Eliminating sugar from the diet has been the latest diet fad. And yes, while you make think it’s necessary… it is indeed a diet fad. Today I want to talk about why cutting out sugar isn’t a good thing. Unlike, the last two posts this won’t be going into as much detail as to why sugar is good for you nutritionally. I want to focus more on how it is good for you and how it can be more mentally detrimental to cut out sugar from your diet.
So here’s what you need to know about sugar’s role in the body: it is essential. Yeap, you read that right. Sugar gives our bodies the energy they need to run all day. Remember complex and simple carbs? Our bodies break down carbohydrates into glucose, aka sugar, to power through the day. Complex carbs provide us with a steady, nutrient-rich supply of sugars while simple carbs and sugars give us a quick hit of energy.
Do we need to cut back on sugar consumption? Absolutely. Not only can you find added sugars in excess in foods like baked goods or sodas, it’s even found in foods you might not suspect, like pasta sauce and salad dressings. With articles touting how sugar will basically be the death of us all cutting it out entirely is very tempting. However, that is the same black and white thinking the diet industry champions that ultimately sets you up for “failure”. That’s because when “give in” you’re going to crash and you’re going to crash hard. Crash the sugar party that is. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’re all too familiar with what I’m talking about. That “no” weedles (no, not the Pokemon) into your brain till something snaps and you find yourself halfway through the last row of Oreo cookies wondering what the heck even happened.
This is because you haven’t been honoring your cravings. And to make up for it, you find yourself reaching for anything and everything to make up for it even foods you don’t particularly enjoy. Like those stale cookies that have been shoved to the back of the cabinet since who-knows-when.
So what’s the alternative? Well, instead of punishing yourself by cutting out this or that from your diet to begin a new healthy lifestyle, you can opt to focus on slowly adding in the good stuff in ways that you genuinely enjoy. Making the process enjoyable and easily doable sets you up for success in the long term. Diets are a quick shot of ego boosting success but the crash that follows is inevitable. You stack so many drastic life changes upon each other at a time it starts to feel like an impossible balancing act. We are creatures of habit. Slow and steady truly does win the race. You don’t need a jumpstart or special start date. Note that these are both common features of diets. What you need is to make a commitment, set some goals and treat yourself with the kindness you deserve.
Okay, but what about those out of control cravings? I have found the easiest way to soothe my over the top sweet tooth was to choose the stuff I really truly loved. Decadent brownies, homemade cookies, dark chocolate, you get the idea. When I ate these items I wasn’t shoving them into my mouth like it was the last thing I would ever eat again. Instead, I would take the time to relish and enjoy the experience of eating. I got pleasure from indulging my craving instead of half-heartedly fulfilling it with mediocre packaged cookies from the store.
So the key takeaways? Abstinence-only education doesn’t work any better for your diet than it does for teenagers and quality over quantity, always.
Have you tried quitting sugar? I’d love to hear your experience down below!