick to the World Health Organization guidelines – 5-10% of daily calories from sugars, or roughly six teaspoons of sugar a day.
2. Eat a balanced and varied diet
Eat appropriately sized servings of vegetables, proteins and fats. The protein and healthy fats will help regulate blood sugar levels and keep sugar cravings at bay.
3. Eat fruit for dessert
Fruit does contain fructose, but with fibre and nutrients that help the body process the sugars without spiking blood sugar levels. Fruit does contain fructose, but with fibre and nutrients that help the body process the sugars without spiking blood sugar levels.
4. Cut out sugary drinks like juice and soda
These pack in calories and loads sugar with little nutritional benefit.
5. Get to know your sugars
Sugar is known by dozens of different names and is hidden in countless packaged foods. Learn sugar’s various names and read ingredient labels.
6. Eat and enjoy delicious, whole foods
It’s hard to beat fresh ingredients and creative, beautifully presented dishes. Go to the local market, pick up a new ingredient, or try out a different recipe, like the ACAC’s Perfect Steak. What you lack in sugar, you’ll gain back in healthful and nutritious cuisine. The point of a sugar cleanse is not to stop eating sweets forever, but to develop a conscientious awareness of our eating habits and how we fuel our bodies.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Factsheets:
Harvard Health Publications
World Health Organization
Whole Health Source
As part of the Academy of Culinary Arts’ commitment to professionalism and excellence and providing learning that reflects current trends in the hospitality sector, we’re exploring the newest developments in the food and beverage industry. Follow along with us with #foodfadstofollow!