How I Quit Sugar & 15 Ways You Can Quit Sugar Too – Complete Guide

how to quit sugar

how to quit sugarIt’s a scary thought isn’t it…

That there’s seven teaspoons of sugar in a can of cola.

But this is old news. Something that shocked me even more was how much sugar is in orange juice.. Only about one teaspoon less than cola!

This realization got me considering the quantities of sugar in lot’s of other foods and beverages, which lead me down the path of an experiment.

Now, I may not have been the healthiest person in my teens or early 20’s but who is?

I have however become healthier as I reached my 30’s but there’s always room for improvement.

The Diet That Changed Everything

The experiment or challenge I guess you could call it – all started after I tried the ketogenic diet for the first time.

I was interested in the keto diet for a few reasons but the main ones that stood out for me were improved brain function, like more energy and deeper levels of focus.

One thing that struck me during this diet was how much I craved sugary foods at the start. I never realised I even eat that much sugar to get a craving for it, after all I never craved sugar when on my regular diet. After a few days of no sugar, the high fat diet curbed my cravings of sugar completely and I was no longer hooked.

I continued the keto diet for a further 4 weeks and when I reverted back to carbs again, I knew how beneficial healthy fats were so wanted to stick to a good balance of fats and carbs.

It didn’t take long for me to realise that even though I was consuming carbs again, I was no longer interested in sugary foods anymore. No more cravings for cakes, sweets or even white bread.

I couldn’t even drink coffee with my usual one teaspoon of sugar anymore! I was a changed man and I felt so much better for it.

My keto journey is a completely separate story in itself but it’s thanks to this diet that enabled me to lower my sugar intake and then completely quit sugar altogether.

It lead me down the path of setting myself challenges of eating and drinking zero sugar containing food and drink for months at a time. Now I just find it natural to opt for eggs in the morning over a bowl of cereal.

Since this time, I’ve been fasinated in finding new ways to help cut sugar out of my diet and bust those cravings for good.

Here’s my tips that you can try yourself to change your tastebuds and kick sugar for good.

15 Tips to Cut Sugar From Your Diet (#9 is my favorite!)

Whilst doing futher research for my sugar detox, I found lots of science-backed tips on how to quit sugar. Here’s my top 15 on giving up the sweet stuff.

#1. Understand Why Refined Sugar is Bad for Your Health

The best way to quit something bad, is to understand why it’s bad. Yes, your body needs fuel in the form of glucose, but this doesn’t mean it needs white, refined sugar.

Your body breaks down the carbohydrates found in food into glucose for energy and glycogen to store energy and these foods can be healthy whole grains such as brown rice and oats.

Refined sugar contains no essential nutrients and is bad for our teeth and liver, it’s addictive and leads to type II diabetes. Why choose to eat something with so many negatives, and absolutely no benefit? Once you make peace with the fact it’s bad, it’ll become easier to cut refined sugar from your diet.

#2. Quit Sugary Snacks and Drinks

It’s pretty obvious but it depends on how you define junk food and sugary drinks, as it’s not just sweets and cola that are the bad guys.

‘Healthy’ foods such as some cereal bars can contain as much as 20.3 g of sugar per portion and smoothies marketed as healthy on-the-go snacks can contain four times the amount of sugar the World Health Organisation recommends an average person should consume in a day.

I think that’s shocking and it isn’t until you begin to look into the amounts of sugars in foods and drinks that you realise how much we’re really consuming. It is mainly fruit from sugar, and I’ll talk about that kind of sugar later, but cutting out these kinds of snacks will have a dramatic impact on your sugar detox.

#3. Learn About Hidden Sugars

There are other foods that surprisingly contain hidden sugars, particularly low fat foods, which generally replace fat with sugar. Even foods we know are savoury often have sugar added to them such as ready meals, jars of cooking sauces, soups and condiments such as ketchup and salad dressings.

