We hear about how bad it is for our bodies ALL. THE. TIME. We read all the articles, sometimes while we’re eating a donut. Maybe we feel guilty. Maybe we feel like the unhealthiest people in the world. So we stop eating sugar for a few days. And then we’re waiting in line at the grocery store and we grab a Twix because TWIX…. Repeat.
Sugar is our enemy but sometimes it’s also our best friend. It’s there to comfort us when we’re happy or sad or angry or it’s that time of the month. But it also makes us irritable, and sick, and tired. It’s such a tumultuous relationship. We know that these types of relationships aren’t good for us, so why do we stay in this one?
There are countless articles and resources on why sugar is bad for us and how to detox and quit sugar forever-ever. I’ll link you to some good ones at the end of this post. But I want to give you a quick rundown on things from my perspective first.
Some Super Sweet Facts:
- Sugar is addictive! Liiiike bad drug type of addictive! Yikes!
- Our bodies DO need sugar, we’re just consuming wayyyyy too much unnatural, added, processed versions of it.
- We should only be consuming about 5 tsp of sugar per day, max.
-The Average American is consuming about 13-20 tsp of added sugar/day
**Side note, roughly 4 grams of sugar equal 1 tsp. So if you look at a nutrition label of your snack and it has 12g of sugar, divide that by 4 and you’ve got 3 tsp of sugar in that snack.
Okay, now that we know the sugary scaries ( I just scratched to surface cuz I know you know that sugar isn't the best), here’s what we’re gonna do to curb the cravings.
1. Clean Out Ya Kitchen- This might be the most helpful step. If you don’t keep sugary foods and snacks in your house, you’re limiting your access to them and you’ll consume way less. This will also improve your relationship with you and your fridge/pantry. Get rid of the sugary drinks (soda, energy drinks, juice, and even the all natural fruit juices). Check all of those food labels! If you have yogurt in your fridge stop reading right now, and go look at the sugar content. Sometimes there’s almost 20g (5 tsp) of sugar in one yogurt cup alone!
2. Know all of the names for sugar. Check the ingredients lists underneath the nutrition label. See how many of these you see:
-High Fructose Corn Syrup
-Coconut sugar/ nectar/ syrup
3. Cut out the fake sweeteners too. These are no-no’s. They are processed, not found in nature, and do nothing for your body. Do not be fooled, they are not your friend. Here’s a list of some common artificial sweeteners from Dr. Axe:
- Xylitol, Sorbitol
Those are just a few that exist out there in the world of food. Here’s a full list.
4. Don’t go grocery shopping hungry! I don’t think I need to do much explaining about this one. You know you’re not going and grabbing carrots and green beans when you’re walking down those aisles and your stomach is grumbling.
5. Meal prep and have non-sugary snacks available. Do some recipe research and find some easy foods you can make- double points if you can involve your kiddos! Homemade hummus is an easy one that you can eat with veggies and/or pita bread. Homemade energy balls are great and filling too, and also another snack that’s fun to make with kids. Having trail mix is handy. Invest in an air popper and make homemade popcorn! This is a fun and versatile snack that’s fun to experiment with! Best of all, with these easy snacks you know exactly what’s going into them.
6. BE PREPARED. Emotionally and mentally. Cutting back on sugar is not easy. Your mood might not be the best. You’re gonna have major cravings and withdrawals. The not-so-sweet replacement snacks won’t be your favorite. THIS IS NORMAL. You’re retraining your entire body- your brain, your appetite, your cravings. I promise you that after the initial not-so-fun phase, your body will feel amazing. You’ll have overcome a difficult challenge- GO YOU!. Sweet sugary things will start to taste TOO sweet. You will notice physical changes in your body- everyone is different so these changes will differ from person to person but these changes will feel oh so good.
7. Find people to support you. This is essential to your success. You know the people that are going to support you and lift you up and help you out. And you know the people that will eat ice cream and donuts in front of you and convince you to just have a glass of wine with them because they don’t want to drink alone. Be selective of your support system and watch yourself thrive.
8. Be as disciplined as you can, but know that you are human. If you’re out at a family dinner and everyone wants dessert don’t beat yourself up when you indulge. You’re at a birthday party and you want to celebrate life with some chocolate cake, don’t even think twice. Ultimately we want to find balance and sustainable eating habits and we NEED to have a good relationship with food. When you take the time to listen and care for your body and feed it well with lotsa good, whole foods, you will be able to tell what isn’t good for it and what it needs to really thrive.
So, there’s my dollar and change on the topic of sugar. There are seriously so many articles and resources to give you AWL of the facts you could ever want to know. Whether you want to quit sugar completely, detox for a little while, or just cut back, Mind Body Green is an EXCELLENT resources for all things healthy and you can check out all of their Sugar articles here.