There is no definitive answer to what the most optimal diet looks like, so each will largely depend on personal preference. With this in mind, individuals can still make lifestyle changes to accommodate their diet and fitness goals.
Practicing moderation will become key in any lifestyle looking for balance. This means being able to show restraint and be mindful while enjoying the foods you love.
If having something sweet or say having dessert every night is something you currently do, you can modify this by restricting desserts or sweets to 3x a week or even just on weekends. Essentially, the goal would be to live in an 80/20 rule. 80% of the foods you eat are whole and nutrient densewhile 20% is for those times where you need that wiggle room whether it be to curb cravings, enjoy a night out with the girls or guys, and any other occasion where you may be faced with options that include sugar.
Do’s and don’ts
Don’t try to cut out sugar cold turkey all at once. As we said, moderation is key. Before you know it you’ve gone a week without a fix and then on the last day, you house an entire king-sized Hershey bar at once, sending your blood glucose and insulin levels through the roof.
Do track and pay attention to what you are eating. Get blood work done. Or if you are really into the nerdy stuff, buy a glucometer and strips and see where your blood sugar is at from time to time. Anecdotally, I have known many people to not even know they were pre-diabetic until they started looking at their blood glucose levels. Imagine if they didn’t know, continued their same habits, only to find themselves with Type 2 diabetes down the road? No, thanks!
Don’t deprive yourself to the point of a binge. Everyone is different. Some people can go most of the year with only indulging a handful of times, while others reach for a pop tart or ice cream weekly, or even daily.
Recommendations for finding where you are on the spectrum of sugar “toxicity”:
- Track everything you eat for about a week and log it into something like my fitness pal, my macros +, my net diary, etc. Anywhere that will be able to show you your daily sugar intake.
- Collect blood work. If you want to go big with this try to get a look at lipoproteins, triglycerides, HA1c, glucose, and insulin. Since blood work can be expensive, we would suggest keeping a glucometer and testing your own blood glucose every day that week at the least, and then on a weekly basis at a minimum the week after (strips can be expensive too!).
- Then depending on how high you find your blood sugar to be, start swapping out simple carbs for complex ones that are likely to have lower amounts of sugar and HFCS. Start paying attention to sugar in places where you wouldn’t normally find them. Like loaves of bread, sauces, oats etc. and try to find alternatives. There are loaves of bread that are not made with sugar (but they tend to go bad quicker since sugar is used as a preservative in most bread), and sauces (like spaghetti sauce) can be homemade without sugar.
- Then with your new practices in place, continue to look at blood work or just your blood glucose levels to see if things have gotten any better.
Thanks for Reading!
Remember, context is key, everyone has different host factors and what may be unhealthy for you may not be for someone else. We hope you enjoyed this 3 part series on sugar! Feel free to reach out to us on Instagram or at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think!