As we kick off the new year AND a new decade, it’s time to level up our New Year’s Resolutions and start 2020 off with a bang--with measurable and doable goals. But, there may be one thing conspiring against you that is preventing your success.
It isn’t surprising that consistently over 50% of our resolutions involve eating healthier and exercising, with, of course, a huge emphasis on losing weight. So, here’s the fastest way to reach that goal.
For many of us, these commitments are too general and we end the year realizing that we haven’t reached our goals, or even made any progress on our #1 resolution. This is largely because we don’t actually know how to reach our goals, or more than likely, we start a program and then quickly fall off.
So this year, consider changing it up with a much more targeted resolution that is actually measurable rather than a generic goal like “I’d like to lose weight.”
If your goal is to lose weight or to eat healthier, the quickest way to get to where you want to be is reducing the sugar in your diet.
This is where it’s natural to say “I don’t actually eat a lot of sweets, so I’m fine.”
But ask yourself if you have ever REALLY tried a sugar detox in the past where you are intentional in weaning yourself off of all of the hidden and processed sugar in our society.
Don’t get me wrong, we all try to eat healthier and avoid processed food, but have you really sat down and completed a detox where you focus purely on sugar? And all the different places it’s hidden?
Sugar is one of the leading causes of weight gain, health-related issues, lack of energy, and mood dips and spikes.
You have probably heard all of this before and even know that removing sugary foods and drinks from your diet can result in weight loss.
But what you might not know is that sugar has also been linked to diseases, depression, aging, energy depletion, deteriorating dental health, cognitive decline, and acne, among other unpleasant things that we can reduce or even avoid by limiting it in our diets.
Sugar is everywhere. And it’s what is standing between you and living your best life in the new year.
The average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year. The U.S. is the top sugar loving country in the world, consuming more than twice the average sugar intake of many other countries and twice as much as what the World Health Organization recommends for daily intake, which is about 50 grams of sugar for someone of normal weight.
You may be part of that statistic and not even realize it.
Most of us realize that soft drinks, juices, and sweet treats contain sugar. But one of the problems with our sugar consumption is that sugar is everywhere, and it’s often hidden in things that you wouldn’t think would contain it. From condiments like BBQ sauce and salad dressings to yogurt and breakfast cereal, sugar is not only hidden, but it is often disguised with other names.
One of the biggest offenders includes drinks, from sports recovery drinks to juices to carbonated beverages, with some of the most popular drinks containing over 50 grams of sugar alone, which is more than the recommended intake for anentire day!
An easy way to quickly reduce sugar consumption is to reduce the amount of sugary beverages that are part of your daily diet.
Be sure to read labels when you pick a beverage. The first thing you should look at is the grams of sugar in the drink---and then the “serving size”—a lot of drinks will tell you they contain 28g of sugar and that the 28g of sugar is for 4oz---instead of the normal 8oz. (Meaning, you’re really consuming 56g of sugar in one drink.)
Other than weight gain and chronic illness/disease, sugar can mess with our emotions and our mood. Why eat something that can make you depressed and lethargic? Especially this time of year when we are motivated to make positive changes in our lives and want positive things that are going to fuel our energy for a productive and happy year.
So—why will a sugar detox set you up for success and positive change?
Energy is one of our most valuable gifts in life and not enough emphasis is placed on learning about what boosts it and what drains it. Sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, which temporarily increase energy.
But don’t get attached because this energy quickly disappears and is followed by a big crash. We have all experienced that. You’re sitting at your desk, hand pressed against your forehead literally holding your head up at work. Or you’re walking around in a total fog because you’re so tired and feel completely void of energy. Check out what you’re eating and take account of how much sugar you have eaten between when you woke up and when you experience the crash.
Eating foods high in sugar can lead to major energy fluctuations that cause an energy-draining cycle. Your body can trick you into wanting something sweet because it’s craving the associated energy spike, but that fleeting energy leads to an even larger energy crash, so avoid the foods that do this and instead, find foods that contain protein, healthy fats, or complex carbohydrates so that your body stays energized naturally and avoids the energy draining cycle.
Studies have shown that a diet high in sugar can lead to chronic low-grade inflammation. This is because a diet of excess added sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause several changes in the body, including an excess production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which form when protein or fat combine with sugar in the bloodstream, and also the production of fatty acids in the liver.
It can also cause weight gain, which leads to inflammation, partially because of insulin resistance.
Chronic inflammation can cause several debilitating problems such as body pain, disease, weight gain, digestive issues, constipation, insomnia, and infections, to name a few, as well as mood disorders, anxiety and depression.
Studies show that reducing sugar intake in our diets can reduce the inflammatory factors in our blood.
High consumption of sugar has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, gum disease, liver disease, and cancer, among others. There are real physiological consequences here.
For example, sugar can cause your liver to become resistant to insulin (which can eventually result in Type 2 diabetes), it can cause your arterial walls to grow faster than normal and causes them to become tense, which can damage your heart over time and also cause stress to your heart. It can cause your pancreas to be overworked and eventually damaged, it can damage your kidneys, and if that isn’t enough, it can cause elevated levels of glucose in your bloodstream, which can hurt your brain and result in impaired cognitive function.
These are just some of the ways that sugar can stress your body and bring about disease.
Sugar isn’t good for our skin. And it’s not just sugars, but also but also high-glycemic foods that quickly convert to sugar.
Remember when we talked about inflammation in #2 above? Inflammation can produce enzymes that break down elastin and collagen, which can cause saggy skin and wrinkles. It can also increase all sorts of annoying skin issues such as acne, rosacea, excess hair growth and dark patches on the skin.
The most sugary foods are often the biggest enemies to our skin. If you just google sugar effects on skin you’ll find several articles where the author talks about immediate improvement in skin conditions after reducing sugar even in a week’s period of time.
Most of us are familiar with the dopamine spike we get when we eat sugar and a lot of us associate sugar with an improved mood. However, research suggests that sugar is actually associated with mood disorders, and even depression.
Studies show that people who eat processed food and refined sugars are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than people who did not eat these foods.
As discussed in #2 above, sugar can increase inflammation, which can also result in depression and mood disorders. Numerous studies state that sugar toxicity has a role in the health of our brains, and that changes in mood are associated with excessive sugar intake.
Sugar is not nutrient dense, and it also uses up mood enhancing B vitamins and diverts chromium in the body. This can lower your mood and lead to depression.
There are several other reasons why you should avoid sugar, but these 5 are powerful enough to show you that there are harmful consequences of a diet high in sugar.
The problem is it’s everywhere and hard to avoid, so the key is to #1 become educated, #2 create a plan, and #3 surround yourself with people who are like-minded!
It’s also crucial to keep track of what you are eating and how it makes you feel. Start off 2020 taking account of your eating habits and tracking your sugar intake with our FREE Daily Journal so you can start off the new year with great habits!
AND, if you are interested in a transformational SUGAR DETOX to reset your body’s addiction to sugar and teach you how to spot it, reduce it, and replace it with something healthy, we got you covered here.
Detoxing sugar is all about changing your habits and becoming educated so that you can make good choices and develop new habits. It may seem impossible but it’s doable, and you can do it, especially now that you have so many reasons to avoid it.
If you have any questions or comments or you’d like more information about how to approach a sugar detox, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.