From the Archives: Is Sugar Free the Way to Be?

(c) humusak, pixabay.com

(c) humusak, pixabay.com

Hands up: how many of you have tried, read about, or known someone who tried the sugar-free diet/detox/lifestyle thing recently?

I’ve been seeing it everywhere. And since diabetes is one of the wonderful diseases that runs in my family (both sides – aren’t I a lucky girl?), I thought perhaps this was a kind of cosmic signal that I should give it a whirl. So I went right to the source: The 21-Day Sugar Detox and The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook by Diane Sanfilippo. Here’s my review.

Sanfilippo does seem very knowledgeable about her topic. She includes three different versions of the detox, depending on what you want to accomplish, health-wise. She also includes a lot of variations for different health issues. There’s adjustments to make if you have autoimmune issues, if you’re pregnant/breastfeeding, if you’re an athlete, etc.

She also makes it exceedingly clear that she is not telling you how to eat for the rest of your life, or even for an extended period of time. Her plan is specifically for 21 days only, geared to literally help you detox from sugar. I highly respect this.

HOWEVER. There is no way I could limit myself to eating this way for 21 days, even on level one. Call me weak-willed, but I know myself. I am already an incredibly picky eater, and given that I have to deal with a seriously restrictive diet already, I tend to lose my shit when I have to cut anything else out (ironically, this is why I have a deep-seated fear of one day developing diabetes. What do you eat when you have diabetes AND celiac? Cardboard? Nothing but vegetables? I do not want to find out).

This is not to say, though, that these books were useless. I found the whole thing informative, and it lead me to analyze my sugar intake.

Just looking at this makes my teeth hurt. (c) la-fontaine, pixabay.com

Just looking at this makes my teeth hurt.
(c) la-fontaine, pixabay.comsugar intake.

What I learned from the USDA DRI is that your “added sugar” intake should not be more than 25% of your overall calories. This is where my new education kicked in. Here’s how to calculate that:

Sugar is a carb, which means that every gram is worth four calories. So say I eat 100g of sugar in a day. That’s 400 calories from sugar in my diet that day. If I ate 2000 calories in the whole day, I divide 400 by 2000 to find my percentage: 0.2, or 20%.

It would be even further under the 25% if I only considered added sugar, and not total sugar (added sugar means it comes from a food that don’t naturally contain sugar. Frosted Cheerios, for example, are hella sweetened. Milk, on the other hand, naturally has lactose, a sugar, in it). That’s a little trickier to figure out, though, and since cutting down all sugar can’t possibly hurt, I just went with total.

Just being aware of it has made a world of difference.

If you’re interested, definitely check these books out. I would not mind including some of the recipes into my meal rotations – a lot of them look really good! And if you’re more hardcore than I am and make it through the 21 days, let me know how it goes!

One thought on “From the Archives: Is Sugar Free the Way to Be?

  1. Pingback: Sugar Free – Part II | HealthyEmily

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