Xtreme Ketones

How to Get Into Ketosis Quickly After A Cheat

How to get back into ketosis quickly

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that provides several health benefits.

During ketosis, your body converts fat into compounds known as ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy.

Studies have found that diets that promote ketosis are highly beneficial for weight loss, due in part to their appetite-suppressing effects.

Emerging research suggests that ketosis may also be helpful for type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders, among other conditions.

That being said, achieving a state of ketosis can take some work and planning. It’s not just as simple as cutting carbs.

Here are 7 effective tips to get into ketosis.

1. Minimize Your Carb Consumption
Eating a very low-carb diet is by far the most important factor in achieving ketosis.

Normally, your cells use glucose, or sugar, as their main source of fuel. However, most of your cells can also use other fuel sources. This includes fatty acids, as well as ketones, which are also known as ketone bodies.

Your body stores glucose in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen.

When carb intake is very low, glycogen stores are reduced and levels of the hormone insulin decline. This allows fatty acids to be released from fat stores in your body.

Your liver converts some of these fatty acids into the ketone bodies acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These ketones can be used as fuel by portions of the brain (5, 6).

The level of carb restriction needed to induce ketosis is somewhat individualized. Some people need to limit net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) to 20 grams per day, while others can achieve ketosis while eating twice this amount or more.

For this reason, the Atkins diet specifies that carbs be restricted to 20 or fewer grams per day for two weeks to guarantee that ketosis is achieved.

After this point, small amounts of carbs can be added back to your diet very gradually, as long as ketosis is maintained.

In a one-week study, overweight people with type 2 diabetes who limited carb intake to 21 or fewer grams per day experienced daily urinary ketone excretion levels that were 27 times higher than their baseline levels (7).

In another study, adults with type 2 diabetes were allowed 20–50 grams of digestible carbs per day, depending on the number of grams that allowed them to maintain blood ketone levels within a target range of 0.5–3.0 mmol/L (8).

These carb and ketone ranges are advised for people who want to get into ketosis to promote weight loss, control blood sugar levels or reduce heart disease risk factors.

In contrast, therapeutic ketogenic diets used for epilepsy or as experimental cancer therapy often restrict carbs to fewer than 5% of calories or fewer than 15 grams per day to further drive up ketone levels (9, 10).

However, anyone using the diet for therapeutic purposes should only do so under the supervision of a medical professional.

BOTTOM LINE:
Limiting your carb intake to 20–50 net grams per day lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to the release of stored fatty acids that your liver converts into ketones.

2. Include Coconut Oil in Your Diet

Eating coconut oil can help you get into ketosis.

It contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

Unlike most fats, MCTs are rapidly absorbed and taken directly to the liver, where they can be used immediately for energy or converted into ketones.

In fact, it’s been suggested that consuming coconut oil may be one of the best ways to increase ketone levels in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders (11).

Although coconut oil contains four types of MCTs, 50% of its fat comes from the kind known as lauric acid.

Some research suggests that fat sources with a higher percentage of lauric acid may produce a more sustained level of ketosis. This is because it’s metabolized more gradually than other MCTs (12, 13).

MCTs have been used to induce ketosis in epileptic children without restricting carbs as drastically as the classic ketogenic diet.

In fact, several studies have found that a high-MCT diet containing 20% of calories from carbs produces effects similar to the classic ketogenic diet, which provides fewer than 5% of calories from carbs (14, 15, 16).

When adding coconut oil to your diet, it’s a good idea to do so slowly to minimize digestive side effects like stomach cramping or diarrhea.

Start with one teaspoon per day and work up to two to three tablespoons daily over the course of a week.

BOTTOM LINE:
Consuming coconut oil provides your body with MCTs, which are quickly absorbed and converted into ketone bodies by your liver.

3. Ramp up Your Physical Activity

A growing number of studies have found that being in ketosis may be beneficial for some types of athletic performance, including endurance exercise (17, 18, 19, 20).

In addition, being more active can help you get into ketosis.

When you exercise, you deplete your body of its glycogen stores. Normally, these are replenished when you eat carbs, which are broken down into glucose and then converted to glycogen.

However, if carb intake is minimized, glycogen stores remain low. In response, your liver increases its production of ketones, which can be used as an alternate fuel source for your muscles.

