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A Comprehensive Guide to Cutting Sugar Out for Good

Exploring Underlying Causes

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Truly and completely quitting sugar takes more than just following a method; you must first delve into the underlying cause of your cravings. In this article, we will uncover the unexpected outcomes of cutting out sugar, and discover the ultimate way to achieve this.

Hidden Sugars in Processed Foods

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From 2005 to 2009, at least 74 percent of packaged or processed foods contained added sugars. Even if you don’t have the habit of eating sweets, you may unintentionally consume sugar in excess. Added sugars have many names, making identifying them on ingredient labels challenging.

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Overcoming the Challenge

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Quitting sugar is not impossible, but many face challenges due to a lack of knowledge or overly ambitious goals. The key is to break it down into steps: First, reduce sugar, then quit altogether, and eventually overcome sugar cravings.

Expert Insights

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The benefits of easing into sugar reduction are comparable to quitting directly. Dr. Jason Fung likens it to swimming. Some prefer reducing it, and others dive right in, achieving the same goal.

Step 1 – Reduce Sugar Intake

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Reading labels is crucial. Focus on the ingredient list and sugar content per 100 grams or serving. Over 60 names for sugar exist, and high-fructose content sweeteners, like high-fructose corn syrup, can harm the liver and cause insulin resistance. Look for chemical names ending in “ose” and avoid unfamiliar-sounding ingredients.

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High-Sugar Foods

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Even non-sweet items may contain sugar. For example, a tablespoon of ketchup contains 4 grams of added sugar. If added sugar exceeds 20%, it’s considered high. FDA and NHS provide guidelines on low, medium, and high-sugar classifications. Avoid foods where sugar is among the top three ingredients.

Step 2 – Swap in Natural Sweeteners

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Consider natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit with near-zero glycemic index. These alternatives can stabilize blood sugar and offer other health benefits. However, be cautious about potential long-term effects and variations in sweetness levels.

Artificial Sweeteners

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Beware of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin, which are often used in zero-sugar products. Studies suggest potential negative impacts on metabolic health and gut microbiome, with some raising concerns about carcinogenicity.

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Step 3 – Natural Sugars

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Explore natural sugar alternatives like honey, known for stabilizing blood sugar and possessing antibacterial properties. Maple syrup, derived from maple trees, offers a unique taste and nutrients. Coconut sugar is both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative, contributing to heart health.

Considerations and Caution

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While natural sweeteners and sugars offer alternatives, it’s crucial to be mindful of quantities and potential health effects. Some sweeteners may vary in sweetness levels, and moderation is key. Always read usage instructions on the packaging.

Unveiling the Unexpected Changes

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As you embark on this journey, unexpected changes will unfold. The process of quitting sugar is about retraining the palate, as mentioned by Lorenzo Cohen, a professor and director of the integrative medicine program at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Gradually, you’ll discover that even items with very little sugar taste sweet, and positive changes will manifest in your body.

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Understand Sugar First

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Cutting out sugar is a journey, not an event. By understanding the types of sugars, reducing intake, and choosing healthier alternatives, you can overcome sugar cravings and embark on a healthier lifestyle.

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