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Show Sugar Who’s Boss

As a Beachbody coach, I speak with a lot of folks about the way they eat. The food we take into our bodies is the number one stumbling block to any kind of “ripped” or “toned” success. It’s something I’m constantly emphasizing here and something that once people understand and commit to, launches them into real success.

That said, one of the hardest things for folks to give up is sugar. We CRAVE it. And believe me… I know the feeling. In fact,  all that craving is really an addiction. If your body is used to taking in sweet and sugar-filled junk you’ll find cravings to be off the charts when you begin eating clean and commit to the P90X diet.

But first, we’re not talking about sugar you’ll find in fruit, dairy or vegetables. We’re talking the high fructose corn syrup, white table sugar stuff. The stuff in cookies, cakes, sodas and all other enemies of the mighty six-pack.

So here’s the tip: To stop craving sugar, stop eating sugar.

Simple logic, right?

Beachbody recently had a great write-up on the topic. Here’s a couple take aways:

Why we crave sugar. According to AskDrSears.com, “Sweets trigger an increase in the hormone serotonin—a mood-elevating hormone. The body and brain get used to this higher level of serotonin and even depend on it for a sense of well-being. So when our serotonin level dips, (we dip) into the (sweets) to ‘correct’ the situation.” According to the Web site, sweets also “trigger the release of endorphins . . . the brain’s natural narcotics, helping you to relax when stressed.”

So there’s the why… but beyond triggering fat-storage mania and loading up extra calories, there’s a few more reasons your sugar intake should take a hit:

Nancy Appleton, PhD, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, describes some surprising ways sugar intake can negatively affect your health:

  • Suppresses the immune system’s defenses against bacterial infections
  • Increases the risk of blood clots and strokes
  • Contributes to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating
  • Can lead to hypoglycemia, kidney damage, an elevation in harmful cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay

Bummer. Still, in moderation and when you hit your goals it’s not all bad. But you have to kick sugar to the curb to ease the cravings. After a a few days or even a week, they’ll subside and you won’t even miss it. Seems crazy, but try me.

Here’s how (courtesy of the same article):

Make the decision to detox from sugar. The first step in breaking a sugar addiction is making the decision to stop eating it completely for at least a few days to start to get it out of your system. While it’s usually best to make dietary changes gradually, sugar has the unique ability to inspire cravings that are refueled every time you give in to them. The only way to break the cycle is to stop feeding the fire… And whether you’re at work, at home, or at a party, just because a cookie is sitting out on a table in plain sight, that doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

 

Begin to eliminate sugar from your diet. …To put this in perspective, if you eat 1,200 calories a day, you should limit your intake to 21 grams of sugar per day. That’s the equivalent of about 6 ounces of low-fat fruit-flavored yogurt.

To begin eliminating sugar from your regular diet, simply cut out foods with sugar, white flour, and high fructose corn syrup—including cakes, cookies, pastries, and most desserts. …Although sugar is generally found in desserts, added sugar can also be found in your main and side dishes, and even sauces. Look closely at the labels of processed foods, cereals, and sauces—like ketchup, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, and dressings. You can usually find nutritious alternatives with less sugar that taste just as good.

If you’re a Team Beachbody® Club member, you can get a personalized, balanced online meal plan to ensure that you’re getting the proper nutrition you need to meet your health goals. You can even use the food analyzer to search for the nutritional makeup of various foods, so you’ll know which ones are high in sugar and should be avoided.

Eliminate hidden sugar. As you begin to decode ingredient labels, it’s really important to know all the other words for sugar and sugar alcohols. Here’s a hint: Look for words that end in “-ose.”

  • * Agave nectar/syrup
  • * Cane juice crystals
  • * Cane sugar
  • * Caramel
  • * Carob syrup
  • * Corn syrup
  • * Corn syrup solids
  • * Dextrin
  • * Dextrose
  • * Fructose
  • * Fruit juice concentrate (apple, grape, or pear)
  • * Galactose
  • * Glucose
  • * High fructose corn syrup
  • * Honey
  • * Lactose
  • * Maltose
  • * Malt syrup
  • * Molasses
  • * Sorbitol
  • * Sucrose

 

Eat a healthy breakfast. What you eat for breakfast will actually influence your food choices for the next 12 to 15 hours, and influence your energy levels, moods, and overall sense of well-being. Dr. Joe Klemczewski, PhD, explains that eating a healthy breakfast balanced between lean protein (like egg whites) and slower-digesting complex carbohydrates (like oatmeal) will help you have good energy throughout the day, stabilize your blood sugar, reduce cravings, and make wiser food choices. Typically, your blood sugar is at fasting levels when you wake up in the morning. If you start the day off with a muffin and a latte, you’re choosing to ride the roller coaster for the rest of the day. If, on the other hand, you begin your day with a veggie omelet and fruit or some oatmeal, you’re opting for a balance of foods that will be absorbed at a slower rate.

Eat throughout the day. The best way to avoid impulse eating when you’re overly hungry is to eat several small meals, spaced throughout the day. This will keep your blood sugar more stable than eating the traditional two or three large meals spaced farther apart from one another.

Banning “junk” sugar really is easier than you might think. If you’ve got the willpower to wake up every day and push play through a grueling exercise regime, you’ve got the strength to give sugar the boot. When you do, you’ll not only feel the difference– you’ll start seeing the difference. 

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One Comment : Leave a Reply

  1. Benjamin Vinton says:

    Soooooo true! Every time I start to eat sugar again it only snowballs and next thing I know I am craving it ALL the time. When I get the will power to stop eating sugars the cravings subside after about a week. Two weeks and I don’t even want to eat sugars and even want to avoid them all together! Sugar has definitely hindered my “getting toned” when I am eating it, when I stop I notice leaner muscles and more vascularity.

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