One study found that at low blood ketone concentrations, exercise increases the rate at which ketones are produced. However, when blood ketones are already elevated, they do not rise with exercise and may actually decrease for a short period.

In addition, working out in a fasted state has been shown to drive up ketone levels.

In a small study, nine older women exercised either before or after a meal. Their blood ketone levels were 137–314% higher when they exercised before a meal than when they exercised after a meal (23).

Keep in mind that although exercise increases ketone production, it may take one to four weeks for your body to adapt to using ketones and fatty acids as primary fuels. During this time, physical performance may be reduced temporarily (20).

BOTTOM LINE
Engaging in physical activity can increase ketone levels during carb restriction. This effect may be enhanced by working out in a fasted state.

4. Increase Your Healthy Fat Intake

Consuming plenty of healthy fat can boost your ketone levels and help you reach ketosis.

Indeed, a very low-carb ketogenic diet not only minimizes carbs, but is also high in fat.

Ketogenic diets for weight loss, metabolic health and exercise performance usually provide between 60–80% of calories from fat.

The classic ketogenic diet used for epilepsy is even higher in fat, with typically 85–90% of calories from fat (24).

However, extremely high fat intake doesn’t necessarily translate into higher ketone levels.

A three-week study of 11 healthy people compared the effects of fasting with different amounts of fat intake on breath ketone levels.

Overall, ketone levels were found to be similar in people consuming 79% or 90% of calories from fat (25).

Furthermore, because fat makes up such a large percentage of a ketogenic diet, it’s important to choose high-quality sources.

Good fats include olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, lard and tallow. In addition, there are many healthy, high-fat foods that are also very low in carbs.

However, if your goal is weight loss, it’s important to make sure you’re not consuming too many calories in total, as this can cause your weight loss to stall.

BOTTOM LINE:
Consuming at least 60% of calories from fat will help boost your ketone levels. Choose a variety of healthy fats from both plant and animal sources.

5. Try a Short Fast or a Fat Fast
Another way to get into ketosis is to go without eating for several hours.

In fact, many people go into mild ketosis between dinner and breakfast.

Children with epilepsy are sometimes fasted for 24–48 hours before they start a ketogenic diet. This is done to get into ketosis quickly so that seizures can be reduced sooner .

Intermittent fasting, a dietary approach that involves regular short-term fasts, may also induce ketosis (28, 29).

Moreover, “fat fasting” is another ketone-boosting approach that mimics the effects of fasting.

It involves consuming about 1,000 calories per day, 85–90% of which come from fat. This combination of low calorie and very high fat intake may help you achieve ketosis quickly.

A 1965 study reported significant fat loss in overweight patients who followed a fat fast. However, other researchers have pointed out that these results appear to have been highly exaggerated (30).

Because a fat fast is so low in protein and calories, it should be followed for a maximum of three to five days to prevent an excessive loss of muscle mass. It may also be difficult to adhere to for more than a couple of days.

Here are some tips and ideas for doing a fat fast to get into ketosis.

BOTTOM LINE:
Fasting, intermittent fasting and a “fat fast” can all help you get into ketosis relatively quickly.

6. Maintain Adequate Protein Intake
Achieving ketosis requires a protein intake that is adequate but not excessive.

The classic ketogenic diet used in epilepsy patients is restricted in both carbs and protein to maximize ketone levels.

The same diet may also be beneficial for cancer patients, as it may limit tumor growth.

However, for most people, cutting back on protein to increase ketone production isn’t a healthy practice.

First, it’s important to consume enough protein to supply the liver with amino acids that can be used for gluconeogenesis, which translates to “making new glucose.”

In this process, your liver provides glucose for the few cells and organs in your body that can’t use ketones as fuel, such as your red blood cells and portions of the kidneys and brain.

Second, protein intake should be high enough to maintain muscle mass when carb intake is low, especially during weight loss.

Although losing weight typically results in the loss of both muscle and fat, consuming sufficient amounts of protein on a very low-carb ketogenic diet can help preserve muscle mass (5, 30).

Several studies have shown that the preservation of muscle mass and physical performance is maximized when protein intake is in the range of 0.55–0.77 grams per pound (1.2–1.7 grams per kilogram) of lean mass .

In weight loss studies, very low-carb diets with protein intake within this range have been found to induce and maintain ketosis (7, 8, 33, 34).

