The Case Against Sugar

This blog post was adapted from the webinar “The Case Against Sugar” hosted by Health Coach Trish Chaput.

Watch this full webinar on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/bNpbIM4n5dU

Welcome to tonight’s presentation, “The Case Against Sugar.” My name is Trish Chaput, for those of you who I have not met. I am also known as Coach Trish or “the other Trish.” I’m Dr. Trish Murray’s health coach here at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center.

Today we are going to talk about that pesky or wily ingredient that many people struggle with. That is sugar. So, I’m going to share my screen and stop my video so that we can enjoy the slides. And then, I’ll be back with you at the end for some Q&A. You can always put some questions in the chat if you have questions as we go along. I will be doing questions, reviewing those, at the end of the presentation. You can also unmute yourself at the end if you have any questions, but we’ll leave everybody muted while we’re going along and doing the presentation. So, I’m going to disappear for a little bit and then we’ll get going.

All right. So, sugar comes in many forms, as you may be well aware, beyond the obvious white powder that we often think of in terms of table sugar. Some forms are claimed to be better than others. Some have names you wouldn’t even recognize on an ingredient label. The whole subject of sugar in the health industry can be really confusing. How many times have you heard any of the following advice: “it’s okay in moderation,” “your body isn’t designed to digest sugars,” “sugar-free products are always healthy,” “artificial sweeteners are worse,” “you need sugar for energy,” “sugar is addictive?” All of these are common claims that have to do with sugar, and they’re all opposing one another.

One thing is for certain, we are consuming way more sugar in our diets than we ever have before. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA, the average American consumes 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugars per year! So, compare this to the four to six-pound yearly consumption back in the early 1800s or even the high yearly 90-pound consumption of the 1900s. Just think about that number for a moment. 150 to 170 pounds is the size of a grown adult person, and that’s how much sugar the average American is consuming these days! Four to six pounds, which is what people consumed per year in the early 1800s is only the size of about a half-gallon beverage jug. So, that’s a huge difference.

You might be thinking, wow that’s a lot of sugar and that really can’t be right, but that figure sadly is correct. 150 to 170 pounds a year which translates to a quarter to half pound, or 30 to 60 teaspoons of sugar, per day. So, a quarter to half pound a day. Imagine that. It’s hard to believe that you’re capable of that, but keep in mind you’re not just consuming sugar in your coffee or in baked goods or sweets or those things that you might think of in terms of desserts or candy. It’s hidden in the majority of foods that you probably eat rather regularly.

Sugar is added into foods and forms that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. It’s hidden in the labels, and we’ll talk about what those look like, in things like ketchup and sauces, marinades, dressings, yogurts, breads, protein bars (even the ones that claim to be “healthy” or “natural”), peanut butter, soups, canned fruits, cereals, crackers, oatmeal, frozen dinners, and so many more. One of my favorites – dried fruit. Dried fruit is sweet enough, yet they feel the need to add sugar on top of it! I don’t know why. This list does not include the obvious culprits of soda, cookies, and ice cream, but these are just some of the many surprising ways sugar sneaks into our diets and adds up. Did any of these particularly surprise you? Can you think of any other examples? Feel free to post in the chat if you found something surprising or if there are other things that were not on my list that you might have thought.

So, let’s talk about sugar’s alias. If you’re a regular here at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, you may be well aware and feel pretty confident that you’re limiting your sources of sugar, but even those of us following a regularly healthy diet may be surprised to learn about some hidden sources of sugar and some of the tricks that manufacturers can use to hide sugar in our food.

One of the main reasons you might not recognize all the sugar you have in your diet is because it will very rarely say “sugar” on the ingredients list of some of the foods you buy. Instead, you may see things like dextrose, maltose, glucose, fructose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, sucrose, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, agave nectar, carbitol, evaporated cane juice, galactose, inversol, rice malt, sorbitol, or nectars. As I’m sure you’d guess, this is not even the full list. A few tips for identifying sugars is to look for words that end in “-ose,” like a lactose, or “-ides” and examining the entire ingredients list as often there’s more than one type of sugar in a product.

