I don’t recommend fad diets or diets that make you eat only watermelon for three days straight, because I believe the body needs a variety of nutrients, protein, and fats to stay healthy.
However, I do think we eat too much sugar.
All calories are not equal and it is important that when we consume calories (especially if we are limiting them because of weight loss goals) that we eat nutrient dense, healthy foods.
A cupcake and a carrot are not equal even if they have the same calorie count. Carrots are filled with vitamins, potassium, and fiber. Cupcakes are filled with sugar and white flour. You are better off eating 200 calories of carrots (which is 4 cups of carrots!) than a 200 calorie cupcake.
Still need convincing? According to Forbes American’s consume 130 pounds of sugar every year, which is 22 teaspoons a day.
The American Heart Association recommends people consume no more than 9.5 teaspoons a day. We are eating over double the recommended amount and the number rises every year!
Two years ago I cut out processed sugar for almost a month. No sugar at all (except sugars which occur naturally in foods like fruit), which meant I also cut out most condiments, crackers, packaged products, and eating out.
I felt awesome.
The best part about cutting out sugar, was that real food tasted amazing. It is crazy how processed food will trick you into thinking that an orange isn’t sweet.
An orange is absolutely delicious if you haven’t had sweets for a few weeks. I started craving fruits and vegetables for the first time in my life.
The reason I gave up sugar was not because I had a sweet tooth. I gave it up because I was addicted to soda. I knew that for every soda I drank I would need to put in more time at the gym. For every Big Gulp I consumed I would need to stay on the elliptical that much longer to do that many more jumping jacks.
I wanted to see if it would make a difference, and it did.
Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon of sugar. One can of soda a day is equal to the recommended amount of sugar you should consume… in one day.
I didn’t stay off sugar for good, as it was too hard with my travel schedule. But, I cut out eating most sweet foods and spent a lot more time looking at labels before I brought food into my home. I didn’t substitute sugar for another sweetener, I just started eating more foods that didn’t have any sweetener in them at all.
Many people I know struggle with a sugar addiction. Whether it be chocolate or candy, or perhaps products that are filled with sugars, your sugar consumption might be the reason you can’t kick start a healthier you.
If you think you are eating too much sugar you probably are. If your body is storing up fat for a Zombie Apocalypse you probably are consuming way too much sugar. High blood pressure? Could be the sugar. Hungry all the time, cut out the sugar.
Sugar can cause a ton of health problems, in addition to weight gain. If you think you are addicted it’s time for a break up.
My recommendation, give it up for 21 days and see how you feel.
(You will awful for the first few days).
But at the end you will feel great. Real food will taste so much better and you’ll notice a difference in your energy level.
I’m not suggesting you give up sugar for good (although that’s great if you can do it).
I’m suggesting you give it up for three weeks.
We start on Monday (1/5), and I know you can do it.
Need help getting started? Here are websites/cookbooks I use when looking for no sugar recipes.
- The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally
- The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for Any Program Level
- 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
- 100 Days of Real Food Recipes (FREE)
- The Nourishing Home Recipes (FREE)
- Heavenly Homemakers Recipes (FREE)
- Kelly the Kitchen Kop Recipes (FREE)
If you don’t need/ want to give up sugar here are two other challenge options.
- Increase your water intake for 21 days.
- Exercise for 30 minutes every other day for 21 days.