In one study of 17 obese men, following a ketogenic diet providing 30% of calories from protein for four weeks led to blood ketone levels of 1.52 mmol/L, on average. This is well within the 0.5–3.0 mmol/L range of nutritional ketosis (34).

To calculate your protein needs on a ketogenic diet, multiply your ideal body weight in pounds by 0.55 to 0.77 (1.2 to 1.7 in kilograms). For example, if your ideal body weight is 130 pounds (59 kg), your protein intake should be 71–100 grams.

BOTTOM LINE
Consuming too little protein can lead to muscle mass loss, whereas excessive protein intake may suppress ketone production.


7. Test Ketone Levels and Adjust Your Diet as Needed

Like many things in nutrition, achieving and maintaining a state of ketosis is highly individualized.

Therefore, it can be helpful to test your ketone levels to ensure you’re achieving your goals.

The three types of ketones — acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate — can be measured in your breath, blood or urine.

Acetone is found in your breath, and studies have confirmed testing acetone breath levels is a reliable way to monitor ketosis in people following ketogenic diets (35, 36).

The Ketonix meter measures acetone in breath. After breathing into the meter, a color flashes to indicate whether you are in ketosis and how high your levels are.

Ketones can also be measured with a blood ketone meter. Similar to the way a glucose meter works, a small drop of blood is placed on a strip that’s inserted into the meter.

It measures the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate in your blood, and it has also been found to be a valid indicator of ketosis levels (37).

The disadvantage of measuring blood ketones is that the strips are very expensive.

Lastly, the ketone measured in urine is acetoacetate. Ketone urine strips are dipped into urine and turn various shades of pink or purple depending on the level of ketones present. A darker color reflects higher ketone levels.

Ketone urine strips are easy to use and fairly inexpensive. Although their accuracy in long-term use has been questioned, they should initially provide confirmation that you are in ketosis.

A recent study found that urinary ketones tend to be highest in the early morning and after dinner on a ketogenic diet (38).

Using one or more of these methods to test ketones can help you determine whether you need to make any adjustments to get into ketosis.

 

Why Can’t I stay motivated to lose weight?

 
“WHY CAN’T I STAY MOTIVATED TO LOSE WEIGHT?”

You’re not alone.Anybody trying to lose weight goes through a similar journey.You start out on fire.

You’re motivated to lose weight.  You exercise and it’s easy to say ‘no thanks!’ to junk foods.

Making healthy choices feels natural and effortless.

But then, everything shifts.

Suddenly, everything that felt so natural feels inconvenient now.

It’s easier to make excuses.

Your motivation is gone. Exercise seems inconvenient and you’re craving all of those foods you’ve left behind.

“I don’t want to workout!  I’ll start over Monday!  Pizza sounds so good right now!“

And all of the sudden you’re 3 slices in and feeling guilty.

Like a failure… like you knew better but you did it anyway… and you find yourself wondering, “Why can’t I stay motivated to lose weight?”

Sound familiar?

It should. It’s the frustrating shift that virtually every person trying to lose weight experiences on a regular basis (myself included).

If you’ve ever hit a rough patch and lost your motivational mojo, then the Bee-Xtreme Community is perfect for you.

As with many things in life, we go through changes in stages. Weight loss is no different.

As you know, successful weight loss is about changing your lifestyle.

That’s just another way of saying you need to change your behaviors. The stages of behavior change have been studied in depth.

Below is my take on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (I know, fancy wording), and how it corresponds to staying motivated to lose weight.

To stay motivated to lose weight, you need to make sure you’re in the right stage, mentally.

What stage are you in?

THE 5 STAGES OF WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION

WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 1:  PRECONTEMPLATION

In the first stage of weight loss, people have no intention to change their lifestyle.

They either don’t see a reason to change their habits, don’t think there’s a problem with their body/health, or they’re happy just the way things are.

In this stage, people rationalize their thoughts.

They may think to themselves “losing weight is too much work” or “life is good just the way it is” or “I don’t need to lose weight to be happy.“

The good news? If you’re reading this you’re probably not in this phase.


WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 2:  CONTEMPLATION

Contemplation is the phase where most people wanting to lose weight get stuck.

In this stage, you’ve made a conscious decision that you need to make changes if you want to lose weight.

