That’s it, this time I quit! (At least for 8 weeks)

I’ve tried it once, then I tried it again. But I’m addicted. I didn’t consider it an unhealthy addiction until a coworker told me about an eBook she was reading calling I Quit Sugar which talks about how people are consuming far too much sugar today and lays out an 8 week program on how to cut down on our daily sugar intake.

Iquitsugar

Source: Sarah Wilson I Quit Sugar

While reading, I found myself relating to the author in many ways. I’m not the kind of sugar addict who gorges down on frosted Dunkin Donuts or who orders soda with my meals when I go out and seeks out mouthwatering Ben & Jerry’s for comfort late in the night. I rarely even order dessert when I go out. But I do have a mean sweet tooth that craves a little something sweet and delectable after meals. My sweets during the day are dried fruit in my oatmeal with a teaspoon of agave, multiple servings of fruit as I add blueberries into my salads with more dried cranberries, banana in my oatmeal, and my latest craving, frozen grapes.

Even though these are mostly natural sugars, they still have the same effect as sugar additives and today adults in the United States are consuming 150 pounds of added sugar each years, according to the American Heart Association. That comes out to 22 teaspoons every single day. This is three to four times the the sugar allowance we are given each day for our diets. For women, the AHA suggest no more than 6 teaspoons/24 g of added sugar a day (100 calories) and 9 teaspoons/36 g of sugar a day for men (150 calories).

I wasn’t quite sold yet to the idea of completely quitting sugar for 8 weeks. After all, fruits are a natural sugar and they supply our bodies with necessary nutrients. Just how much sugar could be in them? Then I read more and was shocked at the sugar levels in some of the fruits I consumed daily as well as the hidden sugars in some of the foods I didn’t even think about blaming for my overindulgence of sugars.

-Agave is 90% fructose

-Banana is 55% sugar with over half of that consisting of fructose

-Greek yogurt can consist of all your daily sugar intake with over 20g of sugar in a single serving

-Soy milk can have 2 teaspoons of sugar in each serving

-Starches (such as potatoes and rice) are digested at a faster rate than most sugars

-If you took 100 ml of pure fruit juice, it would contain more g of sugar than 100 ml of soda

Another interesting thing I found while researching sugar was that during World War II people were only allowed to purchase 120 g of sugar per week. Makes you wonder if society would be a healthier place if we implemented concepts such as this today.

SugarRation
Source: Salem History

Being a fruit lover, I had to research more on the sugars in fruit before I dove head first into this. Just to make sure I had all my facts straight first and was fully aware of what to expect my body to go through over the course of 8 weeks.

Fructose, the sugar found in fruits, is stored as fat rather than being converted to energy and also is one of the molecules absorbed into our bodies that doesn’t tell our brains that we’re full. Therefore, we may find it a struggle to stop at just one or two squares of chocolates before devouring the entire bar or going back to seconds of that rich, delectable cheesecake.

I read more about the symptoms associated with consuming too much sugar. It increases the risk of being obese, developing heart disease, cancer, and other health related risks. In addition to this it can cause acne, depression, the inability to think clearly, and feel fatigued. It also can cause frequent urination and dehydration.

I quit copy

What are my reasons for wanting to give up sugar?

I feel I live a very healthy lifestyle. I exercise nearly every day and eat fresh produce as well as make my own meals for the most part. I believe in the idea of everything in moderation and treat myself to frozen yogurt, cheesecake, and Swedish Fish and Sour Jelly Bellies from time to time. But I have noticed a few changes lately with all the fresh fruit being in season and my increased daily consumption along with it.

-Though I feel fit and am at a good weight for my height, I feel bloated around my midsection.

-I struggle to fall asleep and find I’m not getting nearly enough rest every night.

-I crave sweetness after every single meal. I carry around sugar free gum to help but even this isn’t good for my body or my teeth.

My biggest reason is mainly because I want to see what it feels like and if it helps balance my energy levels. Through the course of the 8 week program, I will remove nearly all sugar sources from my diet (with the exception of vegetables and a couple other natural sugars which I will mention later) then gradually add only natural sugars back in towards the end of my challenge.

Now I am not a believer in diets. I was raised with the idea that what you eat or choose not to eat is all part of a lifestyle and any adjustments that you make are made to fit into that lifestyle to make you feel, look and perform to your best ability.

So what does this mean I have to adjust in my daily lifestyle?

-Take out dried fruits  and replace with nuts for good fat and no sugar

-Eliminate agave and replace with spices such as cinnamon

-Drink almond milk instead of soy milk

-Switch to plain Greek yogurt instead of flavored which is loaded in sugar

-Instead of snacking on fruits (good bye my beloved frozen grapes and watermelon) I instead will have freshly chopped vegetables

-Substitute freshly ground peanuts for my honey roasted peanut butter

sugarteas

That sneaky sugar finds its way into other foods as well

-Sauces such as pasta, Asian cuisines, ketchup, and jams

-Salad dressing (or as I’ve heard some refer to as “salad frosting”)

-Sports drinks and energy bars

-Oatmeal

-Bread (even the heart healthy whole wheat)

-Bottled juices and tea

-Yogurt

-Fast food

-Granola

bigstock_Spilling_Sugar_4293891Source: GlenEllis

Interested in joining me on my no sugar kick?

Come back tomorrow for tips on what to add into your daily eating regiment and ways to get over the no sugar hump as well as an example of what a day without sugar looks like. Maybe you want to give it a try because you’re looking to get down to a healthier weight. Or possibly you are at risk of heart disease or another health related issue. It could be because you find yourself crashing at random parts of the day and struggle to find the energy or motivation to get on track. It could even be because you simply want to see what sort of changes your body goes through or how it feels to eliminate sugar from your diet. Whatever reason it is, I’ll be posting weekly updates on my no sugar extravaganza as well as recipes to help you out as well! In addition to this, I would love to hear about your experience and what sort of mood, behavior, or changes in your appearance you discover while eliminating sugar.

glitterandlazers

Source: Glitter and Lazers

What are your reasons for giving up sugar?

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