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Why You Should Kick the Sugar Habit Today and Some Tips to Help You Along the Way

I am a natural health enthusiast and I love sharing the things that have worked to keep me healthy and happy and improve my quality of life.

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Why Would Anyone Want to Give Up Sugar?

When people find out that I've cut most of the sugar out of my diet, they almost always respond with some kind of comment about how I must be crazy.

After all, why in the world would anybody want to give up sugar. It's delicious! The truth is that there are an abundance of reasons that you might want to consider giving up sugar. Some of them are obvious, and some of them are a lot less well known.

Here are a few of the reasons that I have chosen to kick my sugar addiction to the curb.

  • Sugar is connected to cancer growth. While there is some debate in the medical world about whether or not sugar can directly increase the likelihood of getting cancer, it is generally agreed that sugar indirectly increases the risk of cancer growth.
  • Diabetes is becoming an epidemic. Did you know Type 2 Diabetes was originally called Adult Onset Diabetes, because it didn't occur in children? Now, in a world where even the "healthy" snacks we eat are often filled with sugar, diabetes is becoming a huge concern for people of all ages.
  • A Sugary diet increases your risk of having heart disease. Many people don't realize that even if you aren't obese, sugar can increase your risk of having heart disease.
  • Eating too much added sugar puts you on a quick path to obesity. When it comes down to it, if you are eating a lot of sugary foods, no matter how much you exercise you are fighting an uphill battle.

Where Can I Learn More About How Sugar is Impacting My Body?

Knowledge truly is power. Many people think that it might be a good idea to change their dietary habits, but don't have the will power to change. The knowledge of what their current dietary habits are actually doing to their bodies could be just the motivation to make some small changes that will have a huge impact on their health.

The following is a list of informative resources that motivated me to keep my sugar in check.

  • Beating Cancer With Nutrition- This is the book that got me started on my journey to improved diet, and is full of useful information. Good nutrition doesn't guarantee you won't get cancer, but it can certainly help keep your body in better condition to fight it.
  • Hungry For Change-This is a documentary that really inspired me. It not only talks about the effects of sugar in your body, but it is very motivational. I'd say it's a must watch for anyone who needs an extra push to make some positive lifestyle changes in the realm of nutrition.
  • Fed Up-This is another documentary that is specifically focused on sugar and its impact on the body. It opened my eyes to the fact that even though I thought I was doing pretty good with my sugar intake, I still hadn't cut down enough.
Greek yogurt is a popular health food, but take a look at how many grams of sugar are in just one serving. That's more than your allowance for the day. Consider buying plain yogurt and adding fruit to it or mixing it with a flavored yogurt.

Greek yogurt is a popular health food, but take a look at how many grams of sugar are in just one serving. That's more than your allowance for the day. Consider buying plain yogurt and adding fruit to it or mixing it with a flavored yogurt.

How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

According to the American Heart Association, an adult female should have no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, and an adult male should have no more than 32 grams. Take a look at the nutrition facts on some of the food that you are eating, and you will discover that you are probably getting that much sugar in one serving of some of your favorite foods.

Even foods that are marketed as being healthy often have a lot more sugar in them than you would think. You have to be especially careful with low fat foods. Often the fat in these foods is replaced with sugar.

Many people don't realize that our body stores the sugar that we aren't able to immediately use as fat, so a high sugar food can be even worse for you than a high fat food.

I haven't cut out all of my sugars. After all, fruits have a lot of sugar, but it's important to note that nature designed fruit in a way that it also has the fiber and other components necessary for your body to break down the sugar properly.

Of course you can get too much sugar even if you're just eating fruit. I personally try to limit my fruit intake to the 2-4 servings a day recommended by the food pyramid and then try to keep all other sugars under the 24 gram mark.

A simple guideline when it comes to sugar is that a healthy active adult should have around 24-32 grams per day.

How Much Sugar's In It?

Notice how much sugar you can find is these "healthy" snacks. There are no fruits on this table, because they include fiber that helps your body to break down their sugar. It's still wise to eat them in moderation though.

"Healthy" SnacksGram's of Sugar Per Serving

Greek God's Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt

33

Yogurt Covered Raisins

17

Apple Cinnamon Nutri-Grain Bar

12

Welch's Fruit Snacks

11

How to Kick the Sugar Habit

  • Go cold turkey with quitting sugar. Sugar is extremely addicting, and as long as you are eating sugary snacks, you will never stop craving them.
  • Challenge yourself to cut out excess added sugars in your diet for a month, and you will realize that it's completely worth it. You might not even be tempted by your favorite treats anymore.
  • If you're worried that you'll feel like you're depriving yourself, try this great tip from the aforementioned food documentary called Hungry For Change. Instead of thinking that you want to have unhealthy food, but you can't, change that around and think, "I could have unhealthy food, but I don't want it because of what it does to my body."
  • When you start keeping track of your sugar intake, you will realize that it doesn't take very long to hit that bench mark of 24-32 grams. It really sneaks up on you quickly, so it's important to pay close attention to the nutrition facts on the foods that you eat.

Instead of thinking that you want to have unhealthy food, but you can't, change that thought process around and think, "I could have unhealthy food, but I don't want it because of what it does to my body."

Fruit and dark chocolate are fantastic alternatives to desserts that are high in added sugar.

Fruit and dark chocolate are fantastic alternatives to desserts that are high in added sugar.

Desserts That Won't Push You Over Your Sugar Budget

Now that I've told you that you should cut out the sugar cold turkey, you're probably thinking that you will be sad to miss out on all of your delicious desserts.

I know that not everyone will like the same things that I do, but these are a few healthy treats that I enjoy when I feel like I want a little dessert.

  • Fruit Smoothie or Green Smoothie-Remember that you don't want to overdo it with too much fruit, but as long as you are staying within the guidelines of 2-4 fruits a day, delicious smoothies are fair game. You can even add some veggies to them for an extra dose of vitamins.
  • Fruit-Again you need to eat fruit in moderation, but even just eating fruit on its own makes for a delicious, fresh, and healthy treat.
  • Dark Chocolate-I can admit that I'm a bit of a chocolate addict, but when you stick with the really dark chocolate, you don't have to worry about having a whole bunch of added sugar. Not only that, but dark chocolate is known for having some great health benefits. I didn't used to like dark chocolate, but now that I've gotten over my sugar addiction, I love it. Before you start feasting on chocolate though, I want to remind you to check the sugar content, a good quality dark chocolate is low in sugar. Also, remember that moderation is important. One or two squares is plenty. You don't want to eat the whole chocolate bar at once. Check out my favorite low sugar dark chocolate zucchini muffin recipe here.
  • Yogurt- I am a huge fan of yogurt with fruit in it. If you look at the nutrition facts on flavored yogurts you will notice that they are full of sugar. That's why I suggest mixing your flavored yogurt with a plain yogurt. Try to go heavy on the plain yogurt and add just enough flavored yogurt to give it the taste that you are looking for. If you want, you can even just have plain yogurt with your favorite berries or fruit mixed in.
  • Homemade Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream-I love this one! It will taste quite bitter to someone who is used to eating really sugary foods, but it's a delicious treat for those who have cut added sugars out of their diet. You can find the recipe here.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2015 Rebecca Young