5 Simple Ways to Ditch Sugar

sugar
5 Simple Ways to Ditch Sugar

No doubt you swore at the beginning of the year that you were going to give up sugar and eat really healthy, cook all your meals, and lose 10 pounds.

You might find that your enthusiasm for all that healthy living has already begun to waver.

Today is a free friday from  Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run and the Friday Five Linkup.

Getting off the sweet stuff is something I’m familiar with, so I want to share some simple steps that will help you get the sugar out.

Eat whole foods!
This is probably the simplest, and hardest, way to get sugar out of your life.

Eating a lot of processed foods usually means by default you’re eating more sugar than you need. There’s a lot of debate on whether or not sugar is addictive, but I personally believe that it is.

The more sweets you eat, the more sweets you crave.

One winter I thought I was doing myself a favor by making a healthy sweet treat once a day. Maybe you young’uns can do that, but you’ll learn, the game changes when you get into your 40s and beyond.

For most women. Some of you are lucky and have great metabolisms. And trust me, if you’re vertically challenged like me, it’s really hard.

Those sweets weren’t doing me any favors; I gained more pounds than I was comfortable with.

Ditch the soda
And speaking of addictive . . . I gave up soda years and years ago. It wasn’t really all that hard.

For years I’d take a sip of my husband’s now and again, when I was craving something sweet, but over time I didn’t even want that. Why ingest a bunch of chemicals when you could have some soothing tea, a sweet smoothie, or just some plain old refreshing water?

Seriously, over time, when I took that sip of my husband’s soda, it no longer tasted good. At all.

And if you think diet soda is doing you any favors, think again. Remember, the more sweet you eat/drink, the more you want?

Read labels
Sugar hides everywhere: tomato sauce, yogurt, bacon, salad dressings, flavored oatmeals — you name it, and some food manufacturer has probably added sugar to it.

Why? Because it’s addicting! And they want you to buy their product. Again and again and again.

Don’t think you’re safe if you don’t see sugar on the label, either, because sugar hides under many, many names: honey, maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, cane sugar, dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin .  .  . the list goes on and on.

Yes, honey and maple syrup and some other sweeteners have some nutritional value, but they’re still sugar. So just use sparingly.

Go easy on the artificial sweeteners
If you take nothing away from this post, take away that sugar is addicting. Anything sweet tasting is addicting.

A few years back, when I went to Montreal to run my third half, I was under a lot of stress much like last year: a cat who was sick and a father who needed brain surgery — we found out about my father literally the day before we were supposed to leave for Montreal.

I wasn’t feeling well. I forgot my stevia, which is what I use to sweeten my tea. I felt I really needed that tea to stay healthy, so I just drank it unsweetened. And I’ve never looked back.

I still sweeten some of my flavored teas, but I use much, much less stevia when I do. Because I’ve trained my taste buds to prefer my tea less sweet. That’s the exception, though; I usually drink 2-3 mugs of green tea and they’re not sweetened at all.

I was using stevia long before it became trendy. I don’t do splenda (hides as sucralose), or aspartame. I try to limit my use of stevia, as well. Because, repeat after me: anything sweet tasting makes you crave more sweets.

Cook more
I know, I know; we’re all busy. Convenience foods are, well, convenient. They also often packed with sodium and sugar, especially if they’re low fat — manufacturers add more sugar to low fat food to make it palatable; it’s part of why the whole Snackwells craze of the 80s left us heavier, not lighter.

If you only cook one meal at home a week, go for two. I’m not saying you have to cook every single meal you eat, but just aim to cook more often.

Conclusion
I have tried the 21 Day Sugar Detox before. It’s a good program and the recipes are tasty and I do still rotate those recipes through what I cook/bake. But I always go back to sugar. I’m a moderately active person — I know some would think very active, but the truth is I still spend a lot of time sitting and still love to lay down and watch some tv midday (and Gizmo and Lola really encourage that).

The bottom line is I’m okay with some sugar, and I didn’t od on sugar over the holidays, but as always, I found sweet treats creeping in as an everyday indulgence when they really didn’t need to be.

So I didn’t do anything crazy at the beginning of the year, but I have been playing around with simply having more savory snacks and breakfasts and not necessarily having chocolate every day. Reaching for fruit where I might have reached for chocolate before. Saving the sweet treats for the days I’m more active.

It’s not about deprivation; it’s about moderation.

Have you ever tried a sugar detox? How’d that go for you?

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34 thoughts on “5 Simple Ways to Ditch Sugar

  1. Vertically challenged….I hear ya! I did a 60 day runner challenge a couple of years ago. Part of it was no added sugar. Although I did go back to having sugar when it was over, I consume much less.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I try really hard to eat healthy non processed foods, but I can’t resist ice cream. I am fortunate to have a good metabolism so it’s not the calories that I worry about but more what it is doing to my body. There are so many chemicals in the processed stuff and that is really my big gripe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the occasional ice cream. Believe me, my diet is not perfect; it never will be — but unfortunately I was not blessed with a good metabolism.

      In some ways it can be a blessing in disguise, but it still can make life pretty challenging!

