Artificial sweeteners are chemicals, not food! They have no calories because they don’t nourish your body in anyway — they’re toxins your body has to clear, or, depending on how well you detoxify, store. But if you can’t live without your diet drink, don’t beat yourself up about it. Accept it and give your body extra support elsewhere.
Living the sweet life with better nutrition
At our practice, we encourage our patients to build their snacks and meals from whole food, which means food that has not been processed and manipulated. Your food should resemble its source as closely as possible (e.g., fresh fish, not fish sticks). And this includes sugar. Even if you don’t have a reaction or sensitivity to sugar, continue to use refined sugar rarely, if ever. Instead, sweeten sparingly with the more nutritionally complex natural sugars such as honey, rice syrup, molasses, and maple syrup.
If you already suffer from weight gain, diabetes, inflammation, chronic pain, migraines, headaches, or depression, you may have sugar intolerance. Check with your healthcare practitioner and try the elimination diet, eliminating sugar entirely from your diet for a couple of weeks, then reintroducing it for a day to see how you feel. Many of our patients are amazed at how much better they feel after breaking the sugar habit.
Remember these healthy habits:
- Take a daily multivitamin to support your body’s nutritional needs. Women to Women offers our high-quality Multi Essentials.
- Eat protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates for breakfast. Simple carbs and sugar fire up your insulin receptors and spark those sugar cravings. Starting your day with a sugary or high-carb breakfast dooms you to a day of up-and-down blood sugar levels — which will drive you to eat too much of the wrong things all day long.
- Shop the perimeter of your grocery store — avoid the processed foods in the center aisles. Read all labels and be wary of food that contains aspartame, neotame, saccharin, acesulfame K, or sucralose. No studies have been done on the safety of mixing artificial sweeteners, and who wants to become a living, breathing test subject. So if you consume them, do so prudently.
- Minimize or avoid products that have sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or corn syrup near the top of their ingredient list. Sugar can also be disguised as evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, beet sugar, glucose, sucrose, maltose, maltodextrin, dextrose, sorbitol, fructose, corn sugar, fruit juice concentrate, barley malt, caramel, and carob syrup.
- Keep a bowl of fresh ripe fruit nearby to snack on, to relieve your sugar cravings. Think primitive and eat fruit that is in season. The fresher the fruit, the more succulent and satisfying it will be. You may find you don’t need anything sweeter!
- If you are craving something sweet, don’t feel guilty. We’re often made to feel that avoiding sugar is only matter of willpower, but it’s more complicated than that. Most of the time, uncontrollable or patterned cravings stem from a malfunctioning metabolism or low serotonin. Work on healthy nutrition and you’ll find your cravings will disappear.
- Indulge yourself sometimes. Remember, we have sweet taste buds for a reason. Try a piece of fruit first — you may find your craving diminishes. If you still want a piece of chocolate or pie, go ahead! But savor it slowly like a rare treat you may not have again for a while. Once your brain is allowed to fully register the experience, you may find you’re sated after a few bites. And, to help balance out the accompanying insulin surge, eat a piece of protein with it. Just make it a treat, not a habit.