Log In

Reset Password
Columnists View from the Center Bear Smart The Travel Troubleshooter Dear Abby Student Aide Of Sound Mind Others Say Powerful solutions You are What You Eat Out Standing in the Fields What's up in Durango Skies Watch Yore Topknot Local First RE-4 Education Update MECC Cares for kids

Why it’s so hard to kick refined sugar


With Halloween just around the corner, watch out for the sweet and tempting villain we love to hate – sugar.

It’s the time of year when loads of candy, chocolate and anything loaded with sugar finds its way into our mouths. Despite us all knowing better, the average American eats a whopping 168 pounds of sugar per year.

If you are one of the 29 million Americans suffering from diabetes or one of the 86 million Americans at risk for it, it’s vital for you to monitor your refined sugar intake to prevent disease and look and feel your best.

However, before you decide to reduce or ditch refined sugar altogether, here’s what you need to know to do it successfully:

First, here’s a little secret and myth crusher ... ditching sugar has nothing to do with your willpower or discipline but everything to do with the science of how the human body works.

Basically, the body has one job and one job only, and that is to stay alive with optimal balance.

Your body is an energy system. You can either get your energy from sugar, which is highly inflammatory for every tissue in your body, or you can get your energy from nutrient-dense foods, which heal and nourish at the cellular level.

With a high-protein, well-balanced breakfast, your blood sugar curve flows steadily, rising and falling with each meal and snack you eat. However, when you eat sugar, your blood sugar curve spikes and crashes uncontrollably, keeping you coming back to sugar again and again.

If you simply cut out refined sugar without replacing it with other nutrient-dense food, your sugar cravings may actually go through the roof. Why would this happen?

As your body’s energy levels decrease, your brain switches into survival mode. In an attempt to stay alive, your brain sends out signals that you need energy sources fast, and when that happens, you guessed it, your sugar cravings actually increase!

To be successful in improving your diet and reducing your sugar intake, you need whole food to supply your cells with the nutrients they need to maintain balance and survive.

Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast, having a well-balanced lunch, a mid-day snack and dinner are all necessary to ditch refined sugar for good.

Replacing refined sugar with nutrient-dense food works to create a healthier body better equipped to resist disease.

Make it a healthy week!

Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition in Bayfield. She can be reached at fran@fransutherlin.com.