FACT: Sugar is one of the most addictive substances on the planet.
Even more addictive than cocaine.
It makes sense if you really think about it. It’s in almost everything we eat, and the more we eat of it, the more we seem to crave.
Do you drink sodas and sugary beverages throughout the day? Do you put sugar in your coffee? Do you eat lots of breads, pastas and cereals? Starchy fruits and veggies like bananas and sweet potatoes? All of these foods add up to massive amounts of sugar in our diet. In fact, it’s safe to say that the American diet encourages the over-consumption of sugar. If you don’t believe me, think back to when you were in elementary school and learned about the United States food pyramid. Grains were at the bottom of the pyramid, which also happened to be the largest section (6-11 servings a day recommended.) The food pyramid has been revised quite a bit since then, but in my opinion, we could stand to revise it further.
Americans consume way too much sugar—especially processed sugar—and it is wreaking havoc on our health.
3 Reasons to Quit Eating Sugar
- Sugar feeds cancer cells.
- Sugar slows down immune system function, resulting in longer-lasting periods of illness.
- Sugar causes weight gain.
But if sugar is in virtually everything we eat, how can we get away from it? How do you overcome your sugar addiction? Here are some tips on how you can keep your sugar intake to a minimum, all while strengthening your immune system, losing weight, and preventing disease.
Tip #1: Commit to a 30-day “No Sugar” Challenge. There’s something about challenges that instinctively motivate us. Commit to quitting sugar for 30 days to reset your body, and you’ll likely find that your cravings decrease even beyond the 30-day period.
Tip #2: Stop buying food items that contain sugar. During your 30-day challenge, this includes sources of natural sugar like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, milk, grains, breads, pastas, most fruits (except for berries and green apples), starchy veggies, and legumes. Stick to the outer aisles of the grocery store, and avoid boxed, precooked, or processed foods.
Tip #3: Quit drinking cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains sugar. It also increases mucus production and most of it is pasteurized—a process that destroys essential nutrients. Humans were never meant to drink the milk of another animal, but cow’s milk is particularly unhealthy due to its mass production and the fact that most cows are grain-fed instead of grass-fed. If you can find raw, organic, grass-fed cow’s milk from a local farmer, that is a better choice, but I still advocate quitting milk cold-turkey for at least 30 days. You can opt for almond or coconut milk instead, but make sure you read the ingredients or make your own. Many store-bought nut milks contain artificial ingredients and preservatives that make them just as unhealthy as cow’s milk.
Tip #4: Drink more water. Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining good health and flushing your body of the toxins that will likely be released when you start the no-sugar challenge. You should drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Tip #5: Eat healthy fats. When you eat sugar, your body burns it for energy instead of fat, ultimately hindering weight loss. When you stop eating sugar, your body burns fat for energy, so it’s important to supplement your diet with sources of healthy fat, such as coconut oil, butter (the real stuff, not the substitutes), and avocados.
Tip #6: Get support! “A strand of three cords is not easily broken!” Partner up with a friend for your no-sugar challenge and commit to holding each other accountable. It’s much easier to maintain a commitment when you’re doing it with someone else who will support your efforts.
Have you ever completed a no-sugar challenge? We want to hear about your results! Please share them with us in the comments section below this post.