Even bread has its fair share, with some shop bought sandwiches containing up to half a teaspoon of sugar per slice, regardless of whether it’s wholemeal or white bread.

So it’s not hard to see how easily this added sugar mounts up in our day to day life. All you need to do is eat a shop bought sandwich and a smoothie for lunch and you’re well over the recommended six teaspoons a day limit set for adults.

#4. Cook From Scratch

Cooking meals from scratch using fresh, clean ingredients means that you know exactly what you’re eating and that it doesn’t contain added sugar.

I plan my meals weekly, making most meals from scratch and ensuring I leave no meal or snack unplanned. This means that even when I’m out and about, I don’t need to resort to eating anything I’m uncertain contains sugar. Having sugar free snacks on hand will help the sugar cravings when they hit and once you get the hang of the preparation it becomes second nature.

There is plenty of inspiration on the internet for recipes free from refined sugars from cereal bars to tomato soup and pizza sauce.

#5. Think Twice About Fruit

Fruit is a tricky one, because it’s full of fibre but contains fructose, or fruit sugar. This naturally occurring sugar is definitely more preferable to the refined, added kind but is still sugar. Quitting sugar therefore means cutting out fruit sugar too but it’s worth noting which fruits have the most sugar. Mangoes, cherries and grapes are all very high in sugar which makes sense when you think of how sweet they are.

And it doesn’t stop there, when fruit is dried, its takes out all the water which concentrates the sugar, making it much easier to get a huge amount of sugar without even noticing it If you’re quitting sugar gradually and you’re in two minds about fruit, it’s definitely advisable to cut dried fruit from your diet completely.

#6. Know Your Grains

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or any other cereal is a grain product including bread, pasta and breakfast cereals. These foods are mainly carbohydrate and as we learned in tip #1, the body converts carbohydrate to sugar.

Not all grains are created equal however and it’s here that we need to understand the difference between refined grains and unrefined grains. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ which also removes the dietary fibre, iron and B vitamins. Think white flour, white bread and white rice. These are the bad guys and when you consume them, send your blood sugar levels temporarily sky high, causing an inevitable subsequent crash.

Unrefined grains are whole grains such as oatmeal, whole wheat flour and brown rice and contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm and therefore all of the fibre and vitamins. If you’re quitting sugar completely, then you should also cut out all grains.

#7 Try the Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet is based on the same foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, namely fruit, vegetables, meats, seafood and nuts and focusses on a diet rich in protein and good fats. It’s a diet naturally lower in sugar than today’s diet as it eliminates all cereals, grains and legumes, and advises only low amounts of (lower sugar) fruits.

It’s widely recognised that refined sugar isn’t paleo and neither are processed sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar. But some natural sweeteners like raw honey, maple syrup, molasses and Stevia are “considered paleo because they’re not processed and are naturally occurring”.

#8. Use Sugar Alternatives with Caution

Whether you’re following the paleo diet or not however, if you’re quitting sugar then you should avoid all sweeteners altogether. But, we’re all human, and sometimes need a sweet, sugary fix. If you do, then natural sweeteners are better than refined ones.

Honey contains slightly higher amounts of nutrients than refined white sugar and also has antimicrobial properties and is a great alternative in baking.

Stevia is around 300 times sweeter than sugar yet it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It is good in hot drinks, and due to its sweetness, you only need to use a tiny amount.

Molasses is a byproduct of cane sugar production and is a thick, dark liquid that can be used in baking, but use it sparingly.

#9. Indulge in Raw Cacao Products

Raw cacao products are my favourite sugar free snacks. Cacao is the raw ingredient of chocolate, before all the fats and sugars have been added, it’s packed with immune boosting antioxidants and has the highest source of magnesium of all foods.

It comes as a powder, nibs or butter and all three can be used to make delicious sugar free, ‘chocolate’ snacks. My favourite health blogger and recipe book author, Deliciously Ella, has lots of sugar free cacao recipes that also incorporate good fats such as those found in nuts, avocados and coconut oils to boost your energy and satisfy any chocolate craving.

