Foods with sugar taste so delicious, don’t they? And, sugar is associated with good times. We eat cake at birthday parties, make cookies at Christmas, and love the sound of the ice cream truck.
I, Wyndie, have personally struggled with a sugar addiction for most of my life. I feel like my body was grown on sugar! And grow I did. I was about 50 pounds over-weight by my late childhood and stayed that way until I was an adult. See I grew up eating cookies, pastries, fruit rollups and more. And I ate way more than a serving every time. I would get the sugar rush and then the drop so I’d crave more. It was a cycle. But I can tell you that as an adult I did not want to live with the consequences of eating too much sugar. I didn’t want diabetes or an autoimmune disease or weak teeth. I wanted to be healthy, active and available for my family. The only way for me was to go cold turkey. I had to detox from it. After about 10 days I really didn’t crave it anymore. But that’s not for everyone. What we know is that the best thing that you can do for your health is to do something! If you are eating too much sugar then why not change one area of your food at a time? Set a goal that is manageable. Take note of how you feel before you try to reduce your sugar and then take note everyday how you are feeling with less. That feeling will motivate you to keep going. And then you will crave it less and less. I am able to enjoy sugar every now and then but honestly I don’t really like the way it makes me feel. It wasn’t the easiest thing to work on but wow is it worth it!
What does sugar do to your body?
We know that in moderation, sugary foods, made with natural less processed sugars are okay. But why can’t we say no to or set a boundary around all of the processed sweet stuff? Here’s why: When you eat too much sugar your body actually starts craving the sugar. This happens because dopamine, a hormone in your brain that makes you feel happy, is released when you eat sugar. Therefore you literally feel happy when you eat sugar. Our bodies really like this feeling and begin to crave the sugar that makes us feel so good. Because of this sugar is addictive. It is actually as addictive as cocaine.
Although there are some natural sugars that are better for you than others, your body still identifies all sugars the same way. It looks at high fructose corn syrup the same as organic maple syrup. Your body metabolizes sugar differently than other foods, so sugar has a different effect on the body. Most foods are metabolized by all cells in the body. But sugar is metabolized mostly by the liver. With too much sugar intake, the liver becomes overloaded and turns the sugar directly into fat. This fat turns into cholesterol, increases your insulin, and increases your chances for disease.
So what do we do about sugar?
First of all take out all artificial sweeteners from your diet. These are ingredients such as aspartame and saccharin and sucralose. Try to totally avoid artificial sweeteners. There is nothing good about them. Second, choose less refined sugars like honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar over more processed sugars. But only eat these in moderation! The World Health Organization recommends eating less than 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar a day. Third, read the labels and don’t buy foods with unnecessary added sugar.
You do not have to cut out sugar cold turkey. Start with one goal – less sugar in your coffee, or dessert only 3 days a week. Your taste buds will start to change if you stick with it and you will not crave sugar so much. Replace the sugary taste with seasonings such as vanilla, almond, or combine ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
Don’t be too hard on yourself! Reducing sugar is extremely important for your health but it is also ok to eat some sugar in moderation. Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time eat healthy and 20% of the time splurge a little.