How to Quit Sugar
Dear Yoga Student,
If you could pick just one single food to remove from the planet that would have the biggest impact on the health of the world, it would NOT be red meat or salt, it would NOT be saturated fat or Chicken McNuggets…
… it would be processed sugar!
Processed sugar comes in many different delivery systems—breads, crackers, cookies, soft drinks, sports bars, and pastries—but the effects of high glycemic foods on our body are pretty much the same.
Weight gain, mood swings, addiction, and even degenerative illness such as diabetes and heart disease.
All that sounds very melodramatic for a little sweet treat, I know, but sugar is a huge problem for millions of people, and since you’re watching this, I’m guessing you have a sweet tooth yourself.
So what is the glycemic index anyway?
The glycemic index measures how quickly the sugars in your foods are absorbed in the first two hours after you eat them…
…Fast is bad, slow is good. To give you an idea, bread has a glycemic index rating of 70+ while most fruits and vegetables are 20-55. Table sugar has a rating of 63.
A French baguette, for example, gives you a bigger jolt than a sweet soda.
Sugar is important for your body, of course. Glucose is what your brain burns for fuel, so you certainly need it—and it some cases, lots of it. The fatal flaw with modern sugar is the delivery system and the SIZE of that delivery… it’s too much too fast that makes high glycemic foods act like drugs.
The breads, the cookies, the juices and soft drinks…
It’s believed that 300 years ago, people ate about 4 lbs of sugar per year while today, it’s estimated that people eat over 100 lbs of sugar per year—some people as much as 150 or 180 lbs.
That’s a LOT of sugar… and here’s why it’s a problem.
Naturally, we want a little teeny bit of sugar wrapped up in fiber, difficult to access and moving very slowly into our system for sustained energy. Today, we get truckloads of sugar, cooked down and potent, just waiting to be absorbed at lightning speed.
When you get too much too fast there are the obvious drawbacks of weight gain and moodiness from sugar, but many people forget that high blood sugar is devastating to your adrenal glands, your body’s insulin sensitivity, and your vascular system as well…
But enough bad news, the good news is you can pretty easily kick the sugar habit when you learn just a couple of simple things that are often overlooked…
Here we go…
Bread + Rice = Sugar
Many types of breads and rice actually have a higher glycemic index than table sugar—so to kick your sugar habit you’ve got to cut way back on processed carbs.
Many people trying to eat healthier make miniature changes, like changing their bread from white to whole wheat. And while some whole wheat breads do have a lower glycemic index, it’s not a huge difference and it’s not going to help you kick the habit.
Instead, cut your wheat and rice intake WAY back and perhaps even replace those dead carbohydrates with some living ones. We’ll get into that later…
No Fiber = No Good
The less fiber a sweet food has, almost always, the higher the glycemic index. For example, apples are a relatively low glycemic food. Apple juice is very high—comparable to a soda. In this way, fiber plays a very interesting role in the sugar addiction equation.
We want to always focus on higher fiber foods as they tend to have a lower glycemic index rank. Just remember this, more fiber means slow-release sugar. For this reason, we want to fiber-rich foods all the time, and if you’re traveling or just too busy, consider taking an all-natural, soluble fiber supplement such as GI Cleanse from YOGABODY or any all-natural choice with no stimulants, flavors or additives.
The takeaway here is to kick the sugar habit, try not to drink anything sweet—no juices, no sodas, no beer—just skip it. If you’re accustomed to drinking calories throughout the day, make a deliberate choice to instead EAT something to replace those drinks. Fresh veggies are a great option.
Healthy Fats = Lower Glycemic Index for Foods
Most people don’t realize this, but fats immediately reduce the glycemic index of foods, so a piece of bread with butter, for example, will release sugar into your system much more slowly than a plain piece of bread.
Why? It’s really simple. Fats take much longer for your body to digest then carbs, so if your sugars are encased in healthy fats, then your body takes time to get access to those sugars giving you slow release energy.
Get your fat from nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, chia, flax or organic dairy if you eat dairy.
Don’t Give Up Sugar – Replace It!
It’s not possible to “give up” sugar, you need to replace those lost calories or you’ll not only miss the sugar buzz, you’ll also be hungry… and if you’re hungry AND craving sugar, forget it. You’re doomed.
So if you’re used to eating a chocolate bar every day at 3 p.m., the key is not to go cold turkey but to replace that chocolate bar with something else. Eventually you might just find you’re not craving anything at all, but especially at first, you want to have a good substitute on hand.
What are good substitutes?
High fiber and/or high fat foods.
High fiber foods include raw, whole fruits and raw or steamed vegetables.
High fat foods choices include chia seeds, flaxseeds, coconut, coconut oil, or flaxseed oil. These can be taken with meals, but to really kick a sugar craving, taking a small serving (like a teaspoon) of a healthy fat like coconut or flaxseed oil is very effective. It’s simple, satisfying and gives you sustained energy. You’ll find that just a little bit of healthy fat instantly reduces your hunger and especially coconut oil which has a naturally sweet taste, takes away some of your sugar cravings…
Eat Live Foods 1x Daily and Take a Probiotic Supplement
Eating live foods is a trick I learned just recently, and it’s really a powerful trick for kicking sugar. I use the term “live foods” to refer to fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and raw apple cider vinegar. These are foods where most of the sugars have actually been eaten by beneficial digestive bacteria.
So by the time you eat them, fermented foods contain very little sugar but they often satisfy your sugar cravings just the same and go to work internally to kill off bad bacteria that could be contributing to your sugar craving problems in the first place.
A diet rich in living foods has helped people improve their energy, balance their mood, and clear up their skin among other things.
Here’s the important things to remember:
(1) Pasteurization kills bacteria, so 99.9% of store bought yogurts, krauts, and fermented goods are not living anymore. Skip those and make your own. If you’re not sure how to do that, we’ve got a couple of tutorial videos on the YOGABODY site that’ll show you how (it’s the easiest thing in the world).
(2) Making fermented foods couldn’t be easier, but I do recommend using a controlled fermentation environment which basically just means you add a starter—some beneficial bacteria—to the mix, that way you can know for sure you’re not picking up unwanted yeasts or bad bacteria from the air which is possible during a traditional wild fermentation.
(3) Take a probiotic supplement every day for as long as you feel the benefits. Beware that most probiotics are very very weak, meaning they contain 1 billion, 5 billion or maybe 10 billion CFU (colony forming units) at most per capsule—and most capsules only contain 1-5 strains of bacteria.
In plain English, this means that most manufactures in an attempt to cut costs, make probiotics that are what I call a “non-active doses.” This means you either have to take lots of capsules each day, which nobody likes, or you simply just take one capsule and probably won’t see many benefits, if any.
50 billion CFU’s with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria is now considered the “active dose” standard. This means that you just take one capsule daily (with food) and you’re all set. Inside these little capsules are living, beneficial bacteria at a potency level that delivers real benefits right away.
After opening, remember you should always refrigerate your probiotic as it will lose potency once the bottle is open if it’s left out at room temperature.
If you’re a chocolate lover, that’s great. If you’re a cookie person or whatever, it’s not about denying yourself your favorite foods…
… but if you’re like most people, you’d much rather choose those favorite foods voluntarily, once and awhile, instead of feeling your body craving them every afternoon at 3 p.m.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful. If you have questions or comments, please post them down below.
We also sell several products that will help you kick the sugar habit! Be sure to check out our store here.
YOGABODY Naturals LLC