5 ways to beat the afternoon sugar rush

Avoid the sweet stuff with Jean's top tips

Most Zesties will know that sugar does more health harm than good (though if you need to revise the reasons, find out why you should skip sugar here).

But come afternoon, you'll probably find yourself craving the sweet stuff regardless of what the science says - which is why trainer Jean LK of Timed Fitness has come up with these five easy ways of minimizing the desire to tuck into something saccharine.

1. Eat more protein
'Our cortisol levels dip in preparation for the end of the day,' says Jean. 'So we crave foods that provide energy. Sugar cravings may be due to lack of protein, like fish meat or poultry. Protein helps balance blood- sugar levels, so have some at each meal.'

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2. Cut out the caffeine, sweeteners and additives
It sounds obvious, but avoid caffeine, artificial sweeteners and additives. 'These all raise insulin levels, which will quickly fall, leaving you tired and hungry,' explains Jean. 'When buying lunch, check the label to ensure the ingredients are natural.' And if you really can’t sacrifice that morning coffee fix, then 'limit caffeinated drinks to one a day and have them earlier rather than later.'

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3. Drink green tea
Green tea contains catechins, an antioxidant that prevents blood sugar from rising rapidly and helps the body dispose of sugar and glucose. This makes it great for curbing cravings. For maximum impact, Jean suggests: ‘Choose a leaf tea and leave it to brew for 5 minutes.’

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4. Opt for low-GI snacks
3pm is the best time for snacking - Jean assures that eating something low-GI at this time ‘will get the body through the afternoon slump’. The ideal low-GI snack? Jean recommends ‘a pear, or a bowl of fresh berries and nuts’ for the kind of slow-release energy that you need to get you through the remainder of the afternoon.

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5. Magic powers of coconut oil
'Cook your evening meal with coconut oil,' says Jean. Coconut oil is a health wonder-product, because it 'reduces sugar cravings by bypassing digestion. The particles are so small, they’re absorbed immediately. They then head straight to the bloodstream, preventing you from feeling hungry and stopping you wanting that after-dinner chocolate fix.'

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