Even those who prefer savoury treats may find sugar in their favourite pre-packaged snacks, but consumers are seeking out other ways to indulge cravings.
Angela Pringle, personal trainer and wellness consultant, says clients from all walks of life are starting to ask about sugar.
“A lot of it has to do with cravings and the psychology of it,” she says.
Pringle works with her clients to figure out if their cravings are addiction-based, habitual or some combination.
The concern is not only about weight, as sugar consumption can also influence mood, Pringle says.
“They’ll have really high highs when they have consumed the sugar, and then, very soon after, within five to 30 minutes, they’ll feel almost depressed,” she says. “It really tends to sort of play psychological games with individuals.”
Anneen DuPlessis, who owns Boon Burger with her husband Tomas Sohlberg, says her family has been educating themselves about sugar content.
“It’s definitely not a superfood, right? I have three kids, and we’re all very aware, especially (of) white processed sugar,” she says.
“Everyone is addicted to it. It’s in everything. It’s everywhere. There’s just a general unawareness, but I think there’s also a general addictiveness to sugar.”
Living her current lifestyle, DuPlessis feels confident about her level of health.
“I’m going to be 44, and I feel healthier now than I ever have,” she says.
She credits this to going vegan, doing kundalini yoga and not being obsessive about what she eats.
“You will never ever find pop in our house, or candies,” she says. “But, at the same time, if the kids go to the movies, they’ll share a bag of Skittles.”
Though they enjoy something sweet in moderation, DuPlessis says her kids also like staying away from refined sugars.
“It’s funny how they have started checking things like pop cans,” she says. Sometimes they will hold up a package and have other members of the family guess how much sugar is in it.
“It’s kind of become a sweet fun game,” she says.
Pringle says the first step to eliminating sugar is for her clients to be aware of how much they consume. Her program involves keeping a three-day food blog before they begin their first session.
After learning to eat more balanced meals, it becomes easier to avoid sugar, she says.
“The reality of what happens is if you are consuming what your body physiologically requires … there’s not any room for that sugar consumption to happen. And from that point, it just becomes willpower,” Pringle says.
Pringle says there are sweet alternatives to refined sugar. She recommends dried fruits, homemade ice cream and fruit smoothies.
DuPlessis says after a person adjusts their palate from processed sugar, they can enjoy the natural taste of food on a different level.