Have you ever noticed that seniors, especially those over the age of 70, seem to have an excessive craving for sweets? If your elderly loved one has been eating sugar their whole life, it makes it doubly hard to quit sugar for good. This sparked an interest in researchers and they started looking into the cause of the elderly’s sweet tooth. We want to help them quit sugar for good.
As we grow older, our taste buds lessen and become less sensitive. People originally have 10,000 to 15,000 taste buds. But when we reach the age of 70 or older, we will lose about two out of three. This leaves us with 3,000 to 5,000 less sensitive taste buds. For this reason, an elderly person’s sense of taste declines. Additionally, a senior’s sense of smell, which contributes to taste, also declines. Other factors that affect taste also include therapies and medications. Diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are shown to alter the sense of taste and smell. Since Alzheimer’s is now commonly referred to as ‘Type 3 Diabetes‘, it is more important than every for seniors to reduce their sugar intake or (better yet) quit sugar for good.
In fact, an average person consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar regularly; that’s about three times more than what American Heart Association recommends! Although it’s a known fact that too much sugar is bad for you, new studies show that sugar can even do more damage than you might think. It negatively impacts your cardiovascular health and contributes to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
However, the struggle lies in weaning oneself off of sugar. It’s hard to quit sugar for good since it’s found in so many foods. Plus, sugar gives off a neurotransmitter called dopamine after it goes into your body, giving you an almost addictive buzz. Evidence shows that sugar is addictive because it triggers the same pleasure centers of the brain that’s affected when a person takes cocaine or heroin.
Types of Sugar to Avoid
The number one type sugar you and you’re elderly loved one need to stay away from is refined white sugar – the one that people commonly use to sweeten coffee or added to desserts. This type of sugar is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to a rise in blood sugar levels and insulin that can be detrimental to your health.
Refined sugar is so common that it’s added to most food products – from ketchup to salad dressings to bread and more. That’s why it’s so hard to quit sugar for good. Companies try to confuse people by calling sugar different types of names, such as cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and others. But it’s important to know that it’s all just sugar.
Although maple syrup, honey, and molasses are not processed similar to refined white sugar, these are also added sugars and can cause the same negative effects on your body.
How to Quit Sugar for Good
Let’s face it – quitting sugar is not an easy task. It’s going to take a lot of time and patience to be able to wean yourself off of the sweet stuff. A Paradise for Parents wants to help you or your elderly loved one quit sugar and lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. Here are nine surefire ways to help you quit sugar for good.
Avoid going cold turkey.
If you or your elderly loved one eat sweets regularly, then your body is already used to the sugar. So when you suddenly stop eating sugar, you’ll most likely experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, mood swings, and the like.
If you think to start your day without coffee will make you go crazy, sugar withdrawal is 10 times worse. It’s highly recommended if you slowly wean yourself off of it, taking one step at a time to give your body enough time to adjust. As a matter of fact, slow changes are more effective than drastic ones when it comes to dieting.
Don’t resort to artificial sweeteners.
Most people try to quit consuming sugar resort to artificial sweeteners. But do they really help?
Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin or aspartame may not be the answer to quitting sugar. Even though these sweeteners have zero calories, its sweet taste won’t satisfy your hunger, causing you to crave more sugary treats afterward. A study conducted in 2013 by Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that drinking one diet coke per day contributes to diabetes and weight gain.
It’s not clear as to why artificial sweeteners increase hunger but it might be linked to the sweetness of the sweeteners. They are usually sweeter than natural sugar and too much of it can dull your taste buds to less sweet foods like fruits. This leads to intense cravings for very sweet and high-calorie foods.
It’s better to placate your sweet tooth without having to consume refined sugar. One way to do so is to add cinnamon or vanilla extract and add it to your usual cereal, baked goods, or coffee. This gives you sweetness without the harmful side effects of sugar – without the calories as well. You can also add spices and herbs to your meals and drinks, such as ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, or chicory and more. Additionally, citrus zest adds a fruity sweetness.
Stay away from sugary drinks.
Common sweetened beverages, such as fruit juice, iced tea, sports drink, or soda are ridden with added sugar. Take for example a can of cola; it has nine teaspoons of sugar – that’s a third more than the daily recommended limit by the American Heart Association.
Fruit juices and other sweetened beverages are like liquid sugar, adding up a lot of calories without appeasing your hunger. If you’re really craving for soda, it’s better to drink seltzer, which has no added sugar and contains zero calories. For fruit juice cravings, opt for water with fresh fruit slices or a fruit-infused bottled water.
Cut down table sugar.
If adding sugar to your food and drinks have become a habit, don’t beat yourself up by cutting sugar entirely. Give yourself ample time to ease out of the habit. If you start your day with two spoons of sugar in your coffee or tea, take it down a notch and only add one for a week or two and then cut it down to zero the following week. Substitute it with a little milk or by eating a slice of fruit.
Do the same with the added sugar you place in your cereal, oatmeal, or the maple syrup on your pancakes. When you slowly reduce the amount, you’d hardly notice that you’re cutting back on sugar and you’ll experience fewer withdrawals and cravings.
A lot of cuisines you find in restaurants are doused with sauces or coating that contain added sugar. As well as condiments, glazes, and certain pasta sauces contain sugar. Even your trusty pizza crust most likely contain hidden sugar even though it isn’t noticeable.
Before consuming anything, make sure to read the label. Look for the different aliases of sugar:
- Brown sugar
- Corn syrup
- Cane sugar
- Cane syrup
- Evaporated cane juice
- Brown rice syrup
Avoid simple-carb sugary treats.
Muffins, white bread, refined flour treats, cookies, pastries, cakes, and more are sweet treats that offer you little nutrition and a whole lot of added sugar. The great thing about these treats is that they’re not hard to identify. Which means, it’ll be easier for you to eliminate them from your diet. All it does is mess up your blood sugar levels and leaves you craving more.
It’s better to get your carbs from whole grains, such as brown rice, black rice, quinoa, whole-wheat, barley, and more. These are converted into sugar when digested, but they’re absorbed by the body slower than refined carbs. Therefore they give you a steady supply of energy.
At A Paradise for Parents, we believe that meal times are the best times of the day. Our residents are provided with three healthy and delicious meals that are tailored to their needs and preferences. If you want to know more about assisted living facilities, A Paradise for Parents staff and our resources can answer all your questions. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (623) 295-9890 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about the services we offer. You can also fill out an online form located on our homepage. We’d be happy to assist you in your search for an assisted living facility for your loved one.