Why I Did A No
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As a person with a world-renowned sweet tooth , the idea of giving up sugar seemed like the craziest dietary decision I had made in quite some time. However, as I reviewed my debit card purchases and realized I had found “good reasons” to stop by the local cookie shop four times in two weeks, I knew I needed a sugar break.
The rules for this challenge were simple: absolutely no added sugars. Natural sugars, like those found in dairy and fruit, were OK. Artificial sweeteners were also off limits.
Sugar is not a necessary nutrient, and we’re all eating entirely too much of it. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends men eat no more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day of added sugar women should eat less-no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories per day. However, most Americans eat two to three times that amount-19.5 teaspoons or 312 calories per day.
If nothing else, a 30-day sugar-free challenge is a wonderful opportunity to realize just how much sugar you’re eating, even if you’re not really one to, say, down a handful of Reese’s pieces after lunch because you “need a little something sweet.”
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Benefits Of Quitting Sugar & 7 Ways Its Similar To Drugs
It would be difficult to find anyone that thinks junk foods, especially sugar, are healthy for us. Even knowing how unhealthy they are, many of us struggle to cut back, or eliminate them from our diet altogether. Why is this so difficult?
It turns out, sugary foods share many common characteristics with addictive substances like alcohol, cocaine, heroin and opioids.
Why You Should Avoid Sugar
There are many reasons why you should avoid the sweet stuff:
- It makes the body produce less leptin
- It disrupts how amino acids transfer to muscles
- It spurs insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes
- It induces oxidative stress
Not all sugar is terrible for you. Natural sources like that from fruit, honey, and maple syrup arent as bad as from processed sugars and HFCS but its still possible to overdo it. Theres no reason to cut all fruit out of your diet in an attempt to remove all sugar youd be giving up all those antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, minerals, and vitamins at the same time.
So now you know WHY you should avoid sugar and which types are worse how about some tips on how to do it?
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Natural Vs Added Sugars
Natural sugars are in whole foods. An apple, for example, can have around 20 grams. But it also has vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to nourish your body. An apples fiber can satisfy your hunger and make your body absorb the sugar from the fruit more slowly. Added sugars are extra calories with no extra nutrition. Theyre empty calories that can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
How Much Is Too Much
Added sugars should make up less than 10% of a healthy daily diet. Thats about 11 teaspoons if you eat 1,800 calories a day. Some experts recommend even less than that: 9 teaspoons per day for men, and 6 teaspoons for women. A single 12-ounce can of soda has 39 grams of sugar, close to a days worth by any measure.
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You Can Quit Your Sugar Habit
Quitting sugar is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Youll feel better, slash your risk of developing many diseases, and make room in your diet for more nutritious and satisfying foods. So why not get started right now?
It wont necessarily be easy, but its not complicated with these tips at hand. Approach quitting your sugar habit one day at a time, and before you know it, you wont even want to eat those sweet treats anymore.
Don’t Rely On Artificially
Though turning to artificial sweeteners may seem like the go-to move when cutting back on the real stuff, don’t be fooled! Splenda, Sweet n’ Low, diet soda and sugar-free candy aren’t any better than the real deal. What’s worse, some research, including a report in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine and a separate American Journal of Public Health study both found an association between fake sugars and weight gainnot loss.
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Is Cutting Sugar Completely Out Of Your Diet Healthy Nope Not Really
It can be confusing working out which foods are healthy and which arent these days. Scientists and nutritionists seem to keep changing their minds about what foods we should be eating. Once upon a time it was salt that was bad, then it was fat, then coffee, and sugar has also been on the naughty list for a while now.
Theres a craze at the moment for the completely sugar-free diet, which doesnt just ban table sugar, but also sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, condiments, refined flours and even certain fruits like bananas.
Its a diet that doesnt sound like a whole lot of fun to be on, but is this ruthless removal of all sugars as healthy as it seems? Yes, too much sugar is bad for us, and there are a lot of processed foods out there that contain sugars, but cutting out whole food groups that contain sugar isnt sustainable or necessarily good.
The UN has warned that sugar could be the new tobacco because of the risks to health through obesity, but theres a group of scientists who dismiss the sugar-free diet as a waste of time, and a possible danger to health.
You Can Cut Down Without Cutting it Out Completely
When you cut certain foods out of your diet completely, you create a craving for them because you feel deprived. You dont have to quit sugar completely to improve your health you can cut down on the amount you eat.
Is Sugar Good For You Is It Really The Worst Thing Ever
Its not bad as much as its just not goodit has zero nutrients. I remember learning that when I was a health journalist at a national wellness magazine from a registered dietitian. But with everything Ive been seeing and reading, I started to question this.
