More and more people are becoming aware that the sugar-loaded American diet is just not a healthy long-term choice. As study after study comes out linking excess sugar consumption to weight gain and obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and certain forms of cancer, and these are becoming part of the growing body of knowledge which confirms that sugar just isn’t healthy. In light of this knowledge, some people are going so far as to quit sugar entirely, either through a short-term elimination diet or a more extended ban. Here are some tips for this kind of program.
Find Healthy Ways to Satisfy the Sweet Tooth
Rather than seeing the cravings for sweets as a test of will power, a better and kinder approach would be to try to find whole foods that satisfy the sweet tooth. One of the best sources for this remains fresh fruit, which also brings with it dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting anti-oxidants.
Beware “Hidden” Sugar Sources
On an elimination diet, staying away from foods like pastries, ice cream, candy and soda are obvious; what is not so obvious are other foods which are savory but can still have high amounts of sugar. Common culprits in this category include pasta sauces, cured meats, breading on things like fried chicken, or even almond and soy milk. Make sure to read the labels to stay away from unintended sugar.
Don’t Forget that Sugar has Many Names
Labels can sometimes be misleading, so don’t be fooled: just because a product does not list “sugar” as its ingredients, doesn’t mean it is sugar free. Also look for terms like “high fructose corn syrup”, “corn sweetener”, “evaporated cane juice” and “dextrose”, as these all refers to sugary ingredients that are best avoided on an elimination diet.
Define the Boundaries
Before beginning a sugar elimination diet, it is important to define just what will and will not be banned. Many nutritionists recommend that some forms of unrefined sugar be included because of the health benefits they bring with them; these included forms are often products like raw honey or maple sugar. Regardless of what is chosen, having boundaries before the diet begins will make it more likely to be successful.
Don’t Attempt a Long-Term Sugar Elimination Diet
Most nutritionists recommend that a sugar elimination diet last around 72 hours. While this may not seem like a very long time, it apparently is time enough to readjust the taste buds and learn which sources of healthier, unrefined sugars help to satisfy the sweet tooth. Longer diets may set one up to fail, as they are difficult to keep in the long term.
Cutting refined sugar out of the diet and focusing on unrefined sources of sugar that satisfy the cravings in a healthy way is a great step towards a lifestyle. The practice will boost energy levels and eliminate blood sugar fluctuations throughout the day that can lead one feeling sick and sluggish.
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