Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Doable Steps

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist January 27, 2011

sugar monsterA reader recently emailed me asking for help to end her lifelong sugar junkie addiction.

Dear Sarah, I’m sure you get lots of emails every day but I sure hope you can give me some advice. I’m 52 years old and a horrific sugar addict. At six weeks old, my mother started me on chocolate milk and other than very short periods of time, I don’t think I have been without sugar. It doesn’t matter what form it is in…just have sugar. This morning I told a friend that I could be rolled in chocolate and be happy! So, you see my problem. Please help me get off sugar. Even typing that makes me start shaking and looking for my next fix!! I’m working very hard to change our eating habits. We grow almost all of our food…veggies, beef, pork, eggs, chicken, milk. This week I started making our butter, yogurt, etc. and hope to be making hard cheeses soon. Can you help a middle-aged, over weight, grandmother improve her health? Thank you so much, Regina

Regina, I can relate to your situation.   I used to be a pretty dedicated sugar junkie myself back in my 20′s.    I was the gal who was scarfing down the Snickers bar  (King Size, no less!) at 3pm everyday at my desk while I worked a stressful, travel packed, restaurant loaded corporate lifestyle.   A box of Dunkin Donuts on the conference room table was my idea of a good start to the day!

Even after I had the good sense to quit that career and start my own consulting business from home in 1996, I still had trouble conquering the sugar monster.

Not surprisingly, I was hypoglycemic from the lowfat lifestyle I was following and despite eating organic fruits, veggies, and meats much of the time, all that sugar made me a nervous wreck not to mention a real pill to live with from the moodiness brought on by my seesawing blood sugar.

I’m happy to say that my sugar addiction days are long behind me and while I do still look longingly at a box of Dunkin Donuts, I pass them by the vast majority of the time when they are available at a party or meeting.    While I do give in and eat one bite sized munchkin from time to time, I have found the hard way (refined sugar gives me such a nasty headache!) that choosing to eat none at all is far easier than indulging even just a bite or two!

So, how did I do it?   How did I slay the sugar monster and keep it at bay for so many years?

Here’s the protocol.   I’m sure there are other approaches that would work just fine too.    Here’s what worked for me and has enabled me to stay sugar addiction-free for many years.

Step One:  Replace ALL Refined Sugar with Natural Sweeteners

This step means exactly what it says.   You must get rid of all the white sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in your home wherever it may lurk and replace it with natural, whole forms of sugar like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and sucanat (whole cane sugar).  Do not use agave as it is highly processed.

Don’t forget condiments .. they are a big source of HFCS.     Replace them with condiments from the healthfood store that taste just as good and don’t have some form of refined sugar as a main ingredient.

Not ready to get rid of soda entirely?   Then buy soda only from the healthfood store where there are brands available that use unrefined cane sugar instead of HFCS.    These sodas taste terrific.   You won’t miss a thing taste and satisfaction-wise by drinking them, I can assure you.

Stir sucanat or coconut sugar into your tea or coffee instead of white sugar.

Replace those candy bars with healthfood store versions that use whole cane sugar instead of refined white sugar as the sweetener.

Whatever you do, DON”T replace the refined sugars with artificial sweeteners.   Studies have shown that folks who consume artificial sweeteners have more sweet cravings than folks who just eat the sugar in its natural form!

Be aware that you are going to have to start reading labels to complete this step.   Refined sugar is hidden everywhere in processed foods!

* The goal in this step is not to reduce sugar consumption but simply to replace it with a more nutritious, unprocessed, whole form of sugar.

When you have accomplished this significant step forward, CONGRATULATIONS!   You are now ready to proceed ….

Step Two:   Increase the Amount of  Whole, Unprocessed Fats in Your Diet

The sugar cravings many of us experience are due to the lack of enough healthy, whole fats in our diet.    Dietary fat stabilizes blood sugar .. sweet cravings become overwhelming on dips in blood sugar.

I used to think that it was lack of willpower that was preventing me from succeeding in getting my sugar cravings under control.   As it turned out, it wasn’t a lack of willpower at all.   It was my lowfat diet that was the primary problem.

Once I switched from skim milk to whole milk (preferably unprocessed directly from the farm), whole yogurt from lowfat or fat free yogurt, and butter from butter substitutes, I noticed my sugar cravings rapidly diminishing!

As part of this step, be sure to clear out of your pantry any item that features a “reduced fat” or “fat free” marketing line on the package.

Fat is your friend when you are intent on slaying the sugar monster!

So go ahead and load up on butter – the best quality your budget can afford.    Eat that delicious fat that surrounds your grassfed steak.    It tastes great for a reason!   It is full of nutrition and it is a huge asset in stabilizing your blood sugar.

Don’t worry that your triglycerides will shoot to the moon and that you will drop dead of a heart attack.    It is the factory fats that are so dangerous to your cardiovascular health, not whole unprocessed fats in milk, cream, eggs and butter.   Doctors and nutritionists who tell you otherwise are not up on their research.

Definitely avoid transfats, partially hydrogenated fats, interesterified fats and any other rancid, cheap vegetable oils that are used in processed foods.   But welcome with open arms cream, butter, egg yolks, coconut oil, and other forms of traditional, nourishing fats.

As you increase the whole fats in your diet, most people find introduction of a therapeutic strength probiotic and homemade fermented foods to be of great benefit.  Probiotics will help to rebalance gut bacteria to a favorable ratio and keep candida under control.  There are over 18 free videos on this blog which show you how to make all kinds of fermented foods and fermented drinks that will keep those pathogenic yeasts in your gut under control that are a big contributor to out of control sugar cravings.

Step Three:   Remove All Forms of Processed, Whole Sugars From Your Home

Once you have abandoned the lowfat lifestyle and embraced traditional fats in your home, you are ready for the next step:  getting rid of all processed sugar foods in your home even if made with organic, whole natural sweeteners.

That’s right, lose the natural sodas, organic cookies, pop tarts, organic chocolate and any other organic junk food that you started buying when you switched from refined sugar to natural sugars in step one above.

This may seem difficult, but wait … let me explain.

You can still eat as much natural, whole sugars as you want if made with honey, maple syrup, sucanat, coconut sugar.

The catch is that now you can’t buy them .. you have to make them yourself.

So if you want chocolate chip cookies, have at it.   You just must make them at home using whole, natural sugars.   You can’t just walk to the pantry and pick up a bag of Newman’s Own Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies.

What this step introduces is the inconvenience factor.

When something is inconvenient, most of the time, you will just skip doing it, am I right?

For example, if I have a bag of organic chocolate chip cookies in the pantry and a very stressful event occurs suddenly out of the blue, the chances that I am going to walk to the pantry and eat some, or more likely, the entire box of cookies is rather high.

At least it is for me.

If, on the other hand, I don’t have any prepackaged, easy to munch organic cookies in my pantry at all, the chances that I will whip out the mixing bowl and make some chocolate chip cookies myself are much much lower.

In this step you are still allowed to drive to the store and buy some organic cookies if your craving is overwhelming.    But, when you walk through your front door, whatever you haven’t eaten in the car goes in the trash.    That’s right – they hit the circular file.

Only homemade sweets made with natural sugars are allowed in your home from this step forward.   You can make as many homemade sweets as you like and consume as many as you like, but they must be made by hand.

This step is where the rubber meets the road.    Can you do it?    You absolutely can if you are eating lots of whole fats in your diet!    Eating lots of whole, unprocessed fats is your ace in the hole because your cravings will never be overwhelming as your blood sugar will be stable the majority of the time.

Step Four:  Reduce Consumption of Natural Sugars From All Sources to No More than 3 TBL (36 grams) per Day

Congratulations are in order if you have made it this far to the fourth and final step.    You are now 90% of the way to slaying the sugar monster in your life!

