I find sugar to be one of the worst ingredients in the human diet. It has been connected to multiple diseases and now it is linked to causing heart disease. It breaks down the endothelium, our body’s most important protective barrier. Sugar has been found to be more addictive than cocaine in laboratory studies. When laboratory rats were given a choice between cocaine and sugar, the majority chose sugar. It causes mood swings, irritability and lethargy.

I decided to eliminate all sugars from my diet. My main source of sugar was vanilla soy milk. At the time, I enjoyed about eight ounces of this sweet creamy soy milk in my morning coffee. I began making my coffee with plain, unsweetened soy milk. I found I was only drinking about ¼ cup before abandoning it on the counter. I would notice with amazement as I walked back to the kitchen at lunchtime that I wasn’t drinking my coffee. I thought I was hooked on the caffeine. This went on for a week or so until I stopped making it all together. I didn’t experience headaches from caffeine withdrawal. I was confused until I realized it was the sugar in the soy milk I was addicted to. The first thing I had every morning was sugar in soy milk camouflage.

Whole fruit is the only source of natural sugar designed for human consumption. Isolated or concentrated sugar is not natural in our diet. Eating fruits in their whole food form is ideal, whereas juices are not. Whole fruit is complete with fiber to slow down the absorption of fruit’s natural sugar in our system. Juices remove the fiber from the whole food, disrupting the fiber and allowing sugar to be rapidly absorbed in our system. Sugar in liquid form such as soda pop, pure maple syrup, agave nectar, and juices are not health promoting choices. Not even organic pomegranate juice comes home in my grocery tote. Have you ever had a pomegranate? It is full of seeds encased and surrounded with little burst of juice. When consumed in its whole form, the fiber of the seeds is present. This slows down the digestion and slows down how much you have time to consume. It’s brilliant how nature grew things in perfect form for us to consume.

Unfortunately we started to blend, process and concentrate all of these perfect foods. We made an orange go from a healthy snack to a glass of five oranges with the fiber removed. Let’s just call that glass of juice a sugar and calorie overload. If your teeth fell out and you’re on a liquid diet, it is acceptable to blend your food. If you are underweight and want to pack on a few pounds and can’t be bothered with eating, juice and blend up your food.

I’ve had many overweight students who were making smoothies for breakfast. They felt they were doing something wonderful for their bodies. They looked at it as fruit, but never looked at it as sabotage to their calorie budget and sugar overload on the first meal of the day. Some of them drank their smoothie alongside a bowl of oatmeal covered with dried fruit and nuts. Let’s break it down. Are you going to do a triathlon after breakfast or will you be driving to work? How much caloric energy do you need? The average fruit smoothie I was finding in food journals contained 424 calories and 50.6 grams of sugar. Typical ingredients included : One whole banana (105 calories and 14.4 grams of sugar), 1 cup frozen blueberries (84 calories and 14.7 grams of sugar), 1 cup vanilla soy milk (100 calories and 8 grams of sugar), three dates (60 calories and 13.5 grams of sugar) and 2Tbs flax seeds (75 calories). We compared their smoothie with a 7.5-ounce can of Coca-cola, which has 25 grams of sugar and 90 calories. The smoothie will set you up for an unproductive day, in terms of reaching your health goals. No right-minded person on a diet with a goal of shedding unwanted body fat would drink a coke for breakfast. This smoothie is double that in sugar, more than four times that in calories, but is camouflaged with fruit. Eat your fruit; don’t blend it. When you eat whole fruit, you will feel full longer and it will be less taxing on your liver. If you drink a smoothie, you will likely need a mid morning snack. The example of the smoothie provided is actually an example of a somewhat simple smoothie. I have found some to include fruit-sweetened yogurt, raw honey, and agave nectar. Agave is liquid sugar and is no healthier than honey and maple syrup. I have even seen a smoothie at the store that is ready-made sweetened with cane sugar. Cane sugar is sugar. Along with honey–raw or not, agave–organic or not, or coconut sugar, it all acts the same in your body as sugar.