So, you may know that manufacturers must list ingredients in descending order. The ingredients that are used in the greatest amounts must be first and then they descend those in smaller amounts. If sugar is the most prevalent ingredient in the product, they can make it appear to be less prominent by using multiple forms of sugar. This way each of them can be listed separately appearing further down the ingredients list they would otherwise be if they were listed in a single form. So, that’s where it can really add up.

What’s the big deal anyway? Why do we care? If sugar’s already in all the food we’re eating, you know, it’s not like everyone’s sick, so why is this important? Well, the problem with excessive sugar consumption is that most health issues do not manifest immediately, and if they do, they’re not usually recognized as being caused by our diets. Mental illness, behavioral problems are often contributed to other sources beyond diet, as are allergies, arthritis, and migraines explained away by our environment, stress levels, and responses to medication. Immune disorders, degenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer all take time to diagnose, and most people are not grabbing their food journals at this point and looking for the connection.

However, there’s more research being conducted on the effects of sugar on human health by the day. Let me tell you, it’s not looking too great for sugar’s case. To best understand how and why sugar is so dangerous, you must first know what it’s made of. Before sugar leaves the digestive tract, it’s composed of two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. Glucose is an important energy source and it’s easy to obtain. If we don’t consume it in our diets, our bodies will produce it. Simple as that. However, fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce much of it, and quite frankly, there’s really no need for it to do so. In fact, there’s no proven physiological need for fructose at all. So, that high fructose corn syrup found in so many products is really not doing us any favors.

The relationship between sugar and insulin resistance has become a crucial topic of discussion and one you’ve probably heard of. Insulin is one of the most important hormones in our bodies. It’s responsible for directing glucose, one of those sugars we talked about, into our cells so that it can be used for energy. However, when our cells no longer respond to insulin, our body receives the message that it needs to produce more. In response, the pancreas makes more insulin, but over time, the pancreas is unable to keep up with demand. Blood sugar is no longer able to be maintained. This is known as insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is thought to be a big contributor to many diseases including, but not limited to, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome, which you may have heard of, is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Even after these diseases develop, elevated blood sugar remains an ongoing problem. It’s often the reason why people with these illnesses experience other complications like vision issues and diabetes, for example.

So, it’s no secret that obesity is also a serious epidemic. One of three children and two out of three adults are either overweight or obese in the United States, and sugar is a role in weight gain that’s much more serious than just adding in some empty calories. It actually affects the hormones responsible for satiety and the feelings of satisfying your hunger, therefore it leads to eating more. Research shows that there’s a sixty percent increased risk of obesity in children for every daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages in their diets. It’s important to note that weight gain from sugar often manifests in the abdominal area. This visceral fat in our belly presents a higher risk profile from many other diseases, some that are even life-threatening.

This brings us back to the discussion of fructose, one of the main components of sugar. Although calorically equivalent, so it’s the same in terms of calories, not all sugars are metabolized the same way. Fructose is metabolized by the liver. This wouldn’t be a problem if we all minimized our sugar intake and increased our daily physical activity. Our bodies would be able to handle it. Typically, fructose would be turned into glycogen and is stored in the liver for safe keeping until we’re ready to burn this energy reserve. However, if there’s already an ample amount of glycogen in the liver, eating more sugar overloads it. The extra is then forced to be turned into fat. The process is then the beginning of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, among other complications.

To take it even further, some studies have suggested that sugar can be just as damaging as alcohol to the liver, even if you’re at a healthy weight. Luckily, the liver can repair itself, but with continuous sugar over consumption, it can never catch a break. Researchers have now made links between fructose consumption, obesity, and metabolic disease, and recent literature has indicated that fructose in high concentrations, as is present in high fructose corn syrup and sucrose, are proving to be toxic. So, high fructose corn syrup is composed of about 60% fructose and 40% glucose. So, that sixty percent is getting processed by the liver. Prior to the processing of sugars, you know, back in the 1800s when people ate much less sugar, there wasn’t all this mass-produced commercial food, and it was nearly impossible to find such high concentrations of sugar in the diet. But these days, it seems to be much more commonplace.

