By Corrie Pikul
You know that sugar affects your weight, as well as your health in general. We ask the pros for some advice on dealing with some of the hardest challenges with going sugar-free.
The Challenge: How to Enjoy Coffee
The Strategy That Works: Caffeine and sugar together can be more addictive than either alone, says Robert Lustig, MD, the pediatric endocrinologist who jumpstarted the anti-sugar movement in the U.S. and the author of Fat Chance. If you're used to drinking your coffee (or tea) sweet, try replacing the sugar with whole milk, which, although significantly less sweet, can still cut some of the bitterness. Whole milk may also make you feel more full than drinking it black or with skim. And stay away artificial sweeteners, which can increase your cravings for sweet food. Here's how this works: The sweeteners prime the brain and body to expect a hit of energy in the form of calories, so when there's no caloric payoff, you're left wanting, and the search for a cinnamon bun kicks off with enthusiasm.
The Challenge: How to Love Your Veggies
The Strategy That Works: Some of the most surprising sources of sugar are yogurt, tomato pasta sauce and...store-bought salad dressing, mayonnaise and ketchup. Overachievers can memorize all 56 names for sugar, but you can also pick up Lustig's shopper's guide and refer to it when you’re in the supermarket. Another option, advocated by Lustig and Mark Hyman, MD, the author of the The Blood Sugar Solution is to go scorched-earth on likely culprits, and throw out all the processed food in your kitchen—anything in a box, bag or jar that has more than five ingredients. This doesn't mean you need to eat vegetables dry; you can quickly whip up your own sauce, salad dressing and mayo (omit the sugar-containing mustard from this easy recipe). They'll taste fresher than many store-bought options, and you'll always know what's in them.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.