You can still achieve your goals and still eat foods, like Oreos. It doesnt have to be just salads and boiled protein. She adds on that food isnt sabotaging Its not the end of the world! and says its about balancing protein, carbohydrates and fats. This way of eating takes that fear of eating bad foods away, she says. So, its not all bad. Actually, thinking of any foods as good or bad can lead to restricting and binging, LaMagna suggests.
And if you are looking to lose weight and wonder if cutting sugar is the way to go, Sharp says ask yourself these questions:
- Is your sugar intake crowding out other nutrient dense foods in your day or week?
- Are you still getting enough protein?
- Are you eating enough healthy fats?
- Are you eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables?
If you answer no to the first question and yes to the second and third one, Then I see no harm in adding a sweet to your day, says Sharp. Sugar shouldnt replace naturally nourishing foods, but it can absolutely be regularly added to a balanced plate.
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Phase : Reduce Hidden Sugars
Time: 1 to 2 weeks
Why: Dressings, sauces, and condiments may seem to merely add some flavor to your food, but they often add sugars that can work against you. A small amount of some condiments can add whole grams of sugar to your meal. Furthermore, we usually dont use only one packet of sweet-and-sour sauce or ketchup instead, we douse our food in these sugar-rich add-ons. Consequently, you might think that youre doing all you can to reduce the amount of sugars youre consuming, but that might not be the case if you continue to eat foods with hidden sugars.
Note that there are many foods that appear to be diet foods that actually might be bad to eat for your new eating plan. Many foods labeled as diet, low-fat, or no-fat replace the fat content with more carbohydrates. We tend to see low-fat and think this is a healthy option, but if low-fat is a synonym for high-sugar, then it is clearly a no-no.
There are also products on the market now that are labeled sugar-free, which appeal to people who are either diabetic or trying to restrict their sugar intake. Proceed cautiously with these products as well. While these products may indeed be sugar-free, they may still contain a lot of fast-metabolizing carbohydrates.
Watch Your Intake Of Simple Carbs
Refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pasta, can spike your blood sugar and cause cravings, just like sugar. Two good rules of thumb: avoid foods that are highly processed and replace refined grains with their whole-grain counterparts.
For example, choose brown rice instead of white rice, and swap your white bread and pasta for the whole-wheat versions. Whole grains take longer to digest than refined grains, so they dont cause such severe blood sugar swings. While you may eventually choose to go completely grain free, if you want to transition slowly, whole grains can be a good start.
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Get Ready For Younger
The sugar in your diet affects the amount of sugar in your bloodstreamand studies suggest that high blood sugar levels set up a molecular domino effect called glycation. Say what? That’s just a fancy term for a process that can hinder the repair of your skin’s collagen, the protein that keeps it looking plump. A diet full of treats can also lead to reduced elasticity and premature wrinkles. Thankfully, research suggests that slashing your sugar intake can help lessen sagging and other visible signs of aging.
Understand The Difference Between ‘naturally
Before you freak out and throw out everything sweet in your kitchen, take a moment to fully understand the official sugar recommendation and the difference between added sugar and naturally-occurring sugar.
- Naturally-occurring sugar: Fruits, veggies, and plain dairy products have naturally-occurring sugar that shouldn’t overly concern you. Because fruits and veggies contain other digestion-slowing nutrients like fiber and healthy fats, your body doesn’t process the sugar as quickly as it would a cookie or a Twix bar. In other words, the sugar in apples and peppers won’t contribute to weight gain and diabetes like a soda will.
- Added sugar: The FDA defines “added sugars” as all sugars that are added during the processing of foods. This includes sugars from syrups, honey, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.
To remind you, the official recommendation is to cut back on added sugars, not all sugar. Beginning in January 2020, the Nutrition Facts Panel will have a column dedicated to added sugars, which will make it easy to detect which foods are high in added sugar.
Because some manufacturers will have until January 2021 to add this “added sugar” line, make sure to know how to calculate added sugar on your own. Naturally occurring sugars and added sugar are clumped together under “sugar.” This is particularly confusing when you’re buying things like flavored yogurt, which contain both types of the sweet stuff. So when in doubt, read the ingredients list.
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Q Sugar Substitutes Which Do You Prefer
Sarah: This is tricky. Even natural sugar substitutes like honey, coconut sugars and agave are still sugar. Im interested in the plant-based substitute, stevia.
For more information on Sarah, her eight-week programme to give up sugar, and her sugar-free recipes, visit sarahwilson.com. You can also buy her best-selling book, I Quit Sugar for Life .