The final step involves a gradual reduction in the amount of natural sugars you consume to a manageable level of no more than 36 grams per day.    Significant immune system suppression begins to occur above 36 grams (for adults, less in children) so this is the cut off point you want to shoot for.

How long should this step take?    As long as is necessary!    For some, it will take one week.   Others may find it takes several months.   The point is to keep moving forward and don’t give up if you fall off the wagon on occasion.    Just get up, dust yourself off, and keep going!

Ideally speaking, some of your days should not include any sweets at all after awhile.    Having a goal of no sweets ever is not realistic, however, so don’t even go there mentally.

Our culture is sugar saturated so sometimes you are simply going to indulge.   Don’t worry about it or feel guilty about it for even one moment when it happens.

If you have slayed the sugar monster in your home by transitioning to only natural sugars, eating more whole fats, forbidding organic junk food from finding a regular home in your pantry, and eating homemade sweets only on an occasional basis, then you have absolutely accomplished your goal!

You are now eating natural, whole sweets in moderation and enjoying them in a safe manner that will not threaten your long term health.

Well done, my friend!

Where To Find Wholesome, Natural Sweeteners

These are the types of sweeteners I use in my home.  Once you transition to whole, unprocessed sugars, you won’t ever go back to white sugar or high fructose corn syrup laden products ever again!


Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com

Picture Credit

 

Comments (173)

  1. Pingback: Quitting sugar: week 1 | the naturopathic mum

  2. Pingback: Going sugar free | the naturopathic mum

  3. What are some great, high sources of good fat that do not include casein? It is really hard for me, without eating a ton of bacon, or fatty meat which I don’t care for, to get enough fat. I don’t like the taste of cooking with coconut oil, although I do add some to soups; I do cook in pure butter but that’s not enough, cream seems to be too much for me, I can only eat so many avocados, and I try to eat canned fish with lots of Vegenaise, and I eat a couple of eggs occasionally, but too many don’t sit well with me either.

    Reply
  4. I’m curious why High fructose corn syrup is considered worse than other sugars? I know we all cringe because it seems so “unnatural.” However, isn’t it chemically the same as other sugars?

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  5. I haven’t had a chance to read the comments, so I apologize if this was answered, but I have four kids and we eat soaked oats or millet for bfast each day. While they love it, they also get indulgent with the honey or maple. I have a tiny little decanter for them to pour it from and limit what I put in, but I am pretty sure they are getting 2-3 tablespoons each morning! What is the right amount of natural sweeteners per DAY for kids? My kids are 7 and under. Thanks! (and I LOVE your website! It has been SO helpful to me over and over the last few years. We have goats and I found your site when we got them and I was looking up raw goat’s milk info!)

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  6. Pingback: Slay The Sugar Monster ! | Cindy Day

  7. Great tips! I found that also reducing the amount of sweet food you are eating at breakfast actually made it easier to make it through the day! So straight away I cut out sugar in my coffee or tea and stopped having cereal and made breakfast eggs, avocado, and a wholewheat toast was a big help.

    As for the dreaded 3pm slump, I would get up and walk around, drink water and make myself a sugar free tea or floral herbal tea. I would do anything to make my brain stop feeling like it needed a pick-me-up!

    Reply
  8. What about Stevia? Isn’t that a good substitute? I’ve been on a candida cleanse (another thing for people with sugar cravings to consider) but use this.

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  9. These four steps are great, but there is an important last one that tells me that you have never actually been addicted to sugar. Countless studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine and just as addictive as heroin. So I recommend that folks do these four steps FIRST, and then, if you still can’t eat even natural sweets in moderation, go on to the next step, which is addressing your nutrient deficiencies.

    First, eat a full serving (equivalent of 4oz of meat) of protein (preferably whole food, dense sources like meat, fish, & eggs) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day. It’s worth whatever changes you have to make to do this, b/c it will save your life. If that’s enough to end your addiction, wonderful! If not, go on:

    Second, supplement with chromium picolinate or chromium GTF to stabilize blood sugar.

    Third, read Julia Ross’ book The Diet Cure and supplement with l-glutamine, D-phenylalanine, and whatever else you see fits your situation. Be aware: her questionnaire didn’t really have DPA stand out to me, but it is this, along with the total amino complex, taken in large doses over a month, that has finally ended my 15 year battle with binge eating disorder, a battle that has lasted even through my 7 years of Weston Price inspired eating.

    Your life is about to change!

    Reply
  10. I find if I drink a big glass of cold raw goat’s milk twice a day, I don’t want anything with sugar in it. Luckily I have my own dairy goats and have all the milk I want. Someone told me that if your body lacks calcium it will crave sugar.

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  11. Step 5 … add chromium to the diet. The majority of Americans are deficient in chromium and it definitely affects blood and sugar cravings. Telling people to just quit sugar when they have a drastically impaired ability to control it is often destined to fail.

    Reply
  12. Hi. Thank you so much for this post. I have been discouraged of late about my sugar intake, but…I’m actually already doing #1 and #2 and am working on #3!!! So now I feel a little bit better! Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Sarah, finding your blog a couple months ago came as such a breath of fresh air. Thank you! You are by far my favorite real food blog, and your videos and recipes and articles are simply invaluable. I am ob my own healing journey and it is often so confusing reading the plethora of information online and trying to figure out who is right and what makes sense.
    Reading Nutritional and Physical Degeneration really moved things along for me, as well as Ramiel Nagel’s Cure Tooth Decay. So so fascinating. Now just recently I have come across Bee Wilder’s Candida blog, and have become rather confused again, and was wondering if you had any opinions, or experiences with her and/or her protocol.
    So much of her writing and explanations make sense, and seem to speak to my natural intuition – but then I will read that she doesn’t recommend raw dairy, and I am back to feeling confused.
    I have already eliminated all processed foods, was a vegetarian for four years but was always unhappy on that siet and started eating meat again about 6 months ago, and eat aout a pound pf butter a week. My husband is a die hard vegetarian and I can’t imagine he will ever get the right nutrients unless we get a family cow and can provide him with an abundance of fresh, raw, pastured dairy. He won’t even drink bone broths. Would you agree?
    I apologize for all the questions – I certainly don’t expect you to have all the answers, but so far your blog has been the most helpful and has spoken most deeply to my intuition, and well, perhaps with your man years of experience ahead of mine, you might have some ideas for me.
    Sending you much love, and so much thanks for all you do.

    Reply
  14. Once I eliminated gluten from my diet, I no longer desired anything sweet. It took about 4-6 weeks before I no longer had any sugar cravings.

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  15. Why has even Dr. Oz and other doctors recommended Agave and Stevia? I much prefer honey, maple and molasses but I’m so confused.

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  16. I love this post, but I have one more question for you. When introducing good fats into your diet what else can you use in place of dairy products? I cannot currently have milk, butter, cream or any dairy product because my nursing baby has problems with the milk protein. Besides coconut oil what can I do to add more healthy fats to our meals?

    Reply
  17. This is the simplest and best method I have ever read for reducing sugar intake. Kudos to you for making it so doable that anyone can make progress today. I love step 3- that you have to make any sugary desserts yourself! So simple! But inconvenient enough to make me choose a different snack:) Thank you for these ideas!

    Reply
  18. This works!!!!! I made a similar plan for myself and am loving the results. The biggest change happened when I started consuming raw milk. Ice cream craving- have a glass of milk. Cookie craving- have a glass of milk. I feel great and can’t believe how dependent I once was on sugar. Next step for me is fermented drinks. Thank you Sarah for all your insight! Continue speaking boldly, it’s changing people’s lives for the better.

