3 STEPS TO CUT DOWN SUGAR & REVERSE DIABETES
DATE: November 26, 2019
Author: Panida Chantrakul
Sugar is not the cause of diabetes. But cutting sugar from your diet can definitely help and may even reverse your pre-diabetes diagnosis. If you don’t believe it, you can read Sheryl Huggins Salomon’s story.
Sugar is BAD for you, whether or not you have diabetes. It contributes to increased risk of many other diseases including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, gall-stones, dental carries and more. In fact, cancer and candida feed on sugar! Even more dangerous is the fact that sugar is addictive, as much as cocaine.
Addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine produce a high because they either masquerade as neurotransmitters or prompt the nervous system to release a flood of them. These kinds of changes in your brain chemistry lead to dependence, withdrawal, and addiction.
If you eat sugar on a regular basis, you will notice the increased in your appetite. As it turns out, sugar also messes with your neurotransmitters. It triggers a release of beta-endorphins, the natural opioids that are widely recognized for reducing pain after you’re injured and boosting happiness after you exercise. Sugar also triggers a release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter linked to cravings. It blocks the effect of the brain’s satiety center. Satiety makes us feel full, this blockage will leave us craving more sugary foods and every kind of food.
Sugar is hidden everywhere. In ‘healthy’ on-the-go deserts and energy bars, sweet drinks, and restaurant foods. More people are diagnosed with diabetes each year because we are reaching for these processed, refined-sugar added food instead of consuming natural sugars from fresh whole fruits like our ancestors.
Clearly, we must do something about this. One of the first things you can definitely work on is to try to keep your blood sugar levels stable. One of the easiest ways to do this is to cut down on sugar consumption. You can follow these 3 simple steps that Sheryl, once diagnosed with pre-diabetes and also a vegan, recommends to reverse your pre-diabetes and take things into your own hands.
Remember, start slow and listen to your body. Old habits are hard to break. Start with small changes, don’t try to quite cold-turkey. This way you can build a healthy eating behaviour that you will enjoy and feel proud along every step of the journey.
QUIT SUGAR IN 3 STEPS:
Less Desserts, Sweet Drinks and Energy Bars
More Dried Fruit and Smoothies
Contrary to the popular beliefs that energy bars are ‘healthy’, they are often packed with sugar and other carbs. Most vegan treats are also very high in carbohydrates and sugar. Dried fruits such as dates and cranberries are sweet but they are also high in dietary fiber. Fresh-fruit smoothies are always a very satisfying (vegan) treat with no added refined sugar, sweeteners with empty calories, and also help you get closer to your daily dietary goals. Fresh fruit smoothies are great for a fast, energy-fuel breakfast, a midday pick-me-up, or as an after dinner dessert. When you start swapping these empty calories desserts and drinks for fresh and dried fruits, your palate will start to detect the delicious, natural sweetness of fruits which to many people like Sheryl, stated like a “bland pulp” before.
Less processed fruits
More whole fruits
After transitioning into dried fruits an smoothies, your palate will become more sensitive to the natural sweetness of fruits. At this point, Sheryl described that the dried fruits have become “cloying to my newly sensitive palate”. A lot of dried fruits also pack a lot of calories and carbohydrate in a fairly small portion due to its minimal water content that might give you the feeling of being full. Dried fruits, although preferred over processed and refined sugars, are concentrated with high content of carbohydrates and can spike blood sugar levels more quickly than whole fruits. Dried fruits are therefore recommended to be enjoyed in smaller portions.
Fresh fruits blended into liquid form can lead you to feeling hungry again before lunch. ”The reason I usually recommend eating whole vegetables and fruits, rather than drinking them, is that the fibrous and pulpy parts contain valuable nutrients, and also serve to fill you up,” Dr. Alka Gupta, co-director of the Integrative Health & Wellbeing Program at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine told INSIDER. “Soluble and insoluble fibers are crucial for the digestive process — they ensure that we digest and absorb nutrients and sugars slowly, avoiding a quick spike in blood sugars. They also add bulk to our stool, and help to keep our gastrointestinal system moving regularly.”
