The First Step Toward Losing Weight Quickly
If there is one thing you can do today to start on the road to losing weight quickly—and do the most good for your physical and mental health—it is to control your sugar intake. Read along and discover more about sugar and how it determines whether or not you will lose weight when dieting.
[With a new focus on how to lose weight during 2021, future Emaxhealth articles will follow the exploits of the intrepid Dr. Boyer as he reviews and re-evaluates past weight loss health articles and puts what he has learned into actual practice in a personal weight loss experiment to help others discover what works and does not work while trying to lose weight.]
The First 15 Pounds in 30 Days
As I’ve reported in an earlier post, I lost an average of ½ pounds per day for 30 days. To achieve this, I adopted a number of commonsense weight loss methods that I and my colleagues from Emaxhealth have written about over the years. These past articles bear revisiting, and are the foundation of my recently self-imposed weight loss experiment.
The first step in my experiment was to immediately limit my sugar intake. To give you an idea of just how big a deal this was, my habit (on average) was to drink at least 2 sodas a day, 3 cups of coffee sweetened with canned condensed milk, and 2-3 glasses of commercial fruit juice.
Now, I knew better than this. But it is what it was, and not atypical for the average American. According to the latest health sources, the consensus is that the average American consumes the equivalent of 29 teaspoons of sugar per day. Health experts state that only 6 and 9 teaspoons for women and men respectively are recommended daily.
That admitted—I stopped drinking all sodas and commercial fruit juices. My coffee is limited to 2 cups per day and is sweetened with a small piece of dark chocolate and one pack of Stevia. In addition, I began to pay close attention to the sugar content of all non-beverage food products—pies, cookies, Cap’n Crunch cereal and the like, no longer go into my shopping cart.
The Significance of Cutting Out Sugar
If you Google the phrase “Sugar Ruined My Life” you will receive 24,200,000 results in just half a second. There is no denying that as hyperbolic as the phrase sounds, it carries with it not only a significant amount of anecdotal evidence, but some scientific as well.
As recently as this past month, a new study published in the journal Aging Cell tells us that too much sugar in our system interferes with our cell’s natural ability to protect us from age-related degenerative disease.
In addition, this past month we discussed how your sugar choice could undermine your weight loss plan as well as how to best use stevia for losing weight—both of which make for some recommended reading on sugar-related advice relevant to dieting.
In earlier articles we have learned that artificial sweeteners as a dieting adjunct appear to be as bad as—if not worse than—sugar, when trying to control obesity; and why slowly sipping on a Big Gulp soda is one of the worst soda-related habits you can have.
Which begs the question: Is sugar a poison? In a sense it is, and science is showing us that sugar’s effect on the human body is more than just a calorie issue.
What Happened When I Cut Out Sugar
I have to admit, significantly cutting sugar from my diet was not as bad as I had anticipated. I did not have headaches, but I did tend to get testy during conversations more than once that could have been mistaken for episodic bouts of Tourette syndrome.
On the positive side, I now understand exactly what “sugar fog” is, and how it can drift away once your sugar withdrawals have abated—for me it was like getting a new pair of eye glasses.
But, the greatest difference I experienced was a change in smell and taste—both became extremely acute. Blindfold me, and I bet I can find a Krispy Kreme a block away. And when I bit into a Honeycrisp apple—after avoiding most fruits the past month—the sensation of sweetness was like none I had ever experienced from an apple before.
In fact, my mind immediately flashed to a book I had read years ago titled “The Botany of Desire” in which it described how apples were so cherished by pioneers because it was much more accessible than sugar. It was at that moment that I fully understood the book and began to appreciate sugar’s hold on the body and psyche.
The Experiment Continues
I am into my second month of dieting right now and am continuing to limit my sugar intake as much as I possibly can. However, there is much more going on diet-wise that I acredit to my weight loss, which I will address in future articles.
The take-away message I have is that ridding yourself of your dependence on sugar is a necessary and big part of losing weight quickly. Furthermore, it is also a good first step toward raising your awareness about how to listen to your body that will aid your dieting. Yes, you will have strong sugar cravings. You will feel cranky. You will feel out of sorts. However, you will also find that all of this will lessen significantly after a few weeks. And more importantly, it will help you to learn how to listen to your body so that you may gain a type of control that is more sustainable than attempting complete abstinence whether it be sugar, carbs, or bad girls with tattoos.
Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.
Image Source: Courtesy of Rewind from Pixabay
Reference: “Study suggests sugary diet endangers waste-eating protein crucial to cellular repair” TuftsNow news release 31 Dec. 2020.