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The Dangers of Sugar Addiction: Why to Kick the Habit and Some Tips to Help You Along the Way

Updated on October 30, 2015

Why Would Anyone Want to Give Up Sugar?

When people find out that I've cut most of the sugar out of my diet, they almost always respond with some kind of comment about how I must be crazy.

After all, why in the world would anybody want to give up sugar. It's delicious! The truth is that there are an abundance of reasons that you might want to consider giving up sugar. Some of them are obvious, and some of them are a lot less well known.

Here are a few of the reasons that I have chosen to kick my sugar addiction to the curb.

  • Sugar feeds many kinds of cancer. When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years back, I came across a book called Beating Cancer With Nutrition. It opened my eyes up to a lot of nutrition related health concerns that I had never been aware of in the past. One of these being the fact that cancer cells love to feast on sugar. Giving cancer cells large amounts of sugar is the equivalent of giving your most hated weed Miracle Grow on a regular basis. Our bodies are exposed to radiation every day. Cancer has an opportunity to grow in our bodies every day. Whether you know it or not, you are already a cancer survivor, because our bodies are killing off cancer cells on a regular basis. It's miraculous to think that our bodies have the ability to kill cancer on their own, but if we are eating a lot of sugar we are greatly hindering our bodies' ability to kill off those cancer cells.
  • Diabetes is becoming an epidemic. I'm still fairly young, so it wasn't until I did a little research that I discovered that Type 2 Diabetes didn't used to exist. Well, it did exist, but by a different name. It used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes, because it didn't occur in children. Now, in a world where even the "healthy" snacks that we eat are often filled with sugar, diabetes is becoming a huge concern for people of all ages. We live in a world where feeding our bodies on foods that are harming them has become the norm. You can Learn more about your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes here.
  • A Sugary diet increases your risk of having heart disease. Many people don't realize that even if you aren't obese, sugar can increase your risk of having heart disease. Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between the amount of added sugar you are eating and the odds that you will die from heart disease. In fact, even people who eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables are still at a high risk for heart disease if they are cancelling out all that healthy eating by including large amounts of added sugar in their diets.
  • Eating too much added sugar puts you on a quick path to obesity. Everyone knows that obesity is on the rise. People all around the world are trying to figure out easy ways to lose weight. Many people are even willing to take on the challenge of putting in the hard work and effort it takes to exercise their extra pounds off. When it comes down to it, if you are still eating a lot of sugary foods, no matter how much you exercise you are fighting an uphill battle. I am a walking success story when it comes to weight loss. I lost almost 100 pounds, but I can tell you that I feel a million times better now that my nutrition is in check than I did when I was just exercising alone, and losing more weight has been a natural result of cutting out the extra sugar.

This book has great insights about which foods feed cancer and which foods kill cancer.

Where Can I Learn More About How Sugar is Impacting My Body?

I know it's kind of nerdy, but studying nutrition and learning about how to be healthy has become a bit of a hobby of mine. Studying and researching has been a crucial part of my journey to better nutrition.

Knowledge truly is power. Many people think that it might be a good idea to change their dietary habits, but don't have the will power to change. The knowledge of what their current dietary habits are actually doing to their bodies could be just the motivation to make some small changes that will have a huge impact on their health.

The following are a list of resources that have provided useful information when it comes to keeping my sugar in check.

  • Beating Cancer With Nutrition- this is the book that I referenced above. It was really what got my started on my journey to improved diet, and is full of useful information.
  • Hungry For Change-this is a documentary that really inspired me. It not only talks about the effects of sugar in your body, but it was also quite inspirational and motivational to me. I'd say it's a must watch for anyone who needs an extra push to make some positive lifestyle changes in the realm of nutrition.
  • Fed Up-This is another documentary that is specifically focused on sugar and its impact in our bodies. It talks a lot about obesity and diabetes, and it provides fantastic details about how much sugar is too much sugar. This documentary opened my eyes to the fact that even though I thought I was doing pretty good with my sugar intake, I still hadn't cut down enough.

Many people don't realize that our body stores the sugar that we aren't able to immediately use as fat, so a high sugar food can be even worse for you than a high fat food.

This DVD will change the way you think about eating, and may just give you that extra motivation you are looking for to begin a healthier lifestyle.

Greek yogurt is a popular health food, but take a look at how many grams of sugar are in just one serving. That's more than your allowance for the day. Consider buying plain yogurt and adding fruit to it or mixing it with a flavored yogurt.
Greek yogurt is a popular health food, but take a look at how many grams of sugar are in just one serving. That's more than your allowance for the day. Consider buying plain yogurt and adding fruit to it or mixing it with a flavored yogurt.

How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

It wasn't until watching the documentary, Fed Up, that I realized that there isn't a daily value percentage next to the sugar on the nutrition facts table that you find on most of your foods.

It would take me quite a while to go into the political reasoning behind this (if you're interested in the politics, Fed Up will give up a lot of information about that), but I can explain why the food companies don't put this bit of information on the foods that you are eating.

Most processed foods are full to the brim with sugar, and if the general public really understood how much sugar was in their food in relation to how much they should be eating, it would probably cause an uproar.

