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Easiest Way to reduce sugar intake

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  • LokiGrrl
    LokiGrrl Posts: 156 Member
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    I quit drinking soda a long time ago and I don't really remember the withdrawals or anything like that, but black coffee has the caffeine, and ibuprofen is your friend. If that doesn't work, try Tylenol according to the directions (and no more). Cutting sugar to below 25 g (the WHO recommendation) helped me a lot. I used to drink Diet Coke for preference but cut that out too because I don't care for artificial sweeteners.

    If you crave the carbonation, which I sometimes do, you can drink mineral water or get a Soda Stream. A squeeze of lime in some carbonated or mineral water is a beautiful thing.

    For the water, there are formulas for how much you should drink and it's not always just 64 oz a day. I drink about 96 oz a day and I am short (5'4"). Also you have to watch electrolytes when you increase your water, and this may be why you have headaches. Honestly I think you should see your doc and have your baseline blood tests checked, that was a great thing for me.

    And finally to address your actual question about cutting sugar -- don't eat processed foods. Like, nothing packaged. Cheese and sausage are probably fine, but the rest, throw it out. You might feel *kitten* for a bit, but it's worth it. Keep drinking water and replenishing electrolytes. This is what I did, and my sugar is always below 25 g a day now and I feel so much better. Sugar isn't evil, but overdoing it isn't good, so I just don't add it to anything. There's plenty in my normal diet to give me what I need.

    Good luck!
  • joanna_82
    joanna_82 Posts: 151 Member
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    I dropped my junk food/processed crap habit and felt ill for two days. I just tried to ride it out, drink lots of water and get through it. Feel amazing now. Don't give up with it, just try and ride it out!!
  • snowflake930
    snowflake930 Posts: 2,188 Member
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    Easiest way is to avoid processed, packaged foods, juice and sugary drinks.
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,454 Member
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    You can get withdrawal symptoms from caffeine, but not from sugar. You can also get headaches from dehydration if you don't replace your usual drinks. Replace sugary caffeinated drinks with unsweetened/artifically sweetened, and/or reduce caffeine gradually. Water is best, but you can drink anything you like. Drink until you aren't thirsty anymore. The amount you need depends on your size, your activity level, temperature, how much liquid you get through food, your sugar and salt intake. Don't guzzle down, you can have too much water too, and that can also give a headache.

    You can go "cold turkey" from added sugar. There's no need to try to avoid added sugar completely, though, because there will always be sugar in food, and it's the same sugar as naturally occurring in food. What you should be aiming for, is probably a more nutritionally dense diet, so get in a variety of whole, natural foods - fruit and vegetables, grains (choose whole grains more often) and starchy vegetables, beans, meat and fish, eggs and dairy, nuts and seeds, butter and oils. It often means switching to more home cooked food and bringing your own lunches. It does not mean giving up social life or cooking separate meals from your family.

    How do you know how much sugar you have been ingesting if today will be my first day of logging? Log first, then draw conclusions.

    Don't fall for hypes such as jump starts, cleanses, detox, diets, good/bad foods/carbs/fats, low this, low that, supplements - unless doctor's orders, don't cut out anything you like, don't force yourself to eat things you don't like. Do this: Set an appropriate calorie goal. MFP's suggestion is fine. Log your food and hit your calorie goal - this is all it takes, but it's important that you do it correctly. Weigh everything, double check daabase entries, log the amount you eat/drink, don't cheat, forget or give up.

    Great post. OP pay close attention to this one.

    My advice is also to make gradual changes. Start with either the Coke or the Starbucks habit, not both at the same time. You don't have to give either up completely, but find a substitute or reduce the amount of sugar in the coffee gradually. Logging accurately what you are currently eating/drinking will be the best way to determine where you can make little changes that add up to big ones..
  • luv2shimmy
    luv2shimmy Posts: 67 Member
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    Definitely start with either the coke or the starbucks at first. You didn't start out drinking both as much as you currently do - I assume it was a gradual process. As a fellow caffeine addict, I completely get how hard it is to cut back. So, I would start with the Coke - switch to Coke Zero or Diet Coke (I like Zero better - to me it tastes more like Coke). If you're having a hard time with it, maybe drink a half and half combination of regular coke and diet/zero and slowly decrease the amount of regular coke until you can eliminate it. After that, I would taper down the amount of coke you're drinking - and keep some tylenol or excedrin on hand for those caffeine withdrawal headaches - they can be a bear.

    As far as starbucks goes, I don't know what your drink is, but they have sugar-free syrups - maybe you can start with asking for sugar-free syrups and then taper down like you did with the Coke. I'm a huge fan of black coffee - probably drink about 4 cups per day. But it has no sugar in it. Just plain coffee.

    As for water, as you're tapering down on the coke and the starbucks, you can increase your water intake gradually as well. I think I'd aim for the standard 64 oz and if you find you're still thirsty, then you can always drink more.