Now you’re contemplating, what to do to make that happen.

Maybe you already know what to do, or maybe you don’t have a clue.

During this stage, you’re seeking out information, but not yet actively changing your eating or exercise habits.

You may be in this stage right now.

WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 3:  PREPARATION
During the preparation stage, you feel ready and able to make lifestyle changes because you see that there’s a benefit associated with the effort you’ll be making.You feel ready to make changes because they’ll result in a reward.

You feel encouraged and inspired to take action.

So you start making small behavioral changes like drinking more water, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or swapping out fries for a side salad.

Moving from the contemplation stage to the preparation stage is a big deal. You’ve successfully acknowledged and accepted that you need to make changes and have begun to make small changes.

The preparation phase is one of the most important phases.

Many people stay here. While others skip this stage completely and immediately start to take action.

I admire their drive, but their success levels dramatically decrease, as they skipped right past one of the most important steps to losing weight and staying motivated…

Having a meal plan or exercise program that works for their goal, or educating themselves about what they should eat and which exercises they need to use to reach their goal.

WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 4:  ACTION
The action stage of weight loss is one of the most difficult. The action phase is where you’ve set goals and start taking action to get them.

This is when you’re actively changing your bad habits and replacing them with good ones.

It’s the time where you’re breaking your emotional connections to food.

It’s the time where you’re questioning if you have what it takes to do this for the rest of your life.

It’s the stage where many people make it to, but end up relapsing back to the 1st or 2nd stage.

People struggle to stay in the action stage because they don’t have the education, tools, plan, and support they need to stay motivated.

If you can stay in the action phase for at least 6 months, you have likely made a lasting change in your life.

WEIGHT LOSS MOTIVATION STAGE 5:  MAINTENANCE
In the maintenance stage, you have successfully changed the majority of your bad habits and have lived a healthy and active lifestyle full of whole foods and exercise for more than six continuous months.

You know how bad behaviors can adversely affect your weight and health.

You know that eating healthy food makes you feel so much better than the temporary happiness emotional eating provided. In fact, you have no intention of engaging in that behavior ever again.

Your confidence is sky high, and your body has undergone a complete transformation.

People (including the original non-supporters) are now complementing you on your weight loss and asking you how you did it.

Congratulations, you have successfully changed your life for good, and living this new healthy lifestyle is just as easy to do as living the unhealthy one was in the past.

WHY YOU CAN’T STAY MOTIVATED TO LOSE WEIGHT

To lose weight you have to stay in the action phase… people typically lose their motivation to lose weight and leave the action stage for 4 reasons:

1) YOU HAVEN’T ACCEPTED YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP THE HABITS THAT CAUSED THE WEIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE

Are you really ready to give up your bad habits? You don’t have to change overnight. Make a conscious effort to slowly phase out your vices, and replace them with healthier alternatives.

2) YOU’RE NOT EMOTIONALLY JAZZED UP ABOUT YOUR GOAL BODY

They don’t want to lose weight bad enough. Get crystal clear about what you want, why you want it, and how (freaking!) good it’s going to be when you get it. Visualize it!

Think about how bad you want it every time that little devil on your shoulder is trying to get you to cheat on your diet or skip the gym. A Weight Loss Vision Board can help you stay motivated and focused.

3) YOU AREN’T GETTING THE RESULTS YOU WANT… SO YOU GIVE UP OUT OF FRUSTRATION

This happens when you don’t follow a complete plan that’s best for you and your goal.

Make sure you’re following the right program for you. But it’s also important that you follow professional advice…

Preferably a professional who completely understands exercise, nutrition, and how to use both to lose fat, and keep you motivated… like me! ; )

4) YOU HAVE SOMETHING WORKING AGAINST YOU AND YOUR METABOLISM

Motivation struggles are often a symptom of a much bigger issue.

It is A LOT HARDER to stay motivated if you have toxic build-up, metabolic damage, or a hormone imbalance working against you.

The good news is, it’s completely possible to use food and exercise to reset your body quickly and reverse problems so you can lose fat fast.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what stage of weight loss motivation you’re in and what you struggle with the most.

If you tell me what you need help with, I’ll make more posts for you. : )

Hugs and Love

Your Biggest Cheerleader
xxoo

Toni Sweeney

 

motivation dwindles. supplements help!!