What about fruit? If fructose is such an issue, I often get the question, “what about fruit? Doesn’t fruit have fructose? What do we do about that?” Well, according to nutritionfacts.org, research has shown that only industrial (not fruit) fructose intake was associated with declining liver function. Same thing with high blood pressure. Fructose from added sugars was associated with hypertension, but fructose from natural fruits is not. So, the harmful effects of fructose in industrial fructose like table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, this is what they’re finding to be the problem. Apparently, this inconsistency of why one is better than the other is that the positive effects of the other nutrients that fiber and antioxidants and some of the phytonutrients in fresh fruit delay the absorption of the sugar. So, it’s keeping our blood sugar more even and it’s meaning our bloodstream isn’t up taking that sugar as quickly. Blood sugar went up and down in a much more moderate way without any overshoot, without a huge spike, in laboratory experiments with people using fructose in fruit. This was attributed primarily to two factors. This more even blood sugar, the soluble fiber in the berries which people often talk about that as a positive quality that fiber in the fruit tends to have a gelling effect and slows down the release of sugar, but also those phytonutrients can inhibit the transportation of sugars into the bloodstream.

We’ll send some video links out and some source links to our research as we always do in the resources of the webinar, so you’ll be able to see all these studies in more detail for yourself. But that gives you a good picture of where the research is going.

So, keeping our heart healthy. There have been many misconceptions on what causes cardiovascular disease. You might say, “well, what does this have to do with sugar?” There’s been so much focus on the role in cholesterol and which foods help or harm our heart health, but saturated fat is not necessarily the biggest culprit. Sugar is actually a huge contributing factor. So, yes, you heard that right! Sugar has a link to heart disease.

Studies have shown that consuming a large amount of fructose can cause a rise in bad cholesterol, the LDL “bad” cholesterol, blood glucose, insulin levels, and abdominal obesity. These findings were apparent in as little as 10 weeks in studies. All of those factors are major risk factors in developing heart disease.

Your immune system is responsible for defending your body against illness. That’s a big deal as we’ve been so clearly able to see over the past two years. If your immune system is compromised, you’re putting yourself in danger of pathogens that can make you very sick. According to a study through Loma Linda University, 100 grams of sugar can make your white blood cells 40% less effective in killing germs. On top of already putting your body in a stressed and irritated state, sugar directly affects your main line of defense against disease. The most alarming part of this is that sugar’s crippling effects stay present in your system for up to five hours after you eat it.

As if that’s not enough, something so prevalent in our everyday diets can actually cause cancer. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true. Cancer is a result of uncontrolled growth and the multiplication of cells. It’s also one of the leading causes of death worldwide. So, how is sugar related you might ask? Insulin is one of the main hormones responsible for regulating the growth of these cells. It’s been concluded that having constantly elevated insulin levels can actually contribute to cancer risk. So, if you remember what we said about insulin and sugar, consuming sugar raises insulin levels. Now, there’s a considerable amount of evidence how this contributes to cancer risk and progression of disease.

Sugar also affects our brain quite significantly. Studies have shown that sugar slows down the brain’s function, hinders new learning, and decreases memory recall. There are also strong connections between high sugar intake and the prevalence of depression and anxiety. What do you think of when you think of a sugar crash? Is it irritability, decreased mood, brain fog, fatigue? Now, imagine if that didn’t go away. Foods that are rich in sugar disrupt our brain’s neurotransmitters that work to stabilize our moods. If we are continually disrupting the function of these receptors, we no longer have the inherent control over our moods as we usually do. In the resources tomorrow, we’ll include another link to a video on how sugar affects your brain so you can learn more and do some fascinating research on this area.

Sometimes we use the word “addiction” lightly. Saying we’re addicted to our favorite food isn’t really encompassing the real meaning of the word. According to American Society of Addiction Medicine, “addiction is a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by an inability to consistently abstain impairment and behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with your behaviors, a dysfunctional emotional response…” This is pretty heavy stuff, and sugar is addicting. Once sugar has that effect on your brain, a lot of people feel that they can’t control it, that they’re addicted to sugar. And that is a very real thing.

