By: Rick Bellanti – Feb. 2019
Sugar is one of the leading contributors to obesity and people that consume more sugar are more likely to be overweight or obese. For many people sugar and junk foods can become an addiction just like abusing drugs or alcohol. The more cookies, candy and donuts you consume, the more your body will crave it, but not just your body, your mind will too. Sugar releases dopamine, the feel good chemical in the brain and there have been studies that suggest dopamine plays a role in impulse control and addiction. So when I’m on a diet and I hear someone say you can have anything you want “in moderation”, I know it just doesn’t work for people like me who are addicted to sweets because the only thing that I know will work is complete abstinence.
Right now, there is an epidemic in America and that is type 2 diabetes. It currently has afflicted about 27 million people, and another 86 million people have been diagnosed with pre diabetes. I was diagnosed with pre diabetes back in January 2015, I was very unhealthy and eating the wrong types of foods. I was addicted to sugary sport and energy drinks and getting little to no exercise. They say there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but I was able to reverse the diagnosed pre-diabetes and I was taken off my medication by staying away from sweets and sugary drinks, following a program consisting of a protein based, nutrient dense diet with moderate exercise.
It is important to know that all sugars are not bad for you.
Sugars found in natural whole foods like fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients for proper nutrition and as a bonus vitamin C, vitamin A and fiber, all needed for a healthy diet. The simple refined sugars, found in processed foods (not made by Mother Nature), are just a source of energy and have no nutritional value. Its job is to create a spike in blood sugar and then eventually a crash which in turn makes you crave more. Low blood sugar causes hunger, and the whole process repeats in a vicious cycle.
A sugar detox is a way to break the hold sugar has over you.
You may not think that you consume too much sugar, but studies have shown that the average American now consumes between twenty two and thirty teaspoons of added sugar every day (some, without even realizing it).
Try a sugar detox for a short period of time by cutting all sugar out of your diet. It’s not as easy as it sounds because there are hidden sugars everywhere. Items like honey, maple syrup, breads, alcoholic drinks, so no natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners either, and the worse culprit High Fructose Corn Syrup (treat it like poison); it’s in so many products that you wouldn’t realize, like ketchup and salad dressings. There are so much more. So, get to reading those ingredient labels on the products you purchase to consume and look for hidden sugars.
The first three to four days are the hardest, but try to get through them because you’ll notice your cravings for sugar will go away, then within a week or two your palate will become more attuned to the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. You will notice foods without sugar will start tasting better to you, it’s like a whole new world opens, you will be amazed.
During the two weeks of the sugar detox, there are some foods you shouldn’t eat because of the high carbohydrate content, including starchy vegetables like corn, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin. And any naturally high sugar fruits like bananas, pineapple, and watermelon. Stay away from canned and dried fruits, because the sugar content is concentrated and many fruits are actually candied, which means they were boiled in sugar syrup to make them sweeter.
If you completed a two week sugar detox and feel great, next time try a month, if you can do a month, then work on making it a lifestyle change for good. A sugar detox shouldn’t be a one-time quick fix but a new, healthier way to live your life, the results are incredible. You’ll lose weight, have fewer headaches, less inflammation, you’ll find you have more energy, and feel so much better overall. You’ll be amazed by how much better you’ll feel when you cut the added sugar out of your daily intake.
Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs, and has lost 160lbs since the start of 2015. If you have any questions or comments, please post them to his Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti Facebook page and once a month he will address a few of the topics here. ◊