Nutrition 101: How to Quit Sugar in 3 Weeks
Welcome to the fourth blog in my Nutrition 101 Series. We’ve already covered digestion and the nutrient dense diet. In this post, I’m going discuss the third foundation of optimal health: Sugar handling.
Fuel for the Body
Here are the 3 types of fuel used in the body: Glucose, fat, and ketones. We get glucose from the sugar and carbohydrates in our diet (we’ll discuss fat & ketones in the next Nutrition 101 blog). Healthy carbohydrates include fruits, veggies, and properly prepared beans and legumes. Less healthy carbohydrates include refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, grains, and sweets. Your body needs some sugar because it need fuel! The problem is that we are getting TOO MUCH of our fuel from sugar.
How to Fuel Your Body for Optimal Health
In my RESTART program, I love to describe the process of sugar handling as follows. Your body burns nutrients for energy like a campfire uses logs & kindling to keep it going. The carbs are like the kindling in the fire. They are good for short term energy, but they are fast burning. So eating a meal full of sugar and refined carbohydrates will cause you to get hungry very shortly after, ready for more fuel. So you eat more carbs and get more hungry. This way of eating forces you to feed that fire it all day long!
Fats and protein, however, are like the slow-burning logs we use to fuel our campfire. When you eat a meal full of healthy fats and protein, your body is able to use these type of fuel for much longer. You feel full and your brain says that you don’t need any more food for awhile. Unfortunately, Americans are eating WAY too much sugar & refined carbs compared to healthy fats and protein. Did you know that 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of sugar is just the right amount for your WHOLE body at any given time? Start looking at your sugar intake and see how close you are to 5 grams at meals and snacks.
Eat Fat, Lose Weight!
The problem with relying on sugar for energy is that you will become insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone and a messenger that tells your cells to let glucose in to make energy and perform its functions. If you eat too much sugar and refined carbohydrates, your cells will stop hearing insulin’s message and become INSULIN RESISTANT. When this happens, there is a lot of excess sugar hanging around, and our bodies (that have evolved to save for a rainy day) will convert that sugar into FAT! So, contrary to what we’ve been taught, eating fat keeps you full and happy, and eating too much sugar is what makes you fat.
Of course, there are LOTS more reasons to quit sugar, but your body will thank you if you do. Here are some of other benefits of reducing sugar: More energy, less fatigue, better sleep, clarity in thinking, less depression & anxiety.
How to Quit Sugar
The answer to getting off the sugar roller coaster is to eat MORE fat & protein & LESS sugar & refined carbohydrates. Here’s an example of a meal plan that will keep you feeling happy and satisfied without sugar cravings.
- Breakfast: Eat protein & healthy fat, like 2-3 eggs & an avocado. See how long you can go till lunch. Then eat lunch.
- Lunch: Now have some carbohydrates, preferably in the form of veggies. Include some protein & healthy fat too. Try a meal salad with olive oil & vinegar and some wild-caught salmon. Don’t eat again until dinner.
- Dinner: Eat some more protein and non-starchy vegetables (they have less sugar than starchy vegetables like potatoes). You could have some grass-fed steak with organic asparagus & REAL butter (I like Kerry Gold brand). Don’t eat again until breakfast.
Notice that there is NO snacking. If you are currently eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) with too much sugar, you may need to have healthy snacks at first, but generally speaking, snacking spikes your sugar & insulin response. Until you can go without snacking, have healthy snacks like a handful of nuts and a small green apple. This diet might be hard at first, but if you can stay away from sugar for at least 21 days, you will lose your cravings and finally have optimal blood sugar balance.
3 Things You Can Do TODAY to Balance Your Blood Sugar
- Limit sugar & refined carbohydrates and eat more healthy fat.
- Have only fat and protein for breakfast, with healthy carbohydrates only at lunch & dinner.
- Don’t snack in between meals.