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How to Quit Sugar


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Hey all,

I've been trying to quit sugar for about two years now; I liken it to quitting cigarettes. I feel the same withdrawls as I did when I quit smoking, only sugar withdrawls last longer and sugar cravings are MUCH stronger for me than cigarette cravings EVER were. And it was hard to quit smoking! So you can imagine how difficult this sugar thing is.

Anyway, I've been off of sugar for almost a month now, which is longer than I've ever made it. I feel as if I have finally gotten over the 'hump' of withdrawls, and it should be smooth sailing from here. So, having finally found the way to quit sugar (for me personally), I figured I'd share to help those of you embarking on the same treacherous yet infinitely rewarding journey.

1. Cut out refined carbohydrates, too. Refined carbohydrates are only one simple digestion step away from being sugar itself, so cutting out or strictly limiting refined carbohydrates helps keep your body from going through nothing more than a slow, drawn out withdrawl process. In other words, you'll still have sugar cravings if you keep eating refined carbs.

2. For the first few months, go easy on honey, natural maple syrup, and other 'natural' sweetners (especially ANYTHING from the sugar cane plant, organic and natural or otherwise). These things are supposed to occurr in our diets sparsely anyway, and if we eat them in the same frequency as we used to eat refined sugar, there's not much difference where the body is concerned. The point is to eat things that convert straight to sugar sparsely, not including fruit.

And the following is the most important one that has helped me more than any other tip:

3. Identify your self-sabataeur. After millions of attempts to quit sugar followed by a sugar-binge three days later, I finally sat down with myself and said, 'what is the one determining factor in my failures? where is the one point in which I decided to recind my decision to not eat sugar?' I realized that each time I 'gave in,' some sort of justification process happened in my head. I told myself, 'you can't survive without sugar forever.' 'You're a professional cake decorator, you SHOULD eat sugar, it's your trade!' 'maybe just for valentine's day.' 'perhaps sugar isn't so bad for me, after all.' All of these things went through my head, to the point where finally I broke down and ate something sweet.

The next time it happend, I was prepared. I told myself, 'this voice telling you that you don't really want to live sugar free is just one of your withdrawl symptoms. Every time you ignore this voice, it will get quieter and you will get stronger. You made a commitment to yourself when you were thinking with a clear head. Keep it!"

This helped me IMMENSELY. Also, a great thing to remember is that if you have sugar cravings at night, if you can just make it to bed before eating sugar, I PROMISE you the sugar craving will be gone first thing in the morning, when you can start afresh in your commitment to yourself. Knowing that helped me, too.

Another things that really helped is the fact that I know that if I give into a craving, the craving won't stop, it will strengthen. I know this from experience. So, as long as I'll still have the pain of craving AFTER I eat whatever it is, I might as well just endure the craving without trying to satisfy it, 'cause it's insatiable by nature.

Lastly, every time I was REALLY confronted with a sugar craving (I work in a bakery as a cake decorator, so BELIEVE ME I've been tempted on a daily basis), I would ask myself if it would really be worth breaking my month-long fast from sugar with a whatever-it-was. Usually, it wasn't. I mean, if you're in a five star restaurant or patisserie, that's one thing, but if it's gas-station donuts, that's quite another.

So, I hope this helps some of you. We all know sugar is bad for us, and tons of health professionals prescribe diets and lifestyle plans that include going off of sugar. I haven't, however, seen much in the way of helping with the process of quitting sugar, which is really where most of us get lost. So, use this advice the best way you can, and keep on pluggin' away!

Renata

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#1  
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I am just curious to know why you DID quit/are quitting sugar so completely? Do you intend this to be permanent and non-negotiable from now on, or will you still have a treat on occasion? What do you think of fruit?

Thanks; your post was very informative but I don't understand your reasoning yet.

Feanor,

More and more research is concluding that sugar is not only unhealthy, but actively destroys cells in the body with a domino-effect of insulin and free radicals. I'm sure not many doctors and health professionals would argue that sugar is in any way healthy, or even meant to be consumed by humanity. The entrance of refined sugar and flour into the human diet is pretty much where disease, diabetis, obesity, and other lifestyle diseases entered at full-force.

There are actually a lot of studies out there too that are showing sugar to be carcinogenic. Once again, it's not the sugar that causes cancer, but rather the process by which sugar is metabolized by the body.

I'm sure in moderation for some people, sugar is not as damaging. I, myself, can't handle it in moderation. At least not for now. I personally don't beleive it is even meant to be consumed, therefore I'm not really looking at it like something to treat myself with.

Fruit is absolutely fine for me. Fruit contains all the fiber and vitimans needed for the metabolization of the fructose in it, and if nature made it that way, then that's good enough for me!

