If you are like 90% of America, you are either sugar- or carbohydrate-addicted in some way. These are basically the same problem, but carb addiction leads to bread and rice cravings instead of candy and cookies.
I myself am sugar-recovered! That means I am recovered (for the most part) from years of sugar AND carbohydrate addiction and abuse. Bagels used to be my best friend, along with Swedish Fish and Banana Banjo ice cream bars at the pool every summer. I had the double whammy: I loved the sweets, along with the starches.
I’ve come a LONG way, and I know firsthand that the struggle to kick the sugar habit is REAL. I still have my challenges, but the difference now is that when I reach for something sweet, I go for 72% or higher dark chocolate, instead of a Snickers or Kit Kat. I also avoid grains like the plague because they make me feel really crappy.
You see, I, along with many other recovered sugar/carbohydrate addicts, have managed to kick the habit. HOW, you might ask? I will say this: with a lot of determination, education, and awareness. That’s right – it takes a strong effort to kick it, and I can help you.
If you are NOT like the 1% of the population out there that can just go cold turkey on certain habits, then I can give you some strategies to help you RECALIBRATE your taste buds over time in an effort to increase health. If you are a one-percenter, then by all means, GO FOR IT ASAP. It’s not how I did it, but please go for it if it works for you!
Most people prefer a slower, less harsh transition into healthier eating and find the cold turkey method either too difficult OR not sustainable. I am all about making small changes over time that amount to one awesome healthier lifestyle shift.
So, let’s begin with the WHY!
Why should you kick the sugar habit?
There are about a million reasons, but I will highlight the five biggest ones in this blog post.
#1 It’s addictive as heck.
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that “consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar,” citing rodent studies which showed that sweetness is preferred even over cocaine, and that mice can experience sugar withdrawal.
#2 It alters our brains.
The Telegraph reported on a study published in Scientific Reports that linked blood sugar levels and degenerative neurological conditions. By studying brain samples from people with Alzheimer’s disease, scientists have hit upon the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that people who consume a lot of sugar but are not necessarily diabetic are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s. The link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s has already been proven, but this study shows simply eating too much sugar can cause brain alterations, even when diabetes isn’t present.
#3 It suppresses immune system function.
Do you get sick frequently? Frequent sinus infections, coughs, colds, and flus are significantly reduced when sugar is reduced. Cutting sugar out of your diet will be the biggest immune system boost you’ll ever get.
I used to get sick ALL THE TIME and never knew why! I was poked, prodded, and examined for every disease known to man – even doctors at Johns Hopkins couldn’t figure out my affliction. I can tell you right now, without a shadow of a doubt, that sugar consumption was my biggest issue. It’s a shame that NOT ONE DOCTOR talked to me about it during my quest for regained health.
#4 It encourages bacterial and fungal growth.
That toe fungus you might have or frequent skin flare-up can be aggravated by sugar consumption. I used to have an eczema spot on my elbow that would come and go, and I could never figure out why. After years of dietary play, I finally unraveled that my eczema spot flare-ups all depended on my sugar intake. The higher my intake, the itchier it got.
It took me some time to put that together, but once I did, the eczema magically disappeared with my disappearing sugar addiction. My experience is one of many in my 12 years of work on linking what we eat with our level of health.
#5 It decreases bone health.
That’s right – your bone health is greatly impacted by sugar consumption. Sugar is very acidic, and when we eat it frequently, our body has to buffer it. Guess what it uses as a buffer? Calcium! Yep, calcium gets pulled from your bones and utilized to buffer the acidity of the sugar floating around in your body.
I wrote a blog post all about this here.
If you aren’t convinced by the above, then I can’t help you. IF, on the other hand, you know you have an issue with sugar and/or starchy carbohydrates and you are READY to take some new actions, let’s do it!
Fit from Food
Join my free Fit from Food Facebook group to get tips and tricks on how to reduce your sugar intake, along with other great tips on getting and staying fit from the food you eat.
I post one challenge/week in the group, and the REDUCING SUGAR CHALLENGE is one of the most popular so far.
I’ve helped even the most sugar-addicted of you transition to a healthier foodstyle. YOU CAN DO IT!