So, you wanna go sugar free but it’s SO HAARD! Right?
Everybody knows that lowering your sugar intake is the quickest and best way to avoid many illnesses.
A diet high in sugar has been linked to lowered immune response (meaning more colds and flus), diabetes (of course!), Alzheimers, heart disease, liver disease, insulin resistance, hormone imbalances and digestive issues…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
The problem is, if you’re eating the typical American diet, it’s full of highly processed sugars in too many forms to name here, like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, corn sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar maltose, sucrose, and malt syrup which are a few of the most common names you’ll find in ingredients lists on most packaged foods.
It’s estimated that we each eat around 60 pounds per year – that’s more than a pound of sugar each week, for the average American! Imagine if you’re one of those who has a sweet tooth, you’re probably getting even more.
What’s worse are the artificial sweeteners though! Sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Nutrasweet) and saccharin (Sweet ‘n Low) are common sugar free substitutes but are linked to terrible diseases as well, like cancer, mental illness and obesity! So, it’s great to give up the sugar, but I would urge you not to do so in favor of these chemical nightmares!
So, rule #1: NO ARTIFICAL SWEETENERS
Now, as you’re starting to recognize all the places sugar shows up while scanning the ingredients on your foods, it may seem impossible to give it all up. Overwhelming in the least, right? I’ve been there too, believe me!
So, please keep in mind that it’s OK if going cold turkey is too much for you right now and also keep in mind that it could send you into painful withdrawal too, especially if you’re like some Americans who are consuming hundreds of pounds of it every year.
Baby steps are always a good way to start and a HUGE way to honor yourself and your health.
Be proud of yourself for every effort you make, I am!
On a typical day, you may be drinking sodas, sweetened coffees, snacking on crackers and cookies with added sugar and even your meat (prepared or raw) can contain a solution that includes sugar, disguised under many names like dextrose, malt syrup or food starch. Even your container of table salt sneaks in sugar under the guise of dextrose!
So, rule #2: Take it easy on yourself and cut the sugar gradually so you don’t feel deprived or even suffer withdrawal symptoms (this is a real thing!).
If you haven’t heard about the problem that all the sugar is causing, let me tell you a little more about it and then, be sure to scroll down and grab your cheat sheets to reference for super easy and satisfying substitutes to help you get started and a list of diseases and resources where you can learn more about your risk of developing them so you can see why it’s so important for YOU (and that will also help when temptation strikes to remember WHY you want to avoid too much sugar in your diet).
Let’s start with high fructose corn syrup because it is present in so many foods and drinks like almost every kind of soda, pie filling, frosting, crackers, cookies, prepared side dishes and even meats!
It’s often disguised under other names such as:
*Fructose *Maize syrup *Glucose syrup *Glucose/fructose syrup *Tapioca syrup *Fruit fructose
*Crystalline fructose *Glucose-fructose *Isoglucose
That’s an awful lot of ways to say the same thing, isn’t it?
Well respected, Dr. Mark Hyman states that the average American consumes 60 pounds of it per year. Wow! That means some of us are consuming even more. He goes on to point out:
“When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more.” http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/05/13/5-reasons-high-fructose-corn-syrup-will-kill-you/
“In moderation” it causes disease and a lot of us are waaaay over the “moderation” threshold.
Dr. Josh Axe also shows the dangers of it including cancer, obesity, liver disease, heart disease and leaky gut! https://draxe.com/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers/
In case you haven’t heard of “leaky gut”, it isn’t diarrhea, it’s when the cells that line your digestive tract, whose job it is to keep the bad stuff out of your bloodstream, become injured and start to let the toxins through. Leaky gut can cause TONS of symptoms from tiredness, forgetfulness, upset tummies, chronic inflammation, food allergies and intolerances, mood disorders, mental illness, organ failure and more. Basically, imagine if you had an IV of bad stuff dripping into your blood stream, it can wreak havoc on every single part of your body. So bad!
Other renowned resources such as the Mayo Clinic also publish findings around the dangers of regular sugar consumption “such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels. All of these boost your risk of heart disease.“ https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/high-fructose-corn-syrup/faq-20058201
Here is a great article from the Harvard Medical School that explains some of the problems with artificial sweeteners including weight GAIN (yes, they can cause obesity), addiction and type 2 diabetes, just the things you may be trying to avoid: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/artificial-sweeteners-sugar-free-but-at-what-cost-201207165030
I hope you can see that there is more than enough evidence to support limiting your intake of sugar in order to live to a healthy, happy old age and you’re ready to get started with me, right now!
It’s SO EASY! I promise.
I’ve included a reference sheet below with some super simple swaps you can start to make for healthier sweeteners as you’re weeding more and more out of your diet.
As always, I suggest starting with the easiest and most frequent things you do. If you have a daily coffee habit, it’s so easy to swap out a sugary creamer that you might be using for some canned coconut milk, which is so creamy and naturally sweet. Or if you have an afternoon chocolate craving every day, try stocking up with some high quality, organic dark chocolate instead of going for one of those cheap snack-machine nightmares. You can find inexpensive options online, I’ve even found it at Walmart and it was so delicious! If gummy candy is your thing, try dried fruit or trail mix. Another quick tip: don’t be afraid of high quality (I mean nutritious) fats that are found in nuts, seeds and pasture raised meats, eggs and dairy. They not only contain essential nutrients but they are superbly satisfying against sugar cravings.
Then, start looking toward your meals and swap out whole foods for those packaged products with long ingredients lists that require a PhD in chemistry to translate. Simple things like using fresh potatoes instead of mashed potato mixes from a box, real cheese instead of powdered packets in your macaroni (gluten free, I hope!) and sprinkling your own spices on dishes instead of those packets full of mystery fillers, makes a HUGE difference! Most of those “convenience” items have hidden sugars and other processed food-like products in them that we can do well without.
Now, I’d really like to hear from you so please leave me a comment below and come over to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn where I’m posting regularly with more tips and ideas. The more you share the better we all can learn to live better and avoid those chronic diseases that destroy our health and keep us from living a gorgeous life we love, with the people we love!
Know what I mean?
Now grab these resource pages and let’s get going!