Sugar Sugar How You Get So Fly
Ohh sugar. Many of us (myself included) have a love hate relationship with sweets. And if you’re like me, sometimes it feels like you can’t go on another day if you don’t eat that Justin’s PB Dark Chocolate Cup. With so much research surfacing about the negative effects of sugar (which, of course, makes sense and why didn’t anyone realize this sooner?) it is becoming more and more important to lower your daily sweet intake. There is a direct correlation with sugar and most metabolic diseases. Sugar is a leading cause of inflammation in the body which can lead to all sorts of issues (heart disease, Alzheimers, obesity, and unfortunately so much more) and constant intake of an excessive amount of sugar prevents healing of any kind to take place. Sugar doesn’t just show up in big ways like chronic disease, it can also effect us in smaller daily ways such as headaches, mood swings, and brain fog, to name a few. Not to mention it screws with our appetite hormones and basically blocks our signals that tell us when we are full or not, so we just eat more than necessary.
Not to get too scientific, but the dangerous sugar we’re talking about here is fructose. Essentially, fructose goes straight to our liver and eventually gets stored as fat (leading to the production of insulin and eventually insulin resistance which equals type 2 diabetes). On the other hand, glucose, is metabolized by most cells in our body and gets used instantly as energy.
So, I’m working to cut some sugar out of my diet. At this point, I don’t need to go completely sugar free, and I do think it is important to realize that some people are more affected by sugar than others, including different types of sweeteners. I’m not saying that some people should be eating endless sugar amounts daily and allll the processed junk foods (because thats going to mess you up, no matter what), but rather some people can handle eating a donut occasionally without totally loosing it. Because, balance. Here are some suggestions that I find helpful in the great sugar cut down, and hopefully you will too!
- Cutting out all refined sugar in baking, by substituting with stevia or coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is an unrefined, low glycemic option that won’t come with the extreme side effects of fructose. Stevia is also a natural option, but because it is so much sweeter than table sugar, you have to play around with it to find the right amount that works for you. Another thing to be aware of is that not all stevia is created equal. Look for the green leaf stevia, as it is the least processed option.
- Get high quality dark chocolate bars that are at least 72% cacao. I’m not talking snickers bars here. Those are not real chocolate. High quality chocolate bars have much less added bs. They definitely taste different (read- better) than your idea of a chocolate bar. But, I have great news for you- you can actually train your taste buds. I used to be obsessed with Reeses cups, and now I think they taste fake and gross. I would much prefer chocolate made with real ingredients. And eventually you will too!
- More specifically on the chocolate bar note, my number one choice is Eating Evolved cups and bars. Their motto is “Chocolate: It’s food, not candy.” Word. All they contain is organic cacao, organic coconut sugar, and organic cacao butter. They use real ingredients, low sugar, and actually have a bar that is %100 cacao and unsweetened. This is extremely bitter, so if that’s not your thing you can add a little bit of organic unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter to it and it is amazing.
- To help with post dinner sweet cravings (honestly story of my life) I will sometimes go for a “sweet” tasting tea instead that has zero added sugar. Right now I’m obsessed with a loose leaf cacao tea that was given to me by a friend, but another good one is Yogi Tea Soothing Bedtime Caramel. Depending on the tea, I like to add a splash of almond milk and a spoonful of coconut butter. Yummmm.
- Be super cautious of all juices! Apple Juice and Orange Juice are the most obvious here (some can contain as much sugar as soda- YIKES) but most people don’t realize that juices that are marketed as healthy can sometimes contain just as much sugar. Be sure to read labels.
- Drink water!! So many sugar cravings (and most cravings in general) are caused simply because of dehydration. When you find yourself experiencing an extreme sugar craving, grab some water instead. Wait 30 minutes, then reevaluate and ask yourself if you still feel like reaching for that cookie.
- And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself! Listen to your body and really find out what it is your body is needing. Cutting down on sugar is hard, and it will be a process! Acknowledge the successful small changes you make and realize that mistakes are just opportunities for growth.
If you feel like you want to really focus on cutting down sugar and could use some guidance (because that shit is hard), I would absolutely love to work with you in a Health Coaching Program. Please email me at Gina@runningwildwellness.com