Is it easy to give up sugar?
Before I start my account of giving up sugar I want you to know a few things about me.
Yes I’m a Nutritionist but I’m not perfect, I live in the real world and like many of you I have to juggle family life taking care of two small children with the demands and pressures of working for myself and keeping home.
I like chocolate, I like cup cakes and I like a glass of wine now and then.
However, because of the work I do and the knowledge I have I try my best to ensure my family, myself and my clients eat a good balanced healthy diet – or so I thought so!
Being a family nutritionist I do see a lot of overweight children as well as adults. They all want to lose weight, feel better and lead a healthier life. For most this is achieved through diet and exercise combined with other lifestyle advice but for others (and this has always bugged me), none of this seems to help. This has led me to researching food addiction and metabolic issues and how the food manufacturing companies are making these peoples life a misery.
We are, of course, talking about sugar!
In recent years there’s been a definite shift and the general public (that’s you!) are becoming more aware that low fat is not a good option and sugar is the real issue.
Sugar is known to be more addictive than cocaine, heroin and alcohol lighting up more sections of the brain in the areas responding to reward.
I decided to find out how hard it would be to give up sugar – and I don’t mean ‘Davina sugar free’ (no disrespect as I do love Davina) but all sources of refined and concentrated sugar such as honey, maple syrup, xylitol, stevia as well as keeping natural sugars low such as fruit. I also decided to exclude all caffeine, gluten, dairy and alcohol for 10 days.
These foods and drinks are involved in the metabolic pathways that deal with sugar and how it is broken down in your body. In order to ‘re-set’ your system it is important to also exclude these for the 10 day programme.
The results at the end of the 10 day plan were outstanding!
I never like to ask my clients to do things I wouldn’t or haven’t done so below is the plan I followed for 10 days.
- water, herbal tea, vegetable juice
- gluten free porridge made with homemade oat milk with added flaxseed and topped with blueberries
- Smoothie made with frozen strawberries, almond milk, 1 tbsp nut butter, walnuts, flaxseed, lime and ginger.
- Banana pancakes made with one banana, one egg, flaxseed and cinnamon
- Soup – various recipes but always containing protein
- Salads – lots of different green leaves plus avocado, olives and protein course
I generally kept this really simple, having fish with vegetables and sweet potato or chicken with rice and vegetables or vegetarian dishes such as curries or chilli.
- Hummus with vegetables crudités
- ½ avocado with lemon juice and black pepper
- A few nuts and seeds
- Homemade flapjack
- Raw chocolate brownies
The journey was interesting because as you can imagine my diet wasn’t previously full of sugar and unhealthy foods, however on day 3 I got the mother of all headaches which lasted for over 24 hours. But then on day 5 I could not believe how sweet my homemade flapjack tasted. I was convinced I’d put sugar in the recipe which of course I hadn’t. This recipe only gets its sweetness from the raisins. On day 6 I found my carrots to be extremely sweet in taste and I also began to feel really good.
I began looking at all labels on products I use and discovered to my utter disgust that some of the ones I considered to be a healthy choice also contained sugar. For example I use Kallo stock cubes and for some unknown reason these contain sugar – not a lot but it’s in there! Why??? Almost everything that comes in a jar, box or packet contain sugar from pasta sauces to bread to stock cubes! Some of the worst offenders include breakfast cereals, cereal bars, yoghurts, soups and most products aimed at children.
If you are a drug addict or alcoholic we would never tell that person to cut down – it’s an all or nothing scenario and it made me realise where I’d been going wrong with those clients addicted to sugar! It is impossible for them to simply reduce their intake of those foods – they need to go cold turkey!
By the end of the 10 days I felt so great on so many levels. The exercise really focused my mind and I found myself wanting to continue on this diet. I have since reintroduced some dairy, gluten and caffeine but continued to severely limit sugar. I lost weight, had more energy, improved sleep, better periods and a reduction in other symptoms. I did not expect this, mainly because my diet is already healthy.
What could it do for you and your family?
If you are one of those people who secret eat, binge eat, find it impossible to fight your cravings or are constantly self sabotaging then you should try this 10 day plan. Read the work by Dr Robert Lustig and Dr Mark Hyman.
And finally if you need some one to one help please do get in touch, I would love to help you.
Here’s what one of clients had to say after following this 10 day plan. She had been struggling with energy, weight problems and other symptoms.
“Just thought I’d update you on the plan you gave me as it’s gone very well!!I feel great and have a clearer head and much more energy. Also I’ve
lost 3lb, a huge achievement, so I’m extremely happy!!”
If you would like some help with food addiction, cutting out sugar, weight loss or healthy eating please do get in touch with me.
In the end I actually found it relatively easy to give up sugar. Please let me know how you get on 🙂