    The big thing to remember in this is to keep your changes slow and steady. That's really the only way you're going to make lasting changes.
  • kgeyser
    kgeyser Posts: 22,505 Member
    edited August 2016
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    coachfrey wrote: »
    I totally understand how to reduce it, my concern is with the impacts I have when I reduce it. The headaches are unbearable to the point that I get sick to my stomach. Is that normal after removing that much bad crap from your system?

    The headaches could be from the lack of caffeine, so a painkiller can help with that as you are cutting back. It does go away after a few days. As for feeling crappy when reducing sugar, sugar is a carb, so if in the process of reducing your sugar intake you also end up reducing your carb intake (not replacing those sugary foods with something else), that could also account for why you feel like crap.

    Low carb users on the site report a "carb flu" when they reduce carbs. It's usually for a much lower carb intake, but some people are more sensitive to carbs and experience symptoms (tired, feeling crappy) when they dip below a certain threshold. I know people who need at least 150-200g carbs to feel normal, so that could account for some of the adverse reactions you experience.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,740 Member
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    Try taking chromium picolinate 3 times a day before meals. They say it helps with carb and sugar cravings.
    There aren't any peer reviewed studies to support this.
    I read the book "Lose Weight without Dieting or Working Out" which recommends a 21 day jump start with no caffeine, sugar, white carbs, animal protein or alcohol. Instead, you replace those with healthy oils, vegetables and whole grains. I did it and it was surprisingly easy. I haven't eaten refined sugar for 4 weeks! Attended a dinner party tonight with pie, cake and ice cream at desert, and I didn't even want it!!!
    So in other words reduce your calories to lose weight. There are SO MANY books, articles and blogs that all tout the same thing. Unless you're willing to abstain and live that way for LIFE, then the odds are you will regain weight when you introduce them back into your diet.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png



  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,740 Member
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    SideSteel wrote: »
    First of all I think you nailed it with the coke consumption. I think swapping to diet coke or coke zero would be a great idea as it would allow you to reduce calories (and sugar) without the potential caffeine withdrawal.

    In addition to this, I think it's a good idea to generally put your emphasis on what you SHOULD be eating rather than focusing on what you need to avoid.

    You can keep this simple too. Figure out what proteins you enjoy, find a vegetable or two that you enjoy, some fruit, and go grocery shopping for those things.

    And I'm not suggesting you limit your diet to those items, you just want to think inclusively about eating those types of foods "most of the time" to promote fullness.
    This is a great approach. Inclusion instead of exclusion.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • JDixon852019
    JDixon852019 Posts: 312 Member
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    Swap out for diet soda for now, take baby steps. Keep a 32oz water bottle with you at all times and try to drink at least 3 a day.

    When you feel ready, swap out your Diet Coke for a flavored seltzer water. Eventually you will just want water, that is how I did it anyway.

    You said you are new to logging, obligatory: USE A FOOD SCALE! Soooooooo many rookies (myself included) make this mistake of trying to eyeball their portion sizes. SPOILER ALERT: Your eyeball estimates are wrong!
  • overin2015
    overin2015 Posts: 94 Member
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    I would not use swaps too much as then you are just getting addicted to something else - my two cents. Maybe reduce I am sure others have said this. Make coffee at home for a week and use a measured amount of creamer and sugar to know what you have and log it. Anything at home seems better than getting stuff out. Then the coke. If you are drinking 3 a day then say 2 a day for 1 week then go to 1 a day the next and then every other day the next week. Etc. LOG everything. You may feel a little bad but it is mostly habit and giving your brain something else as a reward. I had a sugar problem too. I have quit cold turkey and felt like I was going to die and I have upped my fat and protein and slowly reduced the sugar and have been perfectly ok. You have to give your brain something else to burn and it seems that exercise to get the toxins out combined with fat and protein tend to make your brain more ok with the process of reducing the excess sugar. Give yourself a month to get it out of your system and keep eating fruits in its place to give yourself healthy carbs. Reducing will result in a calorie deficit and you will lose weight most likely. Good luck! I sure understand your pain!
  • overin2015
    overin2015 Posts: 94 Member
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    I meant not swaps for other unhealthy things. That doesn't include the fruits, whole grains, fats etc that others have said. Just wanted to clarify my position.
  • RuNaRoUnDaFiEld
    RuNaRoUnDaFiEld Posts: 5,864 Member
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    overin2015 wrote: »
    I would not use swaps too much as then you are just getting addicted to something else - my two cents. Maybe reduce I am sure others have said this. Make coffee at home for a week and use a measured amount of creamer and sugar to know what you have and log it. Anything at home seems better than getting stuff out. Then the coke. If you are drinking 3 a day then say 2 a day for 1 week then go to 1 a day the next and then every other day the next week. Etc. LOG everything. You may feel a little bad but it is mostly habit and giving your brain something else as a reward. I had a sugar problem too. I have quit cold turkey and felt like I was going to die and I have upped my fat and protein and slowly reduced the sugar and have been perfectly ok. You have to give your brain something else to burn and it seems that exercise to get the toxins out combined with fat and protein tend to make your brain more ok with the process of reducing the excess sugar. Give yourself a month to get it out of your system and keep eating fruits in its place to give yourself healthy carbs. Reducing will result in a calorie deficit and you will lose weight most likely. Good luck! I sure understand your pain!