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Sugar withdrawals & your 4 week plan to say good-bye for good!

That white, powdery substance just makes you feel good. You can’t get it off your mind, and you keep coming back for more. The more you have it, the more you want it! But even when you try to stay away from it, it finds ways to sneak into your life almost daily. What can you do?

We’re not talking about some dangerous or illegal drug here; we’re talking about sugar. Although it’s considered harmless in comparison, sugar, in excess, can cause a host of problems for a lot of us: cravings, binge eating, weight gain and heart disease among them. According to the USDA, the average American consumed 151 pounds of sugar in 1999—an all-time high. Since then, consumption has dropped slightly and in 2010 the average American consumed 132 pounds. (To put that into perspective, consider that the number was just 4 pounds in the year 1700.) At least half of the sugar we consume comes from soft drinks, fruit drinks, and sports drinks. The rest sneaks into our diets in the form of ketchup, teriyaki sauce, chocolate milk and the obvious sweets like cookies, cakes, ice cream and even breakfast cereal. Surprisingly, some “healthy foods” such as yogurt and instant flavored oatmeal can pack in 20 to 30 grams (five to seven teaspoons) of unnecessary added sugar! It seems like we’re drowning in sugar, and nobody is wearing a life vest.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that we limit our daily sugar consumption to 7% or less of our daily calorie intake—that’s about 6 teaspoons (100 calories) for women and nine teaspoons (150 calories) for men. But that adds up fast. Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight to 10 teaspoons of sugar and 130 to 150 calories. One glazed donut contains six teaspoons, and a half cup ice cream (the standard serving size, although most portions are much, much larger) contains four grams of added sugar!

Why Should You Care? Is Sugar Actually Bad for You?

Well, aside from the increased bulge around the waistline, diets high in sugar are strongly linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, elevated triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and heart disease. Sugar intake has also been linked to depression, migraines, poor eyesight, autoimmune diseases (such as arthritis, and multiple sclerosis), gout and osteoporosis.

Recent research has shown that a high intake of carbohydrates, including sugar, releases a feel good chemical in the brain called serotonin. Think of how you feel after indulging in a high sugar meal or treat—almost euphoric, right? The high of a sugar rush is temporary though. After a few hours—or even a few minutes—you start to crash and you become tired, fatigued and lethargic.

Although sweet foods are tempting and delicious to most people (blame Mother Nature for that!), the more sugar you eat, the higher your tolerance becomes. So if you have a strong sweet tooth or intense cravings for sugar, chances are not that you were born that way, but that your dietary habits and food choices created the sugar monster you may have become.

Fortunately, we can reverse this tolerance in just a couple of weeks by cutting out sugar. Once you have decreased your threshold, something that tasted perfectly sweet a few weeks ago, will begin to taste too sweet to eat, and that can help you reduce your intake of the sweet stuff.

Withdrawal Symptoms? Seriously?! ( Is sugar like a drug?? YES!)

With an addictiveness similar to cocaine, quitting sugar can come with a host of not-so-fun withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms are not fun at all but WE PROMISE it’s worth it in the end!!

Stage 1: Seems easy enough, right?

At this stage, your body doesn’t recognize that you’re no longer pumping fructose into your system. This is usually one to two days.

Stage 2: Cravings, oh! The Cravings!!

Ohhhh, those cravings. Yep, fructose is one addictive beast and it won’t let go of you without a fight. Plus, the temptation will be everywhere. Some Programmers have actually told us they’d have dreams about giving into their cravings and bingeing on sweet treats. Stay strong. Eat foods higher in good fat to help keep you sane. The best is yet to come.

 

3. Headaches. Oh, the headaches.

But not before the headaches. Much like when you give up that other addictive vice, caffeine, headaches are a very commonly reported symptom of sugar withdrawal. Time to invest in some Excedrin Migraine, and make sure to drink plenty of water (especially if soft drinks or juice were your main source of hydration beforehand).

4. You may feel some aches and pains.

Some people report aches and pains, or even flu-like symptoms, in the throes of withdrawal. One remedy we’d vouch for is a warm bath with Epsom salts, which studies have suggested may help flush out environmental toxins. But if you feel really out of sorts, check yourself out with a doctor.

