Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kicking the Sugar Habit: How to Do it and Why You Should

Candy is not forbidden in my house as you can see,
but this is a full bowl of Halloween candy and it is December.

I know, this is a forbidden topic this time of year. I mean, look at my last two posts; both are desserts, but hear me out.

Sugar is not the devil of all devils. It is not even all that bad. Humans crave sweet things because they give us the most instant energy of anything around. The problem is over consumption of sugar. This over consumption of sugar has led to epidemic diseases and a highly overweight population.

Many overweight people are addicted to sugar. What does it mean to be addicted to sugar? Everything you want to eat is sweet or starchy. You feel like you are constantly on an energy roller coaster. You want to eat all the time. You are tired. You are constantly being driven by, what is most likely, a candida yeast infection.

Candida is a yeast that lives quietly inside a healthy gut. When a person has taken steroids, antibiotics, birth control, smoked, regularly consumed alcohol, consumed large amounts of sugar and simple carbohydrates, the gut becomes unhealthy and the candida yeast grows at a rapid pace. It is when the yeast has begun to overtake the gut, that symptoms such as constant sugar craving, headaches, loss of concentration, bloat, yeast infections in other parts of the body, disrupted sleep and improper bowl function occur. In order to eliminate these symptoms, a person must starve the yeast by removing the food source: sugar.

A sugar fast is the "simplest" way to do this. A sugar fast is not simple when you are used to eating sugar and carbs all the time. If you find yourself constantly craving sugar, try this fast for at least 2 weeks. I have seen some articles talk about 21 days and other say 40. I removed sugar and yeast from my diet for two weeks years ago when I was trying to fix a yeast issue. Not only did this fix the issue, I lost somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds in the process and lost my taste for anything too sweet. Not only did I not want to consume things like candy and soda anymore, I didn't enjoy it when I did eat them. That is not to say I don't enjoy a cookie or chocolate truffle every once in a while, but they are treats, lower in sugar and enjoyed, not just consumed.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a dietitian, a medical professional, or even someone who plays one on TV. I am just a person who has strived to live a healthier life and wanted to share my experience with others. If you choose to follow the information in this article, it is on your own accord. Seriously, I do not hold any degree or training.

The following foods should be completely avoided:

Sugar - refined or natural, honey, alcohol, processed, artificial, etc. Anything with the suffix -ose is sugar.

Wheat - Starch turns to sugar in the body

Caffeine - prompts the liver to dump large doses of sugar into the blood stream*

Some Dairy - dairy contains lactose which is a natural sugar but exceptions can be made for small amounts of butter, live yogurt, and cottage cheese. Hard cheese in small amounts are also okay because the harder the cheese the less lactose it contains. Consume cheese like a specialty item; eat the best you can afford. Avoid milk, ice cream, non-live yogurt and soft cheeses like cream cheese

Things you shouldn't be eating anyway:

Preservatives and additives - this is not including natural preservatives like vitamin E, etc. but those man-made chemicals that only stress your body

Overly refined and processed foods - if you can make it at home, do. If you can buy it from the producer, that is second best. Avoid pre-made foods, anything that says artificial, canned meats, and cheese-food.

Now, there is a lot of information out there saying that consuming yeast or fungi will aggravate a yeast infection, and I believed this for a long time, until I was curious why. Just like eating cholesterol does not place the substance around your heart, eating the type of yeast in food is not going to contribute to the yeast in your gut**. There are instances where a person's yeast issues are so extreme, the body creates an allergy to yeast and therefore inflammation***. If eating foods with yeast or fungi make you feel ill, stop eating them at least until you have cleared the bad yeast from your system.

So, what can you eat?

Protein rich foods like lean meat, fish, eggs and some cheeses along with some nuts.

Non-starchy Vegetables like greens, onions, garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, peppers, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans, etc.

Whole Grains such as Quinoa, Kamut or Amaranth

What else can you eat (if you have to)?

Starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, corn, winter squash and beans should be limited along with sweet vegetables like carrots.

Whole Grains like Oats and brown rice.

Beans and Legumes

Whole Fruit: Avoid high sugar fruits like bananas and dried fruits. Apples, pears and melons are okay while berries have the least amount of sugar.

Is there anything that will ease the cravings?****

B Vitamins

Vitamin C


Trace Minerals

L-Glutamine - Help reduce sugar cravings

Chromium - balances insulin levels in the blood.

The stricter you are with your food intake the better your results will be. Please remember that you still need to eat and be eating 5 to 6 small meals a day. Don't beat yourself up if you slip; stress is also not good for the body. If you need something sweet, eat half an apple, two or three dried apricot halves or a handful of berries. Try to power through; it is just the yeast being hungry, not you.


Thanks for reading,

Sarah McTernen


* http://www.holistichelp.net/candida-diet.html

** http://www.nutritionresearchcenter.org/healthnews/eating-yeast-doesnt-cause-yeast-infections/

*** http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Yeast_problems_and_candida

**** Linda Page's Healthy Healing 11th Edition - 2001 - Linda Page