Did you know the American Heart Association recommends to consume under 100-150 calories of added sugar per day for adults? The amount is half for children. Sorry kids!

Sources of Added Sugar

Many natural foods contain sugar. Just to be clear, I am never going to discourage someone from eating fruit or vegetables that happen to have naturally occurring sugar in them. The sugars that occur naturally in foods like grapes, apples, bananas, corn, beets, and oranges are absorbed more slowly and those foods also contain ample health-promoting vitamins, nutrients and fibre.  Even cow's milk has a naturally occuring sugar called lactose in it.  

Added sugar is different. These are sweeteners that are added to soft drinks and other foods purely for taste. This includes granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup. These sugars are manufactured by extracting them from their natural sources (like corn, sugar cane and beets). In their isolated form these sugars are absorbed instantly, and rush into your system like a drug.

Beverages are the leading source of added sugar, accounting for 47% of all added sugar intake. This includes soft drinks, fruit drinks, coffee and sport drinks.

Sweets account for 31% of added sugar.

Sugar Substitutes

Before you get cute and start thinking "sugar free" and diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners are better, think again. According to this article in the Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics:

"animal studies have convincingly proven that artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame potassium) cause weight gain, brain tumors, bladder cancer and many other health hazards. Some kind of health related side effects including carcinogenicity are also noted in humans."


Besides the infinitely possible cascade of chemical side-effects in the body, there is sensible rationale as to why these artificial sweeteners are making us unhealthy.

First, the sweet taste of them makes us crave more sugar in general. In other words, if you consume artificial sweeteners, a grape, apple or orange will no longer taste sweet compared to an artificially sweetened drink. Once your taste buds are tuned to artificial sweeteners, carrots or broccoli will taste vile.

Second, conditioning yourself this way to like sweet food will make you reach for more sugary foods, like cake, doughnuts or fruit juice, anything that will give you a fix.

The net result is weight gain and negative health effects simply because you are eating even more sugar than before. It is no wonder people who drink diet soft drinks gain more unhealthy weight, not less.

Symptoms of too Much Sugar

If you find yourself dealing with mood swings, weight problems and feeling sluggish, too much sugar could be to blame.
One thing to consider trying is a sugar detox. Do this by limiting your diet to only water, fresh vegetables and fruits, and single-ingredient meat.

You may also consider intermittent fasting. This is where you eat nothing from dinner time to lunch, except water. We will write a chapter on that later.

What Happens When You Give Up Sugar?

After One Hour

One hour after a sugary snack, the initial “sugar rush” may wear off. Any temporary alertness may wear off, and you might feel the urge to reach for a sweet or processed snack.

After Three Days

For some of us, sugar is an unrealized addiction. After a few days without it, you might find yourself craving it more than ever and even experiencing withdrawal symptoms including headaches, anxiety and mood swings. It’s critical to keep yourself properly hydrated during this time, which could last several days.

After One Week

If your diet before quitting added sugar included soft drinks, juices and other processed snacks, you may still be feeling some side effects as your body continues to detox. However, you should begin to feel less sluggish and may even find that your energy levels are increasing.

After One Month

By now, you’re probably feeling healthier than you had before. You likely have fewer cravings for sweets, and you are acquiring a taste for vegetables instead.

After One Year

After a full year without added sugar, your body should be adjusted to functioning on essential nutrients, so long as you’ve replaced sugar with healthy options! It should be no surprise that you might be feeling better than you have in years, and you may have even lost weight.

While giving up sugar completely isn’t for everyone, it’s important to at least monitor your intake. 

How to get Through the Cravings

Stay Hydrated

Clean water may not taste very good at first. An adult should drink 2-3 litres of water every day.

Take Vitamins

A quality multivitamin will help your body with the detoxification process and reduce cravings you may have. Remember you can contact me if you want access to our supplement shop. Supermarket supplements are usually not good enough.

Meditate or Pray.

Mood swings and anxiety may be tempered with meditation. Fasting has been used for thousands of years as part of a spiritual journey. Remember Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. When you give up sugar, it will seem like a fast. This is a spiritual and emotional journey as much as a bodily one. Meditation provides some emotional strength to get you through this.

Get Adjusted

Emotional and chemical stress will have a toll on your body physically. It will create muscle tension and changes to your posture. Your regular chiropractic adjustment can only help you heal, relax mentally, and guide you toward a better you.

Looking for other nutritional tips? Ask me at your next appointment.  


Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

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