How to Quit Sugar

How to Quit Sugar

Need to get the sugar out of your diet? Here`s how.

Sugar addiction is such an integral part of our society that we don`t even have a word (like "alcoholic", "chocaholic" or "workaholic") to describe people addicted to sugar. "Eaters" are addicted to sugar, but you can eat without sugar. So I`m inventing a new word for sugar addicts: "sugarholics". Sugarholics today are in the same position that smokers were in the 1950s.

You used to be able to smoke any time at work. You didn`t have to stop work and stand alone in the middle of a field. You weren`t vilified for lighting up a cigarette in a restaurant. Quite the opposite; if you didn`t smoke, you were the weirdo. Today, sugarholics rule the roost. Everybody is addicted from birth. Not eating the birthday cake in the tearoom marks you out as the weirdo. Make no mistake: the task you are about to undertake will not be easy, but it is not an exercise in willpower.

Despite what everybody tells you, if you are a sugarholic, you do not have a personality defect. You are not a glutton. You are not weak-willed. You are chemically addicted to a substance in the food supply called fructose. And until you treat that addiction as the powerful biochemical force that it is, you will never loosen its grip. There are five steps to breaking your addiction. 

Have the right attitude

There are lots of downsides to sugar addiction and the only upside is that you feel normal when you have a hit. Do you really have cause to feel deprived? No, but willpower diets demand that you feel deprived. They ask you to "go without" and to "give up" a treat. Feeling deprived will simply drive you back into the arms of addiction.

If you want to succeed, you mustn`t feel you are being deprived of anything. You need to take pity on the poor hopeless addicts who are all around you ingesting poison. You need to view any offering of sugar not as a temptation to be overcome, but as an attempt to poison you (perhaps a little extreme, but you get the idea).

So, don`t feel deprived. You are not giving up anything. You are simply stopping a dangerous and harmful addiction. It really is that simple to break an addiction. If you have the right attitude, staying sugar-free becomes a lot easier than you could possibly imagine.

Stop habits associated with eating sugar

A critical step in breaking your sugar addiction is identifying the habits associated with the addiction. For me, watching TV was a means of relaxation, and it still is. But my sugar addiction had infiltrated that pleasurable experience and made it its own. Sugar had become an integral part of the relaxation process.

The pleasure I gained from watching TV was directly associated, in my mind, with the dopamine hit I got from the sugar. It`s possible to disassociate the two activities, but you won`t do it by abstaining from both using willpower. The trouble with addictions is that they frequently attach themselves to otherwise-pleasurable experiences and it becomes impossible to distinguish the two.

Those habits will really test your resolve because of the strong association, and in some cases the strong peer group pressure (such as at birthday parties, Easter and Christmas) to conform. In many instances, the only rational way to deal with the problem is to avoid the habitual events associated with consuming sugar until you break the addiction.

So, if you are in the habit of relaxing in front of the TV with a chocolate at the end of the day, stop watching TV and find some other way to relax in the evening for the next month. Or you could continue your TV habit but replace the chocolate with nuts, for example.

Eliminate sugar from your food supply

This step is all about giving you the shopping strategies you need to prevent too much fructose from contaminating your food supply. You are going to need some shelf space for all your fructose-free food, so the first thing you need to do is throw out all the food in your pantry and fridge that is too high in fructose.

Chocolate of any description must be sent to a happier hunting ground. The same goes for anything you picked up in the confectionery aisle at the supermarket. Sweet biscuits are slightly less bad than confectionery. To make your cupboards truly fructose free, all the sweet biscuits should go in the bin.

The only drinks you should have in your cupboard or fridge are unflavoured water and unflavoured milk. If you prefer your water with bubbles, then by all means have unflavoured mineral water or soda water. Alcoholic drinks are okay for the recovering sugarholic as long as they don`t taste sweet and they are not mixed with other drinks that contain sugar.

You can keep the dry wines, beers and spirits, but you need to toss out the dessert wines, ports, sweet Sherries, liqueurs and mixers (unless they are diet mixers). If you see honey or sultanas in the name of a cereal, it`s usually a good idea to check the sugar content carefully. Don`t be fooled by the branding of new ranges of flavoured oat cereals, either. Unlike their unflavoured cousins, they are usually extremely high in sugar.

