In short, consuming excessive sugar can cause massive inflammation throughout your body.
Unfortunately, here’s another thing you need to know about sugar: It’s addictive. If you’re skeptical, think about this: In one study, rats in a maze chose a path that led to Oreos just as frequently as a path that led to cocaine. Plus, the Oreos had an even stronger effect than cocaine on a part of the rats’ brains that's linked to addiction. And other animal studies have shown that sugar produces three symptoms consistent with addiction: cravings, tolerance (so you want more and more), and withdrawal.
So breaking the sugar habit definitely isn’t easy. However, I’ve helped thousands of people do it—and I know that you can, too!
Twenty years of experience as a weight-loss specialist have shown me that the best way to break your sugar habit is to go “cold turkey” with a low-carb, sugar-free diet. (You’ll need to cut out artificial sweeteners as well because they feed your sugar cravings.) Sugar is just like any other addiction, and the best way to conquer it is to stop feeding that addiction. Period.
However, here’s one big caution: The Sugar Demon won’t give up its hold on you easily. For a few days shortly after the start of a low-carb diet, you’re going to feel miserable. That’s because your cells are used to a steady stream of sugar, and when you stop eating sugar (and cut down on other carbs, which turn to sugar in your body), they’ll need to learn to burn fat instead. This is a challenge, and at first, they’ll put up a fuss. During this time, you’re going to feel tired, cranky, wired, and weird.
I call this the “carb flu,” and it’s actually a very good sign because it means you’re taking the first big step toward kicking your sugar habit. Also, it’s very temporary. Eating a little avocado, some unsweetened coconut chips, or some rinsed olives can help ease your symptoms.
Once you’re past the carb flu, you’ll discover that your cravings for sugar grow milder and milder over time. Eventually, you’re likely to find that the idea of eating a doughnut or a piece of cake actually turns you off, and you’ll happily reach for a healthy snack instead. Really!
In the meantime, here are five ways to handle the Sugar Demon when it attacks: