Eliminating Sugar From Your Diet
Sugar is the “sweet” root of all evil. Before we get into strategies for eliminating sugar from your diet, lets touch base on why sugar is so bad for you.
Good, Bad, & Ugly
Sugar, it’s sweet, it taste good, and may give you a boost of energy. This statement makes a bad case for eliminating sugar from your diet. However, sugar is FULL of calories, but lacks any essential nutrients. There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar. When an individual eats 10%-20% of their calories as sugar, a nutrient deficiency can occur and cause major heath problems.
Added sugar in drinks and food are high in fructose. High fructose intake can lead to fat developing in the liver. When too much fat is stored in the liver, it can cause non alcoholic fatty liver disease. Severe cases of this disease can lead to continuous liver dialysis, liver failure, transplant, and death.
Too much sugar can also lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the our bodies stop telling our cells to burn sugar calories vs. fat calories. When this happens severe diseases like diabetes, cancer, obesity, and heart disease can develop.
Why Is Sugar Particularity Bad For Seniors?
Besides all the diseases mentioned above, seniors who have a high sugar diet are at risk to develop cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Cognitive impairment can range from mild to severe cases. In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, it was found that individuals between the ages of 70-89 who eat moderate sugar are four times more likely to develop mild cognitive issues. The same study concluded individuals who eat high protein and high fiber diets are less likely to develop cognitive impairment.
Eliminating Sugar From Your Diet
Sugar is highly addictive. If you have beat the cravings and have repealed sugary snacks from your diet, you still may be consuming mass amounts of sugar and not even know it. Foods that do not taste sweet have mass amounts of added sugar. Sugar is added to foods such as bread, condiments, sauces, dressings, and yogurt. However, do not get added sugar confused with natural sugars that are found in some fruits and vegetables. To confirm the foods you are eating are not full of sugar always read the labels. Ingredients are listed by the amounts on food labels. If sugar is at the top then that food item is mostly a sugar product.
More tips for eliminating sugar from your diet include:
Learn the alternate names for sugar.
When reviewing food labels you have to look for more than just the word sugar. Sugar is also known as high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, sucrose (or any word that ends in “ose”), and molasses. Food that are portrayed to be healthy may contain four or five different types of sweeteners. Stick with foods that contain minimal sweeteners.
Once you start learning what foods you eat that are high in sugar, start buying the unsweetened versions. For example, your favorite can of mixed fruits may be a sugar packed snack. This is because the fruit is submerged in some type of sugary syrup. Instead by the “unsweetened” or “no sugar added” version and the fruit will be submerged in water and the natural fruit juices. This strategy can help eliminate up to 50% of the sugar you consume!
Don’t Go Cold Turkey!
Sugar is a highly addictive substance. Just like any other substance if you quit cod turkey you may experience some detoxification symptoms. These symptoms include feeling light-headed, headaches, mood swings, muscle aches, and exhaustion. When you decide to cut sugar out of your diet try cutting by only 50% the first week, and then by another 50% the following. This will make weaning yourself off sugar much more tolerable.
Avoid Artificial Sugars
When you decide to eliminate sugar from your diet try to avoid artificial sugars. Artificial sugars are found in most diet drinks, sugar-free candy, and fake sugar packets. Most of these artificial sugars contain a substance called Aspartame. Aspartame has been found to be more harmful than sugar when consumed over a long period of time.
Enjoy Deserts in Moderation
Having 0% sugar in your diet is almost impossible and not recommended. Fruits and vegetables contain good amounts of natural sugar that are needed in a well-balanced diet. Also, once you have curved your sugar cravings don’t be afraid to enjoy your favorite sugary desert a few times a week. The idea of eliminating sugar from your diet isn’t about 100% free sugar diet. It is most important to intake your daily sugar percentages from good whole foods vs empty calorie snacks like soda and cookies.
Stick With It
Lowering your sugar intake can almost seem like an impossible achievement. After you have worked hard for a while your cravings for sugary snacks will subside. Many people even find after an extended period of time their taste buds can’t handle sweet foods anymore. You may have originally needed a whole piece of cake to cure sugary cravings, after cutting sweets the natural sugar found in fruits may be all you need to cure your cravings.