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How hard is it to eliminate extra sugar from your life?
This is based on my personal experience of quitting sugar, common sense and an amazing book on influencing self and others: Influence by R. Cialdini
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Why should I?
Why is sugar even bad for us?
Don’t we need sugar for energy?
Well, yes and no.
Lets talk through the science. No worries it’s not too complicated. But it is important to understand the basics.
What is a Natural Dose ?
Our body is wired to run primarily both on Fat (beta oxidation) and Sugar (glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation).
Sugar is not that abundant in its pure form in nature and our body can only use that much at a time. It’s not only about amount of sugar, but also about velocity of absorption before it becomes toxic. (hence the major difference between a fruit and a juice)
Average peak in healthy people is not expected to go above 140 mg/dL and different longevity experts recommend to keep it under 120 mg/dL after meals and below 100 mg/dL as a daily average.
What If I Overdose ?
When the sugar level rises above the normal levels our body has to quickly dispose of it. The main way to do it is to utilize it in muscle.
Which is good, but as the result of the repeated assaults, the sugar utilization is upregulated and fat burning is downregulated. That’s what body does – it adapts.
Without diving deep into insulin resistance of the muscle and liver, the body ends up with a doubled amount of sugar to upkeep the energy, doubled amount of insulin to push it into the cells and doubled amount of now underutilized fats (fatty acids).
What you get is a mildly insulin toxic and sugar abrasive syrup.
The blood must flow. But the cardiovascular system is designed for a particular and quite low viscosity to reach all the microcapillaries.
As the viscosity rises, so goes up the blood pressure.
Welcome to the four horses of metabolic syndrome: high blood sugar, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and increasing body fat.
And underlining high insulin and growing inflammation. The perfect environment for every modern disease.
But despair not, this process can be reverted.
Get your why’s together
Whatever your reasons are, and you should have more then one by now, condensate them into a few words. Then write these words on a sticky note and put that note on a visible place in your kitchen.
1) Writing things down creates new neural pathways and helps to integrate these reasons into yourself.
2) Putting the note in the kitchen will work as a reminder for the moments of weakness.
3) Having that note in a visible place will announce to friends and family what you are doing.
That by itself will create a social pressure to help you stick to the announced path, by leveraging the internal consistency principle.
Give a $100 to a friend and ask him to donate it to a political party you hate in case you fail.
It’s much harder to eat a cake, which you don’t have.
Reduce the temptations and will power drag by throwing off all the offenders from your kitchen and pantries.
Maybe one day, you’ll reintroduce some of that back, but not today. Today trash can is your best friend.
Close the gap
Sugar is not just a food, it’s a comfort food. If you just eliminate the emotional support it provides, it will create a void, which better be filled with something else.
You can try to meditate, each time you feel a craving, but that might not work for everyone.
What works much better is having a bag of a good sugar substitute ready (I prefer Allulose, Erythritol or Monk’s fruit) and/or sugar free chocolate bars like Lily’s Variety Pack .
Get some for yourself and some for social events you plan to attend!
Avoid calorie deficit during the first month(s). Hungry mind craves quick carby fixes.
So whatever calories were taken away by excluding sweets, they should be replaced by something a tad healthier.
Under certain angle everything which happens to us can be treated with humor. Even if you lose a round, you can learn from your mistakes and restart the level.
Mark your progress on calendar, journal or create a free account at Habitica.com and slay dragons with the power of sugar free days.
Table sugar might be one of the worst offenders, but how do you know for sure that other foods are not triggering high blood glucose? Or, what if you exercise a lot, maybe you can eat some dessert after that and be ok?
Thanks to modern technology it is possible to test blood sugar without too much hassle with continuous glucose monitor devices like Abbott Freestyle. They are quite inexpensive, so I highly recommend you talk to your doctor about test driving one for a month.
Even if you have a sweet tooth you don’t have to be dependent on sugar any more.
Modern world makes it easy to screw up our health. But it also provides a lot of ways to stay on top of things.
Remember – it all comes in a package. Investing a little bit of time and effort into your health now will make it back to you tenfold over your life.
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