#10. Eat Your Greens

Cutting out fruits as part of a sugar detox means that you might lack fibre in your diet which can be replaced by eating lots of green leafy vegetables. Most vegetables are low in sugar but non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens and mushrooms, onions, asparagus, squash and broccoli are the best for a sugar free diet.

Vegetables higher in sugar and therefore best to avoid include carrots, beetroots and potatoes (and not just sweet potatoes, but white potatoes too, whether fried, mashed, boiled or baked).

Fill half of your plate at each meal with these low sugar veggies and the rest with lean protein (add some whole grains if you’re eating them).

#11. Try Bitter Foods

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), sweet and bitter flavours are considered opposites and therefore one can be used to balance out the other. The more sweet foods we eat, the stronger our sugar cravings, but eaten regularly, bitter foods such as dandelion greens, green tea and cacao can cancel out sugar cravings.

What’s more, research has shown that bitter foods can help regulate hunger and blood sugar levels which can lead to a reversal in obesity related type 2 diabetes.

So try adding something bitter to your diet every day; rocket leaves, kale and turmeric are all good to try, and see what difference it makes to you.

#12. Keep Hydrated

It’s well known that staying hydrated has many health benefits but did you know it can also help control sugar cravings? Being dehydrated will cause you to feel tired and in this state it can be so tempting to reach for a sugary snack, when actually all your body needs is water.
As green tea is bitter and great at preventing dehydration, drinking it daily has a double impact on beating sugar cravings!

Sour probiotic drinks such as kombucha, a fermented tea based drink made with bacteria and yeast can dramatically reduce food cravings in general but sugar cravings in particular by influencing our gut bacteria.

#13. Use supplements

Filling your diet with protein rich lean meat and non-starchy vegetables will keep you fuller, for longer. The more hungry you feel, the less likely you are to have sugar cravings. But what about taking supplements to help quit sugar?

Chromium is a mineral required for normal blood sugar control and although it’s not yet clear how, chromium supplements can reduce carbohydrate and sugar cravings and promote stable sugar levels.

It’s still science in its infancy but glutamine supplements have been linked to reduced sugar cravings. Glutamine is an amino acid, a building block of protein and is turned into glucose by the body really quickly and therefore reduces sugar cravings. Protein is also known to reduce sugar cravings and could therefore be a reason people who take glutamine supplements record a reduction in these cravings.

#14. Be realistic

Quitting sugar is a difficult and time consuming process so you need to be gentle with yourself and expect to slip up sometimes. Take it slowly, maybe try being sugar free once a week, then building up a day at a time when you feel ready.

Even when you quit sugar completely, you may still be faced with a kids birthday party where the food table looks like a bowl of sugar, or a forgotten lunch or a dinner date with a limited menu. It’s important not to let cutting out sugar rule your life (a potentially dangerous condition called orthorexia indicates an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food) and to not feel too bad if you have to give in every now and again.

#15. Follow Social Media Accounts of Sugar Quitters

Reading someone else’s account of how they quit sugar is a great way to get inspiration and guidance. Kate Quit Sugar – and so can you is a site dedicated to Kate and her journey and contains lots of guides and recipes to help you on your way.

Following social media accounts and signing up to blogs such as I Quit Sugar will also help boost any low moral and make you realise that anyone quitting sugar will have their bad moments. YouTube is a great source of quitting sugar videos and support. You could even set up your own blog and Instagram and Twitter accounts to chart your own progress, because there’s nothing better than getting virtual high fives from readers and followers, and being able to look back over your own journey!

The Sugar 101 Complete Guide

So now we’ve learned how to quit sugar, here’s my lowdown on the science behind sugar, sugar addiction and the best sugar free foods.

What is Sugar?

Sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in many different foods from lactose in milk to fructose in fruit. It’s best known form is sucrose, which is the white, refined sugar we add to our hot drinks and baking and is found in most shop bought sweet treats. Sucrose comes from sugarcane or sugar beets and is turned into the white crystals we recognise by a refining process.