My goal is to help you understand which foods are health promoting, and which foods are not. There are many products that are labeled and marketed as “healthy” that are not. You are not to blame if you are confused by marketing and product packaging. These products are basing their health factor on being a better choice than most other choices; however, they’re often still poor choices. If a cereal bar says “healthy”, it is because it is better than a candy bar. It doesn’t take much reduction in sugar to allow this labeling. It is also allowed to contain many food additives, chemicals, artificial sweeteners and colorings. We can’t put an end to this major problem in advertising, so I will teach you how to stop relying on packaged foods. You need not worry about ingredients and labeling any longer. You will save money and time spent trying to find healthy packaged choices. They do not exist, so stop looking for treats and bars that are healthy. I’m here to sort it all out, break it down and give you the knowledge and education to gain perfect health.

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  1. Depending on the recipe, you may need a sweetener to balance other flavors… salty, sour, spicy, pungent, astringent, umami, etc. In that case we still need the healthiest sweetener available. Date sugar is a whole food, just ground up dates… used in moderation. I use erythritol and xylitol (two non-caloric natural sweeteners) to sweeten my hibiscus drink that has lemon or lime, hibiscus and ginger. so sour, pungent. No guilt.

    1. Dried fruit is very sweet compared to regular fruit. We are reprogramming the taste buds to recognize the natural sweetness in fresh fruit and even vegetables. The dried fruit can also cause cravings for sugar. Most people don’t eat dried fruit in moderation and many dried fruits contain added sugars and food additives.

        1. This is an exception to the rule because the raisins are portioned out. This bread has helped may who are just getting started. Especially children transitioning from sugary cereals.

    1. Stevia is a plant that looks much like mint. The leaves are used to make an extract like vanilla. There are no sugars in this extract, but it adds a sweet flavor. I suggest using the liquid version to avoid the additives in the powdered version. Trader Joes carries one that is organic and at the best price on the market. I also use now brand which is organic and priced well. Whole Foods doesn’t currently offer an organic version and the price on there’s is higher than these two options.

  2. I never thought in a million years I would say this but I don’t crave sugar anymore! I do want the yummy frostys and chia seed pudding on protective diet. They satisfy me though! My 13 year old son told me he would stop eating sugar if I would keep making him the frostys:) I love hearing that:) Never going back:) I know if I can do it so can you!

    Kristie Clark

  3. I’m about at the 2 week mark now. I still crave it but it’s not as bad as the first week and you’re right I have noticed being able to taste things better. Like, I never used to like blueberries, but I had some this morning and couldn’t get over how sweet they were! It is amazing how many products have oil, sugar, and salt. I’ve started using the rule that everything I buy has to have 5 ingredients or less. So many times today I put it back because the 3rd or 4th ingredient was some form of sugar!

  4. What is your suggestion if you are addicted to sugar? Going cold turkey? I have a big sweet tooth and I crave it everyday! There are days I am fine and don’t give in but there are days I do! I think about it a lot:) Same with Peanut Butter! Is there anything that you can think of that helps with the transition? Thanks

    Kristie Clark

    1. Kristie,
      I can totally relate. In the past, I have used plant based meal plans that include sugar and it keeps me addicted. I would also be addicted to the vanilla plant based milks!

    2. Do it cold turkey. The students of my workshop go with out oil, sugar, nuts and animal products cold turkey. The end of the second week they are over the cravings. If you keep introducing a taste here and there you will still crave sugar. Including agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar or what ever sugar in camouflage they produce next. These will all leave you craving more sugar. After a month you are home free! Just don’t slip it in. You’ll mess with those taste buds and have to start over. Fruit and even romaine lettuce will taste sweet to you by the 3rd week. Go for it! Thanks for the question and I’m here for support.

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