How to kick the sugar habit – Part 1

Do you have a “sweet tooth?” Do you find yourself reaching for sugar every single day? Have you tried to kick sugar in the past, but failed miserably? Today I want to help you take control of your body and your cravings, by understanding why your body is experiencing these cravings to begin with, and eliminate them for good. By eliminating cravings, you and your child can experience the freedom that comes from not needing or relying on sugar for energy or boosting your mood. There are much healthier ways to do that. Let’s dive in!

You already know that sugar is bad for you, so why do we keep reaching for it? It simply tastes good. It tastes amazing. And with foods that taste amazing, comes the huge dopamine hit in the brain. Our brain takes note of these foods and we establish cravings for them. The brain wants us to eat these foods again and again in order to get that hit. Sugar is more destructive than just decaying your teeth. Here are 30 reasons why sugar is ruining your health, and some of these you might not have been aware of.

30 reasons sugar is ruining your health (book – Lick the sugar habit)

  1. Sugar can suppress the immune system
  2. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
  3. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious disease)
  4. Sugar leads to many cancers
  5. Sugar interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium
  6. Sugar causes premature aging
  7. Sugar can cause tooth decay
  8. Sugar contributes to obesity
  9. Sugar can cause arthritis
  10. Sugar can cause asthma
  11. Sugar can cause heart disease
  12. Sugar can cause multiple sclerosis
  13. Sugar can cause varicose veins
  14. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis
  15. Sugar can decrease growth hormone
  16. Sugar can increase cholesterol
  17. Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
  18. Sugar can contribute to diabetes
  19. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
  20. Sugar can increase the amount of liver fat
  21. Sugar can cause depression
  22. High refined sugar diet reduces learning capacity
  23. Sugar can contribute to alzheimer’s disease
  24. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance; some hormones become underactive and other become overactive
  25. Sugar feeds cancer
  26. Decrease in sugar intake can increase emotional stability
  27. Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with ADHD
  28. In intensive care units, limiting sugar saves lives
  29. Sugar can increase the total amount of food consumed
  30. Sugar causes constipation

***Source – 146 reasons why sugar is ruining your health by Nancy Appleton, PhD

After reading these 30 reasons why sugar is ruining your health, do any stand out to you? Did any of them shock you? Have you noticed any of these happenings in your own life or your child’s life when consuming sugar? I just want to make you aware of what you are eating, so you can make the best informed choice for your body. And please keep in mind, I’m not trying to talk you out if eliminating it altogether (although that wouldn’t be a bad thing), I just want to make you aware of the dangers of sugar. I’d like to permanently change your relationship with sugar And, most of us have a complex and difficult relationship with sugar to boot.

Your life will change completely if you eat well and understand food. What we eat changes everything. If you decide not to make any changes, and you continue to eat poorly, your life will go in one direction. If you decide to make changes for better health and to get off the sugar rollercoaster, your life will be completely different. You’ll have more energy, less pain, more clarity and overall more happiness.

Your life depends on this information

I want you to pay attention as if your life depends on it because really, it does. Why wait until a depressing health diagnosis or terrible accident to get healthy? Do it today. You have a chance to get a handle of what you eat and drink, not through willpower or discipline, but by understanding what causes those crazy uncontrollable cravings, and knowing that you can reduce them naturally over time.

I can’t stress enough that getting rid of sugar isn’t about deprivation at all. It’s about freedom. The freedom to eat foods you love and have sweetness in your life without the side effects or the guilt. You may crave sugary snacks to give you energy or satisfy that sweet tooth, but if you give in, you may end up more tired, gain weight, experience insomnia, headaches, dull skin, or feeling more stressed. It’s not what you eat some of the time, it’s what you eat most of the time that makes a difference. A treat on the weekend may not make a big difference, but one treat leads to another. Pretty soon, we want treats on a daily basis.

