The ongoing pandemic has been quite alarming for all of us physically and emotionally. We are taking every possible precaution to fight this infection. From experimenting with a healthy diet to regular yoga and exercise, we are leaving no stone unturned to strengthen our immunity and overall nourishment. With the ferocious hit of the second wave, it has only gotten more challenging for each one of us. The pandemic has resulted in increased levels of anxiety which has thereby contributed to a lifestyle shift that brings with it poor sleep cycles, persistent sadness, binge eating, and reduced levels of physical activity. There is no denying that we always resort to food during these times when we're seeking a place of comfort. We are constantly munching on snacks, desserts, ice cream with our eyes constantly glued to laptop screens, phones and televisions. As much as we deny it, we have all been victim to these habits at some point during this lockdown; especially digging into those desserts, chocolates and sugar-filled snacks.
Have you ever wondered why sweet delicacies are always so comforting to us? Here's a lowdown.
Understanding the science behind sugar cravings
Sugar has drug-like effects in the reward centre of the brain. It has the same effect you feel when you are in love or post working out. That is the reason why sugar induces this magical happiness and makes one crave for more. Like every other drug, sugar, too, has its own negative effects. While the most obvious effect is weight increase, the repercussions could be quite severe. Some studies suggest that eating too much added sugar can cause inflammation, chromium deficiency and cavity issues. An important thing to know here is that its interference in the digestive system can also affect immunity.
Switching to healthier alternatives
In this endeavour to balance cravings and staying healthy, it is important we re-look at our food choices and find the right alternatives. A recent lifestyle shift has been towards Low Calories Sweeteners (LCS). These were discovered over a century ago and have been used in foods and beverages for more than 100 years. One of the most widely used sweeteners that are extremely healthy and could be called nature's gifts Stevia. Stevia leaves are about 200 times sweeter than traditional white sugar and people have used them for centuries as a herbal supplement. Unlike normal sugar, Stevia does not have negative side effects on the body. Despite the increased levels of sweetness, it also has a very low-calorie count pushing it in the 'ZERO-calorie' category.
The most widely appreciated quality of stevia is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels in the body, meaning one can enjoy all their favourite food like cake, cookies and coffees without feeling guilty about the calorie count. Want another bait? Stevia is known to reduce bacterial formation in the mouth preventing cavities that are caused by excess sugar.
To conclude, you don't need to bid adieu to sweetness when avoiding sugar; especially when you can get the same amount of sweetness from a healthier alternative. When you stick to a diet of healthy food, you're setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus. You don't need to deprive yourself of the food you crave, instead, fine-tune your habits and switch to simple lifestyle changes that you can sustain.
About Author: Pooja Makhija is a well-known nutritionist and health expert.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.