By Jessica Ehrlich

What is the best advice you will ever receive about health and wellness?

STOP. EATING. SUGAR.

Now, the idea of eliminating sugar may send you into fetal position, any time of year, but especially as the fall holidays approach. That is because sugar has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine. Like a drug, it causes your brain to release dopamine, and your insulin surges, making you feel like a rockstar. But this temporary high is followed by the well-known sugar crash. And guess what you want post crash? More sugar!!!

This vicious but common cycle wreaks havoc on your body. Over time, it can lead to increased risk of disease, sickness, obesity, nutrient imbalances/deficiencies, behavioral changes, and an overall feeling of crap.

The solution? Cut the sugar out and start fueling your body with whole, unprocessed foods that will truly catapult your body rockstar status.

Easier said than done, right?. So, how does one go about making such a huge change?

STEP 1. KNOW THY ENEMY

As with any method of problem-solving, you must first identify the issue. The problem isn’t with the obvious culprits, like soda and candy. You have to learn the many disguises of sugar and become aware of your actual added sugar intake. For instance, did you know that manufacturers add sugar to your ketchup, breads, salad dressings, spaghetti sauces, and all those “healthy” energy bars?

The following is a list of sugar aliases:

Agave nectar

Anhydrous

Barbados sugar

Barley malt

Barley malt syrup

Beet sugar

Blackstrap Molasses

Brown sugar

Buttered syrup

Cane Crystals

Cane juice

Cane juice crystals

Cane sugar

Caramel

Carbitol

Carob syrup

Castor sugar

Coconut palm sugar

Coconut sugar

Confectioner’s sugar

Corn sweetener

Corn syrup

Corn syrup solids

Crystal Dextrose

Crystaline Fructose

Date sugar

Dehydrated cane juice

Demerara sugar

Dextran

Dextrin

Dextrose

Diastatic Malt

Diatase

Diglycerides

Erythritol

Ethyl Maltol

Evaporated cane juice

Florida Crystals

Free-flowing brown sugars

Fructose

Fructooligosaccharides

Fruit juice

Fruit juice concentrate

Galactose

Gloden sugar

Glucitol

Glucoamine

Glucose

Glucose solids

Golden sugar

Golden syrup

Grape sugar

Hexitol

HFCS (High-Fructose Corn

Syrup)

Honey

Icing sugar

Insomalt

Inversol

Invert sugar

Lactose

Liquid Fructose

Malts

Malt syrup

Malted Barley

Maltodextrin

Maltose

Mannitol

Mannose

Maple syrup

Molasses

Muscovado

Nectars

Organic raw sugar

Palm sugar

Panocha

Pancake syrup

Pentose

Powdered sugar

Raisin Sugar

Raw sugar

Refiner’s syrup

Ribose Rice Syrup

Rice Malt

Rice syrup

Saccharose

Sorbitol

Sorghum

Sorghum Syrup

Sucanat

Sucanet Sucrose

Sugar (granulated)

Sweet Sorghum

Syrup

Treacle

Turbinado sugar

White Sugar

Xylitol

Yellow sugar

Zylose

Reads like movie credits, doesn’t it? Fact: Added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged​ foods.1 ​ These are all the ingredients working behind the scenes that you may not think about​ when considering your sugar intake. Start looking for them and tracking what you’re really eating.

STEP 2. CLEAN HOUSE

Now that you’re able to identify added sugars, it’s time to get rid of them. Go through your kitchen. If a serving is over 6 grams of sugar, or if one of the listed sugar aliases is included in the first three (3) ingredients, throw that food item away or donate it — you don’t want or need it anymore. It’s recommended that we shouldn’t exceed more than 21 grams of sugar per day. That is not much! Count your sugar grams up for the day and see how many you are getting. I bet you’ll be extremely surprised at what you discover.

STEP 3: PLAN MEALS

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. With sugar and instant gratification being so addictive, trying to eliminate sugar without a meal plan is setting yourself up for failure. That’s why I like to cook batches of healthy meals about twice a week and have a set breakfast/lunch so I do not run out the door hungry, risking the temptation of those convenient, sugary options I come across once I get to where I’m going. This includes the cupcakes that my co-worker, Pete, decided to bring in, leftover from his daughter’s birthday party. Thanks, Pete!

I have a lot of personal recommendations for meals and snacks, but part of this process is figuring out healthy options that you actually enjoy and discovering taste buds not yet explored. To get you started, read my daily food diary for inspiration @jessicaleighe on Instagram.

STEP 4: GO SHOPPING!

On your next grocery store trip, hunt down whole, real foods (usually around the perimeter of the store). You want the least amount of processing and packaging. If an item is packaged, scour those ingredients. Remember: The devil is in the details.

Make it a fun weekend outing by checking out your local farmer’s market and buying real food that’s in season!

STEP 5: DETOX

Going sugar-free, you will probably experience one or all of the following: moodiness, snapping at loved ones, depression, falling asleep on the couch, and/or a few other non-pleasant symptoms. Everyone experiences sugar detox differently — you may have it easier or harder than others. But after 7-12 days, you will notice a difference. You will enjoy more energy, restful sleep, more joy, less brain fog, better skin, restored relationships with loved ones, and a better functioning body that is ready to kick ass.

Tip:​ While detoxing, take a Vitamin B supplement and 1000mg of chromium picolinate per day.

MOTIVATING FACTS

  • A French researcher who was studying sugar addiction in rodents, found that if a rodent was addicted to cocaine or heroin and later offered it sugar, it would switch to the sugar within a day. What?
  • Sugar makes you fat, not fat.
  • Sugar ages you.
  • Sugar rots your teeth and causes bad breath. Nasty.
  • Sugar contains NO essential nutrients (that’s why it’s called empty calories).
  • Excess amounts of sugar get turned into fat in the liver, leading to fatty liver disease — even non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Sugar can cause insulin resistance – leading to metabolic Syndrome – leading to Diabetes
  • Sugar is the leading cause of obesity in kids and adults
  • Sugar raises your cholesterol and gives you heart disease, not saturated fats. ●
  • Sugar feeds cancer – YIKES!

You’ll be surprised at how amazing vegetables and whole foods will begin to taste once you get sugar out of your system. Just follow the steps. It’s worth it! YOU’RE worth it! You only get one body – treat it like the temple it is.

Bibliography

Ng, S.W., Slining, M.M., & Popkin, B.M. (2012). Use of caloric and noncaloric sweeteners in

US consumer packaged foods, 2005-2009. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics​ ​ , 112​ ​(11), 1828-1834.e1821-1826.

 

 

Jessica Leigh Ehrlich is a personal trainer from Austin, TX. With over two decades in the industry, she has used her passion for wellness to teach hundreds of people fitness, nutrition, yoga, and pilates. You can catch her meal plans, wellness tips, and daily shenanigans on Instagram @jessicaleighe.

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