Withdraw from sugar

Walt Disney once said, "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." And that is the point at which we have arrived on our mission to break your sugar addiction. There`s nothing fun about the withdrawal period, but it does end. And once it does, you`ll be completely free from the desire to eat sugar ever again. A plate of bikkies will hold all the attraction of a plate of raw broccoli.

If you are going cold turkey, have one last supper of your favourite sugary treat. Get that Mars Bar or that can of Coke. Sit down and consciously enjoy the very last time in your life that you will eat (or drink) sugar. If you can just get past the next few weeks of danger, you will enjoy the health that sugar has sucked from your life to date. Then, all of a sudden, your desire for sugar will vanish. I know it sounds strange, but it just plain goes. Bang! And you will never want the stuff again.

Re-stock and live your life

Once you start the sugar withdrawal, you`ll need to re-stock your now-bare cupboard.

Fruit: Whole fruits do contain fructose (the addictive and harmful half of sugar) – in some cases, very large amounts. But they also contain a fairly large amount of fibre and water.

Vegetables: There is no such thing as a bad vegetable. All vegetables contain some level of fructose, but it is an insignificant amount and is vastly overwhelmed by the fibre content.

Nuts: Like vegetables, there`s no such thing as a bad nut. Some have more fructose than others, but even the worst of them, from a fructose perspective, have huge amounts of fibre.

Meat: Meat does not contain any sugar, so knock yourself out. The only possible word of caution is around some of the fancy marinated meats. The marinade is usually very high in sugar and this type of product should generally be avoided.

Eggs, yoghurt, milk and cream: Only choose the tartest of European and natural yoghurts and avoid flavoured milk or whipped cream that you buy in a can.

Cheese: Cheese will have sugar on the ingredients list, but it is all lactose, so there`s no need for concern.

Bread: All breads contain some sugar. All of the standard unflavoured white breads lie somewhere between 0.5 and four per cent sugar (two per cent fructose). Multigrain and brown (wholemeal and rye) breads are low-sugar and have approximately twice as much fibre. 

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Know your Sugar Part 1

Know your Sugar Part 1

The History of Sugar 
It is believed that cane sugar was discovered before the birth of Christ. As early as 500 B.C., India was said to have a reed which gives honey without bees.? This reed would later become known as sugar cane. The invasion of Arabs into India nearly 1,000 years later in 642 A.D. led to the spread of sugar cane to the rest of the world. The Arabs discovered sugar cane and learned how the Indians processed it. They brought the cane with them as they conquered much of Europe, introducing it to lands such as North Africa and Spain. For many years, however, the rest of Europe was stuck with honey, because sugar did not make it to the west until the crusades. The first record of sugar in England occurs in the year 1099. 

There are two types of sugars 
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. There are two types of sugars – monosaccharides, which include glucose, fructose and galactose, are made of one sugar molecule, and disaccharides are made of two sugar molecules linked together. Disaccharides are formed when monosaccharides combine – for example, when glucose and fructose are combined, they form sucrose, also known as table sugar. Other disaccharides include maltose, dextrose and lactose. When many sugar molecules are linked together, they form a complex carbohydrate, also known as a starch. Sugar provides the sweet flavour to foods to which it has been added, and it may also act as a preservative and flavour enhancer. Sugar is used in a variety of foods, including cookies, cakes, pickles, ice cream, alcohol and jams and jellies. Types of sugar include raw sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple sugar and corn syrup. Sugar gives the body energy, but too much sugar is unhealthy. Sugar, provides 16 calories per teaspoon, but provides no vitamins and minerals, so it`s a good idea to use it in moderation. Overconsumption of sugar, like other carbohydrates, has been linked to the development of cavities. However, sugar consumption has not been linked to hyperactivity in children. A high intake of sugar does not cause diabetes, but if a person is diagnosed with diabetes the amount of simple sugar eaten daily often needs to be reduced. The body actually uses all sugars the same way- it changes them to glucose, which is what our body uses for energy. However, in order to get long-lasting energy for your body, you need to eat more complex sugars (or carbohydrates) such as whole grain products. Eating too many simple sugars, like from soda or sweets, gives you quick energy or a sugar high which is quickly gone, leaving you feeling sluggish. You can avoid eating too much sugar by being smart and knowing how to find it on a label. 

Find sugar in ingredients listings by looking for those at the end. 

