I have a confession: not three years ago, I was scooping five teaspoons of sugar into my coffee every morning. Oh, and since I regularly drink coffee in the afternoon, I did the same at 3:00 p.m. And I’d probably have a Coke at lunch.
Yes, I am a former sugar addict.
Despite my degrees in nutrition and medicine, my true understanding of diet and subsequent healthy habits didn’t come until I felt like total crap. It wasn’t until I had back pain that bent me into a chronic parenthesis, a mushy midsection, fatigue and enough stress to make my right eyelid twitch uncontrollably that I got the idea that maybe I should do things differently if I want to feel differently.
The 30 minutes of exercise that I committed to doing six days per week was one MAJOR step. The other was kicking the sugar habit. The problem, I find, is that most people (my former self included) are completely opposed to addressing sugar and the toll it takes on the body. I listen to people complain (my friends and family included) about their aches and pains, their weight, their fatigue, their low testosterone, the list goes on and on. We talk about running labs, adjusting medications, starting medications, avoiding dairy, avoiding gluten, and seeing specialists. We dance around a crucial piece that needs to be addressed because no one wants to give up sugar. It tastes amazing, and it floods the brain with feel-good dopamine.
It also leads to dependence and addiction.
In fairness, most people aren’t aware of how much sugar they’re actually consuming. That it’s found in seemingly “healthy” foods (But it’s gluten free! It’s dairy free! It’s organic granola!)
So, can we get real? Can we actually get you closer to your goals?
If you want to truly experience what “better” feels like, you must first address the sugar. Do this first. Skip this piece, and all the medication, coaching and guidance leads to mere millimeters of progress. But life-changing progress? Let’s talk about that.
I have seen, first-hand, what happens when someone eliminates sugar. I’ll be honest, at first, it sucks. You may even go through withdrawal. But after about two weeks, you begin to notice less daytime fatigue, fewer cravings, and you begin to burn the fat that has been stuck to your organs for decades.
Don’t believe me? Talk to the patients in our practice who have lost 20, 40, 50, 180 pounds by ditching sugar. They’re eating low-carb, high-fat diets and reversing diabetes, optimizing hormones naturally, cooling inflammation, eliminating nagging aches and pains and stalling aging.
Want to shake the sugar? Here’s where to start:
- Eliminate the obvious: table sugar, desserts, cookies, cupcakes, and soda.
- Transition to sugar substitute, in the beginning.
- Begin to identify hidden sources of sugar (i.e., read all labels).
- Axe the fruit and fruit juices. (More on fruit in a future email.)
- Focus on what you CAN eat: good, satiating fats (e.g., cheese, butter, whole milk, whipped cream, bacon, peanut butter, avocado and more.)
- This video series on how to quit sugar addresses addiction.
- When my wife and I first decided to reexamine sugar, we used this book. There’s also a website.
- This book highlights how sugar may be the root cause of all evil. Fun fact: Tobacco companies add sugar to cigarettes to make the smoke more tolerable to inhale.
Radley Griffin, M.D.