Why I Eliminated Added Sugar from My Diet.
As a breast cancer survivor, one of the ways I’ve improved my health is by eliminating added sugar from my diet. I knew there were benefits in making this dietary change, but my one-year results of sugar-free living are truly amazing.
Like most people, I knew that overeating sugar was bad for me. But it wasn’t until I eliminated added sugar from my diet, that I realized just how much sugar I actually consumed each day.
But you know what? I discovered I’m not alone.
In fact, Did you know the average adult in the United States consumes nearly a half of a cup of sugar each day? That adds up to over 85 pounds of sugar per person each year. And some experts say it could even be more!
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So how does consuming too much sugar hurt your health?
- It can lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.
- Sugar can also increase your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart attack.
- It may increase your chance of getting certain cancers and fatty liver disease, as well as cause bloating and stomach issues.
- Sugar can zap your energy, make you moody, and increase depression.
- It lessens the brain’s cognitive function and puts you at higher risk of Alzheimers and dementia.
But that’s not all…Too much sugar adversely affects your appearance.
- It can cause weight gain and obesity.
- It can also make your skin dry, dull, wrinkled, or acne-prone.
ugaris the leading cause of tooth decay and other mouth problems.
How I Kicked the Sugar Habit!
So how did I do it? How did I kick the sugar habit?
I admit, at first eliminating sugar from my diet sounded easy. Just stop eating candy, cookies, etc. I thought it would be a “Piece of Cake” – or in this case, no piece of cake! 😉 However, I quickly learned there is more to going sugar-free than just giving up desserts.
I discovered that sugar is hidden in almost everything!
Don’t believe me? Then just check the nutrition labels on some of the products in your pantry and refrigerator. Thankfully most companies now list added sugar total in their nutrition section of the package. But, it’s astonishing the amount of added sugar in products that aren’t even sweet: ketchup, salsa, canned soups, frozen meals. The list goes on.
I quickly realized I needed to eliminate most processed foods. Now I check every label on every product and look at the amount of “added sugar” in the nutritional section.
Sometimes, there isn’t a breakdown of added sugars which can make it confusing. For that reason, I also check the list of ingredients. This can be a little tricky though since manufacturers use a variety of names in their products to denote sugar.
Here is the list of ingredients I avoid to maintain a sugar-free diet:
- Sugars of any kind (White, Brown, Cane, etc.)
- Any words ending with “ose” (Sucrose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, etc.)
- Anything with Syrup in the name (corn syrup, maple syrup, tapioca syrup, etc.)
- Honey, molasses, and fruit nectars.
- Artificial Sweeteners (Splenda, Nutrisweet, Saccharin, etc.) These are chemicals and should have no place in a healthy diet.
- Sugar Alcohols. These have “ols” at the end (Erithrytol, sorbitol, Xylitol, etc.) These can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea in some people. I limit the amount of sugar alcohol I consume because my stomach can’t handle it if I eat too much.
So what do I use for sweeteners? I use stevia and monk fruit.
For example, If I am looking for a dessert or something sweet, I will eat fruit, bake some sugar-free nut butter cookies, make a protein shake using frozen fruit, or whip up some sugar-free ice cream in my ice cream maker.
But when I don’t have time or don’t want to make something, I have some favorite treats I buy from the store or online. Here is my list of the Best Healthy Sugar-Free Snacks You Need to Delight Your Sweet Tooth.
And when I want a soda, I drink a Zevia soft drink. Zevia comes in a variety of flavors. My favorites are Cola and Cream Soda. Many grocery stores and health food stores now carry Zevia sodas. And, of course, Amazon has it too.
A word of warning though: Sugar is addictive, and breaking the sugar habit can be difficult. You may experience withdrawals symptoms – fatigue, crankiness, irritability, headache, muscle aches, or an upset stomach.
But don’t give up! These symptoms will diminish quickly. And the end results of living a healthier, sugar-free lifestyle is worth the effort and temporary discomfort.
My Amazing One Year Results of sugar-free living!
The benefits I’ve received this year from eliminating sugar from my diet:
Maintaining a healthy weight
I struggled with my weight for years, always watching calories and dieting. As I approached age 50, my weight continued to climb – a few pounds each year – until I was about 25 pounds overweight. I lost those extra pounds during chemotherapy so I can’t credit my weight loss on a sugar-free diet. However, I now continue to stay at my ideal weight and believe that had I not already lost the weight, I would’ve done so with this diet.
Its wonderful to no longer have to count calories. I realize that many of the foods I was consuming before consisted of empty calories. Eating foods free of added sugars naturally makes it easier for me to keep the pounds off.
No More Bloating
Since I eliminated sugar, my tummy is flatter, and I don’t feel bloated.
Less Irritable and Moody
I don’t have sugar highs and lows, nor do I experience the mood swings or irritability that I used to get.
No More Cravings
I used to crave chocolate and other sweet things. And while I still have my desserts (made with fruit, stevia, and other natural sweeteners), I don’t have the cravings that come from sweets made with added sugars. It took several months, but I no longer have the desire for desserts. I still find this surprising because I used to have a real “sweet tooth” when it came to desserts.
My Taste Buds Have Changed
Fruits taste sweeter than they used to. The foods I eat now seem to have more flavor. I recently ate a small bite of a candy bar. I was surprised how sweet it was and that it had an artificial taste.
Balanced Sugar Levels
Results from blood tests this year show my sugar levels staying consistently in the normal range. In fact, all my lab results have been good this year, which indicates to me this diet is helping me to stay healthy.
Less Snacking Between Meals
Because I’m eating fewer carbs and my meals contain more protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats, I find I’m usually not hungry between meals.
I have more energy. I don’t have the afternoon energy drop that I used to get when I was eating sweets and processed foods.
This year, I’ve had fewer allergies, haven’t been sick, and don’t have headaches or backaches like I used to. Overall, I feel better and healthier.
If you’re feeling sluggish, having trouble losing weight or just not feeling as well as you should, consider taking a break from sugar. Moreover, you may discover like I did, that eliminating sugar from your diet can be the best choice you can make for living a healthier life after 50.