Examples: 
Glucose- fruits, vegetables, honey, milk, cereal 
Fructose- fruits, vegetables, honey 
Galactose- milk products 
Sucrose- fruits, vegetables, table sugar 
Lactose- milk products 
Maltose- malt products, cereal Dextrose 
There are many other names of sugars you need to be aware of such as: 
Invert Sugar, Mannitol, Sorbitol, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrins, granulated sugar, and 
Xylitol. Added sugars can come from corn, beet, grape or sugar cane, which are processed before being 
added to foods. Sugars can also be naturally occurring (in fruit) or added (in soda). 
If you can take a few minutes to read nutrition labels amid the chaos of family grocery shopping, you will 
find sugar as an ingredient in a surprising number of foods like peanut butter, canned tomatoes, salsa, 
canned chicken soup, deli-meats and pancake mix. Many juices and beverages also contain sugar. 

DID YOU KNOW??? 
One 350ml can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar!!! That is about 10 teaspoons, which is your entire daily limit 
of sugar!!! 
Soda is the number one source of sugar in the U.S. diet, and other sweetened drinks are not too far behind.  Foods with added sugars are often high in calories and low in nutrition. Too much of these foods can lead to excessive weight gain.

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Know Your Sugar Part 2

Know Your Sugar Part 2

Natural Sugars 
What sugars are considered natural? 
A few natural sweeteners include: 
Barley Malt 
Fruit Juice (fructose) 
Rice Syrup 
Honey 
Stevia: a herbal extract that is naturally sweet with no calories. 
Evaporated Cane Juice before it is refined: refined sugar is derived from cane juice, but is extremely processed with many of the natural enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fibre removed. 
Sugar Alcohols: Sugar alcohols have a sweet taste but are processed by the body as alcohol. This means that they are typically burned for energy and have a minimal impact on insulin and blood sugar, according to the latest studies. They are not known to be toxic like non-sugar alcohols. 
All-natural Maple Syrup: Rich with iron and other micronutrients. 
What is the Enemy? 
Sugar is certainly not your enemy. Refined and processed sugars are! 
Consume a protein and a whole, unprocessed carbohydrate with every meal, and add healthy fats to your diet. If these meals happen to contain some natural honey or cane juice, don’t sweat it! Eat 4 – 5 servings of fruit and or vegetables each day. There are far too many healthy compounds in these foods to pass them up out of fear of the natural sugar contained within. Make your own choice about artificial sweeteners, but keep in mind that you can easily control your portion sizes and use natural sweeteners instead. Are the potential risks worth the small benefit you may or may not be receiving from artificial sweeteners? Learn to let sugar work with you, not against you! 
Xylitol is the only natural sugar substitute that has the same sweetening power and delicious taste of sucrose. It differs from other natural sweeteners such as sorbitol, fructose and glucose because the xylitol molecule has five, instead of six, carbon atoms. This means that it cannot be fermented by harmful mouth bacteria that cause tooth decay (1). xylitol differs from intense artificial sweeteners including aspartame, acesulfame-K and sucralose in that it has no adverse effects or bitter aftertaste. Is xylitol safe? Yes it is. The oral and metabolic safety of xylitol has been exhaustively assessed by various international and national regulatory authorities. It was approved for use in the United Sates by the FDA in 1963, and in 1983 the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). A collaboration between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) recommended that no daily limit be placed on xylitol consumption (the safest category for a food additive), It was further approved in 1994 by the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods (MAFF), and also the EU (although prior to this date xylitol was approved at national level in more than 40 countries). In 1997, approval was given by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare. 

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Know Your Sugar Part 3

Know Your Sugar Part 3

Artificial Sweeteners 
We’ve determined that simply avoiding a sugar because it is a sugar has no real scientific foundation. One problem with sugars, however, is that many products add an extremely high amount of sugar to sweeten the products. 
This, in turn, causes the product to be higher in calories. Because consuming more calories means you must expend more calories to reduce or manage your weight, this can be of concern. The alternative to using a natural or refined sugar is to use a reduced calorie sweetener. 
 
There are five major reduced calorie sweeteners on the market today. These are Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame-K), Aspartame, Saccharin, Stevia, and Sucralose. Are these products the answer to your woes? 
 
