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It Is Time To Cut Sugar Out
There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the evils of sugar consumption. Sugar is hidden in all sorts of foods, including bread and salad dressing. Add to that our love for things like cookies and ice cream and it’s no wonder our sugar consumption is skyrocketing.
Unfortunately, all this added sugar is doing a lot of damage to our health and it’s making us gain weight in record numbers.
It’s time to cut sugar out from our diet. Here are four reasons why you should do a sugar detox and quit sugar as much as possible.
1. Consuming Sugar Spikes Your Insulin
As soon as your body starts to digest sugar, your insulin spikes. Insulin is the hormone that is in charge of keeping blood sugar levels from rising too high and converting extra sugar into fat for storage.
It’s a delicate process. Consuming sugar in large quantities will cause your insulin to spike and deal with more than it is designed to handle. Over time it becomes less and less effective. This is when things start to negatively affect your health.
2. Consuming Sugar Makes You Gain Weight
Since the late 70s, when health authorities advised consumers to watch and lower their fat intake, the food industry has provided us with all sorts of low fat and fat-free food options. To make these low-fat foods taste ok, they had to add a lot of sugar.
Take a look at regular and low fat or fat-free salad dressing. The lower fat options have a lot more carbs and in particular, sugar. You may not taste it, but it’s there.
Since sugar is more quickly digested than fat, you’re hungry sooner after consuming a low-fat meal and you eat again.
The end result is weight gain.
3. Consuming Sugar Increases Your Risk For Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
With all that increased sugar and weight gain comes a higher risk for diabetes and a condition called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a group of symptoms and behaviors that put you at a much higher risk of developing heart disease and Type II diabetes.
Thankfully both conditions are reversible. The first step toward better health is to cut out the sugar.
4. Sugar Doesn’t Have A Lot of Nutritional Value And It Makes You Hungrier
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that aside from a little boost of energy, sugar doesn’t provide a lot of nutritional value to your body. If you want something sweet, you’re much better off grabbing a piece of fruit than a cookie. At least with a piece of fruit you’re getting some vitamins and fiber with your sugar fix.
If you want or need to lose weight, the first thing you should cut out is sugar. It causes spikes in your blood sugar, which then makes your body produce a large amount of insulin to pull the sugar out of your system (and convert it to body fat).
The sad little side effect of that process is that your blood sugar goes on a roller coaster ride that will leave you hungry and craving more sugary treats.
What Sugar and Cocaine Have In Common
Here’s a scary fact: When scientists took MRI images of the brains of people consuming sugar and highly addictive drugs like cocaine, the same pleasure centers in the brain started lighting up. Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? But what does it actually mean to your brain and your overall health?
That means that it will alter your brain chemistry and over time you start to crave more and more sugar. The urge for your next sweet fix comes more frequently and you will need to consume it in larger quantities. Like any other drug, sugar comes with some pretty scary side effects. Not being able to fit into your favorite pair of jeans because your cookie addiction is going to be the least of your problems.
Yes, there will be weight gain brought on by consuming too much sugar, but with it, you’ll also increase your risk of developing Type II Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke. Add to that the extra stress the added weight puts on your joints and tendons and how much harder it is to get enough oxygen pumping through your body. It’s no wonder people feel crappy as they put on weight and should quit sugar.
Sugar is truly addictive.
All these various health conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome and it’s just one of the things you can look forward to as you continue to feed your sugar addiction.
But like with a cocaine addiction, harming your body and compromising your health doesn’t really matter all that much when you’re faced with a box of donuts. That’s a serious problem. Then, as with any highly addictive drug, there will be unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as you start to wean your body off of sugar.
Don’t believe me? Give it a try. Just quit sugar.
Cut sugar out for a couple of days.
- No more soda, no more sugar in your coffee, no candy, no cookies, no donuts.
- You’ll also want to avoid all foods with added sugars like bread, most salad dressings, ketchup etc.
- Cut all those foods out and don’t eat anything without checking the label for added sugars.
See how you feel after a few hours.
