Are you ready for Dechox month?

This March is Dechox month which challenges you to give up chocolate for the whole month. Helping you cut down on sugar that causes weight gain and tooth decay.

It’s estimated that in Britain we consume 660,900 tonnes of chocolate a year. On average one person eats 140 teaspoons of sugar a day, that’s a huge 700g of sugar a week!

The recommended daily intake for adults is 30g of sugar a day, for 7 to 10 year olds its 24g of sugar a day and 19g for children aged 4 to 6. Under 4 year olds should avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it.

With Dechox month just around the corner it’s a good idea to start preparing. You could start by not buying anymore chocolate so there’s no temptation at home or at work. Try swapping your chocolate snack with healthier alternatives like: nuts, dried apricots, plain popcorn, low fat yoghurt pots or fruit.

If you have a habit of popping into a local shop on the way home to pick up a chocolate bar, why not try taking a different route home.

To help motivate you through the month, ask your friends or family members if they want to join in too. You could even make a group chat for encouraging one another to keep going.

How to stop those sweet chocolate cravings:

  • When you start to have those cravings, ask yourself “am I really hungry?” Look for the signs that you are hungry, whether you have hunger pains in your stomach, growling or grumbling. If you think you could eat a whole meal, you probably need a full meal.
  • Drink plenty of water, sometimes we can confuse being hungry with actually being thirsty.
  • If you need a sweet hit, take a bite out of a lemon. It might sound a bit extreme but having something overwhelmingly sweet can help you to overcome your craving.
  • Keep yourself distracted, whether it’s going for a walk, a quick meditation session, reading a book or playing a game on your phone.

Benefits of cutting down on chocolate

Weight loss

Eating too much chocolate can lead to weight gain. By cutting out this sugary treat it can help you to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet. If you’re overweight or obese, you are at risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and psychological problems, like depression.

Avoiding tooth decay

It’s not just chocolate that contains high quantities of sugar, but it does contribute to the sugar that leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay can lead to holes in the teeth (dental caries), gum disease, dental abscesses and cause painful toothaches, an unpleasant taste in your mouth and bad breath.

Less sugar crashes

Eating too much sugar can give you a quick energy boost but make your energy levels dip faster, making you feel lethargic, less active and have cravings for more high in sugar snacks. Whereas eating slow-releasing energy snacks such as nuts, bananas and apples, will help you have energy for longer.

Dark chocolate

If you successfully complete a month of dechox and you are having a chocolate craving. Why not try dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa. Dark chocolate is rich, bitter and usually does not contain any milk. You should aim to eat dark chocolate occasionally as a treat and have a healthy portion size of 20g which is around six small pieces.

Dark chocolate is naturally high in iron, manganese and high in antioxidants, which are all beneficial to your health. Studies have even suggested dark chocolate helps to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. As well as the benefit of boosting your mood by releasing endorphins that creates a calming and soothing effect.

Like most treats, chocolate is not the only source to an unbalanced diet. Always aim to consume these treats in moderation along with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

 COVID-19 (coronavirus) alert

Under NHS England guidance, if you or anyone in your household has developed a high temperature, new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, please self-isolate. Click here for more information.