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Sugar Isn’t Evil

Sugar and Its Effects

It seems like sugar-bashing is all the rage lately. Sugar-less diets and detoxes are everywhere, but I want to tell you something: Sugar isn’t evil. And trying to quit it 100% by using willpower can be super stressful and isn’t necessary.

Phew! Right?

Having said that, let’s look deeper at sugar and its effects on our bodies.

Consuming excessive sugar, natural or not, is not good for your health. Yet we have a taste bud for sweet so we were designed for sweet things. What happens, though, is that we humans tend to eat far too much sugar. What it boils down to is that how much matters.

The American Heart Association recommends 32 g or less for men, and 24 g or less for women of added sugars. If you look at coconut water (something that depending on the brand can be quite healthy), you’ll see that one tall can contain 24 g of added sugar! If you were to drink that entire can, you’d have your daily allotment of sugar gone already. Sugar can be sneaky so it is best that you’re informed.

Instead of white-knuckling it to quit sugar, these are my favorite tips to have a better relationship with sweet.

My top 5 tips to reduce sugar intake:

  1. Read food labels. How much added sugar does this product contain per a serving and how many servings are you consuming? Be aware.
  2. Build Campfire Meals to balance your blood sugar levels to help prevent physical sugar cravings
  3. Avoid artificial sugars. These artificial sweeteners can actually cause you to crave even more sugar and can cause a cascade of negative metabolic effects in your body.
  4. Look Deeper. What’s going on when you crave certain foods?
    Is there an emotional need you’re trying to fill? Notice if you crave sugar when you need more “sweetness” in your life. Next time you find yourself in the midst of a sugar craving, pause for a moment and bring more awareness to this craving. What are you feeling? What was going on in your day before this craving hit? The “pause strategy” can help you gain insight and begin to break the emotional need for sugar. My ultimate goal with clients is to find new ways to fulfill this emotion besides food, drink, excess shopping or whatever you tend to lean on. We all need a variety of coping mechanisms in our toolbox.
  5. Feeling badly about eating sugar and 100% restricting it is not the answer. It could be causing your cravings. Nothing intensifies a craving like restriction. When we practice the above tools, and re-learn how to Eat Intuitively, by listening to the physical sensations coming from our body instead of outside diet culture rules, we can have a healthy and happy relationship with food and our bodies.

Want to go deeper in exploring your cravings? Grab my free 5 page CURB YOUR CRAVINGS CONSCIOUSLY Tip Sheet.

The main takeaways

  • In general, be aware of the recommended levels of sugar for adults. Eat balanced meals and snacks in which something sweet can absolutely be included!
  • It’s completely OK and natural to enjoy dessert. Remember that sometimes restriction can make us want it more. And stressing about sugar can be worse for our health than anything on our plates.
  • We were designed with a sweet taste bud and we’re meant to have sweetness in our lives. Ask yourself: Are you getting enough sweetness out of life that has nothing to do with food?
  • You’re human (and life is too dang short) to avoid sweets completely. Relax, slow down, savor your ice cream cone, your birthday cake! All foods can fit in a healthy diet. Healthy eating isn’t “perfect” eating. It’s about what you eat for the most part, over time.

The key is to be mindful of the amount and quality of of sugars you’re generally consuming and how food choices or emotions may be driving your cravings.

Have a question about sugar, need help getting to the root cause of your sugar cravings?Reach out!

  • Tanya

Curb Your Cravings with Campfire Meals

Fatigue. Cravings. Mood swings.

These are three common complaints that can be avoided by building healthy balanced meals. One of the most important strategies to improve your nutritional and overall health is to learn how to create meals that stabilize your blood sugar.

When Your Blood Sugar is Stable

  • You will feel stable
  • You will feel more energized
  • You will feel mentally grounded
  • And your cravings will diminish

Many of us gravitate towards meals that are carbohydrate and sugar dense with minimal protein and healthy fat, especially at breakfast. When we start our days with this type of meal, we put ourselves on the blood sugar roller coaster of energy, mood and craving highs and lows.

Let me explain how protein, fats and carbohydrates work in the body to create a steady fuel source throughout the day. Making stabilizing meals is like building a campfire:

PROTEIN

Quality protein provides the structure of your meal. It’s like the teepee at your campfire. Each meal should include enough protein to create satiety, that feeling of fullness. To learn more about protein timing and to calculate your individual needs per a meal, read my blog post, All About Protein.

FATS

Quality healthy fats provide sustainable energy. It’s the log on your campfire. How do logs burn? Slowly and for long periods of time.

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates provide quick energy. Quick energy is perfect for when you need it but it burns out quickly, like kindling on the fire. It gets your energy revved up, but doesn’t last long. If you eat a breakfast that’s mostly carbohydrates and sugars, you may find yourself craving more food within a few hours because your blood sugar has crashed and along with it your energy and mood.

Building campfire meals is one of many steps you can take if you struggle with cravings for carbs, sugars. Here’s what else you can do: