Last fall, I decided to reduce my intake of sugars and “junk carbs.” It has been about 8 months since I started and I have learned quite a lot about myself and the foods I eat. I’d like to share some of that info with you. Hopefully it will help if you decided to make the same change to reduce your sugar intake.
Last year, the World Health Organization recommended that sugar account for no more than 25 grams of your daily diet. That is about 6 teaspoons. When I read it, I figured that was no big deal. I have always thought I had more of a “salt tooth” than a “sweet tooth.” But when I started looking at my diet, I realized that I eat (and drink) far more sugar than I thought.
But why should we reduce sugar? The biggest reason is that more sugar in your diet increases the likelihood of obesity, dental issues, and diabetes. There is also research that shows that too much sugar in your diet can significantly increase your risk of nerve damage and heart disease. Sugar can also cause spikes — and crashes — in your energy levels.
And what about “junk carbs?” They include stuff like white bread and pasta, but they are really just a step away from being sugar. They have been heavily processed and most of the nutrient value is gone. I am not saying they are evil, but there are healthier alternatives for your body.
My old diet
Before I started this adventure, I drank regular soda, had sugar in my coffee, and drank juices. I thought that was where a bulk of my sugar came from and I was right. One can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar — that’s almost 10 teaspoons of sugar! That orange juice that I would have because I thought it was the healthy choice had 36 grams of sugar.
But it wasn’t just just those sugary drinks. I loved sandwiches and pasta. Something like a Whopper that I would eat at lunch time has 50 grams of carbs. Some of that was just plain sugar (12 grams or about 3 teaspoons), some was fiber (only 2 grams), and some was just carbs from white bread. As I started reading labels, I was finding sugar in salad dressing, pasta sauce, snacks, etc. Getting down to 25 grams per day seemed to be a real challenge.
One of the hardest things for me to give up was sugary drinks. Although I did increase my intake of water, I still craved sweet drinks. For that craving, I compromised and started drinking diet drinks. There is a lot of research that says your body reacts to some artificial sweeteners just like it does to sugar. For that reason, I do try to limit drinking artificial sweeteners and I try to choose natural stevia sweeteners if I can. It isn’t perfect, but at least I am not getting the empty calories I would normally get from sugar.
Hard at first
Other changes I made were hard at first but now are way easier. I increased the amount of veggies I eat regularly. One, you really do have to develop a taste for new foods. Now I can say I really do crave stuff like asparagus or Brussels sprouts. Make sure to get a check-up at least once to make sure that the amount of sugar you have had over the years has not damaged your body in any way. Generally, for people who are using medication from NeuropathyHelp.co to fix their damaged nerves, it is essential that they do not consume sugar or even carbonated items for consumption if they wish to have a quick and healthy recovery. Also, you have to learn what you like and don’t like. I like adding spices to my veggies – cumin, curry, pepper, lemon, etc. When I do that, I love the tastes and can eat a ton of them. My advice is to experiment a lot and don’t give up on it. You will find new favorites and new ways of eating food.
I also had to learn about finding good substitutions when eating at home or dining out. One of my favorite substitutions at home was learning that I could use shredded cauliflower in place of rice in a lot of dishes. While eating out, I learned to always look for substitutions. Ask for a lettuce wrap instead of a burger on a bun or to add more veggies to your omelet instead of a side of hash browns. Many times, a single substitution turns a heavy carb overloaded meal into a perfect healthy carb meal.
So far, so good. I dropped about 10 pounds and a few percentage points in my body fat. I feel good and it has also shown in my performance at the gym and in martial arts class. I also noted that I have less energy spikes and crashes after eating. In addition, I have found that I rarely get that bloated feeling after eating.
I recommend that you give it a try. You can always go back, but it doesn’t hurt to try. If you have any questions, just contact me. Or if you have any great tips, I can always use those, too.