08 October 2015

Day 1 of 80. Eliminating Added Sugar

I've decided to stop sugar for 80 days.  Why 80?  A friend of mine quits drinking alcohol every year for 80 days.  If he can quit something he likes for that long, so can I.
I'll be blogging about my experience here.

I cleaned out the fridge so that everything in there is available for me to use/eat.
All the items with added sugar have been moved to the bottom shelf or thrown out.
A lot of unopened items have been moved to storage or will be gifted to friends and neighbors.

Reading ingredient lists today has been like a game in a sense, I try to guess whether the product has added sugar before actually reading the ingredients.  It's been quite eye-opening.

A few items that surprised me:  Taco Seasoning mix from Simply Organic.  I was convinced that I was going to read sugar on the ingredient list, but nope.  Tempeh from Trader Joe's, no added sugar. Tempeh is a great ingredient to use in place of meat for vegetarians.  It takes on whatever flavor you add to it.  Tonight was taco night.  Corn Tortillas, no added sugar--woo!
But when I got to my hot sauce collection I was taken back.  3 of the 5 bottles I had in the fridge had added sugar.  Another disappointment occurred when I read the label on the Rice Vinegar I use to dress the cucumber salad.  Sugar was listed at the top of the ingredients.  Fortunately I had a second bottle in the fridge, organic and without sugar.  I could taste the difference.  Sugar has the ability to sooth out flavors, the Organic Vinegar was a bit more harsh and I ended up not finishing the salad.

According to an article I read recently, these 7 things may happen when one quits eating added sugar:

1. Your cholesterol will drop.
According to a study published in Open Heart, the risk posed by heart problems can be reduced by more than half. Within a few weeks LDL cholesterol can drop 10 percent, with a 20 to 30 percent reduction in triglycerides.

I think I may have high cholesterol (it runs in our family) so this is good news.

2. Your body's inflammation will decrease.
Inflammation is linked to problems from acne to heart disease to depression.
Cutting down on sugar intake decreases overall inflammation and the risks that come with it.

I have been super inflamed lately.  I lost the use of my left hand for the last week, it's been super painful and hard to maneuver daily tasks.  I have some arthritis combined with carpal problems and tendon issues.  I know quitting added sugar will help these issues somewhat.

3. You'll think more clearly.One UCLA study found that sugar slowed learning and memory, and may even damage brain signals. Part of this may also have to do with the fact that sugar causes energy crashes that don't do your attention span any favors.

Great!  I can always use more access to my memory.

4. You'll age more gracefully.
Fructose helps form oxygen radicals, which accelerate the cellular damage that's associated with aging.

Can't argue with that!

5. You'll feel more energized.
You've probably heard that sugar gives you a boost of energy, and there's truth to that. Sugar spikes glucose and can have an impact that feels similar to that of caffeine. However, cutting out sugar helps stabilize glucose levels, helping you avoid the crash and feel less dependent on that sugar rush.

I always joke with kids that sugar makes you cry.  Here's actual proof, kind of..

6. You'll stop missing it.
Sugar is literally addictive. While it triggers the pleasure hormone dopamine in your brain, eating too much makes you desensitized to it, meaning you need larger doses to get the same affect. People who go cold turkey with sugar report intense cravings and even headaches, both symptoms associated with withdrawal.

I think what I'll miss is not having to read labels and eating off the menu at restaurants.

7. You'll lose weight.
If you cut out the 300 extra calories a day you get from sugar, you could lose five pounds in two months. And that's assuming you're on the lower end of the sugar consumption scale.

Woo hoo!

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