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Escape the Holiday Sugar Craze-6 Weeks to Eliminate Sugar from your Diet

Beth Colucci

We know that Americans consume too much sugar as a whole. On average, women consume 4x the recommended amount, men 2x and children 8x. Check out the numbers below:

Recommended (daily)

  • Women: 20 grams or 5 tsp

  • Men: 36 grams or 9 tsp

  • Children: 12 grams or 3 tsp

Actual (daily)

  • Women: 80 grams or 20 tsp

  • Men: 72 grams or 18 tsp

  • Children: 96 grams or 24 tsp

Excess sugar intake has turned 95% of people into “sugar burners,” meaning 95% of Americans use sugar as their primary energy source. If you experience frequent cravings and feelings of hunger, it’s more than likely that you are using sugar for energy, causing energy spikes and crashes.

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As a sugar burner not only will you eat more, but you’ll also store more body fat. To add insult to injury, sugar is highly addictive and has countless negative effects on our bodies, both internally and externally, including:

  • Gas & bloating

  • Joint pain

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Aging skin

  • Hair loss

  • Chronic acne

  • Allergies

  • Insomnia

  • Depression

  • Tooth decay

  • Obesity

  • Behavioral problems

  • And more…

Because the Holidays are full of sugary drinks and foods, it’s likely your sugar consumption has been up since Halloween. It’s time to wean off the sugar and turn our bodies back into the fat burning machines we were meant to be. Use the following guide to help you become less of a “sugar-burner” and retrain your body to be a “fat-burner.” You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will feel the impact of a lower sugar diet.

Week 1 – Nix Holiday Sweets

  • Why: The only way to fuel sugar cravings is to eat more sugar. Most desserts are chock full of sugar, so getting rid of these is a great first step.

  • Examples: one Cinnabon has 55 grams of sugar and a can of cherry pie filling contains 133 grams of sugar—as much 10 doughnuts!

  • How: Go cold turkey. You survive 9-10 months out of the year without them, so just toss ‘em.

Week 2 – Cut Sugary Drinks

  • Why: If you replace one sugary drink per day with water, you will eliminate 91,250 calories in one year…equivalent to 26 pounds of fat

  • Examples: One 20 ounce Minute Maid Lemonade has 67 grams of sugar, an 8 ounce “green juice” has 28 grams, and a 17 ounce organic green tea has 10 grams.

  • How: Go cold turkey. Pour what you have at home down the drain and take them off your shopping list. Try adding lemon, cucumber, oranges, etc to your water for some flavor instead.

Weeks 3–4 – Toss Packaged Goods

  • Why: Most packaged goods are highly processed with no nutritional value and use artificial sugar and sweeteners, which can be worse than natural sugar. This includes typical “junk food,” but also includes chips and pretzels, and “health foods” like cereal, yogurt and granola.

  • Examples: A breakfast bar made with "real fruit" and "whole grains" has 15 grams of sugar, one Yoplait original Strawberry yogurt has 26 grams, and Special K Yogurt cereal is 23% sugar.

  • How: Go modified-cold turkey. Identify what packaged foods you consume most often. Read the labels to determine which are highest in sugar and carbohydrates then prioritize which to eliminate first. Once you’ve eliminated your worst offenders, work your way down your list of common packaged foods until you’ve eliminate them all.

* This may take more than 2 weeks.

**They key to cutting out junk food is to replace it with healthy and natural alternatives.

Weeks 4 and 5 – Reduce Hidden Sugars

  • Why: Dressings, sauces, and condiments don’t just add flavor to your food – they often add sugar. Sugar is hidden away in your breads and “low-fat” foods, too.

  • Examples: 2 Tbsp of Balsamic has 6 grams of sugar, 2 Tbsp of meat sauce has 16 grams, and 1 slice of wheat bread has 4 grams.

  • How: Get familiar with reading labels and replace foods with lower-sugar options.

Week 6 – Replace High Glycemic Carbs with Medium and Low Glycemic Carbs

Why: high glycemic carbs like white bread, white rice, pasta, etc will affect your blood sugar just like cookies and cakes, causing you to store body fat.
How: Replace regular pasta with whole wheat pasta, then quinoa pasta, and eventually with spaghetti squash. Use the chart below for assistance.

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