5. Mood swings may be… less than pleasant.
At this point, your brain receptors are screaming: SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR. Between that and the headaches and the cravings, you may understandably have some gnarly mood swings. It’s helpful to have a solid support network around you during this stage, to help you remember why you started. Luckily, the great folks in our community are here to help you out!

 

6. Some people even get “the shakes”.
Just like a T. Swift song, your body may need to “shake it off, shake it off”. Mild tremors are linked to stress and blood sugar drops, so try having a snack or herbal tea to see if that helps. And do see a doctor if you are worried.

7. But suddenly, you’ll come out the other side feeling better than ever.
It could be a few days, but you’ll suddenly “get” what everyone was talking about. You’ll feel brighter, clearer and better than ever, as each day without the white stuff gets easier. No more cravings, no more blood sugar roller coasters, no more sugar-related headaches or 3pm slumps.

Remember: The more sugar you’ve consumed on a daily basis, the worse the detox symptoms. Hang in there!

Cutting Out Sugar: A 4-Week Action Plan
 
While the occasional sweet treat won’t make or break your weight loss or your health, many people have trouble stopping after a sensible portion or saying no to sugar when it’s available. If you feel out of control around sugar, then a sugar “detox” is a great way to reduce your cravings, eat better, and bring sugar back to where it belongs: as an occasional treat that you consciously choose to eat in a mindful manner, not a daily treat occurrence that controls you.
 
Follow this month-long plan to break your sugar addiction!
 
Week 1: Identify Sugar and Where It’s Hiding
 
The first step in conquering your sugar habit is to rid your pantry and refrigerator of added sugar. Some things (think ice cream, cookies and candy) are obvious, but most of us need to look closer at where the sugar in our diets is coming from. This will require a bit of label reading in the beginning, but after a while, it will become easier.
 
In order to cut back on hidden or added sugar, scan the ingredients list of a food label. If you see any of the following terms listed, then sugar has been added to the product in one form or another and it is best left on the shelf at the store—especially if that sugar shows up within the first five ingredients of any food product.
 
Agave nectar
Agave syrup
Barley malt
Beet sugar
Brown rice syrup
Brown sugar
Buttered syrup
Cane sugar
Cane juice
Cane juice crystals
Carob syrup
Confectioner’s sugar
Corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
Corn sugar
Corn sweetener
            Corn syrup solids
Crystalized fructose
Date sugar
Dextran
Dextrose
Diatase
Diastatic malt
Evaporated cane juice
Fructose
Fruit juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose
Glucose solids
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
Grape sugar
            Grape juice concentrate
Honey
Invert sugar
Lactose
Malt
Maltodextrain
Maltose
Maple syrup
Molasses
Raw sugar
Refiner’s syrup
Sorghum syrup
Sucanat
Sucrose
Sugar
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar
 
This first week is about awareness. Reading labels before you buy—or bite. How many of your favorite foods contain hidden sugars in the top of their ingredients lists?
 
Once you have identified the sources of sugar in your diet, clean out your kitchen. Throw out or donate all of the products that contain hidden or added sugars, including any juice, soda, candy, sweets and seemingly healthy snacks like granola bars, fruit and grain bars, instant flavored oatmeal and sports drinks. This may sound drastic, but stay with me!
 
Remember, you don’t have to throw away everything that is sweet! Natural sugar, like the kind you find in whole fruit, contains vitamins, minerals and fiber, which are lost in the processing of juice. Milk contains naturally occurring sugars, but also provides calcium, vitamin D and protein. So unlike soda, fruit juices and other processed foods, whole fruit and dairy products provide us with essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Be wary of certain fruit- or milk-based products that contain added sugars though: flavored milk, many yogurts, fruits canned or jellied in added sugar or syrups, and the like. Opt for unflavored skim or 1% milk, plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, and whole pieces of fruit. Remember, we are trying to cut out the 151 pounds a year of added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugar found in whole foods.
 
Week 2: Stock Your Sugar-Free Kitchen
 
In one week, you’ve probably found lots of sugar in your diet. Some of it may have been obvious, like those frozen waffles or lattes from the local coffee joint. But others might not have been so clear, as sugar tends to lurk in many “diet” foods and lower-fat foods, added by manufacturers to make their low-cal offerings taste better.
 