Sugar 101

Bottom line: a sugar craving is simply the body asking for energy. When you give in, sugar enters swiftly into the bloodstream and wreaks havoc on the blood sugar level, first pushing it sky-high causing excitability, nervous tension, and hyperactivity, and then dropping it extremely low, causing fatigue, depression, and exhaustion. We call this the sugar roller coaster. We start riding this emotional rollercoaster, feeling happy and energetic for a while, and then suddenly finding ourselves feeling irritated and not quite ourselves. Have you ever experienced this before? 🙋‍♀️

Your body wants to maintain balanced blood sugar, so it is telling you to eat something to bring your blood sugar back up. Blood sugar often drops around 3 pm a few hours after lunch. If you have the mid afternoon snack attacks, you know what I’m talking about.

What country is the biggest consumer of sweets?

Did you guess the U.S? If you did, you’d be right. The average American consumes more than 130 lbs of sugar and sweeteners per year. In contrast, American’s consume on average 5.6 lbs of broccoli per year. Can you see the difference in the way we are eating?

The USDA and the World Health Organization recommends certain consumption quantities of sugar per day. For men, it’s 9 teaspoons. For women, it’s 6 teaspoons. For growing children, it’s 3 teaspoons. Most American’s eat on average 30 teaspoons per day. That’s 3 times the liberal recommended daily value. There are 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon. If you eat of drink an item with 36 grams of sugar, that’s 6 teaspoons of sugar, and for ladies, that is your entire limit for the day.

Here are some commonly eaten foods and their grams of sugar. You try to figure out how many teaspoons are in each item. Just take the grams of sugar and divide that number by 4. That is how many teaspoons are in that one item.

  • Mountain Dew: 77 grams
  • Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup: 47 grams in 1/4 C.
  • Chocolate milk (served in schools): 24 grams
  • Apple juice (served in schools): 48 grams
  • Vitamin Water: 32 grams

Can you see how easy it is to over consume sugar? It’s in everything! Be aware of how much sugar you and your child are consuming in one day. It’s time to start making better choices.

Sugar occurs naturally in foods

In different amounts, sugar occurs naturally in all foods containing carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains. These are called complex carbs. These foods contain fiber and/or protein. Your body digests them slower, resulting in a steady supply of glucose, or fuel, to your cells providing long lasting energy.

Many food manufacturers use added sugars to give their products like soda or packaged cookies, flavor and appeal and to extend their shelf life. These simple sugars digest quickly, causing blood glucose spikes and crashes. Simple sugars can lead to weight gain because our cells do not require large amounts of glucose at one time, and the extra sugar is stored as fat.

Refined table sugar lacks vitamins, minerals, and fiber, thus requiring extra effort from the body to digest. The body must deplete it’s store of minerals and enzymes to absorb refined sugar properly. Instead of providing the body with nutrition, refined sugar creates a deficiency! Side note: When you’re depleted of electrolytes (salt, calcium, magnesium & potassium) can lead to more and more cravings for sugar.

Not only is sugar linked to type 2 diabetes, it’s also linked to cancer. When you are visiting a friend with cancer, or any other illness for that matter, bring them a healthy meal and a great conversation instead of baked goods. It’s nourishing and healing.

Sugar is addictive

Sugar qualifies as an addictive substance for two reasons:

  1. Eating even a small amount creates a desire for more
  2. Quitting suddenly causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, cravings, mood swings, and fatigue.

Research shows that intense sweet flavors are as addictive as drugs like cocaine to our bodies. We are left addicted and wanting more. What side effects have you notices from eating sugar?

Join me next week for part 2 of “How to kick the sugar habit.” I’ll be covering my top tips actually kicking the habit. You won’t want to miss it.

If you and your child have a sugar addiction, please seek help. As a certified health coach I can help you get your families health back on track. Talking with a coach weekly until the problem is cleared up will save you so much heartache and money in the long run.

Schedule your 1:1 coaching sessions HERE

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