Kick the Sugar Habit

By on February 6, 2020

by Tami Mungenast Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach

Sugar intake has drastically increased over generations. In the 1800s the average person consumed four pounds of sugar per year, in today’s society the average American consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar a year! It is not surprising that at the same time lifestyle type illnesses have increased exponentially. In the 1800s .003% of people had diabetes. Today almost 15% of Americans have Diabetes and 1 out of 3 Americans are pre-diabetic! It is not hard to see the connection. A 2012 study by the University of California and Stanford University found that for every 150 calories consumed from sugar the person increases their risk of type 2 Diabetes by one percent. This is regardless of whatever healthy foods they ate! 

Diabetes risk increases from products containing sugar to include candy, pastries and baked goods as well as alcohol. Refined carbs turn into sugar in the bloodstream. Having high levels of sugar in the blood stream causes stress on all the major organs as well as lowering metabolism.  According the Neuroendocrinology research, the human body can only safely process 6 teaspoons of sugar per day (equivalent to one serving of raisin bran, a snickers bar or two bananas). It is clinically proven that too much sugar destroys the metabolism, impairs insulin response, stimulates our hunger hormones (ghrelin) and turns off the hormones that tell us we are full (leptin), in addition to increasing risks for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. So why do we, as a culture, continue to eat more and more of it? Sugar is shown to have addictive qualities on the brain like illicit drugs do. Just as cocaine affects the dopamine levels of the brain, sugar can do the same thing and create addictive behaviors. Since sugar is socially acceptable it can easily grow into an addiction and never be recognized as a very unhealthy habit.  

Kicking the sugar habit can not only improve you waistline but also improve you health!

Here are some tips to help you curb the sugar from your diet. 

1. Keep sugary foods out of the house: Read labels and avoid processed foods with sugar added.  Make your own healthy snacks using nuts and seeds and a small amount of dried fruit for a taste of sweetness. 

2. Take L Glutamine (amino acid) L-Glutamine is an amino acid that assists with a    multitude of mechanisms in the body. It acts as a source of fuel for the GI tract and helps regulate blood sugar levels as well as brain health (aka craving control).

3. Eat healthy fats.  Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and natural nuts/nut butters can help your heart, brain, joints, and just about every organ in your body, reduces inflammation and helps keep you feeling satisfied.

4. Drink water with lemon. Research shows that lemon in drinking water helps keep blood sugars level. The extra water helps your hydration and can reduce cravings that are commonly caused by dehydration. 

5. Use natural alternatives like Stevia or Monks fruit.

6. Exercise! This is the best solution to helping keep your blood sugar stable, increase hormones to elevate your mood as well as pick up your energy levels and burn calories.  Weight training and light cardio can really help you overcome your sugar habit and get your mind and body healthier!