The Sugar Diaries: Exactly how to start a sugar detox

https://media.zenfs.com/en-US/blogs/partner/candy.jpghttps://media.zenfs.com/en-US/blogs/partner/candy.jpgI promise, I don't think nixing sugar is the end-all, be-all, health cure-all (how about that for a tongue twister?). But, I do think that cutting back on the refined white stuff could do us all some good. And, health experts agree that ditching some of the sugary foods we've grown accustomed to (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups anyone?) could have all kinds of health benefits. So, today, here's an installment of the Sugar Diaries...

****
Many of you have written me or left comments asking for tips on how to rid your diet of sugar. First off, says sugar expert Scott Olson, ND, be prepared for some serious cravings.

"I wish it were easy to kick sugar completely out of your life, but it is not," he says. "The fact is that sugar is an addiction--as real as addictions to cigarettes, alcohol or even drugs. This means that you should be prepared for sometimes-intense cravings every time you try to stop sugar." Recent research, out this week from Princeton University, confirms that!

Here are Olson's specific sugar detox tips:

Remove all temptations: "Even the strongest addict wouldn't try to quit their addiction and then keep it within arm's reach," he says. "There are foods you can ignore with no problems, but there are others that will actually call out your name--tempting you to eat them: get rid of these. While you can't do anything about the multitude of sugar temptations you walk or drive by every day, get rid of the ones within close reach: your home, your work, and, yes, your car."

Identify your "killer cravings": Olson says you probably have one, maybe more, go-to sources of sugar. Whether it's hot chocolate, candy bars, or cookies, be honest about what your "killer cravings" are and get ready to bolster your willpower. "Cravings will haunt you when you try to stay away from sugar," he adds. Got cravings? Three nutritionists share their favorite healthy snacks that satisfy.

Eat more often: "While this sounds backwards if you are trying to lose weight, eating small meals throughout the day actually increases metabolism and keeps blood sugar under control."

Eat fruits and nuts:
"Fruit can often satisfy that sweet craving and most fruits don't increase your blood sugar that much. Choose fruits that are low on the glycemic index. A handful of nuts will also do the same or try peanut butter, without sugar." (Snack on these delicious winter fruits!)

Don't stress too much about "added sugar" in foods. "Most of the foods we eat contain sugar," he says, and "keeping them all out of your diet can drive some people crazy. If you aren't ready to completely take all sugars out of your life, focus on the most sugary of them: cookies, candies, soda, cake, cereal, and other sugary snacks. The added sugars can be a problem, but focusing on these foods will eliminate a large percentage of sugars in your diet." (Scary Celeb Diet Tricks No Woman Should Try!)

Interested in just how hard it really would be to cut out sugar? Check out this post on That's Fit about one blogger who went seven days without sugar.

Thinking about doing a sugar detox in January? I am!

MORE FROM VITAMIN G: