These are my feet. Focus on the big toes. See that line? The one where they change from light to dark? That is my sugar free anniversary. I stopped eating any type of refined sugar or processed foods 4 months ago. I still eat fruit and, occasionally, 100% dark chocolate - but that is it.
(Sorry you just had to look at my feet, but a pedicure would have ruined the dramatic effect).
I want to say that I still have fun, even without sugar. Actually, more fun than ever because I can be there for it. I feel on a daily basis, more brain power, more sustained energy coming from a new source, more rested and more present with my friends. Letting go of sugar has been a big heart opener, and I feel like it's just a beginning.
I also feel really proud of myself for sticking with it because sugar is EVERYWHERE!
SUGAR IS A SNEAKY SABOTEUR
Sugar plays a major role in everything from that 3pm ‘I need a nap’ feeling to chronic diseases. Research (the good, solid kind) indicates a clear relationship between sugar, inflammation, and health problems. Plus, sugar doesn’t just mess with your body; it muddles with your mind, too. A dive into scientific literature, like that found in “Plos One,” shows sugar impacts our brains similarly to addictive substances. Scary, but oddly not surprising.
Let’s break it down. This is the serious part.
15 REASONS YOUR BODY WANTS YOU TO KICK SUGAR TO THE CURB
1. Weight Gain
Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories, and sugar, especially from sugary drinks, is a major contributor to increased fat storage and obesity.
2. Heart Health
Higher sugar intake is linked to coronary heart disease. It can lead to higher levels oftriglycerides and harmful cholesterol levels.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
Excess sugar can lead to insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes, and over-consumption burdens the pancreas by forcing it to produce more insulin.
4. Liver Health
Too much sugar may lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
5. Kidney Health
High sugar, especially in diabetes, can lead to kidney disease.
6. Dental Health
You’ve heard it from your dentist since you were a kid, but it’s true, sugars feed bacteria in your mouth, leading to tooth decay and cavities.
7. Aging Skin
Sugar can damage collagen and elastin, leading to premature aging and wrinkles.
8. Mental Health
Some studies have linked sugar consumption to a higher risk of depression and mood Disorders.
Sugary foods can lead to chronic low-level inflammation which can aggravate menopausal symptoms as well as damage your cardiovascular and digestive systems.
10. Energy Levels
They call it a sugar rush for a reason. The rapid spike in energy levels is followed by a dramatic fall in blood sugar levels that can lead to fatigue.
11. Nutritional Deficiencies
Sugary foods often displace healthier options, leading to poor nutrient intake which lead to nutritional deficiencies.
12. Gut Health
Sugar leads to unhealthy gut flora by feeding harmful bacteria in the gut, potentially disrupting your microbiome.
13. Immune Function
Some research indicates sugar might suppress immune system activity causing impaired immune response.
Joint pain is a common symptom of menopause, and sugar can exacerbate inflammation within the joints.
15. Addiction-Like Effects
Ever had a sugar craving? Sugar activates reward pathways in the brain, creating cravings and sometimes addiction-like effects.
SUGAR GOES BY MANY NAMES
Sugar is hidden in most of the foods we eat, and food producers have gotten wise, so they often refer to sugar by other names. Keep a lookout for these ingredients on your packaging.
Sucrose: This is simply common table sugar.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS): A widely used sweetener made from corn.
Cane juice or evaporated cane juice: Derived from sugar cane.
Dextrose: A simple sugar derived from corn.
Glucose: A simple sugar that is used both independently and in conjunction with others.
Lactose: The sugar found in milk.
Maltose: A sugar found in malted foods and beverages.
Molasses: A thick, dark syrup produced during sugar refining.
Corn syrup: Different from high-fructose corn syrup, but still a sweetener.
Maltodextrin: Often found in fitness and health products.
Turbinado sugar: Partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.
Fruit juice concentrates: Though derived from fruit, the sugar content is high.
LET’S KICK SUGAR TOGETHER (WITH BABY STEPS)
One of my first inspirations for creating XO Jacqui was a desire to get away from sugary powders and products and have something totally healthy to use as a base to make smoothies, baked goods and other treats. But often, our palates are so used to that hyper-sweet taste that moving away from it can be a rough transition.
So, a few months back, we decided to come up with a whole food sugar alternative that could help us all break our sweet addiction by resetting our palates. We’ve called the product You’re Sweet (because you’re sweet enough already!), and it’s specifically designed to transition our palates from refined sugar to the natural sweetness found in whole foods. As with all our products, it’s organic and vegan, and the idea is to use as much as you need at the beginning, and to ratchet down your serving size over time until you don’t need it at all.
And if you need to purchase it a few times in order to get yourself weaned all the way off hyper-sweetness, we won’t judge. Just know this is one product we’re excited for you to STOP buying because it means you don’t need it anymore. :-)
So ditch not just that candy addiction, but the hidden sugar in your every day (Yep, I bought sushi at the fancy market in Ojai last week, and the second ingredient was sugar..they put sugar in the sushi rice). Give it a try, and report back.
All my love on your health journey.