This article is a must-read. Hands up those of you who, like me, can’t stop with the sugar addiction? I reward myself each morning when I get into work with a chocolate bar. I have to stop. Are you in the same boat? Read this. Immediately. 

Ditching sugar is possibly the most important principle of the Clean and Lean diet. It makes you look older and feel fat, tired and sick and it’s one of the first things I tell a client to remove from their diet. Here’s why.

1. It makes you fat

The pancreas controls the level of sugar in our blood. If the pancreas is overloaded and can’t process excess sugar efficiently, that sugar gets stored as fat. Sugar also stops your body burning fat and it makes you crave more sugar (see below). Put simply – if you’re eating a lot of sugar every day (and remember, it’s found in pasta sauces, cereal and yogurt, as well as the more obvious things like chocolate and sweets), you will always find it difficult (did someone say impossible?) to lose weight. And being overweight increases your risk of other illnesses, including certain cancers, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, if you’re very overweight it reduces your quality of life. This is serious.

2. It’s addictive

In fact, it’s one of the most addictive substances in our lives. Sugar makes you crave sugar because it gives you an opium-like high. When you stop eating sugar for a while something amazing happens – you stop craving it. Eventually you lose the taste for it altogether and by the time this happens you’ll feel slimmer, healthier and your skin will look younger and smoother. Please be kind to yourself and let this addiction to sugar go. Try it – I promise it works.

3. It depletes vitamin and mineral stores in the body

This weakens your immune system and leaves you emotionally and physically worn out.

4. It converts to fat quicker than fat

Burning body fat is all about controlling your insulin levels. Sugar spikes raise your insulin levels leading to fat storage and this is the real reason why so many of us in the Western world are either overweight or obese. Sugar is making us fatter and that fat goes straight to our hips, stomach and thighs. Every time you eat too much sugar you’re adding to that fat. Ditch the sugar and you’ll drop the fat so much easier.

5. It makes you tired

Excess sugar quickly increases your blood sugar levels, giving you a buzz (that ‘sugar high’ many of us chase in the afternoons when we’re feeling tired). But this quick burst of energy is fleeting and is soon replaced by a hard crash that leaves you even more tired than you were before. And – yep, you guessed it – craving more sugar. Stop the sugar cycle!

6. It wears out your organs

Sugar makes your kidneys and pancreas work too hard as they try to deal with this awful foreign substance that shouldn’t be there. It effectively makes your pancreas age very quickly, which will eventually lead it to fail, which is essentially what diabetes is.

Where is sugar usually found?

White refined sugar

The type you stir into your tea.

Fruit juices

Most are just sugared water with very little, or none, of the fibre, vitamin and mineral content left. The occasional glass won’t do much harm, but it won’t do you much good either. If you drink fruit juice or squash all day you’re simply drip-feeding sugar into your body.

White carbohydrates

White, non-organic pasta, bread and rice, cereals and cereal bars are all high in sugar. Opt for different types

of grains like quinoa or teff, and don’t fall into the bread and pasta every day trap.

Alcohol

It’s the simplest sugar of all and is, in my opinion, like a nuclear fat bomb on your body, especially wine and beer. Like fruit juice, the odd glass won’t hurt, but don’t drink it every day or to excess.

Low-fat foods

Foods like yogurts, most breakfast cereals, cereal bars, salad dressings, yogurt-covered raisins, muffins and other foods labelled ‘low-fat’ or ‘no-fat’ are nearly always stuffed with sugar. Read the label and avoid

them… like really avoid them – back away slowly and don’t make eye contact.

Ingredients ending in ‘-ose’ or ‘-oxe’

It’s simply sugar hiding behind another name, such as sucrose, glucose, maltose, lactose, dextrose and fructose. ‘Syrup’ is also basically sugar, as is ‘high-fructose corn syrup’, which is just about the worst type of sugar you can eat. Many food manufacturers and shops have stopped using it altogether, but it’s still around. It’s one of the cheapest and nastiest sweeteners and boosts fat-storing hormones as well as increasing your risk of certain diseases and reducing your fertility.

HOW TO GIVE IT UP

  • Have protein and a little fat with every meal
  • Sugar cravings often come from a lack of both
  • Darker meats in particular – like beef and lamb, chicken thighs, liver etc. – contain more purines, which make them more filling and therefore reduce sugar cravings
  • Take a glutamine supplement. This is an amino acid that’s available in most health stores and reduces sugar cravings as well as helping general gut health
  • Don’t use sugar as a reward – It’s not a reward – it’s a horrible, unhealthy toxin that will make you fat and increase your chances of getting sick. It will break down the collagen in your skin and give you premature lines and wrinkles. It will make you constantly hungry and it will make you feel tired every day. How is that a treat? Sugar is not your friend. Sugar is a bitch who is trying to ruin your life and steal your boyfriend
  • Include chromium in your diet- It helps control your blood sugar levels, which helps to reduce sugar cravings. Chromium can be found in eggs, nuts, mushrooms and asparagus

By the very Clean and Lean James Duigan