Dopamine is a transmitter responsible for controlling the reward and pleasure responses of the brain. When you eat a lot of sugar, a massive amount of dopamine is released in your brain. As you continue to consume sugar, the dopamine receptors become less powerful, so the response of that sugar is less effective, meaning more sugar is needed to create that same euphoric dopamine reaction. This continues in a vicious cycle much like what happens if somebody’s addicted to a drug or some other substance.

A popular study proved the addictive qualities of sugar with rats and Oreos. The pleasure regions of previously drug-addicted rats’ brains were significantly more active when exposed to Oreo cookies compared to cocaine. So, the Oreos were even more addictive than the drug! A later study showed that the brains of people with food addiction reacted to sugar the same way as drug addicts react to drugs. This is truly proof that sugar can take over our brain chemistry and deliberately make us crave and eat more of it. The good news is once you sort of cut the ties with sugar, it does get better. You can reverse that strong pull of your brain and your body and your biochemistry to be craving that sugar.

While sugar is obviously very much a negative contribution to our health in our lives from everything we’re talking about, not all sugars are created equal. Some are much worse for us than others, and of course vice versa. Up next, I’ll be going through some sugars that we should definitely avoid as much as we can, as well as some recommended alternatives. If you’d love to share in the chat, I’d like to hear from any of you if you currently use any sugar alternatives. Some people may have some favorites or some that they already know about. We’ll talk about the ones to steer clear of first, and then we’ll talk about some of the ones that are recommended.

If possible, you want to avoid the following. Aspartame. This is a chemical sweetener best known for diet soda use. Some people can tolerate it well in the short term, while others report migraines and digestive distress. Regardless of the initial reaction, aspartame has been proven pretty dangerous in isolated situations. For example, the University of Liverpool conducted a study where aspartame was mixed with a common food coloring. The result was clear toxicity to brain cells. Additionally, research has found that when aspartame breaks down, it creates formaldehyde which is a well-known carcinogen. Yikes! I don’t want that in my drink if it was me.

Sucralose, commonly known as the brand name Splenda, is processed using chlorine. Researchers are also finding that the waste of those consuming this sugar can’t be broken down in wastewater treatment centers. So, imagine what that means for the inside of our bodies.

High fructose corn syrup can be a bit challenging to avoid. It is in almost all processed foods, but this sweetener plays a huge role in the fat buildup in the liver, in leptin resistance, and in major weight gain. A study even found that high fructose corn syrup is sometimes laced with mercury which is a heavy metal, and it’s linked to heart disease and developmental disorders such as autism. But don’t worry, I’ll be suggesting some safer alternatives.

So, all the evils of sugar aside, it can be difficult to avoid all sweeteners. Some safer sugar alternatives include Stevia, which is an extract made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It has been shown to help balance fasting blood sugar levels, cholesterol, insulin resistance, and blood pressure; however, it’s important to pay attention to the source of Stevia. Some brands include additives, so you want to check your labels.

Coconut sugar is a natural sweetener, unrefined, and still contains all of its vitamins and minerals. It does not contribute to the strong fluctuations in blood sugars like other refined, added sugars. Raw honey has less fructose and provides other health benefits including promoting heart health and fighting inflammation, and you can, in certain areas, find it local. Monk fruit. Ketogenic and diabetic-approved monk fruit is a natural sugar that doesn’t spike the blood sugar. It’s a zero-calorie sweetener high in unique antioxidants called mogrocides.

As always, too much of even a good thing can be not such a good thing. So, please keep in mind that these alternatives do still break down to glucose and fructose in your body. All sweeteners should be used in moderation.

Although it might be ideal, it’s generally not practical to cut out sugar entirely. As I mentioned before, it’s hiding in nearly everything; however, finding healthy alternatives, practicing moderation, and being aware of the dangers is the best way to take action on the case against sugar.

When reading labels, sugar is often listed in grams, so keep in mind the following equation because who thinks in grams? Four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon. This might help you to visualize how much sugar is in your food. If there are eight grams of sugar in your packaged whatever you’re eating, that’s two teaspoons of sugar. The recommended daily maximum limit is seven teaspoons of sugar for adults. Most Americans, even when they’re eating foods labeled “healthy” or “natural” are consuming a daily amount upwards of 32 to 42 teaspoons of sugar! So, read your labels and know what you’re eating. Select real, whole, unprocessed food as often as possible rather than packaged processed foods.

