Last week, I had a go at cutting out added sugar. It was an educational experience, reminding me to kick some bad habits like using a cake or biscuit just to wake me up, but also confirmed what I already felt to be true, that dramatic self-denial is only ever likely to be short-lived, and moderation is key.
That’s why I rather like the “80/20 rule”. It’s nothing complicated, it just means that 80% of the time you follow a healthy diet, choosing fruit and veg, limiting butter, and avoiding excess sugar. And 20%, you allow yourself to be a little more relaxed, perhaps having a piece of cake after lunch or eating out at a restaurant.
For me, that means aiming to leave around 5 days or so between each treat. I don’t really need or intend to follow it too strictly. Remember, it’s not about dieting, it’s about finding and maintaining comfortable moderation.
The problem with trying to deny yourself anything completely is that it’s hard to maintain. We need food, including sugar, to move, think and function, so drastically low calorie diets tend to make us feel pretty rough pretty quickly and we give up.
Research from AB Sugar suggests that a third of mums have already tried a ‘quick fix’ diet already this year, lasting an average of two weeks.
The stats make dismal reading for those hoping for crash diet miracles. Almost half of the 2,000 mothers surveys admitted they didn’t stick to their latest diet, almost half said they lost weight but didn’t manage to maintain it, and over three quarters reported going straight back to their old eating habits once the diet was ditched.
Dr Julian Cooper, Head of Food Science at AB Sugar says:
“For those wanting to achieve and maintain a balanced diet, one way to help is by taking a look at the nutritional labels which are on all pre-packaged food and drinks.”
Registered Dietician, Helen Bond, says:
“There are many times throughout the year – including after an excessive Christmas, before a holiday or ahead of a special occasion – when some of us would like to lose those extra pounds. So it can be tempting to go for the ‘quick fix’ diet that promises to get us into shape in a few weeks, or start skipping meals to save calories and lose that weight. However, as our research shows, this short term, quick diet approach isn’t working.”
Here’s a video from Making Sense of Sugar that’s that’s well worth watching in full. It takes you through some key targets to aim for in terms of food intake, and also explains why moderation makes more sense long term.
So, what’s your take on quick-fix dieting versus moderation? I’d love to hear your take.
This is a commissioned post for Making Sense of Sugar