Is The No Sugar Diet A Healthy Choice For You
Many low-carb eating plans also limit sugar, so those plans can resemble a no sugar diet in some ways. And cutting sugar also aligns with government advice on healthy eating. The USDA’s dietary guidelines suggest a balanced mix of fruits, grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy products. There’s no space for added sugars, but they’re also not strictly prohibited.
If weight loss is one of your goals, you may need to count calories in addition to cutting back on added sugars. Avoiding those sugars will likely result in consuming fewer calories altogether, but to know for sure, use this tool to calculate a daily calorie goal, and then an app or journal to track your progress meeting that goal.
USDA guidelines suggest limiting your sugar intake to no more than 10% of your daily calories. Once you get there, you can gradually reduce your consumption of added sugars even more.
Things You Should Know Before Giving Up Sugar
It seems like everyone is trying to cut down on the sweet stuff. Chocolate fiend and Good Food guinea pig Caroline Hire quit sugar for eight weeks and learned a few lessons along the way.
A friend showed up at my house this summer looking nothing short of fabulous. Shes always been healthy, a runner and health-food nut, but somehow something had taken her to a whole new level of loveliness. I quizzed her to discover shed done Sarah Wilsons 8-week I Quit Sugar programme. This was something I had to try.
However, it soon became clear it was not for the faint-hearted. Quitting sugar, Sarah-style, involved giving up all fruit, all sweeteners and most alcohols.
Still, I thought I knew what I was getting into. Apparently I didnt. Here are 10 things I wish Id known before giving up the sweet stuff
The Pros And Cons Of Slowly Cutting Back
If cravings tend to get the better of you, you might prefer to slowly wean yourself off sugar.
The upside? This method takes longer, but it lets you avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Youll still have cravings, but theyll typically be more manageable.
The downside? If you choose this approach, its important to measure your sugar intake accurately. Figure out how much sugar youre eating every day, and cut back a little bit every day or every week. If youre not sure how to pace yourself, try cutting back by one teaspoon a day, the equivalent of one packet of sugar.
Heres how it works:
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Who Should Cut Out Sugarand How To Do A 3
Not just those at risk for diabetes, says Dr. Blum. Given the effect of sugar on everyone’s blood sugar levels and the breadth of illnesses it may trigger, way more people should consider kicking sugar to the curb, she suggests. Especially anyone who regularly struggles with feeling tired, moody, stiff, and/or achy .
There are a lot of different ways to go about cutting sugar, but Dr. Blum recommends a three-day detox for its simplicity and efficacy. Her general rule? For three days, dont eat any foods with more than 15 grams of sugar per serving. That means cutting out obvious sugar sources, like soda, alcohol, baked goods, and ice cream. But it also includes surprising sugar bombs, like most yogurts, juices, wheat bread, and, yes, even that acai berry bowl you whip up after the gym, Dr. Blum says.
“Dont go reaching for sugar substitutes. They can trick your body into gaining weight and continue to foster cravings for sweet stuff.”
To help you get through, replace sugar with healthy fats. Think avocado, nuts, healthy animal proteinswhatever works for you, Dr. Blum says. It feels like a wonderful, almost cheating thing to eat healthy fat, she adds, but its really notso go ahead and enjoy that guacamole.
Appetite And Hunger Will Decrease
Leptin is a key hormone that regulates appetite. It tells the brain when to eat, when to stop eating and when to speed up or slow down metabolism. But when obesity and insulin resistance are present, research suggests the body produces less leptin and doesn’t use it as effectively. Improving glucose management slowly restores leptin activity in the body, and cutting out added sugars is a key component for making this happen.
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Phase : Maintain Your New Way Of Eating
Time: The rest of your life
Why: This is a way of eating, not a temporary diet. That means once you cut out these sugary, carb-rich foods, youll continue eating this way for the rest of your life. If you only eat this way temporarily and eventually go back to your old ways of eating, you can be certain that the addiction will rope you back in pretty quickly. The four phases just described lay the foundation for a healthy eating style that you can maintain forever. The key to achieving your goals lies in your knowledge of where sugars exist and what you can replace them with, and the consistent desire and dedication to follow what you know.
How: Remember, each phase takes time. Follow the allotted time guidelinesas a minimum. Be patient with yourself. If you find that one phase takes longer than what is listed or than you expected, thats fine! The important point is to achieve the goal of that phase, not how quickly you do it. Try to identify why certain phases are more difficult than others. This may help you to troubleshoot and figure out ways to transition through that phase that are specific to your needs. Invest the time you need it will be well worth it in the long run.