      Like

  3. Because I eat mostly whole foods and tons of fruits and veggies, I thought having a small sweet treat daily was just fine. It’s not! I’ve reduced my sweet treat from daily to just once or twice a week, which is good for me, but I need to keep working at it. The stevia is what kills me. I started reducing stevia in my tea and need to keep at that too. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i couldn’t believe how much sugar is added in some things! i’m trying to build muscle right now, so i’m actually reading labels, and a tiny thing of vanilla yogurt had 10g! i opted for the plain with no sugar and just added fruit to sweeten it, and it worked fine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, one thing to remember about yogurt is that it has naturally occurring sugars from the milk (lactose). 10 gm isn’t actually that bad.

      Flavored yogurts can have 17+ gms of sugar! I’m really picky about my yogurt, too.

      Like

  5. I’m in process of completing a Whole30 right now, which is a sugar detox to the max. And I always forget how much sugar is in EVERYTHING. Chicken broth? Why is there sugar in chicken broth? It just continually blows my mind. And like you said, all the code words that people don’t realize mean sugar so they think they’re safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And some things apparently have natural sugars that I never thought about — some nut butters, for instance. I read the label and all it has is nuts but there’s still sugar in it!

      I’ve never done a whole 30. I do like my treats occasionally. And my chocolate. I actually eat Lily’s a lot (sugar free, sweetened with stevia), but I have to watch that, too.

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  6. Yes, I do love something sweet. But I don’t drink soda – never really did and I do not eat or buy anything with artificial sweeteners anymore. If i want it sweeter, I just add sugar. What I think is unhealthy is snacking on sweets – chips, cookies, candy. I just don’t ever have them in my house. The problem is when I am not at home….my willpower is not as strong as I’d like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t keep store bought cookies in my house; if I really want some, I make them. I do like my chocolate though. 🙂 And I do have a ton of it!

      I don’t have chips at home, but my husband has his stash.

      Most people don’t realize that simple carbs like that actually pretty much just turn into sugar in the body!

      Like

      1. I don’t have that willpower and my hubby has less. If there were chips in the home, we’d eat them. So we snack on fruit.

        In the summer, there is ice cream in the freezer. My hubby eats it so fast that I rarely get any – a good thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t keep ice cream in the house, usually. If I want it, we go to Guptils. And I used to be able to talk my husband into it because Chester wanted it (he was such a softie for him).

        Nothing wrong with snacking on fruit!

        Like

  7. It’s amazing how much sugar is in all the food we have here. Some of it isn’t even sugar, it’s HFCS. When I go to other countries and they don’t serve it, I wonder why we’re allowed to put it in foods. I drink soda on a rare occasion, and then it may be Fresca in the summer. I also drink tea straight up since even a little bit of sugar is too sweet for me.

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  8. I so needed this now Judy! I have gotten into a bad habit of having a piece of chocolate in the afternoon or after supper, just one but it is the sugar craving. I know this because it use to be a handful of M&M’s but it was so hard to ditch the habit. Sugar does hide in many many things and the more you have it the more you want it! I haven’t tried a sugar detox but I think I’d benefit from it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I continue to be surprised at the sugar that appears in most EVERYTHING! I have been eating a lot of “real”, unprocessed food since the new year began, but this week I’ve started having cravings for a piece of chocolate or dried fruit. I guess there are worse things to crave, but what am I eating with sugar in it that is making me crave these other things?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always crave chocolate. I could definitely eat it every day, and most of the time I eat stevia sweetened chocolate!

      We are wired to like sweets and fats, especially during winter! Sometimes it can also be a mineral deficiency (chocolate is high in magnesium, for instance), but usually it’s because it just tastes so darn good.

      Like

  10. I am a sugar addict. I did the 21 day sugar detox a couple years ago (Diane Sanfilipio) and it was an eye opening experience. I have tried to cut the majority of the sugar out of my diet. No added sugar, very little diet soda, and I even make sugar free desserts.

    I can not have sweets in the house or they won’t last long. Ice cream is my downfall.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t overly crave sweets so not really focused on cutting sugar. It is everywhere, you just have to be aware, drink plenty of water and not over do it. I guess easier said than done for some but I don’t typically worry about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am very vertically challenged lol and I struggle all the time with weight. I gain from smelling stuff…
    I have gone sugar free, caffeine free, a few times over the years but mostly now I know what I can not have (milk chocolate) it makes me graze..
    I can enjoy one or two pieces of dark chocolate and be fine for a few days.
    I am currently trying to kick diet soda because I wasn’t keeping it in moderation.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Every New Years I say I am going to reduce my sugar intake and then someone hands me a cupcake…lol

    I did not make that commitment this year and ya know what? I’m actually doing alright. I really didn’t even have any holiday treats over Christmas like I usually do.

    My goal this year is to eat less processed foods and pasta.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are good goals!

      I didn’t make a resolution to cut out sugar, just be mindful of it, and I was doing pretty good until today. Suddenly very hungry today. I think I know why, but I still ate more than I should have. 😦 Not sweets, for the most part, at least.

      Like

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