No-calorie sweeteners currently used in foods include saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame-K. Saccharin is about 300 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). It`s used in several brands of table-top sweeteners, in canned foods and in low-calorie soft drinks. 
 
Artificial sweeteners must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in foods or as a table-top sweetener before they can be used by food processors or marketed for sale. Ingredient labels list any artificial sweeteners in a product. 

Acesulfame-K 
Acesulfame-K (ace-K) was introduced in 1967. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). According to studies, this sweetener is not absorbed in the body but passes through unchanged. How many studies? Around 90 studies have been conducted on this sweetener, with no documented health risks. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), however, reports that the product can break down to acetoacetamide. This chemical has been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits, and dogs. Administration of 1% and 5% acetoacetamide in the diet for three months caused benign thyroid tumors in rats. 

Aspartame 
Aspartame was introduced in 1965. It is a low-calorie sweetener that is also 200 times sweeter than sucrose. Aspartame loses flavour in foods when heated. Although aspartame contains 4 calories per gram, the amount used is minute, so aspartame generally adds less than 1 calorie to a product per serving. Aspartame is made from two amino acids (the building blocks of protein): L-phenylalanine and L-aspartic acid. More than 200 studies have been performed and the only documented health risks are to people who suffer from phenylketonuria (PKU), who cannot metabolize the L-phenylalanine. This is why there is a PKU warning on any product that contains aspartame. While there are no conclusive, formal, documented cases of adverse health affects, many people report headaches after consuming products that contain aspartame. There is a large body of literature documenting adverse health issues arising from aspartame use. Other adverse affects that consumers have reported (but have not been independently verified) include seizures, dizziness, tremors, migraines, memory loss, slurring of speech, confusion, fatigue, depression, nausea, and worse. Because children lack a barrier of protection that prevents the wrong nutrients from entering the brain (which adults have), some doctors have recently suggested that aspartame should not be given to children. 

Saccharin 
Saccharin was discovered 100 years ago. It is a low calorie sweetener. It is one of the most studied ingredients in the food supply. More than 30 human studies have been conducted with saccharin, and no adverse health effects have been reported. In 1997, a study using rodents reported a rise in bladder tumors, although this may be related to an increase in sodium and other products that were contained in the experimental diet. The CSPI reports several studies that may indicate a rise in tumor activity that correlates to saccharin intake. 

Stevia 
Stevia is a plant that originated in the rainforests of Paraguay. It is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, does not impact blood sugar and has zero calories. The leaves have been used for over 1,500 years by the Guarini Indians of Paraguay. It was discovered and introducd to Europe by M. S. Bertoni in 1899. While Stevia has since become a very popular sweetener because it is natural, the FDA has yet to approve it as a food source it remains classified as a dietary supplement. 

Sucralose 
Sucralose (Splenda) is a non-caloric sweetener made from sugar. It was discovered in 1976. A sugar molecule is modified to replace a hydroxyl (water) group with a chloride (chlorine) group. This creates a product on average 600 times sweeter than table sugar, which theoretically will pass through the body without being metabolized. Over 100 studies have been conducted using sucralose in order to approve it as a food additive. 

Are these sweeteners really worth it? 
While there are many anecdotal reports of negative side effects, none of these have been confirmed through scientific investigation. In contrast, there is no anecdotal evidence whatsoever linking consumption of natural sugars such as fructose, honey, lactose, etc. with cancers, tumors, headaches, or other problems other than diabetes. Many diabetics use the glycemic index to control their food intake, and virtually many natural (unrefined) sugars fall within acceptable ranges for consumption based on those guidelines.

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The Story of Sugar

The Story of Sugar

Historically, sugar was made by pressing the juice from the cane and boiling away the water. The product retained its critical vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients. With industrialisation came new ways to employ less people and the new sugar technology was born. 

Now sugar was made by dividing the cane juice into two substances; ultra-refined, 99.6% pure sucrose and nutrient-dense molasses which was fed to animals. The sucrose portion is easily dried, stores for longer, pours easier and transports easier, making it more economical in terms of human labour and wastage. Modern manufacture of sugar from cane juice also employs a potpourri of chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, lime, phosphoric acid, bleaching agents & viscosity reducers. 

This new type of sugar was marketed well. 

