Being certified Nutrition and Wellness consultants, Brenda Sue and I are often approached by folks who want to know specifics on how they should go about losing weight. One of the first things we always tell these inquiring minds is to quit eating sugar. We then encounter a wide range of reactions from people appearing a little melancholy because they need to ditch and old friend, and then there are those who get downright angry and refuse to accept this as the best way to permanently lose body fat.
We totally understand the emotions attached to sugar consumption. Happy childhood memories tied to sweet treats, running down the ice cream man. Grandma’s home baked chocolate chip cookies etc… Yes, we get it, we have had our own addictions to the stuff too. But, we also know that sugar is horrible for our bodies, despite the pleasures it brings us once a few sweet morsels pass though our lips. Those tasty treats made with added simple sugars are poison in your bloodstream. Like a cigarette, it is not going to kill you today with the first nibble. Nope, it is a lifetime consumption habit which will eventually creep up and bite you in the rear when you are not looking. You will be ambling through life, fat, dumb and happy and feeling good, when one day you realize that besides being over weight, your blood pressure is now high, your cholesterol and triglycerides have elevated to unhealthy levels, and your liver and kidney functions are not within their normal ranges. And you can bet your lunch, most often these symptoms are going to be a direct result of a poor diet, high in low nutrient calories from your sugar habit.
Of course we need some sugar in our diets, only we should get them through complex carbohydrates rather than simple refined sugars. The only caveat to simple sugars is getting them through fruit where the fiber content slows the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, The fiber in fruit allows these simple sugars to be absorbed much the same as complex carbohydrates. We need a healthy amount of carbohydrates in order for our bodies, and our brains in particular, to operate properly. The problem is most people are consuming far too many carbs and sugar, and they are not even aware of the problem. It truly is absurd when you see adults drinking several servings of sugar laden soda pop every day of their lives while also eating lots of sweet treats while remaining blissfully unaware of the damage they are doing within their bodies.
In the world of today, with all of the convenience foods available, it becomes difficult for some to avoid added sugars. I get this, but I also know for certainty, it is not impossible to avoid added sugar. I live my life totally free of added sugars and keep my carbohydrate intake low too. Know that when we are talking about added sugars, we are not only referring to instances where you might eat cookies or stir a few spoons of sugar into a glass of tea. No, we are also talking about processed foods where simple sugars have been added for taste. We tell people to not only quit sugar but to also quit consuming processed foods as so many are full of empty calories derived from sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave syrup, and date syrup to name a few. Yes, all of this garbage is bad for you and there is really no good reason to ever consume any of it.
Reasons to quit sugar:
- You will immediately begin to burn body fat. The reality is once you quit sugar and processed foods, you will have a difficult time eating enough healthy, whole foods in order to meet the calories your body requires based on your basal metabolic rate. With sugary foods, exceeding your needs is quite simple. You can exceed your daily caloric needs in only one trip through a fast food restaurant drive through. Because your body will not have any of this excess sugar to use for energy, it will grab onto and burn your stored fat. Weight loss truly is a matter of calories consumed verses calories burned, unless you have a health condition such as hypothyroidism where your thyroid does not properly produce hormones. There are a few other medical reasons why some can not lose weight efficiently, but even with these problems, it is not always impossible to do so when you eat healthy foods.
- Your hunger cravings will go away. Yes, you will still get hungry, but those awful cravings that are sometimes referred to as being “hangry” will no longer be there to ruin your day. If you consume complex carbohydrates and plenty of fiber, your body will receive a steady dose of energy and your fuel tank will never be empty enough to make you insane with cravings. Even after fasting for lets say 16 hours, you will not feel so ravenous that you could clean out the entire pantry in one sitting.
- You will feel far more energetic. Your need for naps might all but disappear once you quit sugar. You will find you need fewer cups of coffee or energy drinks to get through the day. By only consuming complex carbohydrates, you will keep your body and brain more fully fueled all day long. You will notice a huge decline in getting mental fog and malaise in general. By making wise food choices, you will feel like a new person with all of your new found energy.
- Your big old round tummy is going to shrink. You will notice your belly becoming flatter almost right away as simple sugars not only cause you to create body fat, they also cause you to retain water because of inflammation throughout your body. Your belly also begins to slim because your gut’s unhealthy microbes will have less sugar to munch on themselves. Unhealthy gut microbes eating the sugars you eat, cause your belly to bloat which makes it appear even larger than it really needs to. In recent years, there has been an increase in “bad” belly biome bacteria called Firmicutes. This has resulted in a quite noticeable difference in the appearance of Americans from leaner years of the past to the fat years of the 2000’s.
- Your risk of type 2 diabetes is going to be greatly reduced. Eating too many simple sugars can wreak havok in your system. This can happen in the short and long term. The more simple refined sugars you consume, the more insulin your pancreas produces, which will eventually lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. This is not rocket science, your body will be many times healthier by quitting sugar.
- Your muscles will become stronger. As you age, it becomes even more imperative to quit sugar as it has been linked to a condition called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is simply age related loss of muscle mass. This happens because added sugar blocks the body’s ability to synthesize protein into muscle. By quitting sugar, you can keep your muscles younger and stronger, that same lean muscle mass will also help to keep your metabolism revved up in order to more efficiently burn body fat.
- Your mental outlook is going to improve by quitting sugar. If you do not like looking like a jelly donut, if this gets you down, you are bound to have an increased level of self esteem and confidence once you have quit sugar and have an improved physical appearance.
Be sure to read the labels of foods you buy in order to avoid added sugars, Remember this, if you are regularly consuming foods with added sugar, you have given up all control over how much sugar you consume.
Make the wise choice today. Take complete control of your life and live to your fullest and healthiest. Be the best you that you can be each day.
You can do it, if only you first try…