It will start with a little headache. You’ll start craving something sweet. We’re talking serious cravings.
Next, that little headache will start to grow into a full-blown pounding head along with joint aches. You may also experience some nausea and mood swings.
Some people will even have flu-like symptoms and start to shake a day into their sugar detox.
Doesn’t that sound a lot like the withdrawal symptoms of a “serious” drug addiction? That’s because sugar addiction is just that. A serious addiction.
If you are having trouble, try replacing your sugary treat with a healthy snack. Check out our Free Keto Friendly Snack Guide.
How To Decrease Sugar Intake
The average American consumes about 160 pounds of refined sugar every year. Think about that for a minute. That’s a lot of sugar. Just 200 years ago we only used about 20 pounds of sugar per person per year.
We know all this sugar isn’t good for us. It’s rotting our teeth, giving us Type II Diabetes, and contributing to the obesity epidemic in the western world.
The bad thing is that added sugar has found its way into all sorts of foods we consume on a daily basis. It isn’t just the sugary breakfast cereal or the ice cream that is the culprit. There’s sugar in our salad dressings, our frozen dinners, and pasta sauces—to give you just a few examples.
What can we do to cut sugar out? Are we ready to quit sugar? Let’s start by cutting out some of the big offenders.
1. Cut The Soda and Other Sugary Drinks
Let’s start with something easy that will also have a huge impact. Stop drinking soda and other sugary drinks. That includes seemingly innocent things like the sweet tea you’re enjoying or the fancy coffee drink.
Look at the labels and figure out how many teaspoons of sugar you’re drinking each day.
Then cut them out.
Stick to water, black coffee and herbal tea for a few days. It’s not an easy transition, but it will be well worth it in the end.
2. Stop Indulging In Sugar Laden Treats
Next, it’s time to give up your favorite sugary treats. Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal or scramble up some eggs instead of pouring a bowl of sweet cereal. Skip the muffin, cake, cookies, and candy.
Instead, reach for a piece of fruit or cut up some fresh veggies.
Find sugar free or low-sugar replacements for your favorite treats. Fix up some veggies and hummus if you’re hungry in the afternoon instead of raiding the cookie jar. Or grab some healthy beef jerky.
Do your best to train your brain and taste buds to not crave sweet treats all day long.
3. Stick To Real Food
Last but not least, work on reducing the added sugars that sneak into your diet via all sorts of convenience foods. Anything that’s labeled low fat, fat-free or gluten-free is worth avoiding since the fat is usually replaced by lots of sugar and salt to make it palatable.
Your best bet is to stick to real food.
Stick with single ingredients and cook your meals from scratch. This allows you to control what’s going into the food you eat – including the sugar.
Sugar Is Horrible For Your Health
Everyone knows that sugar is bad for their health, but when the time comes to choose healthy options our willpower often goes out the window. I know mine does!
However, as I’ve grown older and observed first hand the effects of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the emergency department I’m reminded again and again why you should cut sugar out. Deciding to quit sugar is so important for your health.
I know it sounds impossible, but start simple. Cut out sugar: less or no soda and sugary drinks, then gradually remove sugary treats and finally focus on eating real food that gives you the vitamins and nutrients your body craves.
As you begin retraining your body, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you shed extra weight, increase your energy levels and begin feeling better.
John Shufeldt, MD, JD, MBA, FACEP is an emergency physician by avocation and entrepreneur at heart. He is an author, speaker, serial student, airline transport pilot and multidisciplinary entrepreneur, who has founded and operated several multi-million-dollar businesses.
Throughout all of his endeavors, John has maintained a relentless drive to help people rescript their future and reach their full potential.
His multifaceted experience as a physician, attorney, speaker and entrepreneur gives him rare insight into what makes a business succeed.
Over the years, John has come to realize that successful businesses don’t just happen. They succeed as a result of strong leadership, learning from failures and a well-executed business plan. An efficient organization is built on lean practices, proactive teams, a positive work environment and a solid foundation for continued growth.