There’s no longer any doubt that excessive sugar consumption is detrimental to our health. For some people, that harmless sweet treat can genuinely be toxic, and they won’t even realise. Many won’t link IBS, headaches, joint pain, poor memory, confusion, frequent colds, skin conditions, hair loss or hayfever to sugar intake – and that’s perfectly normal. After all, how can a simple chocolate bar cause any of these symptoms? Well, after suffering my entire adult life, all of the above ailments dropped out of my life one by one as my sugar free journey began and continued past the intended few days that I had initially planned to try. Three years on and at almost 40 years old, I’ve never felt, or looked, healthier.
So here are my three simple steps for anyone thinking about lowering their sugar intake.
Remove temptation. Whether it’s as part of a new diet, a New Year’s resolution or just a decision to ‘be healthy’ the first step should inevitably be to remove all temptation from the house. I’ve been known to just throw sweets and chocolates directly into the wheelie bin in the past, but if you can’t face the idea of waste then why not take all temptation out of your home and in to the staff kitchen at work? All that sugar is surely best shared between 20 people instead of just one person gobbling it all up.
Be realistic. Only you know what makes you tick and how you work best. The decision is yours – either gradually reduce the amount of sugar you eat over time or if totally cold turkey is better for you, make that choice well in advance and stick to it. Cold turkey is hard, but with no temptation you may be less likely to have a sugar binge. If step by step is your preferred method of reduction, you may want to concentrate on just cutting out fizzy drinks and juices the first week, then sugar in tea/coffee next week, then snacking on sweets and chocolates the week after.
Put weight-loss to one side. There’s a good reason to make sugar reduction about your health, not your weight. Reducing your daily intake of sugar will do your body so much good – sugar is inflammatory and dramatically represses your immune system. It also blocks your hormone receptors making you feel tired during the day, alert at night and hungry when you’re full up. It can also lead to headaches and IBS symptoms. If you want to feel generally better daily then sugar reduction is the way forward, and provided the rest of your diet is a healthy one, you will lose any excess weight slowly and steadily.
This blog was originally written for motherhoodtherealdeal.com.