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A Ten Step Blueprint for Quitting Sugar

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you are reading this article, you probably already know that sugar is bad for you, and you need all the tips possible to refrain from indulging in sweet meats.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of palettes, a sweet palette and a spicy/salty palette. Both come with their share of health ups and downs.

Which category do you fall into?

Well for as long as I can remember, I have chosen dessert as my main course, and have paid a price for it as years have advanced. I am currently at a point where I am allowed close to no sugar at all in my daily diet. A huge price to pay for tipping off the charts instead of staying balanced.

I have always wondered if I could swap my palette and crave salty, like a lot of my friends.

Yes it is possible, it is a calculated habit, does not come naturally or easily.

I literally have had to train my brain on a daily basis to say ‘yes’ to salty and a big ‘no’ to sweet.

So friends, Romans and Countrymen, Lend me your ears (eyes) as I explain- Why it is necessary to incorporate a sugar detox plan into your life from a very young age?

How to go about it and maintain the no sugar lifestyle?

How this change will keep you healthy in the long run?

Most people know that sugar is bad for you, every bit of research has proven that sugar is associated with type-2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and poor dental health.

What is keeping you from kicking the sugar habit?

Is it that you don’t think it is that bad for you?

You don’t feel you consume that much of sugar?

You have tried quitting and it’s too hard?

Let’s tackle each of these questions —

Is it that you don’t think it is that bad for you?

You think natural forms of sugar such as gud, honey, cane sugar, brown sugar are natural, they come from sugarcane, fruit or from beehives. You are right, this is the source, but the amount of processing and refining that goes into the natural form, that by the time it reaches your mouth, it is nothing but refined sugar. Straight-up sugar with no fibre is absorbed by the blood stream and causes instant blood sugar spikes, the same is good for refined flour products. To bring the rapid glucose spike down to normal the digestive system has to go into overdrive, putting pressure on every organ of your body. Just imagine this happening multiple times a day, day on day, years on end. Your body will crash at some point, yes it will and the result is type-2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and poor dental health and bone degeneration.

You don’t feel you consume that much of sugar?

It’s no secret that sugar is touted as a substance that is okay to eat. It is a multibillion-dollar business worldwide. Every celebration is lauded and cherished with sweets, it has made its way into every processed food all approved by FDA, FSSAI etc. hidden sugars are lurking in every single packet of processed or frozen food, and we don’t even know that.

Who reads labels at the supermarket or when you are dining at a restaurant?

On an average, an adult eats about 152 pounds of sugar a year, that’s 22 teaspoons each day and children 34 teaspoons per day, making type-2 diabetes or pre diabetic, diagnosis as early as age 9. (Courtesy: Business insider) Hidden sugars are in the bread you eat, the breakfast cereals, every processed food, canned food, even if it does not taste like dessert, know that the sugar all adds up.

NOTE: 4grams of sugar =1 cube or teaspoon, anything less than 5grams of sugar is considered LOW sugar.

You have tried quitting and it’s too hard?

I am the prime example of making resolutions every morning and by dusk it’s shattered. It took me years to figure out why I found it so very hard to give up sugar. Here is the science behind it —

Sugar causes its own cycle of chronic cravings. Sugar stimulates the reward center in your brain- called the ‘Nucleus Accumbens,’ to release the hormone ‘dopamine’ and if you don’t know — it is this hormone also known as the ‘happy hormone,’ that makes you feel ‘good’ actually ‘really good.’

So, the more sugar you eat, the more dopamine is released the happier you feel…

It’s the sugar high.

It’s addictive

And like all other addictions, your cravings will continue, your body will plateau with the release of dopamine and your brain will ask for higher doses of sugar and the vicious cycle will continue till your health is effected hugely and the red flags will force you to cold turkey on the sugar- nothing else will help bring down the craving. Cold turkey it is!

What is Cold Turkey?

To get over your sugar craving, you will need to stay off all foods that contain sugar. Our bodies and neurological systems can be free of this addiction within a week to ten days. It’s a sugar detox.

Here are some tips to detox —

  • Get all sugar and flour products out of your home and office.
  • Drink only unsweetened water, herbal teas, fresh green juices without fruit or artificial sweeteners.
  • Your breakfast should be a high protein meal.
  • Eat huge quantities of green leafy veggies or any non-starchy veggies.
  • Eat healthy fats- the best fats are nuts, seeds, olive oil, palm oil, avocados, nut butter (unsweetened) Omega-3 fats from pasture raised meat, eggs, wild-caught seafood.

  • Keep healthy snacks around you at all times — low GI fruits (oranges, apples, plums, peaches, pears, apricots, grapefruit) raw nuts, unsweetened – yoghurt, almond milk, soy milk.
  • Lower stress levels with breathing techniques, adequate sleep and power naps and most importantly daily exercise.
  • Avoid foods that cause inflammation, most often inflammation is caused not by illness or injury but by food sensitivities. Giving up dairy and gluten is a great add-on to your detox plan, just for the ten days, you will get rid of the bloat and may feel so good, you will want to extend or kick them out permanently.

Go ahead and kick start your sugar detox without further ado —

The first few days will be challenging, but stay focused —

– When you crave sugar, eat a low GI fruit, it will satisfy your craving.

– Have protein and good fats with every meal, it steady’s your blood sugar levels.

– Your snacks should be a combination of protein, carbs and fats.

– Stress raises your cortisol levels, this causes hunger and stimulates fat storage. De-stressing reverses the process.

– Exercise should include cardio and strength training to keep your sugar levels steady.

– By day -7- you will begin to feel amazing, your bloat will vanish, you skin will appear hydrated and you will feel a burst of energy.

Remember —

You don’t lose bone density overnight,

You don’t get fat with one piece of chocolate,

It’s feeding your sugar cravings for a lifetime and your brain becomes addicted to the spike.

The truth is you can get rid of the addiction, those crippling cravings and get a better handle on your daily diet.

Every month do a 7 to 10 day sugar detox, before you know it you will become aware of what you put into your body and only make choices of healthy foods.

Don’t worry; Hope is on your side!

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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