“Eat less sugar, you’re already sweet enough.” ... Anonymous
Refined sugar is one of the most addictive substances out there. In fact it is the most addictive drug on the market. Refined sugar is a powerful drug that can lead to cravings, dependency, and even withdrawal symptoms when it's abruptly taken away.
Yesterday I walked in to my neighborhood bodega for my usual black coffee. Pure coffee, no sugar and no milk. Black coffee. I repeat myself because that’s the way it is when you order a black coffee. I usually get asked “How many sugars ?” or “Just black?” and get a confused look. A new employee behind the counter took my order then I hear from the aisle behind me, “Just black! He likes it just black, no milk, no sugar.” I eventually get my coffee and as I walk out taking a sip it hit’s me! Darn it! He put sugar in my coffee! But WOW! That was good! Haha! I tell you this to let you know that I get it, I know it’s hard. Sugar tastes good and nobody is here to tell you cutting refined sugar out of your life is easy.
When we consume sugar it triggers the release of dopamine, the same neurotransmitter released when people take drugs like cocaine. This dopamine release reinforces the reward system in the brain and causes people to seek out more sugar. It is and endless cycle leaving you wanting with no reward except extra pounds and a trip to the dentist.
Understanding that foods loaded with refined sugar can cause weight gain, fatigue, inflammation, headaches and cravings is one thing. I would even go out on a limb and say we all know that already. Why ? We are addicted, “Hi my name is Kalen and I’m a sugar addict.” That coffee with sugar and that apple fritter donut are just so darn good and we don’t care. It is time to start caring, say no to that instant dopamine hit and hold out for the biggest prize there is, your health!
Spend your time chasing nutrients. When we begin conditioning our bodies to say no to sugar and replace sugar heavy snacks with whole foods loaded with vitamins and minerals our bodies begin to crave those over time. We function better over time. Once our brains and body are fueled properly we begin to turn fat into functioning lean muscle. Our brains to begin to produce ideas at a more rapid rate. We transform.
You get natural sugar from foods like fruits, vegetables and raw honey. You get refined sugar from processed foods such as cookies, donuts, flour tortillas and white bread. The latter is taking you nowhere except fat camp and the ER fast, while the choice of commitment, discipline and support from your friends and family is making you a stronger person everyday.
Understanding the difference between natural sugar and refined sugar is key. For example, the natural sugar from an apple always gives me a mid-day pick me up. They are great on the go when I need some energy for my next client. The same goes for blueberries, oranges and grapes. Amazing go to fruits of mine when I need fuel or have a sweet tooth. The great thing about eating fruit and getting your sugar the natural way are the other micronutrients you get. Fiber in apples, vitamin c in oranges, antioxidants in blueberries and grapes offering a variety of balanced nutrients.
So when you make the decision to cut sugar from out of your life don’t beat yourself up when it gets hard. As a matter of fact expect that it is going to get hard and prepare for the struggle. Load your fridge with whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Plan a workout schedule you can adhere to. Keep your mind on your why at all costs. Whether your reason is weight loss or heart health, it is your focus on those things that is going to pull you through the difficult times. Your health above any sugar craving is the most important thing on this earth.
If you're having trouble, seek help online or from a trusted health professional. I’m only an email away if you need me.