    Reply
    • I found having a glass of milk at breakfast was helpful, but I tried to avoid the milk in the afternoon or evenings as I wanted to decrease my cravings at these times when I would more than likely binge. I would make sure I had herbal teas around and even found that a small teaspoon on coconut oil in the evenings would also help curb my cravings!

      Reply
  19. People, don’t be in a big hurry to give up sugar or baking brownies, pies, etc.

    Molasses is loaded with minerals. It is the residue left over when sugar is refined. I think that is the key to understanding sugar. Refined sugars are the problem. I believe the trace minerals in whole sugar, such as raw honey, unrefined cane sugar, fruit, etc., are needed for this fuel to burn right in the system. Take the minerals out, and sugar strips minerals out of your body. I personally eat all the whole sugar I want, just as I drink water until I no longer crave it, etc. The equilibrium idea, as opposed to the moderation idea, ie, if you need a lot of sleep, you don’t need a moderate amount, you need a lot…

    I stopped eating refined sugars virtually completely, after finding Weston Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration six years ago, and looking at those pictures. But I don’t believe he ever personally explored the idea of the health benefits of whole sugars. I have heard from two sources that people that work in sugar cane fields and eat the cane raw every day, don’t get cavities or diabetes, but I can’t say I have confirmed this, but it is what I’d predict, assuming they had a good diet.

    I don’t believe in the random event theory of life, so when I smell brownies baking in the oven, and the home fills with this beautiful aroma therapy, pushing out bad spiritual forces and attracting good ones… well I think that’s some amazing technology at work. And what species is it that is supposed to weild it? So reconsider sugar, whole, and baking, etc.

    Btw I read an article about how in Africa, where our closest relatives live, there are indeed, throughout the year, a variety of large fruits, loaded with sugar, available in Nature.

    Reply
  20. Pingback: 4 Weeks Of Frugal Fitness: 6 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier On A Budget!

  21. Fantastic article. Lays out a simple plan to follow – but saying that it is a simple plan to follow doesn’t make giving up sugar any easier!! Good luck to everyone beginning their sugar free journey, I have done it and feel amazing. Just giving up ALL sugar for two weeks to reset my tastebuds allowed me to be distanced from the sweetness of food and to tackle my food issues. I had to learn to love water, learn not to crave sweet coffee, learn to not reward a hard day with a sweet dessert. It all comes down to how I treated myself. Removing any HIDDEN sugar is a fantastic step to follow – eat whole foods and eat them often!
    Kate\’s last post: Calculate Your Daily Sugar Intake: An Example

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    • I use Trader Joe’s “100% Pure Organic Stevia Extract” which I purchase for $10 (622 servings). It is not a green powder, but white. However the only ingredient is “organic stevia extract (leaf) (stevia rebaudiana) 45 mg.” Is this pretty close to the type of stevia you are recommending? It comes with an itty bitty spoon which holds 45 mg. I use about 1/2 of this spoon once or twice a day in coffee or tea. It seems to be a good choice for me, but wondering what you think.

      Reply
  22. Pingback: Sugar Blues « A BRIDGE TO SELF HEALING

  23. Pingback: Strategies for Sugar and Step 2 Check-In | my sister's pantry

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  25. What the hell? This is ridiculous! How is eating FAT better than eating SUGAR? There are so many articles that will tell you how bad fats are for your body. This is clearly not a diet or a way to lose weight. I’d rather eat the occasional chocolate bar when I’m pms-ing than eat so much fat. I cut out sugar cold Turkey. I don’t miss it. I didn’t add fats either. I’ve lost 25lbs in 10 weeks! This advice is dumb!

    Reply
    • Mary, I encourage you to read “Nourishing Traditions”. It will give you a better understanding of Sarah’s blog and the lifestyle she encourages. You’re absolutely correct that this isn’t a diet. Congratulations on the weight loss.

      Reply
  26. Love your article!! I kicked sugar this way too! I can’t even begin to describe how bad my sugar addiction was…. seriously compared to a “i don’t want to go to rehab alcoholic.” I love what I have learned about WHOLE UNPROCESSED FATS! I feel like my brain has discoverd a Gold mine and now Im investing my knowledge into my body and I feel AMAZING!
    Lisa\’s last post: 15 Years with my BFF!

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  27. gymnema sylvestre (an herb; i bought himalayan brand) cured my sugar addiction immediately. an ayurvedic doctor shared this advice with me and i am forever grateful. hope it can help others regain their health, too. (i took one tablet with breakfast and one with lunch for 3 weeks just to ensure i kicked the habit; i no longer use the herb and no longer crave sugar).

    Reply
  28. Oh man, number three is what I need! We are living with my in-laws until we close on our house in October. They have so much junk around, I have a terrible time staying out of it!

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  29. Quitting sugar was a challenge for me but I found doing Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program was amazing. She now also has a cookbook that goes along with it, that includes delicious recipes made from nourishing fats to help with cravings and treats made from low sugar fruits (such as raspberries), well worth checking out.

    Reply
    • i used Sarah Wilson’s quitting sugar guide to help me quit sugar too. The recipes are fantastic and her simple approach makes it more acheivable. I did however use an alternative to sugar which is xylitol or a little stevia, but that is after I had gone sugar free for two weeks and knew what I wanted to bring back into my cooking. I do love raspberries and blackberries as my go-to fruit of choice!
      Kate\’s last post: Calculate Your Daily Sugar Intake: An Example

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  30. I have always had horrible problems with sugar cravings! We did the whole GAPS thing and pretty much what you outline in your article, but I really didn’t have any success with my sugar cravings until I started doing what Dr. Kruse recommends to reset your leptin. I was completely amazed that I could say no to sweets, I just didn’t care anymore.
    http://jackkruse.com/easy-start-guide/

    Reply
  31. Sandy Worsham Engels via Facebook September 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    What percentage of good fats are you consuming? And with farm fresh dairy, do you get the inflammation that goes with store bought dairy?

    Reply
  32. Becky Sher via Facebook September 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I quit white sugar cold turkey over a month ago. Now I look back, I think it’s my sugar addiction that gave me leaky gut and caused my Hashimoto disease.

    Reply
  33. Margaret Woodlock via Facebook September 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    ….”Not surprisingly, I was hypoglycemic from the lowfat lifestyle I was following and despite eating organic fruits, veggies, and meats much of the time, all that sugar made me a nervous wreck not to mention a real pill to live with from the moodiness brought on by my seesawing blood sugar.”….

    Reply
  34. Pingback: Fat is your friend: Why you should unfriend the low-fat diet | Honest to Goodness Living

  35. Wonderful article. The steps look reasonable. Yes sugar is so highly addictive. Some sources claim it triggers similar pleasure centers in the brain as some of the finest narcotics. Sugar is ubiquitous in processed food products, which is 90%+ of anything found in a typical grocery store. The ingredients labels are misleading and cannot be trusted in many cases.

    I was a complete sugar addict from childhood and then for about 35 years thereafter. I got very sick with some sort of flu a few years ago and for some reason after that I decided to make some changes. Basically I attempted to eliminate sugar completely from my diet, though the ensuing cravings would lead me to artificial sweeteners, honey, and other products regularly.

    Slowly I was able to eliminate even these items from the diet. Yes even stevia or other sweet tasting things are really not helpful. A slight desire for slightly sweet tasting things is natural, but ‘tricking’ the body with false sweeteners does not help it.

    So I will say it is possible to beat sugar addiction. It took me two years before I can really say that I don’t crave sugar any more. I can now sit in a room with people eating ice cream or other sweet things and really not have any desire to have any. I would much rather have something else as a treat. One interesting thing I plan to try for my birthday is to skim the slightly cultured cream from a gallon of raw pastured cow’s milk, and sprinkle some juniper berries on top. I think that will be absolutely delicious.
    Lewis\’s last post: LewisWerner’s Profile

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  38. Pingback: Why I’m Kicking Sugar to the Curb | KingdomFirstMom.com

  39. Where can I find some recipes for making these desserts that don’t use sugar and use the substitutes?? Thanks

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  40. Sarah, I just found your website and I am having trouble manuvering through it and can not seem to friend you on FB either. I know I need to make some changes but don’t know where to begin. SCD, WAPS, or” getting the fats right”. Please help!!!!! Teresa

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  41. Pingback: Notable Blog Posts: Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Doable Steps | My Blog

  42. Great post, Sarah! I have always considered myself a sugar junkie. When I taught aerobics (for 17 years), I would have a con leche with 2 sugars and a bag of M&Ms or a Snickers just before class. How did I survive that, lol?

    I recently gave up sugar at the same time that I coincidentally took my fat intake from low to as much as I can consume. Giving up the sugar was no problem at all. I have honey in my one cup of coffee in the morning. That’s it. I was dreading the challenge of not eating sugar and it was so easy.
    Sally_Oh\’s last post: Congressional Reform Act of 2012

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  45. Sarah: I read your suggestions on how to slay the sugar addiction. Seems a bit draconian to me. I too am trying to reduce my sugar intake. i am using a natural approach to dealing with a certain health condition. And it was suggested that I stay away from drinking alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks hot or cold, nicotene, and sugar. I have also been eating more fruits and drinking natural fruit juices containing natural fructose. And I have stopped eating candy. However, i have begun eating organic chocolate bars. Small ones. And once in a while I have an ice cream cone at lunch time. What else can I do?

    Reply
    • Maybe you could try cold turkey – of all sugars – for two weeks to try a reset. Two weeks really isn’t that long and you will find that by the end you will know what you want to bring back into your diet. I started by cutting bread and processed foods, then I stopped adding sugar to my coffee so I would learn to love it without the sweetness and I stopped all soda. Maybe asses how much sugar you are drinking and see if you can find improvements there. Even if it says ORGANIC doesn’t mean it is what we need in our body. But everyone is different and there is no right or wrong. Find what works for you!!
      Kate\’s last post: Calculate Your Daily Sugar Intake: An Example

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  46. Laurie Endicott Thomas September 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    My information is accurate. It was the result of clinical experimentation, not opinion. Please read the article I cited.

    This issue is confusing because the body can’t convert fat to sugar. Therefore, the fat you eat doesn’t add to your blood sugar. Also, fat delays gastric emptying and therefore can decrease the rate at which the carbohydrates in any given meal end up in your bloodstream. However, this doesn’t mean that you have a healthy metabolism. Eating a fatty diet causes insulin resistance. If your insulin resistance is bad enough, then you can end up with abnormal blood glucose levels if you eat any carbs at all. Eating a starchy, low-fat diet restores insulin sensitivity and can actually cure type 2 diabetes in a remarkably short time.

    The hype about “healthy fats” is just hype. Trans fats, which are often a product of hydrogenation, are somewhat rare in nature and are much more thermodynamically stable than their cis counterparts. Trans fats are almost certainly worse for you than their cis counterparts, but any kind of fat can contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Sugar is fairly benign, unless you are eating amounts that could really only come from eating processed foods. Remember, we share nearly all of our DNA with fruit eaters. It simply doesn’t make sense that we would thrive on fat but sicken on a low-fat, high-carb diet.

    Reply
    • Couldn’t help commenting on this post.
      1. I have to wonder who funded this study. There are many “studies”, actually virtually all, that are funded by corporations, think Big-Ag, whose main interest is to sell whatever product they are trying to sell and the results will reflect that. (Same as what the pharmaceutical companies do). Considering that the American diet experienced an unprecedented overhaul around the beginning of the last century, with refined sugar, processed grains and artificial hydrogenated oils essentially replacing traditional, high-fat (read animal fat), whole grain diets, with very little sugar consumption, I’m thinking this study was created/used to push the new cash-crops on the American public. This is also, if I recall correctly, about the time, heart disease appeared on the US stage…virtually non-existent when everyone was eating eggs fried in bacon-fat or butter every day.

      2. Though it may seem logical that we should be eating the same types of foods as our primate cousins, our digestive systems are different. The digestive system of human beings has evolved over millions of years with most of that time spent on consuming animal-products and complex carbs scrounged up in the wild; and later the type of traditional diet outlined by the Weston A. Price Foundation, on which Sarah reports in her blog; this includes many fats, very limited grains (only, soaked & sprouted), fermented foods, incl. veggies, and some fruit; as a general outline. You have to remember that grains (in general & esp. as we know them) are a relatively new component of the human diet and in centuries past, were not consumed in nearly the amounts they are now. We still have a saying in Slovakia (from whence I hail), that “you have to work hard for your bread”. People would have maybe one slice with dinner, or two max a day-whole grain and home-made (my grandmother used to make her own), the rest being broth-based foods/soups, saurcraut, meat if you could afford it, raw milk & cheeses, very limited veggies etc. a hundred years ago. The diet has changed dramatically since as great-grand children have begun to binge on white-flour, sugar (me having been one of these), and most recently processed foods and “fake-oils” that they could never have afforded back in the day. When every family had pigs, geese and chickens in the yard, we didn’t have an epidemic of diabetes and cancer like we do now :o(. I know that even in my grandparents’ day, fruit, such as an apple, pear of plums, was a special treat, not an everyday snack. We are a culture of mushroom and berry pickers, still popular Summer-Fall pastimes, so wild berries (the best in the world) were probably eaten more, but in limited amounts. Growing season was short, so much had to be preserved or dried, to keep for the long Winter-months…fermentation preceded refrigeration. It was the fat that allowed the people, as poor as most were, to survive, often much longer than their wealthy flour-endowed counterparts.

      You should definitely take a look at the Weston A. Price foundation website. These folks are not trying to sell any product. The research is real, based on field studies, among cultures whose diets haven’t strayed from those of our own ancestors, and who have remained healthy as a result.
      Also, a fantastic resource, with full scientific explanation, of how the human body processes what, and why this differs from certain other animals, is: “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Body Needs Traditional Food” by Dr, Catherine Shannahan (who had to slay her own “sugar monster” to get healthy ;o) and Luke Shannahan. She has her own blog too.

      Reply
    • Why do people like you even come to this website? Your a joke just like your link. Nothing but a tool for Big agriculture and there lies. My husband and I lived in Germany and the border of France for five yrs and I can tell you they laugh at americans and their low fat bull. They are all healthy and skinny and they have family owned farm to table resturants that serve nothing but unprossed food. These people do not need data to tell them what is healthy they have thousands of years of good eating habits to know what is healthy. That is where we learned are good eating habits from, ie raw milk free range hens and so on. I was on a low fat tofu diet for years and felt like crap. Thanks to some German friends I found out about good fats and was about to loose 25 lbs the first 6 momths and I had no sugar cravings at all! They eat bread too but from the years of bad eating I put my body through I can not eat bread and still am loosing weight but slowly. In sort I gained weight and craved sugar on a lowfat diet and was told to eat less and less. So people like you who want to slap that “well I have a link that is scientific proof” go somewhere else. Dr. Price and his book is all the scientific proof I need. Thanks but no thanks!

      Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist August 25, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Your information is inaccurate. Good quality whole fats are slowly absorbed and maintain steady blood sugar as opposed to sugars and carbs. Going high fat completely cured my hypoglycemia.

      Please note I am NOT talking about factory fats. Perhaps this is the “high fat” you are referring to.