Now that you know what to look for (and avoid), it’s time to replace the products you tossed with sugar-free counterparts. For example, replace high-sugar cereals with a whole grain cereal that contains little to no added sugars. Sweeten it naturally with fresh berries or half of a diced banana. Instead of snacking on candy or cookies, reach for a handful of nuts or some raw veggies and hummus. Replace sweetened yogurt with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt. Look back at week one and the foods you used to eat that contained sugar. Can you find no-sugar oatmeal? A healthier snack than a sugar-sweetened smoothie (how about a whole piece of fruit)? A more filling afternoon treat than that sugary “protein bar” (such as peanut butter on whole-grain crackers)?
 
When choosing a refreshing beverage to quench your thirst, keep in mind that you want to eat your calories, not drink them. Choose ice cold water flavored with a squeeze of fresh lemon or an orange slice. Or flavor unsweetened iced tea with fresh mint, crushed raspberries, or a squeeze of citrus.
 
One tip to help you avoid added sugar at the supermarket is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store as much as possible. Think about the general layout of a grocery store: The outside is home to fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grain breads and the inside aisles are stocked with cookies, chips, soda, fruit juice, cake mixes, and other processed foods. Spend most of your time on the outside and only go down the inner aisles for specific products, like whole-grain pasta.
 
Never shop on an empty stomach and always shop with a list. Shopping while hungry can lead you to adding all kinds of snacks and impulse buys to your cart. Meal planning can be a tricky task at first, but following a meal plan is an important part of breaking the sugar addiction. It will help to keep you on track and help prevent stopping for fast food when you don’t have a game plan for dinner. Spend a little time on Sunday afternoons jotting down some meal ideas for throughout the week. Make a list of the food items you will need to make the meals you wrote down and stick to it!
 
What about Sugar Substitutes?

Sugar substitutes and sugar alcohols have their place and they may be beneficial in helping you to break the sugar addiction or they may not. You will have to experiment and see how they affect you and your cravings. Even though they may not add additional calories to your diet, sugar substitutes and sugar alcohols might not help you to BREAK the sugar addiction since they are adding the sweet flavor to your diet. In some people, they may even increase your sweet tooth.
 
Week 3: Stop the Sugar Cravings
 
Now you really start to put your plan into action. You’ve identified the sources of added sugar in your diet and replaced those foods with healthier and more wholesome alternatives. Your kitchen is now set up for success!
 
This week’s focus should be on making a conscious effort to avoid sugary foods. When a craving strikes, try going for a walk or simply drinking a glass of water. Take a hot bath or get lost in a good book. Typically any craving will pass if you wait it out long enough. But it’s important to begin understanding the difference between true hunger and food cravings. If you are truly hungry, a handful of nuts or some raw veggies dipped in hummus will sound appetizing, so go ahead and eat one of your healthy snacks. But if you’re craving something sweet or a specific sugary food, use a distraction technique.
 
The first week of saying no to sugar will be the hardest, but the more diligently you stick to your plan, the better you’ll fare in the end. Even a tiny taste of sugar during this time period can lead to setbacks.
 
After a couple sugar-free weeks, your sugar threshold will start to decrease and you will find that you no longer crave sugar or sweets as you once did. As with any lifestyle change, the first couple of weeks are the hardest. Eventually, it will become habit to reach for a mint tea or piece of fruit instead of juice and candy.
 
Week 4: Game Plan for Life
 
Now that you have yanked that sweet tooth, it’s time to devise a plan to prevent a sugar addiction relapse. Although sugar isn’t necessary for health and it’s perfectly fine if you want to continue avoiding it, it probably isn’t realistic for most people to avoid all forms of sugar forever.
 
So if you want to allow a little sweetness back into your life, that’s OK. Moderation is key. Don’t let sugar and sweets become a daily habit. Instead, consider them to be special occasion treats only. With your lowered threshold for sweetness, that shouldn’t be too hard. But if you begin to indulge too often or overindulge over a short period of time (such as a weeklong vacation), you could find yourself back in trouble with sugar all over again.
 
If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up over it. Accept your action and decide to make a better decision next time and move on. Continue to experiment with your new, healthy foods and recipes. You’d be surprised at how many ways you can make treats healthier and use far less sugar than a recipe suggests.
 
And remember: It generally takes about 3-4 weeks for a new behavior to become habit, the most important thing is to stick with it.

sources: iquitsugar.com, shapemagazine.com, droz.com