Like Sheryl, you can slowly transition from smoothies to whole fruit with the skin on to retain all their beneficial dietary fiber.
Love the sweetness of fruit? Use this trick: Freeze it! Frozen grapes are like natural popsicles!
Eat whole fresh fruits but try to limit the portion
After transitioning to fresh fruits, Sheryl recommends slowly cutting down on carbohydrate portions and limited your fruit intake. “A trip to the doctor two years ago revealed that my A1C was creeping upward again, and my mind immediately went to my nightly snack of frozen grapes. I cut back, and my readings retreated.”
Occasionally, you will feel the urge to reach for a packet of sugar. With so many natural sweeteners in the market today you do not have to worry about having to completely miss out on delicious sweet treats. Stevia, Monk Fruit, and sugar alcohols are now replacing the artificial sweeteners. They are common in the food service industry now. Everyone should be able to enjoy a little sweet without compromising their health! If you would like to enjoy a sweet taste of sugar without an aftertaste and without blood sugar spikes, you should check out SugarLike monk fruit sweetener!
“That small, daily indulgence, plus the moderation-driven approach of stepping down gradually from sweet stuff, may be why I’ve been able to maintain a low-sugar lifestyle” observes Melissa Joy Dobbins, RDN, CDE, a spokeswoman for the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). “We preach moderation to people because we are afraid of triggering dieting anxiety,” and then relapse, she says, adding, “Feeling deprived is never okay, and it’s never going to work [long term].”
Eliminating sugar and having a healthy, wholesome diet is always recommended. Our recommendation to you is to try to have foods that low on the glycemic scale. This will prevent any blood sugar spikes that can lead to diabetes and other complications. Diabetes Canada provides a thorough guide of which foods are recommended and which to avoid:
Download their guide here:
Be mindful of what you are eating and how your body feels after eating them. Don’t skip your breakfast because it helps begin the calorie-burning process that provides you with energy. Space out your meals with 4-5 hours in between, this will prevent excessive hunger which can lead to overeating. Between meals include small, healthy snacks to help keep your body going.
One last important tip from Sheryl:
“Be Prepared to Defend Your Success With a Low-Sugar Diet
I know [cutting sugar] can be very difficult to follow if you regularly eat your meals with others, such as friends and family members: Recognize attempts to sabotage your progress as you step down from eating high-sugar food, and stick to your guns. You are not being a killjoy by protecting your health… When and where you enjoy the occasional indulgence should be on your own terms, not someone else’s.
Plus, there will be plenty of other experiences over which you can bond with them during the extra years of healthy living you will gain simply by watching what you eat.”
Wise words, indeed.
- Basic meal planning. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2019, from https://www.diabetes.ca/managing-my-diabetes/tools—resources/basic-meal-planning.
- Experts, K. H. M. (Ed.). (n.d.). Chandler’s Diabetes Story (for Kids). Retrieved November 2019, from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/chandler-diabetes-story.html.
- Kent, J., Busch, R., Busch, R., Lynn, & Lynn. (2018, September 8). How to Handle Sugar Cravings and Recover from Sugar Addiction. Retrieved November 3, 2019, from https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/handle-sugar-cravings-recover-sugar-addiction/.
- O, C., & Osborn, K. (2019, June 25). How Long Does Withdrawal From Sugar Last? Retrieved November 3, 2019, from https://www.verywellmind.com/sugar-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline-and-treatment-4176257.
- Salomon, S. H. (2017, November 10). 3 Steps I Took to Cut Sugar From My Diet and Reverse Prediabetes. Retrieved November 2, 2019, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/my-health-story/one-woman-shares-how-reverse-prediabetes-cutting-sugar/.