One of the easiest ways to cut down your sugar consumption is to not bring it into your house. I often hear people lament their lack of willpower, but as we have learned about in this presentation, sugar has a powerful effect on your brain. The best way to keep your blood sugar and eat healthier is to set yourself up for success by making your environment work for you. As I often tell my clients, I use my willpower in the grocery store. I’m only in there for a short time, but I’m home every day. So, if my cabinets and my fridge are stocked with healthier choices, guess what I’m most likely to eat? The stuff that I have available!

Another great way to ensure you’re getting less sugar is to focus on eating lots of delicious, nutritious, whole foods. If you’ve been with Discover Health Functional Medicine Center for any reasonable amount of time or even probably for a short amount of time, you’ve surely heard Dr. Trish talk about the Rainbow Diet concept. This includes the following:

  • eating a minimum of five to seven servings per day of colorful fruits and veggies
  • aiming for at least one serving of every color every 48 hours
  • choosing healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, olives, coconut oil and coconut milk, avocados, nuts, and seeds
  • limiting grains to one to two servings a day (that includes all bread, pasta, rice, oatmeals, or cereals)
  • eating two to three servings of protein per day (well-raised meats in a serving size palm of your hand, one to two eggs, or plant-based protein powder or your protein source of choice, it could be fish as well)
  • limiting sweets to once per week (yes, that does read once per week, even for “healthy” sweets)

Healthy food can be enjoyable and satisfying. Lots of colorful nutrient dense foods can help you feel your best physically and mentally. And if you’re eating all that healthy food, you don’t have much room for all the other sugary stuff.

So, how are you feeling about your sugar intake? I know that this was just a ton of information that I shared, and it may be a little overwhelming, but that’s okay. Changing your eating habits, if needed, and taking control of your health requires a lot of effort at first, but it becomes easier and it’s incredibly rewarding. You will experience a higher quality of life, maintain a healthy weight, have more natural energy, and can prevent serious illness down the road. There’s so much value kicking sugar to the curb and becoming the healthiest version of you.

If you feel like you need some support phasing out sugar of your diet, I’m absolutely here to help. In the past, I’ve even led a Sugar Busters small group class for folks who wanted to ditch their sugar addiction or lower their consumption of sweets. I also work one-on-one with individual coaching clients to develop their wellness vision and identify personal strategies that work best for you. Healthy food is clearly the way to go, and there’s lots of great ways to do it. It doesn’t have to be painful. It can be delicious and fun and really satisfying!

So, thank you so much for taking time to be part of this presentation, “The Case Against Sugar.” As I mentioned, we will be posting all the resources, research, and videos and things that were used to pull together this presentation. I’m going to stop sharing the slides and head over to the chat to see if there’s any Q&A. At this time, if you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to put them in the chat. Or if you’d like to, you can unmute yourself and we can talk as a group. Apologies if at the beginning my voice was fading in and out. I didn’t realize that my microphone was a little variable. Hopefully you were able to hear me.

So, some people have said in the chat they’ve used monk fruit. Some people do get migraines from artificial sugars. They’ve used coconut sugar or raw honey. Oh, also using delicata or sweet dumpling squash to sweeten pumpkin pie. That’s a great tip shared by Nesa, so thank you! Nesa is a wonderful cook, so I love that tip from her.

Maple syrup or juicing fruits somebody asked about. So, yes maple syrup can be a decent alternative as well, especially local real maple syrup, not the imitation maple-flavored syrup. That can be another good local choice.

Juicing fruits. I think one of the challenges with juicing versus whole fruit is lack of fiber and the quantity of sugar. If you were to drink a glass of orange juice, say the size of a standard large cup, you’re going to be consuming way more oranges in one sitting than you would ever do if you ate the whole fruit. And you’re not getting the benefit of the fiber. So, eating the whole fruit, having it in a smoothie where you’ve actually got all of the fruit, or eating it whole is going to be better than juicing in terms of a sugar perspective because you want that fiber as well. And, you know, the quantity. If you ever sat down to eat an orange or an apple you would never eat eight or ten of them, but that’s how much you might need to make a giant glass of juice. Hopefully that answers that question.

