As a child I was practically raised on white sugar and feel that it had a part in my many health problems which took me decades to overcome. You can read some of my story here: Diana’s Story. It was a different time back then. There was not the awareness about nutrition that there is now.
I’m going to give you strategies to avoid sugar and the cravings, but first I must make a few points about why you would want to do such a thing. This was already dealt with briefly in my previous article on artificial sweeteners.
7 Reasons to Give Up Sugar
1. Sugar is Not Food – It is empty calories with little nutritional value and actually causes your body to steal vitamins from other vital organs in attempt to process the sugar, leaving you undernourished.
2. Sugar Makes You Fat – It is filled with calories that are stored in your fat tissues.
3. Sugar Makes You Nervous – There is a clear link between excess sugar and disorders like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, because of extreme levels of insulin and adrenalin.
4. Sugar Causes Diabetes, Kidney and Heart Problems – Excess sugar can damage the pancreas’s ability to function properly.
5. Sugar Kills Your Teeth – Sugar increases the bacteria in your mouth that erodes enamel. The biggest crime is that many popular toothpastes contain sugar which is not required to be put the on the label.
6. Sugar Suppresses the Immune System – Sugar interferes with the body by overtaxing its defenses. Research at Loma Linda University , California studied the effects of overeating sugar on white blood cell activity. Those who ate a whole candy bar and a soft drink could only capture 1/10 the bacteria as those who only ate only ½ chocolate bar.
7. Sugar Causes Wrinkles – A high-sugar diet damages collagen.
The average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugar each day; that is 2-3 pounds of sugar per week! This is added sugar; not sugar naturally found in fruit, vegetables, grains and milk. The World Health Organization says no more than 10 percent of calories should come from added sweeteners; that is a maximum of 12 teaspoons of sugar for a 2,200-calorie diet. Twenty teaspoons may sound like a lot of sugar to get through in one day, but…
Consider the following:
Low-fat fruit yogurt (125ml) contains 4 1/2 tsp of sugar.
2 slices white bread contains 6 tsp of sugar.
Wheaties (1 bowl & 1/2 tsp sugar) contains 3-4 tsp sugar.
1 glazed donut contains 6 tsp of sugar.
A 12 ounce Pepsi contains 10 tsp of sugar.
That is a total of 29.5 teaspoons of sugar! It is easy to see why sugar consumption is on the rise when we look at how many foods have added sugar in them.
It takes about 7 days to get the addiction out of your system. This does not mean the cravings will disappear but the intense addiction needs that amount of time. Wean yourself off sugar or go cold-turkey. The choice is yours — you pick the way that works for you as we are all different.
7 Tips on How Wean Yourself off Sugar Slowly
1. Eat fresh and dried fruit instead of sugary sweets – Although they are filled with natural sugar, they are a healthier choice as fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is okay at first to eat a bigger quantity of them while weaning.
2. Dessert Rules – Week 1: Maximum once a day. Week 2: twice a week. Week 3: once a week. Make it your rule to have raw fruit at least half the time.
3. Try Stevia – A natural sugar alternative that actually nourishes the pancreas and has no calories. Stevia is an herbal extract from the Stevia Rebaudiana leaf that has been shown to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
4. Don’t skip meals – When you miss regular meals; you create a starving situation in your body and you will eat anything to bring your blood sugar level back to normal and you know what that means.
5. Instead of soda pop, lemonade & iced tea – Make lemonade with stevia and herb tea with stevia. If you need that carbonated zing, add sparkling mineral water. When at a party or at the bar, drink soda water with lime or lemon.
6. No sweets in your cupboards or fridge – It is too tempting to have them available.
7. When craving strikes, go for a walk – Athletes’ cravings for sweet foods declines after exercise; they prefer salty foods.
Hidden sugars: tomato sauce, baked beans, packaged foods, chewing gum, mints, and lunch meats.
Sugar aliases: corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, glucose, honey, hydrogenated starch, invert sugar maltose, lactose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, polyols, sorghum, sucrose, sorbitol, and xylitol.