Over a year ago, my brother gave up sugar. I remember thinking he was being ridiculous and it was just another one of those fad diets people try and fail at. I was totally wrong. My brother’s since lost over 65 pounds and I no longer consider his diet a fad. Since then my entire family has jumped on this lifestyle and I’m here to share what I’ve learned along the way about being sugar free.
Lies the Sugar Industry Tells Us
As a society we’ve been tricked into eating unhealthy foods that have been disguised as health foods. This all began when people started to notice weight gain was becoming a problem. When confronted with the possibility that sugar was the cause for this, companies began to convince people that weight gain and obesity was a result of fat in foods and a lack of exercise. This lie allowed company to promote a new industry in diet and fat free foods. When companies took out the fat in their products, they needed to add something to make them taste good. So what did they do? They added more sugar! What’s even scarier is that there are some products that are marketed to us as sugar free but they’re not. There are many hidden names for sugar – glucose, fructose, maltose, high fructose corn syrup, etc. The sugar industry is so powerful that they don’t even have to disclose the percentage of sugar in their items on the nutritional label. Also, many people don’t realize that certain foods, such as grains, are turned into sugar once they hit our bodies.
How Sugar Turns into Fat
We use carbohydrates to fuel our bodies because they convert into energy. Carbohydrates come in both good and bad forms. Good carbohydrates come from natural foods like meat, veggies and fruit. Bad carbohydrates (also known as complex carbohydrates) come from grain foods like bread, pasta and cereals. The reason why bad carbohydrates turn into fat is because they turn into sugar in our bodies. When we’ve consumed sugar (and carbohydrates that become sugar) our bodies pump out insulin, a fat storage hormone. Insulin helps our cells absorb sugar and turn it into energy – but our bodies can only convert a small amount of sugar into energy and the rest then gets turned into fat. Sugar is turned into fat because our bodies can only process about 9 grams of processed sugar per day. Some bodies are able to metabolize more sugar carbohydrates than others, which is why genetically certain people struggle with weight more than others.
Why Sugar is Bad News
Companies that rely on sugar and grains to make their products taste good don’t want us to understand how bad these foods can really be. They try to convince us to eat their “diet” versions and tell us that lack of exercise is the reason for our health issues. This is why it is so important to be informed about the foods we eat. Not only does sugar consumption cause weight gain, it can also lead to many other serious health issues such as high blood pressure, liver disease, diabetes and heart disease. Sugar is also so highly addictive that some studies state it’s more addictive than heroin.
The Benefits of Going Sugar Free
After listening to hours and hours of my brother go on about how my family needs to try this lifestyle, we finally decided to do it. We started by doing 10 days of detox which meant absolutely no sugar at all during that time period. The first 10 days can be hard if you are addicted to sugar because you can experience very real symptoms of withdrawal such as headaches and fatigue. But I promise you that at the end of the 10 days you’ll have more energy that you did before, your sugar cravings will be gone and you’ll probably have lost between 4 and 10 pounds. When your diet becomes sugar free, your body’s energy source comes from good sugars (fruit), proteins and fat that you’ve already stored up.
How Easy It is to Go Sugar Free
This lifestyle is for anyone who wants to feel healthier, not just lose weight. And if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a much safer choice than dieting schemes. There are a few different ways you can go about implementing a sugar free lifestyle. For my husband and I, our goal wasn’t significant weight loss, but more about feeling healthy and energetic. For my brother and parents, it was more about weight loss as well as being healthier. I choose to eat natural sugars in fruits but my brother keeps these to a minimum. I choose to eat dairy products like cheeses, which are higher in fat and my brother typically avoids them. Each sugar free plan is a little different, and the great thing is you can tailor it to your lifestyle and needs. The best thing about this plan is that you never restrict yourself from eating. If you’re hungry, just eat! The only change in your lifestyle is that you stop eating sugar.
You Won’t Miss Sugar as Much as You Think
My husband and I started out by telling ourselves we could have 4 meals where we eat foods with sugar, like pizza and pasta – but we found we really didn’t feel like eating them. We simply felt better when we ate meals that are high in protein and full of fruits and vegetables. We typically have pizza once a week, a bun once in a while and treats on special occasions like birthdays – but that’s pretty much it because we feel so satisfied almost all the time. This is because foods that are high in protein level out your blood sugar and keep you satisfied longer.
How to Cut Sugar Out of Your Life
Want to start out small? Be aware of high sugar foods by reading labels and being aware of those sneaky names for sugar. Stop drinking soda, juices and alcohol. It’s amazing how much added sugars are included in some of these drinks. I mean, a can of Coke has 35grams of sugar! And diet Coke isn’t any better – it’s full of artificial sweeteners that are converted the same way sugar is in our bodies. Ultimately, do whatever works for you and whatever makes you feel like you aren’t restricting yourself. There may be days when you cheat – and don’t feel bad about it, we’re all human! Just remember to be conscious of choosing foods that have less sugar in them than others and you’ll be off to a great start!