How eliminating sugar can help your diet and overall health
The holidays are behind us, and with a new year in front of us, we’re all ready to conquer the world by exercising more, cleaning up our diets, and meeting all the goals we’ve been ignoring since last January. Phew! It may feel like a daunting task, but eating better is a major component of better health overall. So let’s get started.
Setting manageable goals
Recently, we introduced you to a new member of our staff: Dr. Paré. Dr. Paré is a naturopathic doctor who helps support people in making long-term, life-changing habits to improve their health. “In my experience as a naturopathic doctor and health educator for many years, I’ve found that people rarely learn to eat or drink properly. Doctors and teachers tell people to eat right and exercise, but they don’t always provide the training, tools, and support to ensure we follow through,” says Dr. Paré. “In naturopathic medicine, we work with patients to develop a plan that works with their lifestyle, and follow up to support the necessary changes to eat right and move regularly.”
We often have have lofty goals for our New Year’s resolutions, but we don’t stick to them because well, they are too lofty. Goals that seem impossible tend to make us sabotage ourselves, so be careful when setting your goals. Remember that changing life-long habits requires an ongoing shift in your behavior. That’s why it’s probably best to start small (but still dream big!)
Sugar highs: How sugar addiction impacts health
If you ate your way through the holidays, we understand. Many of us fall into the “just one more cookie/piece of candy so I can get rid of it” habit when there are so many goodies around. Now that the cookie carnage has been cleaned up, perhaps it is a good time to clean up your diet by eliminating a few things.
Many people start with sugar because it is so addicting and can do so much damage when eaten in excess. (Have you been feeling depressed and low on energy? That could be the sugar talking!) If the thought of eliminating sugar from your diet is scarier than the thought of untangling all of your Christmas lights, think again. Knowing just how damaging it is might help you to get it under control sooner, so read on…
Excessive sugar consumption is linked to numerous health conditions, including:
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Chronic inflammation
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Dental plaque and cavities
Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can help reduce the risks for these conditions.
Replacing sugary foods with healthful ones can help you get all of your essential vitamins and minerals. And don’t forget–artificial sweeteners aren’t the magic replacement people once thought them to be. Recent studies show they can actually make sugar cravings worse. Better to reduce sugar and focus on eating whole foods like fruits and vegetables.
Practical steps to improve your eating habits in the new year
Incorporating more whole foods like fruits and vegetables is a great way to improve overall health. And one way to supplement and enhance a diet based on whole foods is to consider Juice Plus+. This video is a great resource if you are looking to step up your nutritional game while detoxing in a toxic world.
- Drink water! Keeping the body properly hydrated encourages oxygen to flow freely throughout the body. If you’re trying to kick your diet soda habit, try flavored (but not sweetened) seltzer. Dr. Paré suggests, “For most folks, a good goal for water consumption is to drink half your present body weight in ounces each day.”
- Make friends with protein and fat. Eating excessive sugar creates a cycle of low blood sugar and intense hunger, creating a recipe for disaster. Adding protein and healthy fats will stave off hunger so you don’t fall to the temptation of the workplace candy bowl
- Eat all the colors of the rainbow for optimal variety (And no, we don’t mean Skittles. Juice Plus+ can help with this! Taken as recommended, the capsules provide 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.)
- Be prepared by packing healthy, protein-filled snacks for work or when you’re on the road.
- Check out this site for tips to help you decrease the amount of sugar in your diet.
As Dr. Paré reminds us, “consuming large amounts of low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, combined with consistent movement routines, can help most of us lose weight, decrease systemic inflammation, and feel better overall.” Making changes to your eating habits is definitely not easy! But after a few days of healthier eating, you will see the true benefits to your health with increased energy and better clarity. And we strongly believe these are the essential steps to gut health and can potentially reduce allergy symptoms, too. Boom! You’ve just reached your first New Year’s resolution of 2019!