Once again, I know not everyone will take to this, or even agree that sugar is that damaging. That's fine. But I thought maybe my recent insights on self-discipline could help people for things other than quitting sugar, too. (I actually wrote this post on another website of people who are giving up sugar and processed foods, and figured it might be helpful here, too).

You're absolutely right.   I fully support your move to remove refined sugars from your diet and the advice to others is excellet.   The other post asked for your reasoning.  There really is no GOOD reason to eat sugar except for pleasure.  It has no nutritional value, it rots teeth and it causes excess insulin production which in turn exacerbates/causes some horrible conditions including Metabolic Syndrome, Type II Diabetes, PCOS and so forth. 

Fat gets the blame for modern obesity levels but our fat consumption hasn't risen particularly over the last 50 years.  However, our consumption of refined grain and sugar has almost trebled.  Atkins took that statistic and concluded (wrongly) that to slim the population down we had to remove all the carbohydrates from the diet.  The more sensible conclusion is to retain unrefined and whole grains but ditch the sugars and refined starches - as you have found

I found, after just 2 weeks totally sugar-free, that my tastebuds had changed to be very sugar intolerant - which presumably is their natural state.   Others I know, who had a much more sweet tooth than myself,  found the same thing.   Sweet foods now taste very sweet, verging on sickly sweet and therefore unappealing.   When the other poster mentioned occasional 'treats' I can tell them that the last thing I really want to eat when I fancy a treat these days is something sugary.   I expect if you tried eating something very sweet you'd have the same experience.

Great post!!!  Keep up the good work.
When I first changed my style of eating the first two things I cut out of my diet were refined sugar and white flour.  I lost 4 pounds in the first week without changing anything else!  I totally agree that sugar can be like a drug: it is a white powdery substance that alters your senses (i.e. "sugar high")!  I am a sugar addict myself.  My weakness is chocolate!  If I make it through the initial "withdrawal" phase then I am fine for a long time.  But once I let myself have just a little bite it is all downhill from there!  I stay in a battle with myself on this very issue.  I am definitely "all or nothing" when it comes to sugar!

Thank you to the OP for this wonderful post. I applaud your efforts and appreciate you sharing what worked for you.

I went through something similar when I quit diet pop back in August. I do have the occasional pop if I'm out somewhere, but it doesn't taste like it used to, and I'm glad.

I noticed that without all of the artificial sweeteners I was ingesting through my pop addiction, that I don't crave regular sweets like I used to do. It is easier, much easier to stay out of the chocolate drawer at work.

Wow that is really neat to see people try this. Being a vegetarian, I have always looked at labels and such, and just about everything that comes from a grocery store (besides produce and meats) has sugar added to it. It is crazy! One thing I have been doing is sweetening things with dates. It really tastes like sugar, but comes naturally. You have really gotten me thinking about throwing sugar out completely. I have totally cut back, and now I don't drink anything besides water because basically all flavored drinks have junk added. So are you on an all natural diet?
I'm really impressed by your commitment.  Sugar is one of my big diet struggles also, especially since I am also opposed to artificial sweeteners.  Your post will help me arm myself for the battle :)
Wow, the original post is amazing! Have you ever read the book "you on a diet" ?  The book suggests cutting out foods with sugar and high fructose corn syrup for weight loss. I will be keeping this post in mind.  Interesting!! 

Wow, I'm glad I could help some people!

Saver, I just try to eat foods in their original form, is all. Processed and refined sugar and flour are no longer foods the body recognizes, as they've been changed so much....I mean just look at a cup of wheat berries next to a cup of white flour!

I also try to eat organic grass-fed bison and beef, as well as raw cultured dairy products (cultured only, I've never drank straight milk before). I try to eat raw as much as possible. I'm going to be joining a farmer's cooperative this summer that sells farm-fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. I think it's important to support the cooperatives!

quwazie, some great books that outline what I've been doing are The Maker's Diet and Patient, Heal Thyself by Jordan Rubin, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and Maximized Living by some Chiropractor (can't remember the name).

I'm still no sugar! Just the other day, I bought some raw chocolate beans, which, dipped in raw blue agave nectar, are just as good as the real thing!

Good luck to everyone!

Hi,


I've quit sugar before with amazing results. I need to quit again and am having a hard time getting started. I feel like I won't be able to live without being able to eat what I want (sugar). I was recently dignosed with reactive hypoglycemia and know that I really shoud not be eating the sugar, but just can't get over that hump. Any suggestions or words of wisdom?

Thanks!

Well said, Edamame3.

Sugar is a tough habit to break. Good on you for maintaining control over those "sugar demons."

 

Thanks Daizymae!

For the record, I'm still sugar free, and it's November now!

I've since lost about 10lbs without even trying.

It definitely gets easier. I have some great sugar free dessert recipes, if anyone's interested.

Goodluck!

Yes, please do post them!

Original Post by irisica:

Yes, please do post them!