    Your brain doesn't know the difference between sugar from fruit or sugar in coke.

    You had toxins in your brain? :/
  • srecupid
    srecupid Posts: 660 Member
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    Look at labels of stuff and buy the stuff with less. And limit snacks.
  • xvolution
    xvolution Posts: 721 Member
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    The easiest way to do it and make it stick is to wean yourself off sugar. It doesn't have to be a fast wean [like maybe reduce the amount of sugar you're consuming by 5g every few days] as long as the overall sugar consumption is down in the end.

    I've done this myself, and nowadays most sugary treats are way too sweet and rich for my tastes.
  • overin2015
    overin2015 Posts: 94 Member
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    Runaround - my point exactly. The added sugars aren't good for you but natural sugars are. Your brain craves quick energy and it can get energy from fat and natural sugars too but it just has to work a little harder. I was talking about switching to things that are better for you and that your brain (which does cause the majority of the physical symptoms from sugar withdrawal) will find appealing. No I didn't say toxins in my brain. Cleaning up your diet causes toxin release a lot of times and is part of what makes you so sick. The exercise gets it out of your body quicker through sweat and oxygen. Your brain sees any huge change as stressful and wants you to quit it. Make it easier for it to make the transition is my point. Thats the end of my posts about it. I feel I am stating what I was talking about clearly. Good luck OP and congrats xvolution on limiting your sugars! That is such a struggle!
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,911 Member
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    overin2015 wrote: »
    Runaround - my point exactly. The added sugars aren't good for you but natural sugars are. Your brain craves quick energy and it can get energy from fat and natural sugars too but it just has to work a little harder. I was talking about switching to things that are better for you and that your brain (which does cause the majority of the physical symptoms from sugar withdrawal) will find appealing. No I didn't say toxins in my brain. Cleaning up your diet causes toxin release a lot of times and is part of what makes you so sick. The exercise gets it out of your body quicker through sweat and oxygen. Your brain sees any huge change as stressful and wants you to quit it. Make it easier for it to make the transition is my point. Thats the end of my posts about it. I feel I am stating what I was talking about clearly. Good luck OP and congrats xvolution on limiting your sugars! That is such a struggle!

    And what sort of "toxins" do you think get released?
  • gonetothedogs19
    gonetothedogs19 Posts: 325 Member
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    overin2015 wrote: »
    Runaround - my point exactly. The added sugars aren't good for you but natural sugars are. Your brain craves quick energy and it can get energy from fat and natural sugars too but it just has to work a little harder. I was talking about switching to things that are better for you and that your brain (which does cause the majority of the physical symptoms from sugar withdrawal) will find appealing. No I didn't say toxins in my brain. Cleaning up your diet causes toxin release a lot of times and is part of what makes you so sick. The exercise gets it out of your body quicker through sweat and oxygen. Your brain sees any huge change as stressful and wants you to quit it. Make it easier for it to make the transition is my point. Thats the end of my posts about it. I feel I am stating what I was talking about clearly. Good luck OP and congrats xvolution on limiting your sugars! That is such a struggle!

    Added sugar is literally the exact same chemical as "natural sugars".

    So what's your point? Eating doughnuts is the same as eating blueberries?
  • nvmomketo
    nvmomketo Posts: 12,019 Member
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    kgeyser wrote: »
    coachfrey wrote: »
    I totally understand how to reduce it, my concern is with the impacts I have when I reduce it. The headaches are unbearable to the point that I get sick to my stomach. Is that normal after removing that much bad crap from your system?

    The headaches could be from the lack of caffeine, so a painkiller can help with that as you are cutting back. It does go away after a few days. As for feeling crappy when reducing sugar, sugar is a carb, so if in the process of reducing your sugar intake you also end up reducing your carb intake (not replacing those sugary foods with something else), that could also account for why you feel like crap.

    Low carb users on the site report a "carb flu" when they reduce carbs. It's usually for a much lower carb intake, but some people are more sensitive to carbs and experience symptoms (tired, feeling crappy) when they dip below a certain threshold. I know people who need at least 150-200g carbs to feel normal, so that could account for some of the adverse reactions you experience.

    When you reduce carbs/sugar you will lose water weight. Losing a few pounds of water will throw your electrolytes out of balance. That is mostly what the "low carb flu" is. An electrolyte imbalance.

    People who eat low carb, less than 100-150g of carbs per day, will need to increase their sodium intake up to 3000-5000 mg to replace the lost sodium. If not they will experience wicked headaches, fatigue, brain fog, nausea, muscle aches and eventually spasms (at which point Na has been low for so long that Mg and K is now low too).

    If you drink a couple of cups of broth per day, take salt tablets, or just add 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of water every day, you will avoid the low carb flu.

    If you reduce carbs to ketosis levels (below 50g carbs, and much lower sugar) you may still experience some fatigue as your body gets used to using fat instead of sugar for fuel. The "low carb flu" low electrolytes is completely avoidable if you increase your sodium.