What It Means To "Quit Sugar"

Last week I talked about why I made the choice to quit sugar. If you haven't read that post yet, here it is. Read, then come back. Cool? Cool!

Before we move on to how I quit sugar, and what happened when I did, I want to define what the hell I'm even talking about. Quitting sugar sounds pretty simple--you just stop eating sugar, right?--but in reality, it's a little more complicated than that. In fact, when I talk to people about this, especially people who have spent some time educating themselves about nutrition, they are often very confused. Sugar is in a lot more of what you eat than you might think, and there are several different types of sugar. Additionally, some foods break down into a sugar. So, "quitting sugar" is a bit of a misnomer because you really can't live without it. Your body needs it in certain quantities just like salt and water and all of those other micro and macro nutrients you're hoping to address with your daily multivitamin. So let's get that out of the way right now. Quitting sugar does not mean that you will never have any type of sugar, sweet food, dessert, fruit, or anything like that ever again. It really does not mean that. At all. Period. Don't even worry about it.

Now what it does mean can vary a bit from person to person, expert to expert. Everyone has their ideas and preferences and theories about how much sugar you should eat, what foods you "should" and "should not" eat, etc.

To me, quitting sugar is this: it's quitting your reliance upon sugar, your addiction to it, your habits associated with it, your love for it, your need for it. It's breaking down the concepts and feelings and cravings you have associated with sugar and giving your body and mind a new perspective on it. It's seeking out information on nutrition. It's reading labels. It's squirreling out and eliminating hidden and unnecessary sugar from your diet. And it's creating a new lifestyle that has a level of sugar that you're comfortable with and is healthy and feels good in your body.

That's really what I mean when I say I quit sugar.

On a more practical level, quitting sugar typically means getting your sugar consumption down to 6-9 teaspoons a day total, across everything you eat and drink in a day. It also means limiting the consumption of fructose, specifically. This has to do with the way fructose is metabolized and some of the short and long term effects it can have on the body.

This would be a good time for me to mention that I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist and that what I know about this is from my own research and experience. You should definitely do your own research if you are considering going down this path, consult your physician, and ultimately do what feels right to you.

Because I'm not a nutritional expert, I'm not going to even attempt to go into any further depth on how the body works or how sugar interacts with it. I don't want to put any pseudo-science out there or lead you astray.

But, okay, here's the gist: your body needs a small amount of sugar to function properly. Too much sugar causes a myriad of health problems, including candida, brain fog, fatty liver, tooth decay, and can lead to disease down the road. Because of the types of foods we are raised on in the United States and the general culture, most (if not all) of us are addicted to sugar and consume way more than we realize. Quitting sugar is one big step to putting yourself back in control of your diet, your body, your habits, and your health.

Think of this as a recalibration. It's going to be difficult, but good. So, so good.

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