In the last blog, we discovered the health effects of sugar on our bodies and hidden sources in foods. Some might say that I took the fun out of eating anything “tasty.” I’m not here to make eating boring, or nutrition confusing, I am simply want to provide you the facts and offer simple ways we can move forward to achieving healthier, happier bodies!
How do we make progress toward healthier bodies? A great way is to start by cutting back on sugar in areas you are willing to improve on. I’m not going to tell you to stop using coffee creamer. Saying ‘avoid all sugary foods’ will only make you want them more. However, trying what I like to call the “step down theory’, might actually give you more energy, and less cravings.
Here’s an example of the step down theory:
A person consumes a 20oz of soda 5x per week. To cut that out completely can result in headaches and irritability, which your friends and family won’t be thrilled about. Using the step down theory to cut back would look something like this:
- Cut back from 20oz every day to 12oz a day for 1 week.
- Cut down to 12oz only 4 days per week.
- Followed by 4 days a week consuming only 6oz/day.
- Then 2 days of 6oz/day.
- Followed by 1 day of 4 oz.
- Moderation! Once in a while
The step down theory can take about 6 weeks, depending on the person. 6 weeks is the normal length of time it takes for a new habit to form, and our taste buds to adjust to new things (less sugar cravings, for example). Try this method for any sugar (or salty) food item you discovered is high in the diet.
If you try to eat healthy but still have a sweet tooth, that’s ok. It’s about learning to love the natural forms. When I say natural, I mean fruits and vegetables. After all, it’s called “Nature’s Candy” for a reason. Try a serving of dried fruit, a cup of berries, or some juicy sweet peppers. You can also roast vegetables for a caramelized, sweeter flavor. In baked goods, you can swap out refined white sugar for: pureed dates, very ripe bananas, or even applesauce.
About those artificial sweeteners, I constantly get asked if one brand is better than the next, if they cause cancer, or obesity. The bottom line, everything in MODERATION. A diet product one time during a 3 month period will not lead to detrimental health effects. Overexposure (think daily or weekly) can lead to bloating, upset stomach, difficulty losing weight, or even a stronger craving for sugar.
I leave you with this…reach for “Nature’s Candy” the majority of the days, and enjoy the many additional health benefits Mother Nature intended and occasionally enjoy a special treat.