Sugar is everywhere!
It’s loaded into soft drinks, candy, and processed foods. We add it to coffee. It’s hidden in frozen food, salad dressing and soup. It’s even in health drinks that are supposed to be “good for us”.
WHY REDUCE SUGAR?
Many sugars are processed and don’t contain the vitamins and minerals you’d find in the unprocessed, raw forms.
Sugars have a high glycemic index.
Many people over-eat sugar and don’t realize they’re doing it. Sugar, due to its powerful effects on the reward system in the brain, can lead to classic signs of addiction.
Eating too much sugar (especially processed forms) may:
Increase insulin levels. High insulin levels can make it hard to lose weight and easy to gain weight.
Increase blood sugar levels which: Play a role in causing inflammation in the body. This means your organs, tissues and joints have a much harder time staying healthy. Sugar and gluten have a hand in many similar types of health concerns.
Can lead to the ups and downs of blood sugar swings as the body tries to correct the situation. This can lead to light-headedness, brain fog, sugar/grain cravings, dizziness, mood swings and anxiety/depression.
Contribute to hormonal imbalances.
Feed fungus, yeast and bacteria. Anyone dealing with yeast overgrowth (i.e. Candida), skin rashes, yeast, bladder infections, bloating and gassiness will find improvement in these symptoms once sugars are reduced or eliminated.
Can cause disturbances in sleep.
HOW MUCH DO I HAVE TO REDUCE MY SUGAR & FOR HOW LONG?
This is an excellent question to which we reply, “To what degree do you want to get better?” and “Are you achieving your health goals?” Most people want to improve their symptoms as much as they can, or eliminate them if possible.
The goal is to gradually reduce your sugars to zero.
Most people need at least 30 days, and many need 90-120 days or more, without sugars. Think of this time as a cleansing period.
At some point, you may begin to add back in some of the healthier forms of sugar in moderation. We do this slowly to see how your body reacts. If any symptoms return or get worse, we go back to the previous amount of sugar in your diet (which could be zero) with which your body did fine.
WHAT FOODS CONSTITUTE SUGARS?
Our main goal is to reduce or eliminate sugars, and foods that act similar to sugars, so you can feel better. Anything from the following list of ingredients should be circled on your Food Journal:
- Sugar, Molasses, Cane Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Agave
Honey, Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar
Stevia, Monk Fruit
Xylitol, Erythritol, Malitol (sugar alcohols)
WHAT’S CONSIDERED A SERVING OF SWEETENER?
One piece of any type of dessert = 1 serving of sugar.
If you only have a couple bites, it still counts. .
Read labels on pre-packaged foods to find the serving size and count your servings appropriately.
If you’re ever unsure about what the serving size is, use the golden rule:
1 serving = ½ cup or 8 ounces. When in doubt, estimate up.
In general, it’s best to keep sugar at 4 grams or less per serving.
Most people reduce their overall consumption of sugars/sweeteners, without regard to the overall quality of the sugar/sweetener…one thing at a time. As clients move forward in improving their diet, we begin to discuss:
HEALTHIER SWEETENER OPTIONS
Grade B Maple Syrup
Stevia (SweetLeaf brand or ground leaf)
What is Stevia?
Stevia is an herb. It originated in South America, and is now grown throughout the world. It’s naturally very sweet and is considered 100 – 200 times sweeter than sugar. Unlike sugar and other artificial sweeteners, stevia doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, while stevia leaf (in fresh or dried form) is a natural herbal sweetener, many modern forms of stevia-based sweeteners are powdered and processed. In fact, popular powdered stevia sweeteners (like Splenda) go through dozens of steps (like bleaching and chemical alteration) during their processing. And although stevia is calorie-free, it may cause caloric dysregulation when consumed in excess. The body expects a blood sugar rise when consuming sweet foods. Some experts speculate that it might be stressful to the body when it expects a blood sugar rise and it doesn’t occur, though this hasn’t been proven.
What are Sugar Alcohols?
Sugar alcohols come from plant products such as fruits and berries. The carbohydrates in these plant products are altered through a chemical process to make a sugar alcohol. These sugar substitutes provide somewhat fewer calories than table sugar (sucrose) mainly because they’re not well absorbed. They may have a laxative effect and cause gas and bloating, especially in high doses. At this point, there’s little to no information on long-term effects on humans.
WHAT CAN I SUBSTITUTE OR DO TO REDUCE MY SWEETENERS?
The following are ideas to get you started. These can be incorporated into baking recipes and can help fight sugar cravings:
- Nut Butters
- Vanilla (especially vanilla in glycerin, which is sweet tasting)
When experiencing SUGAR CRAVINGS it’s helpful to eat: Protein, Healthy Fats, and Real (mineral) Salt, or a combination of all three.
OTHER NAMES FOR SUGAR ON FOOD LABELS
One of the easiest ways to recognize sugar on food labels is by looking for the –ose suffix. Ingredient names ending in –ose are generally just different forms of sugar. Sugars ending in –ose include: Dextrose, Fructose, Galactose, Glucose, Glucose Solids, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lactose, Maltose and Sucrose.
But just because it doesn’t end in –ose, doesn’t mean it isn’t sugar. There are plenty of other names for sugar that may not sound like sugar, such as:
Syrups (corn, corn solids, maple, buttered, carob, malt, golden, sorghum, refiner’s), Sugars (beet, brown, date, yellow), Juices (cane – dehydrated, solids, crystals), Juices (fruit – dehydrated, concentrates, crystals), Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Diatase, Diatastic Malt, Barley Malt, Ethyl Maltol and Turbinado.
Tara Lambert, BA, CNC Founder, Nutritional Wellness Center
Tara struggled with her health for many years, nearly becoming non-functional. In seeking out the reason for her ill health and a solution, she was diagnosed with a variety of illnesses.
As her situation worsened, she started looking for real solutions. She spent a small fortune trying nearly every modality in both conventional and alternative medicine.
She was introduced to Nutrition Response Testing® and whole food nutrition. She found it strange and unbelievable because it was very different from anything that she had experienced before. But she got better!
“I learned the difference between traditional nourishing foods and whole food supplements versus faddist so-called ‘health foods’ and synthetic supplements. As a result, I immediately recognized that I had found a solution to my health problems and I had also found my life’s purpose!”