Is Being Addicted to Sugar a Thing?

Yes, it is. A study published in 2007 found that although it is in the best interest for humans to have an inherent desire for food for survival, certain people may develop an unhealthy dependence on palatable food that interferes with well-being and gives credit to the idea of food addictions. The same study said that in some cases, intermittent access to sugar can lead to behaviour and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse, evidence that sugar can be addictive.

Why is Sugar Bad For You?

The main reason added sugar is bad for us is that it has none of the good stuff in it. It’s literally a high number of calories with no essential nutrients and feeds the bacteria in our mouths that causes tooth decay. Sugar also causes insulin resistance which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise which eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.

Which Sugar is Good For You?

It’s generally accepted that our body needs a form of sugar for energy to survive, and will turn carbohydrates from food into glucose, the form of sugar our brains use the most. Too much of any sugar is bad, but sucrose, or white, refined sugar that we add to our diet by the spoonful is the bad guy, and the one that we’re all being advised to cut down on. Naturally occurring sugar such as that found in honey is better for us, but still in moderation.

Why we Crave Sugar

Evolutionary biologists have an answer for this. Apparently, we can thank our primate ancestors for our innate need to consume sugar. Millions (and millions) of years ago, apes evolved to prefer ripe fruit over unripe fruit because it had a higher sugar content and therefore provided more energy. Sugar makes our bodies want to hold onto fat, and in ancient times when food was scarce, ancient humans knew this to be a good thing. Therefore, biologically, we’ve trained ourselves to crave sugar. It’s just that nowadays, this sugar is in a much more refined form than then.

Simple Tips to Curve Cravings

There are plenty of tricks for curbing sugar cravings. Eating a diet high in protein, fibre and good fats will keep you fuller for longer. Staying hydrated is crucial for avoiding reaching for the high sugar snacks, and drinking water and green tea (for its bitterness) throughout the day will help. The less sugar you eat, the less severe your cravings, a virtuous cycle, so don’t give up!

Couldn’t I Just go Cold Turkey With a Sugar Detox?

Yes, but it’ll be tough! The internet is full of stories of cold turkey sugar detoxing and almost all of them give the same advice – if you want to quit all forms of sugar, eat lots of protein, good fats (avocados, oily fish etc), and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli and greens and be prepared with sugar free snacks such as almonds and pumpkin seeds. Stay calm, get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated.

Sugar Free Food List

Here are some of my favourite sugar free foods:

Broccoli
Almonds
Lean chicken breast
Onions
Mushrooms
All fresh herbs (that pep up any meal!)
Eggs
Salmon
Tofu
Coconut yoghurt
Herbal teas
Grass fed butter

Wrapping Up

Did you enjoy my list? How about the science bit? I really enjoyed putting it together, it’s already kick started me into quitting sugar, and hope it will become my norm as I head through my forties. I hope you got as much from it as I did, let me know what you think on the whole subject in the comments below and feel free to share this article on your social media. Together we can combat our sugar demons!

18 Step Korean Skin Care Routine [Complete Guide]

korean skin care routine
korean skin care routine
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px;”]S[/dropcap]o you’re pretty serious about adopting an intensive beauty regime. Perhaps all you do for your skin is wash it and bung on a moisturiser every now and then when you feel like it. Perhaps you’re entering your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or beyond and are conscious of the lack of love you give to your skin on a daily basis. So let’s take some beauty tips from a nationality of women who are renowned to have the most extensive beauty regime in the world…

There’s a reason Korean women have absolutely gorgeous looking skin, and it’s taking the west by storm. Now you can have stunning looking skin too.

There’s no two ways about it – this is a time consuming process with 8 steps in the morning and 10 at night, and quite frankly you may find during the routine you don’t even attempt to use a wet wipe to remove your make-up up after a heavy night on the sauce… but don’t worry, let’s be hopeful and arm you with the knowledge and step by step guide you desire.