Any other questions, thoughts, comments?

What is alcohol sugar?

So, sugar alcohols are also known as polyols. They’re used as sweeteners and bulking agents. Sometimes they’re used as a sweetener in itself. They typically occur naturally in foods. They come from fruits or berries, so they’re sort of as I said like an extract. It’s a type of carbohydrate, but it’s not necessarily a sugar in and of itself, even though it’s kind of termed sugar alcohol. It’s not sugar or alcohol. It’s a little bit of a misnomer.

Any other questions I can answer? Was there anything surprising that came up tonight for folks?

Yeah, the amount of sugar that is being consumed. What was it, in the early 1900s, I didn’t catch that?

Sure, so in the early 1900s it was 90 pounds, and now we’re up to 150 to 170 pounds per year. Really the difference has become the processed food, right? If you think back to the 1800s and early 1900s, there really wasn’t packaged processed food to the extent that we have now.

And, yes. Somebody else asked about maple syrup or honey. Maple syrup or honey are on the better end of the alternatives. Yes, for sure. And local maple syrup the real stuff not the corn syrup that’s flavored to seem like maple syrup. I think that’s the difference these days is we really have to look at what we’re eating, right? There’s so much sort of modified food out there that isn’t really food, right? Think of potato chips that aren’t really potatoes at all. There’s some kind of weird, pressed potato starch into a chip shape, right? The food has just become so much more modified and so much more ingredient heavy, right? It used to be…and you can still find it if you’re looking for it, ketchup would be previously tomatoes and not much else, maybe a little bit of vinegar, maybe some salt and pepper, maybe some kind of seasoning in there. Now there are so many more ingredients. You have to actually look specially to find the ketchup that doesn’t have sugar in it. Yeah, that used to not be the case, so I think there’s just become a lot more additives in our food over time.

I was surprised to see sugar in ketchup. Also, I was surprised when you were talking about the…I knew the substitute sugars weren’t good, but I didn’t know really why. You know, I just knew they really weren’t either processed or whatever good, but I was surprised at how they do it or what they have in them.

Right? Yeah, that was pretty eye-opening as well. The formaldehyde piece and the chlorine and the research, yeah.

Something I look for in my diet.

Right?

Yeah. It added flavor.

Yeah. The different types of, you know, just the names it can take on. You kind of look at these labels. Sometimes you just sort of glaze over because there’s so many different names and realizing what those are, you know. When we don’t know the name of something or the fact that the labels have to be put in descending order. So, if you have sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, and sugar on a label, sugar could actually be the highest ingredient, but they don’t want to list it that way, so they spread it out. It’s become quite a trick.

Somebody asked – any tips for giving up sugar if you have hypoglycemia? Obviously, working with your doctor in terms of if you have a medical condition, but one of the key things about sugar is that spike and that crash. So, you know, high sugar and low sugar are worsened over time by this giant spike, this crash. Having a more consistent blood sugar level can help with those highs and those lows because things with fiber…also, the glycemic load of a meal. So, if you’re eating something that has a bit more sugar, eating something that has a bit more fat and a bit more protein (healthy fats) with it can help to even out what the glycemic load that spike of that entire meal is. If you were to have a high sugar fruit, but you’re having it with some coconut milk for instance, that’s going to temper the sugar spike of that fruit. Hopefully that makes sense to folks.

Is it better to go cold turkey to eliminate a sugar addiction or use helpful supplements to decrease the urge for sugar or eliminate it slowly? I guess it’s kind of a personal decision as to whether some people are cold turkey people, like “I’m going to give it up and get through it.” Some people are eased down on it. It really depends on any conditions you might be dealing with or on your personal preference. I know the first time I did a sugar-free challenge, I dreamed of my favorite cereal for the first two weeks. Every time I left my house, it smelled like a bakery. So, it was a little bit torturous, but I was determined to get through it. And I did! It’s funny to talk about it now, but man, I was like, who is baking brownies again? The sugar craving went away after the first two weeks. And at the end of the month (this was a 30-day thing that I was doing), I took one bite of something that had a lot of sugar in it that I used to like and I nearly gagged. It was too sweet. I couldn’t stand it. So, that was quite interesting to feel how those taste buds shift.