      Reply
  47. I too feel that my cravings for sugar are out of control. I would love to get rid of them. My problem is that since last December dairy gives me headaches. I’ve given up drinking cow’s milk and have been using almond milk when possible. I’ve sometimes wondered though if refined sugar hasn’t also been contributing to the sweets. I’m new to this site so I haven’t read many of the articles yet. Are there other sources of these good fats that I can start adding to my diet if I don’t tolerate the butter and milk?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist August 22, 2011 at 8:28 am

      Hi Laura, most folks who don’t do well on pasteurized dairy do fine on raw, grassfed dairy. See if you can locate a small farm in your area to get decent quality dairy for yourself. If you still can’t tolerate even grassfed raw dairy (an extremely small minority) then use coconut oil and ghee (butter oil with all proteins removed). Coconut oil should be part of your diet anyway even if you consume dairy. Other animal fats like tallow and lard would be beneficial as well for cooking veggies and baking.

      Reply
      • Thanks! I grew up drinking raw milk but that stopped when the farm was sold. I’ll definitely start with using butter, ghee and coconut oils!

        Reply
  48. This has been such an informative and helpful sight. Thank you so much!!!
    I’ve noticed since having heaps of butter and good oils I don’t crave sugar like I use to.
    Thanks again
    Nadja

    Reply
  49. I have a question I was hoping you could help me answer. I am looking trying to figure out what to order for replacing my white sugar but there are so many different names of sugar (sucanat, turbindado, dermena, cane sugar and evaporated cane juice). What is the difference and which is the least refined?

    Thank you for all your blog and information. It has been a huge blessing in my life.

    Reply
  50. Aloha Sarah,
    I, too, faced my sugar demons a little more than a year ago and I’ve dropped about 60 pounds. I used to load the sugar in my coffee in the a.m. and have about four cups. No more! Now sugar repulses me.
    I did it a bit differently, but overall your advice is sound and good and others would be wise to try it. I got off all sugars and fruit (except berries that were in season) for six weeks. I ate a lot of Quinoa (every meal, in fact). I had to do a few light organic coffee enemas (warm) after the candita (bad yeast) in my system (which was causing fibromyalgia) died and became toxic in my system. After than I’ve been home free and feeling so much better! I eat all the fruit I want now and use butter. I did substitue milk for unsweetened vanilla almond breeze and I got off of peanut butter and switched to almond butter. I love your idea of making your own goodies if you are craving them, as I grind my own wheat and make the best darn chocolate chip cookies (using sucanat) you’ve ever tasted! Thanks and I hope many people take your advice!

    Reply
  51. I’ll chime in too…cooking with real old fashioned fat really does tame the sugar craving for me AND the tendency to overeat. I made homemade chicken stock and used it to cook rice (with lots of chicken fat included), and made chicken & rice casserole with homemade “cream of” mushroom/chicken/celery. Real butter, whole milk. Usually I can and do eat more than one helping of chicken & rice when cooked the old way (no good fat, canned soup). This time, I could not bring myself to eat more than one serving, I felt so full. Fat IS satisfying!

    The bonus here is that taking a day to make homemade stock equips me for at least a week’s worth of stock for using in soup, casseroles, etc. It is cheaper than buying canned broth, and healthier too since I know exactly what’s going into it.

    Reply
  52. Going low-carb makes you lose the craving for sugar. I used to have sugar every day all day, but within 2 days of a low carb, high fat diet, i forgot about sugar. When you are full from a greek salad and blueberries in heavy cream, there’s no need to want sugar.

    Reply
  53. Just remembered another step – no concentrated fruit sources. I’d find myself devouring half a jar of 100% fruit jam, or a whole bag of dried apricots, or half a can of frozen OJ concentrate. They had to go or the sweet cravings stayed intense & insistent.

    Winter squashes & sweet potatoes & pumpkin can be a problem for me, too, as can milk & lightly fermented (as in, most storebought) yogurt. My gut knows where to find the (natural) sugars, even if I don’t!

    Not everyone has to go this far. I offer this just for those who, like me,
    LYM\’s last post: What causes breast cancer Can we prevent it

    Reply
  54. This is a great post and very much in line with what I did, too. However, I was still an addict, just switching from candy bars & Skittles to homemade ice cream, dried fruit, & 100% fruit jams. In case other readers find yourselves in this boat, you may find the following steps necessary, too, as I did:
    – increase protein to the equivalent of a full serving of meat with each meal. Think 3 eggs with cheese for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, pork chop for dinner. This was absolutely KEY for me, second only to increasing fats. The cravings tapered off dramatically here.
    – eliminate grains. As long as I ate grains, the sugar cravings continued, b/c they spiked my blood sugar and left me craving once it crashed. Whole grains spike it only a tiny bit less than refined grains. When the grains were gone, the cravings became almost negligible.
    – Have a “real food only” sweets rule. For me, it’s only worth it if it’s homemade (or gourmet) cheesecake, ice cream, or wedding cake. My taste buds have changed so much that no other sweets taste good enough anymore to be worth the inevitable hangovers.
    – You may have to address a candida issue. GAPS can help, too, if gut dysbiosis is at the root of the sugar cravings.

    For me, these steps (and yours, which were absolutely the same as mine, and so well written!) were what finally helped me be successful in fully implementing the Weston Price inspired diet I knew I needed for excellent health. Even today, I still go through difficult times, like when going out of town for a few weeks leads to occasional non-ideal food consumption and eventually, small cravings which lead to bigger ones. But I know how to get back on track. I do wonder if I’ll ever be free, if I can ever have just one slice of homemade cheesecake without wanting to eat the whole thing. Maybe some day!
    LYM\’s last post: What causes breast cancer Can we prevent it

    Reply
  55. Hello, I love the steps! We are somewhere in the middle right now before even reading this post. My question to you is concerning step 2. I am all for whole unprocessed fats. I have avoided the low-/no-fat foods for years, yuck! But what would you recommend for part-time vegetarian/vegans? We do eat some meat/fish and dairy at times, but our consumption has been greatly reduced for health/sensitivity/ecological reasons. When we do eat these they are all-natural or organic and moderate-high fat content. How can we increase our healthy fat intake if we are not looking to really increase our meat or dairy intake?

    Reply
      • cindy schueneman July 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm

        don’t forget nuts and seeds also a source of protein for vegans and very portable to carry in a bag for emergencies when you are away from home longer than planned or are trapped in a small room somewhere with goodies.

        Reply
  56. Pingback: Feathered Love

  57. My way of taming the sugar monster is to quit cold turkey. I have successfully done 7 one-month stints of no sugar diets! Also, I did a 3 month no sugar diet once!!

    I have encouraged many family and friends to come along with me on these months without sugar. To my delight and surprise, many did participate with me.

    For me, I would not substitute natural sugars in my diet. I cut out everything: white sugar, corn syrup, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc. The experience is very difficult for the first few days. The first time I went a month without sugar was the worst! I became tired, hungry, dizzy and cranky. My tongue became white with toxins. Yuck.

    Typically, after each month without sugar I have been less and less enticed by sweets. These days I am in control of my (former) sweet tooth. It does not control me. When I want a sweet on occasion I have it. Very rarely is there a compulsion to hog down on sweets.

    Reply
  58. the package is from Florida Crystals, and it says ‘organic evaporated cane juice’….a tan color, not as dark as regular brown sugar.
    thanks for getting back to me.

    Reply
  59. Wow, Sarah, this topic hit a nerve! It’s funny that a lot of people are saying the same thing and I have to say it, too: this is exactly how I decreased my sugar cravings. Now I often go many days without sugar, but when I do indulge, I don’t always stay under 3T! If I do have a sweet, I’ll always have it with a lot of butter or other healthy fat since it helps to reduce the blood sugar spike.

    Kelly
    Kelly the Kitchen Kop\’s last post: Monday Morning Mix-Up 1-31-11

    Reply
  60. Man, this post was right on target! I’ve never seen it broken down so well, explained so thoroughly, or made out so easy.

