It’s 3:00pm. You’re hitting that afternoon slump—hard. You’re tempted to hightail it to the office vending machine and take a juicy bite of your favorite chocolate bar.
In our health-obsessed society, sugar is often frowned upon. But a sugar rush is perfectly normal—and actually scientifically reasonable. When your circadian rhythm dips mid-afternoon, it can leave you with a heavy craving for something sweet. According to Daniel Lieberman, evolutionary biologist at Harvard, “sugar is a deep, deep ancient craving.”
But, as we know, too much sugar is no good. In excess, it can not only lead to weight gain, but serious diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and obesity. So how can you satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your health?
You Couldn’t Have Survived Without Sugar
According to Lieberman, humans have always been extremely sensitive to fructose. During periods of food scarcity, eating sugar decreased the likelihood of starvation as our ancestors’ bodies stored small amounts as fat. Sugar also released dopamine in the brain, which increased their energy levels and kept them happy.
Throughout evolution, these physiological effects have caused us to develop a biological love for sweets. But apart from honey, most of the sweets our ancestors ate were no tangier than a carrot. Only recently has technology made pure sugar far too plentiful—and mutated its purest forms into unhealthy artificial relatives.
Not All Sugar Is Created Equal
We hear all of this talk about how sugar is the enemy. But sugar can actually be found in high quantities in some of the healthiest foods around.
Fruit, for example, is high in sugar. But because it contains long chain carbohydrates that take time to digest and absorb, it’s better for you than other foods filled with fructose and glucose.
Long chain carbohydrates contain five essential nutrients for optimal digestion, absorption, and transport. In addition to these carbs, fresh fruits contain vitamins and minerals, which boost the metabolism; fiber, which nourishes the large intestine and slows carbohydrate absorption; antioxidants, which protect against oxidative damage and premature aging in tissues, including muscles, liver, heart, and brain; and water, which is essential to our health and survival.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Mediterranean Desserts
When you’re craving something sweet, indulge in fruit. The Mediterranean diet is filled with them.
Fresh in-season fruits, dried fruits, and nuts all contain healthy vitamins and fiber—as well as the answer to your cravings. Some fruit and nut preserves can be stored for years and will satisfy your sweet tooth in a 100-calorie serving. You can easily burn that off on a short after-dinner walk. As always, make sure to control your portions and combine your sugar intake with physical exercise.
Stop by Nanoosh and try our New Mediterranean homemade organic rice pudding with cinnamon raisins or cardamom almonds. They’ll satisfy your cravings while keeping you healthy and alert. We are also looking into adding the right selection of organic dry fruit for your afternoon craving.
Leave rich pastries behind. Indulge in sugar the Nanoosh way; the healthy way. Then, enjoy the guilt-free rush that is sure to follow.