Yeah, they say it takes 21 days to break a habit.

Yeah, and I think that that can vary, but there definitely is a taste bud change when you start getting sugar out of your diet. I’ve seen people do it cold turkey where they just kind of, like me, they’re just determined and they say, “okay, I’m going to do without it. I’m just going to get to that point.” I’ve also seen it work where people gradually do it, and they just cut down each day or each week. They reduce their sugar intake, and that works well for them.

In terms of a supplement or a substitute, you could still have things that taste sweet using a healthier alternative such as fruit or sweet squash or the monk fruit or something like that so psychologically you don’t have that feeling like you’re depriving yourself or giving something up. There are a number of ways that you can do it, and it just depends on how you’re going to be most successful. That’s something I work with people on, is finding the strategies that will work for them, right? So, the best strategy for you is the one that you’re going to do and that you’re going to be able to carry through successfully, not the one that worked for somebody else, right?

Any other questions, comments?

I was just thinking that if someone has a urge to have something they could have like keep grapes, if they like grapes, or are raisins too much of a…?

No, I think just looking at…you know, one of the things with dried fruit that always bothers me is they so often add sugar to it. But I think what you pointed out that comment is having a strategy in place, right? If you decide, “I’m going to give up sugar,” or “I’m going to radically reduce my sugar,” focus on something you want to do rather than focusing on the thing you’re trying to give up, right? It’s like if I tell you, “Don’t think of a pink elephant. No matter what you do just don’t. I really don’t want you to think of a big elephant. Don’t think of it. Don’t have a pink elephant in mind at all.” Well, what are you going to think of? So, if you’re saying like, “I’m giving up sugar. I’m not going to have sugar. I’m not going to have sugar.” Your whole brain focuses on sugar.

Think of something you’re going to have. “Oh, I’m going to enjoy some vegetables. I’m going to enjoy some healthy fruit. I’m going to have some nuts.” Having an alternative in mind gives you something focus on, rather than coming at it from a, “Oh, I’ve got to make sure I don’t have that thing,” and then you’re focused on that thing.

Yeah, so if you want a real treat, I don’t know if you’ve done this or not, but take grapes and throw them in the freezer. Yeah, really good.

That is delicious.

It’s almost like eating candy without eating candy.

Right? Once you do have a much lower sugar content in your diet, if you’re eating very little sugar, when you have fresh fruit or even fresh vegetables, they taste so much sweeter, and food tastes so much more flavorful. A lot of those artificial sugars or added sugars kind of dull our taste buds. When you get that back, it’s quite amazing actually!

Yeah. All right any other questions, comments? I don’t see anything else in the chat. Hopefully I did answer the questions that people brought up. I’m going to put my email address in the chat. If anybody does have any questions or things that they want to ask one-to-one that they maybe don’t want to share with the group, feel free to reach out to me at Discover Health. You can always give me a call or reach me at discoverhealthcoaching@gmail.com, and I’ll put our phone number in here as well, 603-447-3112. I’m happy to follow up.

We will be posting the resources from the slides, the studies and things that were mentioned, in the Facebook group. If you’re not part of our Facebook group and you are on Facebook and want to join, all you need to do is look for us, Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, and look for our group. We have a private Facebook group, but anyone who asks can join and we’ll let you in. Then you get the resources and things. We also post healthy recipes in there. I did post today in there a three-ingredient naan bread that my sister-in-law made for us. It was coconut flour, coconut milk, and arrowroot or tapioca starch, I think. No sugar! Delicious. You can also use almond flour. That was today’s post. So, we shared things like that – healthy eating and other foods.

Is that on the Discover Health Facebook Page or the Facebook group?

Yeah, the Facebook group. So, we’ll be posting in there, and if you can’t find us just give me a shout and we’ll be happy to help. Thank you, everybody! Thanks so much for being part of this. Dr. Trish and I will be switching off like this every other month. So, she’ll be doing a webinar, I’ll be doing a webinar. We’ve got some other great topics coming out throughout the year and always suggestions are welcome. If you’ve got feedback for us, we’re happy to have it. All right. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody, and have a great night!

 

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