    Our family has already done this – and our kids don’t even ask for sugary snacks. I see that we followed your exact protocol, but we came to it naturally – just following our instincts led us down that road.

    Now we do have a nice ginger beer on occasion …

    Reply
  61. I was excited to begin reading your article, then quickly became sad. I am diabetic, and I can’t eat regular sugar. Do you have any ideas for us? Artificial sweeteners satisfy my sweet tooth, but they ARE addictive . . .

    Reply
  62. Great post. I think you hit the nail on the head that for most people, difficulty following a diet has nothing to do with willpower and everything to do with too many sugars/processed foods and not enough good fats to keep them from being hungry.

    Reply
  63. Sarah, thanks for the post. I have learned so much from your blogs and videos.
    You said that liquid stevia is highly processed. It is one of the sweeteners that I am presently using. Could you please tell me where you got your information so I can research it a bit more?

    Reply
  64. I, too, am a terrible sugar addict, but I gave up sugar cold turkey on January 3rd. Kombucha has been the key to my success so far, but I ‘m having problems with brewing it myself. I usually drink GTs Original and my first batch of home brew seemed so sweet. It was delicious, but I was scared to drink it because it was so much sweeter than GTs, which is only 2g sugar per 8 oz. I let my second batch go longer and it tasted like vinegar and I had to throw it out. I been following the recipe from your video, but I can’t seem to get the timing right between too sweet and too sour. I better figure it out soon or I’m going to go broke feeding my new Kombucha habit. It’s still worth it, though, if it means I can pass up the sugar.

    Reply
    • Kare,
      I had that same problem when i first starting brewing. First of all, the home brew is delicious and the GT is awful, in my opinion. I found that when the temperature got cooler I had to brew for an extra day from 6 to 7 days (now it is delicious again) However, I am discovering that the culture should be at least 1/4 in thick to cause the sugar to be eaten up so I am constantly learning. Hope this helps some

      Reply
      • Teresa,

        Thanks for your reply. Wow! 1/4 inch thick?!?! I brewed a batch for 22 days and still didn’t get 1/4 inch and the Kombucha tastes like vinegar. I’m very sad.

        Reply
        • I found that if I add a pinch of sea salt to my water when I’m brewing the tea, it makes for a thicker scoby. Something to do with the mineral content of the water?

          Reply
    • Anyone know if it makes much difference whether you use a regular vs decaffeinated organic black tea? DH is sensitive to caffeine. Thanks!

      Reply
      • The scoby should eat up most the caffeine. I’m pretty sensitive to it too and I drank a glass of Kombucha last night at about 7PM and was still able to go to bed at 10:30 PM.

        I also wanted to add that I use a heating pad under my jars of tea and cover them with a towel in the winter to help it brew faster. You can also do a 2nd fermentation after you remove the scoby to assist with eating-up that last bit of sugar and caffeine and making the tea a little fizzier. Just don’t forget to “burp” your jar during the 2nd ferment so the carbonation doesn’t build-up and explode all over your kitchen!

        Reply
  65. Thanks for the great response. Coffee and candy used to be a daily affair for me. I was tired all the time and hypoglycemic. I had gestational diabetes during my four pregnancies. I have four siblings with type II diabetes, and one parent. I also found out I had adrenal fatigue, and my hormones were a total mess. Over the course of one year, under the direction of my wonderful naturapathic doctor, my health has been turned around. Our family has cut out most sugar, wherever we can. One thing that has been particularly useful is stevia. It has no effect on blood sugar, and unlike artificial sweeteners, it doesn’t make you want more sugar. We all feel a lot better! I hope you are able to overcome this with help.

    Reply
  66. I totally agree with your point of consuming probiotics to kick sugar cravings. Kombucha is what finally did it for me- I don’t even crave chocolate anymore! Thanks for the great info :)

    Reply
  67. Here’s a visualization: imagine a skull & crossbones on all sugar products (processed foods)
    sugar is sugar, so go extremely moderate with honey, maple syrup, etc.
    love yourself dearly, realize that you deserve only the best, nutrient dense, organic foods
    available. Isn’t it wonderful that God has provided us with all we need. Corporations
    could care less.

    4 GRAMS CARB = 1 tsp sugar

    Reply
  68. Sarah,
    One question about the Kombucha/sugar issue. Does the 1/4 in. culture mean less sugar in finished product. I have been concerned about the sugar content. I currently brew for about 7 days and still notice there is some stickiness (like there is still sugar) I wonder if i brew longer if there will be less sugar but I can still drink it and like it. (My DH wont drink it when it taste too vinegary) I learned to make Kombucha from your videos so “Thank You”.

    Reply
  69. Sarah, thank you so much for the great post. I have to admit that I actually burst out crying when I read this. I don’t know if it’s the shock to my mind that I’m going to get off sugar or realizing that this is an obtainable goal! Last night, my husband told me that he would help clean all the processed sugars out of the house. So, my journey begins now. I’ll keep in touch and let you know when the crying stops! Thank you again, you may be helping me live a longer, healthier life.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      Regina, if this post can in some way help you so that you are around to dance at your grandchildren’s weddings, then I will be delighted beyond measure! :) Good luck and persist regardless of how many times you may fall short. You will DO IT!

      Reply
  70. I’m sure my real food conversion as a whole helped, but the number one change I noticed helped with sugar cravings was giving up my years-long addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper. I rarely get sweet cravings anymore, and when I DO eat a lot of processed sugar, which sadly DOES happen once in a blue moon, like yesterday when I discovered a gallon-sized bag of peanut brittle at my brother’s house, it has almost immediate adverse effects. I get cranky and my stomach hurts, and one time it made me lethargic to the point of barely being able to hold my head up and my feet looked like puffy marshmallows! These memories definitely cause me to think twice about partaking in foods containing refined sugar.
    Kelli\’s last post: The Countdown had begun- 39 Days ti Little Rock Marathon!

    Reply
  71. What about the white sugar for making kombucha? Or do you use a different kind of sugar. I’ve tried making it with Sucanat instead, but I’ve read that’s does something to the kombucha scobie. I’d rather not have the white sugar in the house, even the organic evaporated can juice sugar I have now. So, what do you use for making your kombucha?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Sally, the white sugar is pretty much all used up in the fermentation. Be careful to leave it until the baby is at least 1/4 inch thick if you have candida issues. I have not found kombucha to fire up any sugar cravings or candida although for some people it does trigger a “healing crisis” where the candida starts dying off and there are some die off symptoms which can temporarily make things worse.

      Reply
  72. Great info and perfect timing! I’ve completed step 3 for 2 weeks, we’ve had nothing processed in the house and we haven’t eaten out – guess what, we’re happy! What helps me is to bake a healthy cookie recipe with my granddaughters, yesterday, we made your ginger cookie post, very good! These steps are very similar to what my holistic Dr gave me, except, I didn’t know about the 36 grams limit, I knew I needed to dwindle it down, but not how far, so very helpful! Thanks.

    Reply
  73. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama January 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I find protein really helps me cope. And fermented foods, as you mentioned. If I’m having a sweet craving, sometimes I will go get a pickle and some cheese and that helps me. I really have a hard time if I don’t get enough protein. I’m pregnant so I’m sure that factors in, but protein has really helped.
    Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama\’s last post: Pregnancy Journal- Fostering Sibling Relationships

    Reply
  74. Hi Sarah,

    This is a great process for beating the sugar addiction; however I would think that for a lot of us, we should continue to press all the way to #5 (no added sweetners) as suggested by your quote in the comments taken from the WAP website.

