By Emma Stafford, RN, APN-C, ACHPN, APHN-BC
Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine
If your New Year’s resolution included creating a healthier life by losing weight and reducing sugar in your diet, then read on…this blog is intended for you. Removing toxins and adding whole, fresh foods is how you start. So, if you are already adding whole, fresh foods to your diet, now we have to get rid of the toxins. The first toxin to go is sugar and artificial sweeteners have no place in this healthy lifestyle either. I know this is hard to hear but sugar addictions wreak havoc on our body similar to alcohol, tobacco or drugs. If your vision is for a happy, vital, disease-free life then you have to break up your love affair with sugar.
Many recent studies have shown the deleterious effect of sugar on our bodies. Their findings are conclusive: Sugar is the leading cause of obesity, diabetes and cancer. Sugars have no nutritional benefit, rob our body of essential nutrients and make us eat more!
Many Names of Sugar: Sugar has many names and is hidden in our food, especially processed foods. One of the easiest ways to find hidden sugars is to check out the ingredient list and look for words ending in –ose. For example sucrose, maltose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose. However, there are other names that sugar will masquerade as, such as cane juice, dextrin, barley malt, sorghum syrup, golden syrup, buttered syrup and ethyl maltol.
Here are three ways to start your wean:
- Eliminate sugary drinks…these can spike your insulin levels and leave you craving for more. Substitute with flavored water, seltzer, or herbal teas.
- Eliminate sugary processed foods…cakes, cookies, and granola bars. Substitute with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds.
- Eliminate simple carbs…bread, pasta, and crackers. Sounds daunting, but really it is possible. Substitute pasta with ‘zoodles’… spiralized zucchini is a great option and our family favorite now!
Substitute afternoon cravings with sweet fresh fruit or instead of the chocolate bar, try a small serving of 70% dark chocolate. Dessert should be the exception rather than the rule. Remember that sugar is an addictive and as you reduce the amount of sugar in your life and add more wholesome, nutrient dense foods, you will lose your cravings for sweets. This is, for sure, the first step to a healthier 2017.
Don’t believe it or need help? Join the Integrative Health & Medicine team in our upcoming cleanse. Check out the website for dates (www.MeridianIntegrativeMedicine.com).