I thought I’d share some findings with you about my sugar free experience. The health decision came when I saw my mum in a hospital bed for 3 weeks, the most active 86 year old person I know was doing nothing, she wasn’t going to the gym, she wasn’t going to Apple to find out why her iPad wasn’t working, for the first time in 20 years I saw her in a hospital bed and I saw her age – and it rocked me!
I always have been health conscious but made a decision to take health to another level.
I gave up processed foods, white carbs because they turn into sugar and severely reduced my alcohol intake. I lost a stone, started sleeping through the night and my skin changed so much I was asked by numerous people if I had changed moisturiser!!
Sugar is bad for you. We know this. So why is it so hard to stop? It’s really like an addiction in so many ways and leads to so many health problems.
Is losing sugar easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
When you start your low-sugar journey, you’ll immediately notice the benefits. There are so many little aches and pains and irritations that are based on your sugar intake that you don’t even realise. Many of them start to get better really quickly, like within a week or so.
Your mood stabilises.
While sugar does not necessarily cause mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, it can accentuate the symptoms. I found my concentration was better, I honestly wasn’t getting frustrated so quickly and I was generally more patient with the decrease of sugar in my daily diet.
Blood pressure and cholesterol decreases.
Cut the sugar and watch your blood pressure numbers drop. You may even be able to stay in the healthy zone and off prescription medications! Another bonus: Your LDL cholesterol will likely drop a few points as well, along with your triglycerides – for some people, quitting sugar can reduce those numbers by as much as 30 percent. Cholesterol checks became a priority to me after my mum underwent a triple bypass at short notice and with the change in daily nutrition and some daily walking I’ve seen my combined cholesterol numbers go down from 6.5 to 4.9, and as for my blood pressure that significantly decreased from 190/98 to 171/87.
More stable energy levels.
Sugar sends your energy levels on a rollercoaster. When you eat something sugary, your blood sugar levels spike rapidly, giving you that boost in mood and alertness – then fall shortly after insulin is released into your cells. This big, sudden drop in blood sugar can make you shaky, weak, hungry and moody.
Skin: Blood sugar spikes and falls create inflammation or internal stress in the body, which can lead to breakouts and dull-looking skin. Sugar sucks all the water out of your cells, dehydrating your skin and leading to puffiness and under-eye circles. Choosing a variety of nourishing foods and drinking plenty of water will help you to look and feel more fresh and vibrant.
Cramps: If menstrual cramps are a recurring problem, cutting back on sugar will help tame inflammation. In turn, this will cut production of pain-producing, cramp-inducing prostaglandins to reduce (and possibly eliminate) much of the pain associated with the menstruation. If you’re a woman of a certain age and you’re going through Puberty Part 2 you may find that the hot flushes and sweats dramatically decrease or may even cease when you cut sugar out.
Joints: When your blood sugar rises, your body cranks out greater numbers of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.
Inflammation can age you rapidly, contributing to everything from painful joints to dry, wrinkled skin. Decreasing your sugar intake can make you LOOK and FEEL more beautiful!
Lose weight and lower your risk for diabetes.
Cutting out or cutting back on sugar may help you to lose weight. Food and drinks high in sugar tend to be higher in calories without the nutritional benefits that fill you up and give your body fuel it can use. Experts say sugar – or more specifically, fructose – can encourage fat storage. Sugary foods can also make you hungrier more quickly, due to the changes in blood glucose, so if you’re snacking on chocolate you’re likely to end up eating more throughout the day overall.
If sleeping is challenging for you, then kicking out the sugar could help significantly. If you eat a sugary snack before bed you may find yourself too wired to sleep. In short: Less sugar means more sleep and I totally advocate this as I now sleep without interruption.
Makes for a happy brain.
Less sugar equals less brain fog! A recent study found that high sugar intake has a negative impact on memory and learning – in other words, that morning sweet may be dulling your ability to think straight. If you want to stay sharp, fill-up on a low-sugar diet that’s packed with nutrients and good fats.
How to handle sugar cravings!
Provide a distraction.
Cravings only usually last somewhere around three minutes, so message a friend, read an article or book, or take a short walk. By the time you’re done, your craving will likely be gone.
Eat nature’s candy.
Grab a handful of blueberries, an orange, or an apple. As you eat, really pay attention to the natural sweetness in the food. Over time, you’ll train your taste buds to appreciate it, and you won’t need a massive overload of sugar from cookies or candy. This is what works best for me. The natural sweetness takes my sugar craving away immediately.
Eat healthy fats and protein.
Healthy fats and protein fill you up and satisfy your hunger, so you’re less likely to crave sugar.
Drink something warm.
It takes time to savour a rich, steamy cup of something (tea, broth, coffee) and by the time you’re done, your craving will be gone.
Learn to handle stress in a healthy way.
Check out my article about stress and all the ways you can reach for a new attitude instead of that donut!
Water water water water!
It flushes out toxins, fills you up, helps you live clean! Sometimes when I think I’m hungry, I’m really thirsty and always find having a room temperature glass of water helps so much! I even add some berries to make a little tipple and it stops cravings in their tracks.