Interview and Article by Meghan Gill
Are you struggling to give up sugar? Do you stick to a diet plan for a week then find yourself spoon deep in Haagen Dazs? You’re not alone.
Sugar is a hard habit to kick. Let’s delve into this sweet dilemma and learn nutritionist approved tools for a sugar free lifestyle.
But first, why give up sugar at all? Jenny Champion, founder of Paleo Barbie and a board-certified nutritionist explained, “sugar gives you a mental fog and it keeps you on sugar highs and lows, which can trigger anxiety and depression.” She’s worked with thousands of clients tackling sugar addiction and binge eating disorder, and she’s seen their results firsthand.
After giving up sugar, people have control over what they eat. They also experience mental clarity, more self-confidence, energy and even better sex lives. It’s common to get off antidepressants. There are a host of other health benefits including weight loss, clear skin, reduced inflammation and a lower risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Convinced yet?
If you’re like most Americans, eliminating sugar calls for a lifestyle upgrade. In fact, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the average American consumes 3 pounds or 6 cups of sugar a week. Most of that sugar comes from soft drinks, but also plenty of added sugar.
The CDC defines added sugar as “sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.” Sugar is the most popular ingredient in processed food and can be found in ketchup, cereals, deli meat, rotisserie chickens, peanut butter, soup and salad dressings.
You can get rid of added sugar and stop cravings. It takes a few days before you start to taste the natural sugars in fruit, almonds, vegetables, milk and yogurt.
Nutritionist Jenny Champion’s tips for kicking the sugar habit:
- Cut out sugary drinks first – no juice and no sports drinks.
- Buy minimally processed food – that means buying food without a package, such as produce
- Stay away from artificial sweeteners – think of it this way, which is worse: sugar or chemicals? Both are terrible
- Eat until you’re full
- Save calorie counting for later – for now, gorge yourself on protein, vegetables, avocados, nuts and seeds
Gorging on protein and vegetables may seem like a strange choice, but Jenny explains, “You’ll go overboard on the wrong things if you don’t fill up on the right things.” After you’ve quit sugar, you can look at portion size and calories.