Type “sugar” and “culprit” into your favorite search engine and you’ll find no shortage of health reasons to knock sugar out of your diet.
For example, three authors argue in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that, despite ample exercise, too much sugar consumption can still leave you fat. That’s in addition to new studies published earlier this year that indicate too much sugar triggers brain defects, liver disease and breast cancer.
“The toxicity of excessive sugar consumption is well-documented, yet it’s so prevalent in our packaged foods that we may be digesting it without knowing it,” says nutritionist and juicing pioneer Cherie Calbom, who is known as “The Juice Lady.”
But with vigilance you can ditch the sugar in your diet, says Calbom, who tackles the subject in her newest book, “The Juice Lady’s Sugar Knockout,” and she offers her Sugar Addiction Quiz at www.juiceladycherie.com/Juice/the-sugar-knockout. She says March, which is National Nutrition Month, is the perfect time to start. A few ways to begin include.
• Pick the right day to start. A birthday or celebration dinner is not the best time to commit to a new diet. You’ll eventually develop the willpower to navigate through special events, but it’s not a good idea to start with an unusual challenge.
• Go cold turkey. Studies show sugar is as addictive as cocaine and heroin, so it’s not something you can ease into or pursue in half measures. If you eat a little less to gradually eliminate it from your diet, you’ll keep getting triggered into wanting more sweets. You have to completely let it go.
• Scrutinize every label. We are naturally inclined to crave sugar, which is why manufacturers try to smuggle it into their products. The only way to root out sugar in all its forms – soups, condiments, breads, etc. – is to read grocery labels carefully. The sooner sugar is mentioned, the more that’s in there.
• Make emergency snack packs. Whether shopping, traveling or at work, you don’t want to be caught hungry without a healthy option. Plummeting blood-sugar levels will make it that much harder to resist sugar-laden treats. Nuts and seeds, veggie sticks, turkey jerky and apples are among the healthy options.
• Take time to de-stress. Stress causes spikes in cortisol, a hormone that makes you irrationally hungry, leaving you susceptible to sugar-laden snacks. When stressed, take a long, deep breath in for five seconds, hold, and then let it out to a count of five. Deep breathing is said to activate your vagus nerve, which properly regulates metabolism.
“There is much more you can do to break sugar addiction,” Calbom says. “It’s very doable, but you must commit to it!”
Are you a sugar addict??
Take the sugar addiction quiz here.