    As a specific example, I had been consuming a single tablespoon of honey (about 1/2 glucose and 1/2 fructose) with my oatmeal every morning. I measured my blood glucose levels 2 hours after eating and was still above 150 mg/dl. The same meal without the honey barely moved my glucose numbers above 110. I am not diabetic; however I am certain that blood sugar spikes can cause long term health problems before diabetes is ever diagnosed.
    Tim Huntley\’s last post: Fashioning a Farm- Converting a Destroyed Pine Forest into Cultivated Land

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Tim, thanks for the comment. Out of curiosity, just wondering if you ate that oatmeal with lots of butter and/or cream? I do not recommend eliminating honey (unless for short periods of time for healing a specific condition) as it is a superfood and a sacred food in some cultures. Raw honey has many benefits when consumed in moderation.

      Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Martha, I do very very best to keep my children under 20g per day from all sources including fruit.

      Reply
  75. Great info. I’m at step 4, though I may have done that, too. I usually have one fruit a day (though more in summer) and 2 teas where I use 2 tsp of Rapadura. I’m moving more and more to baked goods made with stevia and/or honey/maple syrup. My sweet tooth has seriously diminished over the years… I’m about to start GAPS so I’ll be cutting down even more – I can’t seem to kick my chocolate addiction. I only have a square or 2 a day and it’s very dark but I seem to crave it after just about every meal. Sigh, there might be another problem here. Hence my decision to do GAPS. Keep the great info coming, Sarah!!
    FYI: Kimi at the Nourishing Gourmet just wrapped up a sugar challenge (week). Here is the first in a series of posts – move to later posts for updates.
    http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2011/01/sugar-free-challenge-jan-17-24.html

    Reply
  76. One of the best, most helpful posts yet, Sarah. Thanks for making it so simple. I’ve been using liquid stevia (both flavored and unflavored) in my tea as well as in recipes like brownies, and would love to hear your opinion of that.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Jenny, liquid stevia is highly processed so try to keep use of it to a minimum. Green stevia powder is unprocessed and a better choice. I know the powder does not quite work as well as the liquid though! I myself have liquid stevia in my pantry, so I know that it is helpful from time to time. I think the key again is moderation and not to overuse it.

      Reply
      • Dr. Catherine Rott January 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

        Hi, Sarah, I would greatly appreciate your sources and details about how liquid stevia being highly-processed.
        Not to be argumentative, but, as a researcher by nature, I always require more than just a statement with no supportive data.

        Thanks in advance!

        Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          Hi Catherine, I answered this in a comment down below .. that liquid stevia is highly processed came from an email I received from Sally Fallon, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation. I don’t have a direct source for you, only what she told me about liquid stevia directly and how she recommended that it is best to stick with the green stevia powder.

          Reply
  77. Any ideas on how to make it easier for the little ones to ditch the sugar? I already make everything from scratch because of food sensitivities. Of course it is my oldest who has the sweet tooth and the food sensitivities. I’ve recently moved “treats” to weekends only but boy, you’d think the world was coming to an end. My three year old, who has had good exposure to raw milk and runny eggs and good fats from a much younger age, would probably forget about treats if big sis wasn’t there to remind her. She is also slowly losing the initial signs of what happened to her sis. Big sis developed behavior problems after #2 was born and our processed food intake tripled. Finally getting those under control after almost 3 years. Haven’t done GAPS but have considered it. It’s SO much easier to start your kids out right than to undo the damage of processed food and additives!!
    Kelly\’s last post: Tuna Zucchini Cakes

    Reply
  78. Great stuff. If none of it works for you though, try http://www.oa.org. I was over 100 pounds overweight, and lost it all and have maintained a sugar free and slim life for over 7 years. By the way, OA is completely non-profit. I gain nothing monetarily from this :-). All the best! Thanks for everything Sarah!

    Reply
  79. Sarah,
    This was one of the most informative posts yet.. Alot of women seem to have this problem with sugar. I too, have noticed since giving up the lowfat lifestyle, I have less cravings. However, I still needed this post listed out the way you did. I do love to bake! Very helpful post!

    Reply
  80. I started getting off sugar when reading a weight loss book about the dangers of sugar. They say that 15 grams a day should be your limit and our family trys to stick to that. I said TRYS! haha!

    Reply
  81. great post. I think I’d actually be able to kick my sugar addiction if my morning and afternoon cups of coffee weren’t such a happy part if my day! I drink my coffee with 3 heaping teaspoons of white sugar in it. I lo e it that way and I am dying for a way to kick the white sugar but still enjoy the coffee just the same. I’ve tried stevia- horrible. rapdura or cocanut sugar taste the same?? I’m sure all the sugar isn’t helping me lose those last 10lbs from childbirth either!:)

    Reply
    • Barb, have you tried raw honey in your coffee? I ‘converted’ this summer and it is a lovely taste… I don’t even like sugar in coffee anymore

      Reply
    • Why not just half and half? That is what I use and who needs to sweeten? Then I eat unsalted almond butter with it and it tastes wonderful.

      Reply
  82. Thanks, Sarah! This just confirmed why I haven’t been craving sweets as much as I use to. I was a sugar addict, hiding candy everywhere, while I told my family how bad it was for them.:( However, since uping the fat and using sucanat, maple syrup or coconut sugar the cravings are definitely under control. I even notice our 9 yr. old asking for fewer sweets. Yay! Now if we could only stop the teachers from handing out candy as treats for everything! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    Reply
  83. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the post. I have been following the Body Ecology Diet for 3 1/2 months now for immunity rebuilding and candida overgrowth. I have been using stevia and the Wholesome Sweetners brand of organic erythritol. Wondering your thoughts on those. I know stevia is particularly controversial and I can’t sift through all the info and debates on the Internet, it just overwhelms, you know?

    Thanks!

    Sarah

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Sarah, yes – the info out there overwhelms!! Stevia is fine in moderation but try to use the green powder which is unprocessed.

      I don’t care for erythritol as it comes from corn and is more than likely GMO.

      Reply
      • hi sarah-

        thanks for getting back to me regarding my question about stevia and erithryitol. you mentioned the latter was probably no good because it is made from corn and likely GMO. i thought you’d like to know, i did some homework on the wholesome sweetners brand of erithryitol, a product they call “organic zero”. i emailed directly with one of their peeps who assured me their erithryitol is made from organic sugar cane and is GMO free!

        Reply
  84. Sarah – I love how broke this down into steps.
    You summarized all the main points in a perfectly clear manner – I will be sharing this on facebook etc…

    I’m curious about the 3 Tablespoon limit – is there research that shows this? Do you have a source for this? I would love to read more about that if there were studies done.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      I’ve read this in numerous places over the years .. the most recent place I saw it cited was an article on the westonaprice.org website (Agave: Worse Than We Thought). Here’s the excerpt:

      “One should limit total sweetener consumption to less than five percent of daily calories. For a diet of 2500 calories per day, that’s less than three tablespoons of honey, maple syrup or dehydrated cane sugar juice, or several pieces of fruit. And many people do best by avoiding sweeteners completely.”

      Reply
  85. This is great! I actually did similar when making dietary changes – I went from diet drinks to pops with REAL sugar in them (a bit harder to find where I live, but we have Mexican sodas), and also went to drinking carbonated water – moving from club soda to Perrier & the like. I can’t STAND diet sodas anymore! And thanks to WAPF, NT, you, etc., I have found this statement to be SO true & SO helpful, “Fat is your friend when you are intent on slaying the sugar monster!”
    And yes, I agree with the “convenience factor”! So true! I have truly been amazed at how the sweet-tooth monster is so much tamer now; at this point I’m working on the “habit” of having sweets after a meal (supper is the one I usually want dessert with). (Some of this is still trying to get over the glut of sweets we had during the holidays, but that’s another story).

    To Regina I say, go for it, work at it, hang in there, give it time – it WILL get easier!

    I just read through the comments & it’s interesting to see how many of us seem to have figured out some of the steps on our own; I think our bodies are wiser than we give them credit! Thank you, Sarah, for laying things out like this – it’s very helpful!

