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  • Writer's pictureamyk73

Sugar, You & Health

Without extreme measures, which may or may not be absolutely necessary, is it possible to have a healthy relationship with sugar?

Can we have our cake and eat it too as they say?

For clarity, when I speak about sugar, I don’t mean the artificial stuff. Most artificial sweeteners are incredibly dangerous and while offering zero calories and guilt they are not all that sweet after all. In the vast majority of cases artificial is well fake, and many times chemically sweeter than real sugar. Your body doesn’t know what to do with it either which creates other problems, including insulin resistance.

Beyond the artificial then, I am talking about real sugar. The white stuff, whole leaf stevia, raw cane sugar, coconut nectar, lucuma, raw honey and even real maple syrup. Natural sugar as it comes to us from Earth with minimal processing and is incredibly sweet without man mucking it up with some chemical.

As far as having cake and eating it to, I do think it is possible and even necessary for life. We are as humans drawn to pleasure and sugar is pleasurable indeed. Life would not be as sweet either if we lacked all forms of sugar. While the body does not need to ingest any sugar to do its job, sugar is an emotional food that our mind, emotions and spirit do need, occasionally.

It is finding that healthy boundary and relationship with sugar that gives us the most challenge.

Honestly, most of us have a sugar addiction that influences so much of our behavior and routine today that we don’t even recognize it. Sugar is also the number one ingredient in most foods manufactured so it is nearly impossible to avoid and that further adds to the challenge we have in managing it. Sadly, the majority of children being told by schools and doctors they need ADD or ADHD medications is the result of sugar in the diet as well.

Avoidance is futile.

This is at least what the food manufacturers want you to believe. Anyone who has tried to cut out sugar knows all too well that it is one of the hardest changes to make in a diet. Often sugar is the culprit that destroys diets and thoughts of weight loss too.

Instead of seeing sugar as the enemy though, I think we need to reframe it. Sugar is not the enemy. It is just a substance. Understanding what this substance does in our body is where we gain the edge in figuring out how to manage it. Like most of health, there is not a one-sized-fits-most approach. We are all different and have different experiences that make up our relationship with sugar. Therefore, the approach to building healthy boundaries with it must also take some personalization.

As part of the reframing, I think we need to be honest here too. Brutally honest.

Never eating another cake, cupcake, candy bar, cookie, ice cream or drinking anything with sugar in it EVER again in your life is unrealistic. What a buzz kill too!

Realistically, we talking of putting sugar in its rightful place in our life. As treats, parts of celebrations and places where enjoyment is complimented with sweetened foods and drinks. We are looking to corral it into its own category where it can be honored, appreciated and enjoyed guilt free.

When sugar is everywhere in your diet and drinks every day, it is not in its rightful place. There is imbalance and that creates the running amok situation we find ourselves in today with having a love-hate relationship with sugar. This is where sugar gets its bad rap as our enemy.

Building Sugar Fences

Once we realize the goal is not to eradicate but rather corral sugar in our life, things become more easily planned.

Each of us needs to determine what that treat special category in our diet looks like. Is it just special occasions like birthdays, weddings, and holidays? What do we turn to food wise when things are not so happy? Decorate this treat area with all you need to equip sugar in your life. Make it a happy, comforting place that is exactly what you need sugar to represent for you.

Then build it.

Leverage this special room every day. If you have a place to put sugar in your life, then navigating your daily diet becomes a more even playing field. You can feel empowered to make choices around what you eat that has sugar in it. You feel more in control when craving arise. As you encounter sugar in your day, you know you have a place where sugar can go if it is not a situation, place, time, purpose where you want to consume it.

It takes practice. You won’t do it perfectly every time, especially in the beginning. This is important to recognize because if you don’t release the guilt and shame or call it cheating then you are continuing to punish yourself for being human. Whenever we rebuild something in our life, it takes time to build up the skill to do it well. Sugar is no exception. Beating yourself up over not being perfect on day 1 is not constructive or positive to supporting the changes you are attempting to make.

Feel it. It’s ok. You will get there. When you eat sugar rather than put it in the special category, look at why. Was it a particularly stressful time? Did something happen? What were you thinking, feeling and doing at the time? Part of our healing with sugar is also learning to process our emotions in a healthy way. We don’t want to just push down our feelings and cover them in a layer of sugary frosting anymore.

As you redefine where sugar comes up in your day, you quickly realize the hold it has had on you. Amazing things start to show up that you didn’t realize was holding you under the sugar glaze.

  • Food taste better! Your taste buds reawaken and you start to experience more flavor in your food.

  • Sugary treats become smaller in portion. Without sugar in your diet every day or every meal, when you have it, you actually want less of it! How beautiful is that? You can enjoy it and naturally want less of it. You savor what you have and it becomes pleasurable on a new level that I promise you do not have today. Yes, sugar is always pleasurable but when you are at this point in your relationship with it, it’s like a whole new lover that you didn’t realize you were missing.

  • Your cravings change. Cravings are mostly emotional responses presenting as physical sensations in our body. With the shift of sugar in our life, we find we are processing our feelings in an improved way which in turn changes our cravings.

  • Your mood and behavior improve. Our normal mode of operation is flight or fight, high stress mode every day. When we improve our relationship with sugar, we are calmer, more centered and happier. We feel more attentive and able to focus on complex tasks with more energy. Imagine how different our children will be with this change!

For help making your sugar fence plan and implementing it for you and your family, set up a consultation with me at

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