Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage, and Reclaim Good Health

Thanks, TLC Book Tours, for the opportunity to read and review Sugar Crush.

Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage, and Reclaim Good Health (title link - here and throughout post are affiliate links) by Dr. Richard P. Jacoby and Raquel Baldelomar is an introduction to the impact that sugar has on our bodies. The impact is a huge one - and it's no coincidence that many eating programs these days require a drastic cut of sugar intake, or quite possibly the removal of any additional sugars at all. 

If you've been following me for a while you know I have done a few rounds of Whole30, and in doing so I have learned what removing unnatural sugars does for my body. And it's a lot of really good things. I've got a slight introduction to this concept because of my experience. 

Life after Whole30 isn't the easiest when it comes to omitting extra sugars from my diet, but Sugar Crush is an important reminder of why I need to stick with it and do so.

One section in the book that struck me was the How to Cope with Cravings information. As per Sugar Crush, "addicts crave what they're addicted to, so you should expect sugar cravings as you work on eliminating it from your life." (p. 136)
It sounds like common sense, I know, and it mostly is - but since sugar is in pretty much EVERYTHING we eat and drink - we just don't think about how it impacts our bodies or how we're addicted to it. It's a mindset of, if it's everywhere how could it really be harmful? But it is. When I was in graduate school I learned about addictive substances. Caffeine was a frontrunner in the list of common ingredients that people could find themselves craving. Sugar just wasn't that recognized in that way back then - we're talking late '90s and early 2000s. I always remembered the caffeine detail - and now I need to adjust my mindset so I know that sugar impacts me the same way.

Some suggestions on how to manage your sugar cravings during this time are (pp. 137-140): 

* have a high protein breakfast 
* eat good fats
* add a pinch of salt (salt brings out the natural sweetness in certain foods)
* stay hydrated
* eat regularly
* get enough sleep
* avoid artificial sweeteners

All of these sound fairly self-explanatory, but the book gives us a better understanding of how these adjustments can help us as we transition to a less sweetened way of life. 

Sugar Crush also offers the reader a blood sugar regulation diet, which invites you to determine which of your favorites are the best foods for you. You can also review it to determine which meats, dairy, and fruits and vegetables have a higher glycemic index/glycemic load. 

Lastly (not that this covers the entire book - but some of the most important take-away points for me, as the reader), are the few changes that the authors recommend, whether you've decided to make detailed changes, or take baby steps as you move forward addressing your relationship with sugar. 

1. Give up sugary drinks 
- We all know that soda is the worst thing for us, but we drink it like crazy anyway. Personally, I don't, but I know way too many people who do. Whether you opt for diet soda or the full-on sweet stuff, it's got loads in it you do not need. Sadly, juices fall under this category, as well. High-fructose corn syrup is a primary ingredient in way too many of the juice-box options we have for our kids these days. Try to examine the ingredients and eliminate the HFCS if and when you can.

2. Limit fruit
- But fruit is good for me!!! I know. It is. But it isn't always. Fruit sugar is natural sugar, which, yes, is better for you than manufactured ingredients, for sure. Certain fruits have high sugar levels and if you're trying to extinguish your sugar cravings dropping fruit from your intake will help you do just that. Stick with raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and celery.

3. Use real cream, not milk
- Milk is filled with sugar. Yep. You read that correctly. As did I. Milk is filled with sugar. Cream is the better choice here. I will add that although this book states that most milk substitutes are high in sugar, as well (ie: almond milk, rice milk, soy milk) that I've learned that there are some brands that are unsweetened and do not have any additives that you'd want to avoid. ie: SILK Unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, etc. - are carrageenan-free and have no added sugars. These are as natural as possible, and they can work for you. Just be sure to be careful and read your labels. 

4. Avoid soy
- I type this after having a latte with soy milk today.  I opted for soy so I could stay dairy-free with my coffee and lunch. It's an alternative I try to skip, though, and I opt for almond milk when I can. Or coconut. Though all of the brands out there at places like Starbucks and Caribou Coffee probably don't use the unsweetened kinds, so the sugar is certainly there. Oy. But honestly, I try to avoid soy at all costs. Added soy. Soy milk. It's in everything, though. If you look at the brand of tuna fish you buy - there is probably soy in it. Soy. In tuna. Wh--? So I found a brand or two that are tuna and oil (yes, olive oil instead of water, it's the better tuna choice for you when you hit the grocery store - trust me!), and soy-free. 

- Now, I rambled a bit about my own soy experience, but the book clarifies, as well. They comment, 'Bet you thought soy was a health food,' - guess what? It's not. Soy's not the be-all to end-all we thought it was when everyone started drinking soy milk instead of cow's milk. Pay attention. Read your labels. 

So, there you have it. It's not my norm to review these kinds of books, so I wound up being extremely informative and a bit rambly - no doubt. But I hope this gave you some information to take away with you, and if you're interested in more, and in learning how reducing your sugar intake can help you with health issues. There is so much information in the book, there are quizzes to help you best assess how your body is currently being impacted and what small changes you can make to better your health. So, pick up a copy of Sugar Crush. (affiliate link) 

* I received a copy of Sugar Crush from TLC Book Tours. 
I was not compensated in any way for this review and all expressed opinions are my own. *


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Sugar IS in practically everything - I hadn't thought about that specific thing increasing my cravings when I'm trying to cut down on sugar in my diet. I'll have to be more careful about reading labels from here on out.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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