A simple guideline when it comes to sugar is that a healthy active adult should have around 24-32 grams per day. Take a look at the nutrition facts on some of the food that you are eating, and you will discover that you are probably getting that much sugar in one serving of some of your favorite foods.

Even foods that are marketed as being healthy often have a lot more sugar in them than you would believe. You have to be especially careful with low fat foods. Often the fat in these foods is replaced with sugar.

Many people don't realize that our body stores the sugar that we aren't able to immediately use as fat, so a high sugar food can be even worse for you than a high fat food.

I haven't cut out all of my sugars. After all, fruits have a lot of sugar, but it's important to note that nature designed fruit in a way that it also has the fiber and other components necessary for your body to break down the sugar properly.

Of course you can get too much sugar even if you're just eating fruit. I personally try to limit my fruit intake to the 2-4 servings a day recommended by the food pyramid and then try to keep all other sugars under the 24 gram mark.


If you want to know all the details about how much sugar is too much and the many negative effects that sugar has on your body, this documentary is a must see!

A simple guideline when it comes to sugar is that a healthy active adult should have around 24-32 grams per day.

How Much Sugar's In It?

"Healthy" Snacks
Gram's of Sugar Per Serving
Greek God's Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt
33
Yogurt Covered Raisins
17
Apple Cinnamon Nutri-Grain Bar
12
Welch's Fruit Snacks
11
Notice how much sugar you can find is these "healthy" snacks. There are no fruits on this table, because they include fiber that helps your body to break down their sugar. It's still wise to eat them in moderation though.

How to Kick the Sugar Habit

My advice to people who want to make these kinds of changes in their nutrition is that you have to go cold turkey with the sugar. Sugar is quite addicting, and as long as you are eating sugary snacks, you will never stop craving them.

All you have to do is force yourself to cut out the added sugars in your diet for a month, and you will realize that it's completely worth it. You might not even be tempted by your favorite treats anymore.

I know that I don't like to be told that I can't have something or do something, so it helped me a lot to change my thought pattern. I got a great tip from the aforementioned food documentary called Hungry For Change that became my mantra for a while.

Instead of thinking that I wanted to have unhealthy food, but I couldn't, I changed that around and thought that I could have unhealthy food, but I don't want it because of what it does to my body.

When I started thinking about my food choices this way, I felt extremely empowered.

Some people think it's hard for me to skip out on the cookies and the candy, but I have no regrets. After having those kinds of foods out of my system for a while, they don't really even appeal to me.

I'll have a treat at a birthday party from time to time, and it's almost never as good as I remembered it being back when I was a sugar addict. My body doesn't want those sugars anymore.

When you start keeping track of your sugar intake, you will realize that it doesn't take very long to hit that bench mark of 24-32 grams. It really sneaks up on you quickly, so it's important to pay close attention to the nutrition facts on the foods that you eat.

Instead of thinking that I wanted to have unhealthy food, but I couldn't, I changed that around and thought that I could have unhealthy food, but I don't want it because of what it does to my body.

Fruit and dark chocolate are fantastic alternatives to desserts that are high in added sugar.
Fruit and dark chocolate are fantastic alternatives to desserts that are high in added sugar.

Desserts That Won't Push You Over Your Sugar Budget

Now that I've told you that you should cut out the sugar cold turkey, you're probably thinking that you will be sad to miss out on all of your delicious desserts.

I know that not everyone will like the same things that I do, but these are a few healthy treats that I enjoy when I feel like I want a little dessert.

  • Fruit Smoothie or Green Smoothie-Remember that you don't want to overdo it with too much fruit, but as long as you are staying within the guidelines of 2-4 fruits a day, delicious smoothies are fair game. You can even add some veggies to them for an extra dose of vitamins.
  • Fruit-Again you need to eat fruit in moderation, but even just eating fruit on its own makes for a delicious, fresh, and healthy treat.
  • Dark Chocolate-I can admit that I'm a bit of a chocolate addict, but when you stick with the really dark chocolate, you don't have to worry about having a whole bunch of added sugar. Not only that, but dark chocolate is known for having some great health benefits. I didn't used to like dark chocolate, but now that I've gotten over my sugar addiction, I love it. Before you start feasting on chocolate though, I want to remind you to check the sugar content, a good quality dark chocolate is low in sugar. Also, remember that moderation is important. One or two squares is plenty. You don't want to eat the whole chocolate bar at once. Check out my favorite low sugar dark chocolate zucchini muffin recipe here.
  • Yogurt- I am a huge fan of yogurt with fruit in it. If you look at the nutrition facts on flavored yogurts you will notice that they are full of sugar. That's why I suggest mixing your flavored yogurt with a plain yogurt. Try to go heavy on the plain yogurt and add just enough flavored yogurt to give it the taste that you are looking for. If you want, you can even just have plain yogurt with your favorite berries or fruit mixed in.
  • Homemade Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream-I love this one! It will taste quite bitter to someone who is used to eating really sugary foods, but it's a delicious treat for those who have cut added sugars out of their diet. You can find the recipe here.
  • Homemade Salted Caramel Chocolates-This recipe is amazing! Seriously delicious! Just remember to control yourself and not eat the whole batch at once. You can find the recipe here.

What's Your Favorite Healthy Dessert?

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