I’ve seen a bunch of wellness professionals post on Facebook lately about how bad sugar is for you. So let’s be honest.
Cutting sugar WORKS! And cutting sugar can be HARD!!!
The thought of not having sugar in your coffee, of not having that occasional chocolate bar, of skipping dessert, are all tough to even consider. And then there are all the little hidden places that you really have to watch out for. Almost every sauce and condiment you’ll find in a grocery store is loaded with sugar. And don’t be fooled by terms like ‘organic’ and ‘all natural’. While some of these products are better for you than others and have secondary health benefits if produced correctly (ie. honey and maple syrup), any kind of natural sugar, no matter how low its glycemic index, affects your insulin, makes your liver work harder, and creates inflammation. Artificial sweeteners don’t have the same effects, but they set off triggers in your brain to crave more sweets. Plus, they’re loaded with toxic chemicals that are poisonous for your body.
I thought I’d throw my two cents in and tell you a couple of stories as examples of what happens when people stop consuming sugar.
For about three years, I’ve had a constant chronic cough and my allergies have been really bad. Being a city girl now living in the country, I wondered if the farm activities nearby were the cause. If it might be all the pets that we have. Or environmental toxins. My husband and I did EVERYTHING we knew to do for it. We addressed the physical aspects, looked at the emotions associated with the lungs (grief). We did energy work and chiropractic adjustments. I tried supplements, homeopathics, and essential oils. All my regular, super powerful go-tos. Nothing changed, or only marginally. It got to the point that I finally went to my MD and asked for a chest x-ray, thinking there must be something more ominous going on.
Then, about eight weeks ago, we decided to cut all sugar and gluten out of our diets. I’d done it before and felt AMAZING, but that was 17 years (and two children) ago. Two days after we started, I had no cough. AT ALL. Boom. And it hasn’t returned. I can breathe through my nose for the first time in years. My hormonal cycle is much more normal. Any inflammatory pain that I had from old injuries is pretty much gone.
A friend of mine has always had a little extra padding, especially around her midsection, and her knees were a wreck. She lost 12 lbs within the first month of going off sugar, and lost a total of 30 lbs before she plateaued. She fell off the wagon after major surgery, when the hospital and her caretaker fed her foods with sugar in them. But then she began to notice adrenaline rushes that felt a little like heart palpitations (only more intense), and her joints started to act up. She jumped back on the no sugar wagon and within three days, the palpitations and the joint problems were gone.
There are some really good articles out there by Dr. Sara Gottfried, Dr. Christiane Northrup, and David Wolfe, that get deep into the science of how sugar affects your hormones, creates an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, and impacts on the fluids in your body. Do some reading, and find out more for yourself.
You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of sweet things. Fruit has the sweetness you crave, as well as all of the nutritional value that you should be getting from your food – vitamins, minerals, fiber. Just don’t go crazy with it. Everything in moderation, right?? It won’t be long before you realize just how sweet fruit is, without everything else in your diet being over-sweetened.
I know this sounds like crap – especially if sugar is a big part of your diet – but once you get past the first few days of cravings (and you will get them and they will be strong – being completely honest), you’ll find that you are less hungry, more alert, that you sleep more deeply and feel more rested when you wake up, and you just may find that chronic health issues clear up. I can’t promise that last one – every body is different and frankly, any medical professional that makes absolute promises may have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. But any medical professional worth her weight will advocate for and appreciate your effort to get off sugar, and will be able to more accurately address long-term health issues with sugar out of the picture.
Be kind to your body. It’s the only one you have!