Your skin will be sure to thank you!

So let’s make way for those glowing compliments shall we?

Morning Routine

Step 1. Wash your face with water:

If you’re just starting this routine or if you (accidentally) have yesterday’s makeup on then use a face wash that will clean your face thoroughly before starting step 2. Since you’ll now be going to bed with a super clean face you can resume the routine with water to remove the little amount of impurities transferred onto your face overnight.

Step 2. Toner:

Applying a toner will not only help the next product sink into to the lower levels of your skin, it will balance PH levels on the surface and provide some moisture aswell.

Step 3. Essence:

So now we have prepared the skin for absorption, it’s time to start layering – firstly with Essence. Similar to a serum or mistaken for a serum entirely, these watery liquids are highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals like regular serums and have tiny molecules which are perfect for sinking straight into the lower levels of your epidermis.

Step 4. Ampoule:

Also know as beauty boosters, these are similar to serums in active ingredients but give you a larger more concentrated dose of them. Only a few drops of this oily concoction are needed for an intense treatment. A great second layer for your routine.

Step 5. Serum:

With larger molecules to sit on top of essences and ampoules, this oily thick liquid is jam packed full of potent skin loving nutrients that give your face a truly deep nourishment and combat skin problems such dark circles and wrinkles.

Step 6. Eye cream:

A key step in keeping the thin layer of skin around the eyes in good condition as we don’t have any sebaceous glands here to produce natural oils for hydration. Invest in a good quality eye cream to keep those crows feet and dark circles at bay.

Step 7. Moisturizer:

Apply a thin layer of moisturizer to lock in all that goodness you’ve just fed your skin. You’ll get extra hydration and barrier against nasty environmental toxins.

Step 8. Sunscreen:

Sun damage is a well known factor in skin aging so applying a protector everyday means you’re really taking care of your skin. So don’t just rely on your foundation for any added SPF protection. Invest in an express fake tan or use a tanning moisturizer for a healthy glow if you need a bit of colour in your face.

Night Time Routine

Step 9. Oil-based cleanser:

Removed your make-up, waterproof or otherwise, with an oil based cleanser.

Step 10. Water-based cleanser:

Water-based cleanser will remove any oil residue from the last step. Even though normally there is no need to rinse off oil cleansers, the oil will create a barrier on the skin and prevent the next lot of products from seeping deep into your skin.

Step 11. Exfoliate:

To help products sink into the skin it’s important to use an exfoliator twice a week to unblock clogged pores and remove any dead skin.

Step 12. Toner:

Exactly like the morning routine, time to prepare to skin for the layering process.

Step 13. Essence:

Re-applying this deep nourishing serum keeps the lower skin cells hydrated all the time.

Step 14. Ampoule:

By applying this serum at night too you are giving your skin every chance to be as radiant as it can be.

Step 15. Serum:

A further injection of skin loving ingredients.

Step 16. Sheet mask or ‘sleep pack’:

Now this is a magical thing. Unlike a traditional hard-setting face mask we all know and love, the sheet mask is a wet cloth dripping with anti aging, deep nourishing and skin glowing ingredients. Leave on your face for a length of time to fully absorb the nutrients and do not wash off.

Step 17. Eye cream:

You washed your eye cream off remember…

Step 18. Moisturizer:

And finally, lock in all that goodness with a luxurious night cream that can work it’s magic while you slumber.

So there we are! Your 18 step by step guide to gaining beautiful, radiant skin. Why not give this a try and let us know just how much you love your skin after the first day.

How to Get a Toned Midsection – 10 Steps to Achieve Six Pack Abs

how to get a toned midsection

how to get a toned midsection

So you want six pack abs… Who doesn’t?

Having a well toned midsection to show off not only attracts the right kind of attention but boosts your confidence, well-being and gives you a stronger core.

Lets face it.

