Hi Ecophiles, I’m trying to eliminate sugar from my diet, and finding it very challenging. I’ve had some health issues in the past couple of years. Can you suggest a more holistic approach on how to reduce sugar in my diet?
– Jessica Roberts
This is a great question – here’s how to cut out or reduce sugar from your diet:
Sugar is highly addictive and is added to almost everything in a package. The key to success in eliminating sugar from your diet is to approach it like an addiction – carefully.
Like caffeine, or any substance for that matter, it is important to remember the body becomes dependent upon it and may have a not-so-friendly response to it being taken away.
Sugar cravings are literally the body’s way of communicating its need for the substance it relies on for energy. A craving can become a daily habit and unfortunately lead to a number of health concerns. The biggest detriment to health caused by sugar is inflammation. Inflammatory conditions cause stress on the body’s systems, particularly the ones that fight illness. Constant inflammation can lead to serious chronic disease.
The best news here is to remember that you have the power to change it. It won’t be the easiest thing you have ever done, but don’t stress. The first week is the toughest part. You are making the choice to become healthier and that is the first step! There are three more steps to help you succeed on your path to being sugar free:
- Take inventory:
Take note of how many times a day you eat something sugary or how often you add sugar. Having a clear idea about consumption is important to reducing it.
- Educate yourself:
Read all the labels of the food you buy and you will notice processed food is loaded with sugar. Food that isn’t particularly sweet can still be used as sugars by the body adding to your overall intake. Also, be sure to avoid other sweeteners as they can be carcinogenic.
- Replace sugar:
Reduce your sugar consumption by half and increase your water consumption by half. Remove all processed foods.
- Eat 1piece or 1 cup of fruit each day- a banana or green apple add a lot of fiber to the diet.
- To support the local economy buy in season and organic.
- When you experience a sugar craving eat protein rich food like nut butter or trail mix with dark chocolate pieces. Protein deficiency often underlies sugar dependency.
- Opt for a healthier sweet like a Lara bar or smoothie.
- Results to expect when you cut down on sugar:
You may experience some irritability or restlessness at first; this is natural in detoxing from sugar. Stick with it and you will find you experience clearer skin, better digestion, decreased body pain, improved focus, less fatigue, less bloating and gas, weight loss and more restful sleep.
Sugar depletes the body of vitamin D and C and minerals like magnesium and calcium which in turn depletes bone health. Regular sugar consumption has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. So, ditching it may cause a little restlessness; overall it gives you a longer, healthier life.
– Andrea J Lett, Green living expert – Ecophiles
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