    Reply
  86. What a great post! I’ve been keeping my sugar intake to less than 3 tablespoons per day lately (using raw sugar- just now learning about better sweeteners through Nourishing Traditions). Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies using brown sugar and a little bit of raw sugar (never again! Lol!) and after eating a couple, I felt terrible!

    Also went somewhere last night where I was surrounded by sugary snacks (candy & sodas) and none of it seemed appealing in the least! I love not “needing” sugar!

    Reply
  87. Thank you, Regina for asking the question and thank you Sarah for the step by step protocol for routing the sugar monster. This is one of the most helpful guides I have ever read.

    Reply
  88. Thanks to Regina for sending that email for me! lol
    I’d say I’m squarely in step 2, my problem is that I LOVE to bake healthy goodies for my family to keep them off the junk food snacks. (2 grandchildren and a pregnant daughter always in my house) Do you think that if I make it to step 4 the cravings for carbs in general will subside? Maybe you could work on the steps to reduce the grain as well! I read about GAPs and know that I would benefit but I don’t see how I could ever give up BREAD!

    Kelly

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Kelly, reducing grain consumption would help considerably as well. For most sugar addicts, though, it is too much to ask in the beginning … just getting the white sugar and HFCS out and the whole sweeteners in is a huge step forward!

      Reply
  89. Thanks so much for this great advice! I had naturally followed those guidelines for about 5-6 years before straying back to white sugar. . . and getting hit with a mega case of candida. Now I’m back on the no-sugar regime, but I can’t even have those natural sweeteners any more without consequences (ie, getting hit with cravings). I’ve learned to enjoy sweets made with stevia and, only very occasionally, coconut sugar or agave. I’ve come a long way–much healthier, 45 pounds lighter–but still working on that darned sugar monster! :)

    Reply
  90. Diana@Spain in Iowa January 27, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Sarah, I loved this post! It’s so funny because I honestly didn’t realize that I actually did the steps you laid out above. Ha! It was so cool to read through your steps and think, wow, I did that! I loved the part about making your own sweets using unrefined sweeteners. You are so right… when it comes to baking sweets for me, it just doesn’t happen very often and that’s okay with me!! I’m definitely sharing this post!!

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Diana, thanks for commenting. I love the new look of your blog, by the way! :)
      Welcome to the world of WordPress!

      Reply
  91. This is really good info! I am at Step 1. I have to admit that I am a sugar addict like no other. I can polish off a 1-pound bag of peanut M&Ms in about 10 minutes. When I’m premenstrual and have a knife, hide whatever you’re eating if it has chocolate in it. If I find it, I WILL kill you for it. :-)

    No seriously. I have a problem. Sweets are my only addiction, so if I could get that under control, I would be doing much better. I am in decent health now, but I forsee an ugly future for myself with my daily intake of sugar. I am an emotional eater and am going through some emotional things right now, so I can’t help myself! I am looking forward to trying out your advice. And I’m looking forward to making cookies the “new way.” :-)

    Reply
  92. Pingback: Tweets that mention Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Doable Steps — The Healthy Home Economist -- Topsy.com

  93. This is prefect Sarah! I was also a total sugar addict even until after my second child was born. Then I discovered coconut milk, I started putting that in my coffee and my sugar cravings vanished, I love the *freedom* that being well nourished means! The candy bars at the checkout line no longer taunt me!

    Hypoglycemia- I’m starting to wonder if it’s a pathogen issue- when I’m on GAPS I don’t get hypoglycemia at all, and I eat all the honey and fruit that I want.
    Cara\’s last post: Bananas on SCD- Uses and Tips

    Reply
  94. Wow! I didn’t even realize that I have done all these steps in the last nine months. Which is really saying something, considering I am a huge sugar addict. My cravings for sugar really have gone way down and I didn’t even realize it. My goal is to now limit my sugar intake to 3 Tbsp a day, but if I really count my sugar intake, I may be doing that as well. The real problem I run into, is when I’m in a situation outside of my home with sweets. Then I indulge too much. Unfortunately that can happen on a weekly basis. I’m really frustrated with this, especially because they are all the unhealthy store bought treats, or unhealthy home-made sweets made with white flour and white sugar. Then, once I do indulge, it takes a day or two for my intense sugar cravings to go away. Do you have any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Rachel, I think you will find over time that you are more able to resist the temptations at parties etc. It is hard for sure when our sugar addicted culture throws this stuff at you constantly from every direction.

      Try to eat a really high fat snack before attending these events if you can. Then your will power will be stronger as your blood sugar will be stabilized. I’ve also found a strong probiotic really helps to mitigate any after effects from falling off the wagon from time to time as well.

      Reply
  95. Great advice! Especially about the fat. When I make a batch of cookies they’re gone in no time, but when I make shortbread, which is rich in butter, I can eat a couple of pieces and be done. Other good sweets that are well-balanced with fat are rich ice cream, custard, and dark chocolate. These hit the craving where it lives and don’t really tempt me to overindulge like all-carb treats do.
    Sheila\’s last post: Links

    Reply
  96. This is very helpful! I like seeing how the gradual transition takes place. I think I’m inbetween steps 3 & 4… I’m really trying to make all treats and breads by hand. If we don’t have it, tough luck. It also keeps grocery spending down, which is another perk!

    Curious like another commenter is as to what is included in the 3 TBS a day.
    Megan\’s last post: Did Wall Street Journal read my blog

    Reply
  97. Yes! This is basically what I did, too! I do long for PopTarts at times, but usually a chicken breast and sauteed in butter (with sea salt, maybe coconut milk) does the trick; I have found that my sugar cravings usually occur when I am simply hungry and running out of energy. My body is just looking for a quick fix! Nowadays my sugar comes only from whole fruits, coconut water, fresh fruit juice, or herbal teas with honey.

    Reply
  98. Wonderful article, Sarah. Thanks for easy steps and clear directions.
    May I repeat my request a similar discussion about vitamin supplements?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Hi Joy, I actually have a half written post on this very topic. It’s been sitting unfinished for a couple of months now (got interrupted by the kids and the creative moment passed, if you know what I mean). Will see what I can do to dust that one off and finish it off for you.

      Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Hi Alison, no – step four does not include whole, natural foods like fruit. You would need to watch out for eating too much fruit though as overeating any type of food even if good for you can be a problem. The goal for limiting natural fructose is no more than 25 g per day from all sources. One banana is about 10g of fructose to give you an idea. So about 2-3 pieces of fruit per day would be the max. Remember that traditional cultures only ate fruit on a seasonal basis — there were long stretches during the year when they ate none at all.

      Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        Alison, I have to take back my earlier comment. I went back and re-researched my source for the 36 G limit per day on sugar and IT IS from ALL sources including fruit. The source is an article on the westonaprice.org website called “Agave: Worse Than We Thought”.

        Reply
        • It appears this source article has strong controversy over the Agave issue however. In particular the response and link written by Mary, Mar 07 2010.

          As to your promotion of animal fats: Your cited study only fails to link saturated fat to heart disease be cause of the overwhelming other factors currently affecting heart disease in those studies, namely, processed foods, as you rightly mention in your article.

          Every study I’ve seen has linked Vegetarians, and more so Vegans, with drastically reduced rates of Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancers, Diabetes, and so on.

          Reply
          • What meat are you eating? Toxic meat most likely, even organic is allowed to get away with lying to you and tainting your meat.

  99. Wow, when you put it all like that it seems so much more doable and less overwhelming then when we tried to cut down on our own.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist January 27, 2011 at 10:14 am

      Yeah!!! So glad you wrote that, Heather. That is exactly what my goal was for this article. To take an overwhelming task like getting sugar intake under control and making it a manageable, step by step process. Thank you! :)

      Reply

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