Everyone wants to look good! Below are some quick tips on how to define those muscles and reduce your tummy fat to make sure those washboard abs start peeking through. Best of all, you don’t have to spend your life in the gym or eat celery sticks to get them.

Music to your ears right?

Let’s start with the belly busters and then move onto the muscle makers.

1:  Avoid Eating While Watching the TV

A little habit we’re all guilty of.  Studies show that we are at risk of overeating if our brains are engaged in too many activities at once, and as we can be watching a movie or TV program on average between 45 minutes to 2 hours we aren’t giving our brains the chance to let us know we are full. So step away from the popcorn and invest in a dining table!

2: Breakfast, Breakfast, Breakfast!

It seems our parents were right all along. Breakfast is a very important meal of the day since our metabolism kicks into overdrive when we wake up and will continue to remain high if we feed ourselves. Depriving your body of this important meal only makes your stomach produce excess acids which make you ravenous for your next available meal, risking you to overeat or crave those naughty sugary, fatty foods. We’ve all caved!

3: Eat Regularly

So now that you’re eating breakfast (or something when you wake up) we need to keep our stomachs fed so they’re not guessing when the next meal will be. Little and often is the key here to help keep that metabolism working hard all day long which will promote your body to use stored fats for energy. Small pieces of food such as grapes and nuts are great snacks as you haven’t got the commitment of finishing off a larger piece of food for the sake of it.

4: Drink Plenty of Water

Yep, you guessed it, this has got to be the number one rule if you want to lose that stubborn tummy flab. Not only does hydrating your body make your brain more alert and focused, but just like eating, you body needs regular intakes and enough water each day to sustain cell renewal and digestion. We are made up of 99‰ water after all.  Drinking 8 glasses or 4 pints a day may come as a shock to your bladder so build yourself up slowly to the RDA. Then again, sitting on the loo keeps your head out of the fridge right!?

5: Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Glucose is addictive, it’s hard to cut down on because once consumed our brains release feel-good endorphins which we can’t seem to get enough of. This isn’t to say you have to throw out all those twinkies you bought on offer or replace all your sugar with sweeteners, treat yourself once in awhile with big calorific/sugar intake if you must and try to reduce your daily sugar consumption elsewhere like in tea and coffee.

6: Suck It In

Engage those core muscles when you are standing, walking, sitting or just when you remember. By tensing these muscles you are putting them under prolonged pressure which will gradually tone them up and define them.  You could even invest in an ab belt which stimulates the muscles to contract by sending little painless electronic shock waves to them.

7: Find a Workout That Suits You

I didn’t say this journey would be pain free..  But I can assure you an ab workout isn’t all about mundane floor crunches, in fact there are many other exercises which target your abdominals just as well which you might actually enjoy. Check out the full list here.

8: Get a Personal Trainer

This doesn’t necessarily mean stepping foot in a gym. There are plenty of motivational You Tubers to follow an exercise routine at home which work just as well. One of the benefits of going to the gym involve a bigger selection of equipment and someone who will shout in your ear to work harder. Someone guiding you is going to maximise your time effectively instead of you flopping around like a fish and wondering where those abs have got to.

9: Lift Weights

This will of course start toning other important muscles like you biceps, shoulder and quad muscles, yet doing a few sets of deadlifts and power presses to name a few will strengthen your back and core immensely. No nasty cardio involved.

10: Give Your Body a Break

It’s really important to respect those muscles you’re trying so hard to coax out.  If you’ve pushed yourself hard enough your muscles will need a few days to repair and strengthen so they’re ready for your next beating.  Remember to take some good quality supplements in tablet form or protein shakes to speed up your recovery time, and above all, sleep!

If you can adopt just some of these tips you really will start seeing a difference in your appearance in no time.  You could focus on the fat burning tips to begin with, since a hydrated body leads the way to a clear and focused mind that is more likely to agree to regular exercise, a well balanced menu and the will-power to get those abs!

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