Yes, please!  Because I do not like overly sweet desserts! =]

Wow, hehe well if you want em, here they are! I've posted them on other posts, so this is a copy-paste job, and I'll paste a couple more from other places too.

here are some great dessert recipes that use natural sugars. I work at a raw vegan restaurant, and all of our desserts use only natural unprocessed ingredients. Our sweetners are either the fruit itself, dates, agave nectar, or mesquite. It's up to you how you feel about agave, I have a lot of recipes where the 'sweetner' part is purely optional.

So, here are a couple of 'starter recipes' I usually give out. They really work well for the sugar fix, and since they have no processed sugars, they don't cause cravings or that 'domino effect' that happens when you eat sugar (i.e. you have one, you want another, then another, then another, then look out, you're on an all out binge!):

Blueberry pie:

Take about 1/2 cup dates, and 1/2 cup pecans (I recommend medjool dates, but noor are fine too), and put into a food processor (or just chop really fine). It's easier if you have soaked the pecans in water overnight, but not necessary. Press mixture into the bottom of an 8" pie pan.

In a blender, take 1 cup strained and thawed blueberries and blend in a blender, with or without some soaked dates for sweetness, whatever you prefer. Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries (I reccomend wild blueberries for maximum nutrition content and flavor) into mixture, then pour whole mixture into pie pan on top of crust. Voila, after about 20 minutes in the fridge to set (or right away, whatever!), you have blueberry pie that's amazingly good for its simplicity!

Banana Ice cream:

Take 3 or 4 frozen bananas. Add cinnamon, OR ad about 1/2 cup cacao powder (or cocoa, if that's all you have available). Mix in blender, and you'll get an ice cream with about the consistancy of soft serve. Put extra in freezer, and you'll have ice cream for whenever you need that fix!

Chocolate Pudding:

Take 3 avocados. Put in blender with agave nectar, dates, bananas, or whatever you choose to sweeten with. Mix with 3/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder. You have pudding!

Let me know if these recipes are helpful at all, or if you'd like me to post more.

Good luck!

Hi there!

I just started reading these posts.  I am without a doubt a sugar addict.  I would love to be able to eat foods with other sweeteners like the dates you suggest however I'm worried that I'm just fooling myself and it will trigger the cravings again.  Have you found this to be true? 

I think there is another approach which is to try to retrain your tastebuds to expect less sweet food.  Over time, people with a high sugar diet will find their tastebuds become 'sugar tolerant' i.e. they're insensitised.  So they need food to be sweeter and sweeter before they can taste the sugar.  By avoiding all sweet foods for a while... including artificially sweetened ones and even naturally sweet foods like bananas and dates... the taste-buds return to normal quite quickly and less sweet foods are required.   Sugary foods they used to love are now too sweet and sickly.  Foods that weren't sweet before (carrots for example) suddenly taste quite sweet.

Ask anyone that has given up taking sugar in coffee what the process was like.  The first cup tastes terrible.... the second and third are bad but bearable... the tenth is starting to taste OK.   And after a couple of months drinking coffee without sugar if you accidentally give them a cup with sugar in they'll spit it out in disgust.   It's now far too sweet.

So rather than perpetuating a sweet tooth with concotions of stevia, dates and bananas... just cut it all right back for a week or three.   Then see how it tastes.

gi-jane,

Thank you for your insight.  I've quit sugar for about 3 weeks once before but hope this time to really kick it.  I find though that I'm eating more of other things.  I hope that will change since I have a good 15 lbs. to lose.  How do you handle the calorie part of it?

#19  
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eek..refined sugar is bad. ^___^

Original Post by tedeeze:

gi-jane,

Thank you for your insight.  I've quit sugar for about 3 weeks once before but hope this time to really kick it.  I find though that I'm eating more of other things.  I hope that will change since I have a good 15 lbs. to lose.  How do you handle the calorie part of it?

 The 'calorie part'.... my suggestion is that you don't count or cut calories at the same time as quitting sugar.  Reason being that sugar and simple starches look a very attractive option to a hungry body!  It's a quick-fix when the energy levels are low.   If you cut the calories and ditch sugar at the same time you're making life very very difficult and you're less likely to get past the first hurdle.  If you skip meals or eat infrequently,  ditto.  So for the  first 3 weeks, eat plenty, eat regularly and don't skimp....  and if you feel hungry, choose a savoury snack rather than a sweet one as far as possible.  If you're serious about it, wholegrain/unprocessed foods instead of 'white'/processed foods e.g. wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice etc., will also help.... Starchy foods like white bread turn to sugar in the bloodstream almost as fast as sugar itself.

Once the tastebuds have become less sugar-tolerant sugary foods should be less appealing.  Now if you reintroduce sweet foods, you'll probably be happy with much smaller amounts. The idea is not to ban sugar from your diet for the rest of your natural but to find a way to enjoy it in moderation. 

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