These last few months I have been in close contact with a family member. With a diagnosis of a rare form of breast cancer, I was asked to research cancer-fighting foods. Highly motivated, I took on this request with a strong passion to seek out as much information as I could from reputable and reliable resources. Taking my last class for my Certificate in Nutrition for Fitness and Wellness at the time, I realized that the process of education and research is never-ending. Always be open and eager to learn!
According to the journal, Cancer Causes & Control, women who reported consuming the most sweets, including desserts, sweetened beverages and added sugars, had a 27 percent greater risk of breast cancer than women who consumed less. Anyone who has done any research on the subject knows that sugar feeds cancer. And cancer, plain and simple, sucks! Sugar addiction can be dangerous. A diet heavy in processed carbohydrates (sugar), not only contributes to breast cancer risk, but it also causes weight gain and increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. I will write another blog specifically on what I learned in regards to nutrition as it relates to cancer, but this blog, due to popular post-holiday demand, is taking a tangent turn to talk once again about sugar, and why you might want to consider detoxifying your body from sugar.
Don’t stop reading, yet! High sugar intake is also linked to depression and later-life dementia. I’m not recommending a 10-day or a 30-day anything, but rather just 3 days of giving up sugar…. ALL SUGAR! For the typical sugar addict, eating even the smallest amount of sugar can trigger the brain to send signals for more and before you know it you’re having a binge attack! In order to break the cycle it is most effective to go “cold turkey”. Making it “black and white” kicks the cravings fast and you will feel better within just 72 hours! Those hours will be tough, but know that you can fill the void with delicious and tasty options. It’s all about being determined and prepared and supported!
If I’ve held your attention this far chances are you can answer “yes” to any one of the following:
- Have the holidays left you feeling physically and emotionally worn out?
- Are you anxious, moody or depressed?
- Are you having a hard time sleeping?
- Are you on a roller coaster of ups and downs feeling the need to refuel with sugar to get that energy spike… that only lasts a short time before you feel like crap again?
- Have you lost all control when it comes to what you’re eating?
- Are you ready to do something about it?
If so, a sugar detox may just be the answer to set you back on track.
- The Big Clean. Set up your environment by removing all the foods currently in your kitchen that contain sugar (or move these to a separate “family” cabinet that you don’t need to open). Read labels to determine if there are any sugars of any kind in the products you eat. Whole foods with no labels should become your norm.
- Start with a healthy breakfast. https://tobere.com/breakfast-important-meal-day/
Eliminate yogurts with added sugars, granolas, cereals, bread, juices and smoothies, which are all typical morning meals. Sometimes we have to rush out the door in the morning, so it’s a good behavioral shift to have your breakfast items prepared. A poached egg over tomato & avocado salad makes a delicious breakfast or even some hard-boiled eggs ready to grab-and-go if you’re in a rush. Many of us are exceeding the recommended upper limit of sugar for the day before we even head out the door. If you’re curious, take an inventory of what you’re eating for a few days prior to the detox and see where your consumption falls, as it relates to sugar. The suggested upper limit of free sugars1 for men is 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) and women is 25 grams (6 teaspoons). I cannot stress enough that those numbers are upper limits, so you’ll want to make sure you fall below those numbers. And, for our 3-Day detox, the goal is as few grams of sugar as possible.
- Protein, healthy fats and vegetables are your friends. Eat as much as you want of these foods over the 3 days. Cut out breads and pasta, milk, cheeses, potato, fruit and alcohol. Do not add sugar or artificial sweeteners to beverages (your brain doesn’t know the difference).
While it may be tough to get through these 72 hours, the rewards will be worth it! The need for a sugar fix will disappear and headaches and fatigue will go away! This is the start of retraining your taste buds to enjoy food with lower levels of sugar intensity and being able to control portions.
I’m not a fan of “New Year’s Resolutions” which ultimately end in failure. But, rather, I share this information for you to be the one to say, “I’m ready! I can do this! My 3 days starts tomorrow! However, I would strongly recommend that you take advantage of ToBeRe… support and accountability. Proclaim to someone what you are doing or do it with a partner or group. Make a plan for your meals and, if needed, ask for help. You already know what you’re NOT going to eat, but make sure you know what you’re going to eat, too.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. For those who commit, I have recipes and more specific information on what to eat and how to add natural sugars back into your diet.
For more information on the dangers of sugar, you can check out my article, The Science Behind Sugar: Be Aware, https://tobere.com/science-behind-sugar-aware/
Let’s do this! Here is to a healthy and productive 2018!
1Free sugar is defined by the World Health Organization and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in multiple reports as “all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices”.