It was white, a very important colour to the growing western middle class mid-last century. To have white goods, white flour, and white sliced bread, white gloves was the height of social success. By the mid 1950s it was considered shameful if your mother made her own brown bread or you had an old-fashioned icebox. Unfortunately white sugar – any refined sugar – creates havoc within our bodies and like anything refined, it is highly addictive. Once refined, sugar is no longer a food, it is a drug. And today, most of the western world is addicted. (One wonders if the supermarket chains would stay in business without pushing it.) 

Rapadura along with a traditional Indian 
medicine called Jaggery, are the only sweeteners made from sugar cane that are not refined. 
They are squeezed, dried, and ground, that’s it. The juice is not separated, dried and then reunited with its more nutritious counterpart (molasses) in artificial proportions, as are raw, brown and black sugar, 

Demerara and sucanat. 
Rapadura delivers vitamins, minerals and other trace elements as well as the sweet taste that all humans desire, and need. We have sweet taste buds for good reason. Sweet foods in nature provide us with high quality vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium. As long as we balance the sweet taste with the other four (sour, bitter, salty and pungent), according to Chinese medicine, we will maintain good health. 

Using unrefined sweeteners like honey, dehydrated cane juice, agave, maple syrup and palm sugar will help bring your sugar addiction under control, as they don’t behave like drugs in the body. However, you’ll still need a little help from your mind to rebalance your body’s innate desires. It helps me to imagine the amount of effort needed to grow, harvest and process the sweeteners I eat. Living in tribal or even semi agrarian society, how much time would be allocated for providing this food? I’ve estimated that sweeteners should be eaten around 3 times a week at most to replicate ancient food ways and I’m guessing that’d be best for my body too. What do you think? 

Rapadura is made from organically grown sugar cane from Colombia and Brazil through fair trade programs. For this reason it is more expensive than other sugars which degrade our soils, our water, and our bodies not to mention the standard of living of the 3rd world farmers who grow the stuff. It’s worth it to buy Rapadura from your local health food shop. You can buy it in bulk or packaged, in chocolate (Rapunzel) or drinks (Santa Cruz soft drinks), even the Ozganics range of sauces have dried cane juice. Use it by substituting 1 for 1 with raw sugar in recipes using whole foods such as eggs, butter, cream and other whole milk products, nuts, coconut, arrowroot, fruit and eat the result knowing you are eating a whole food. It tastes mildly like toffee due to the molasses content. 
You can order Rapadura in bulk from Santos Trading. As far as I know, Jaggery is not yet available in 
Australia.

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Using Less Sugar and Sweeteners

Using Less Sugar and Sweeteners

Tips for how to reduce sugar in your diet and make room for more nutritious foods 
Read ingredient labels. If sugar is listed as the first, second or third ingredient, and the product probably contains a large amount of sugar as a sweetener. Identify all the sugars in a product (sucrose, honey, glucose, molasses, dextrose, corn sweetener, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, maltose, sorghum syrup, mannitol, fruit juice concentrate, sorbitol). Select items lower in added sugars when possible. 

Eat whole fruit instead of fruit juices- even 100% fruit juice is high in natural sugar.  Buy fresh fruits or fruits packed in water, juice, or light syrup rather than those in heavy syrup. Buy fewer foods that are high in sugars such as soft drinks, fruit-flavoured punches and sweet desserts. Be aware that some low-fat desserts may be very high in sugar. Limit Gatorade, PowerAde, Vitamin Water and other power drinks that are also high in sugar Add less sugar to coffee, tea, cereal or fruit. Get used to half as much, and then see if you can cut back even more. 

Use less sugar in the foods you prepare at home. Try new recipes or adjust your own. Start by reducing sugars gradually until you`ve decreased them by one third or more. As you reduce the sugar in your baked goods, try adding spices like cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, ginger and mace to enhance the sweet flavour of foods. Spiced foods will taste sweeter if warmed. Don’t skip meals- this may cause a sugar craving 
 
Here`s a guide for baking with less sugar: 
For every cup of flour, use only: 
 
Cakes and cookies: 1/2 cup sugar 
 
Muffins and quick breads: 1 tablespoon sugar 
 
Yeast breads: 1 teaspoon sugar 
 
Don`t worry – sugar isn`t your enemy. But reducing your sugar intake will help you cut calories and will 
allow you more room for more nutritious foods. 

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