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Life seems sweeter without sugar after initial sour sulking: Sweet success

Kick the sugar to improve your health.
Kick the sugar to improve your health.
Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

If you're the average person in this nation, you gobble up or gulp down three pounds of sugar every week. "Heck no,not me," you think. Umm, okay. But take a closer look at the foods you'd never suspect as secretly hoarding sugar. Ketchup? Yup. Soup? Yup. Bread? Yup.

So how do you kick the habit? Well, it's been three months (90 days precisely for the mathematically inclined) since I went through the freezer, cupboards, refrigerator and menus from my favorite dining places. Out went the fruit juice pops with added sugar, the cereal, the bread, the "naturally sweetened" yogurt (hey, Chobani, "cane sugar" is still sugar) and even the "good-for-you" dark chocolate.

I even checked the cat treats because misery loves company. But they were free of sugar, which caused me to ponder a nation in which pet food is actually healthier than people food. Hmmm. Maybe they should make over the USDA food pyramid based on a cat food pyramid?

Making a significant difference in my motivation: Dr. Robert Lustig, whom I interviewed recently (click here for the full story). In particular, this statement resonated with me: "The sugar-diabetes and sugar-heart disease connections are much stronger. Sugar is integral for the development of chronic metabolic disease, because it overwhelms the liver and drives insulin resistance," he explained.

The first week was not easy. Friends asked me why I was so grumpy. The cats ran from the room when they heard me on the phone trying to find a restaurant that had "guaranteed sugar-free" meals on the menu. (In my price range, apparently there isn't one.)

But over time, it got easier. I followed the mantra of Vinnie Tortich: No sugar, no grains (NSNG). You can find details as well as a list of book recommendations for your own no-sugar, no-grains transformation here.

I also came up with some tasty swaps, such as plain cocoa powder mixed with plain Greek yogurt for chocolate pleasure without the sugar. It's ideal for a low carb diet and can satisfy even the strongest sweet tooth safely.

But here's the question: Is sugar really addictive? Yes, says Jimmy Moore, who lost 180 pounds on a sugar-free, high fat low carb ketogenic diet (click here for his success story).

In an exclusive interview, he said: "I was once contacted by a producer at The Dr. Oz Show about coming on their show to address this very topic. Imagine my surprise when they wanted me to take the position that there is no such thing as addiction to food. Obviously they never read my blog or listened to my podcast before.

"Yes, I strongly believe there are addictive properties in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and other foods that keep you hungry virtually all the time. Any food that you consume should give you ample nutrients, the ability to feel completely satisfied for hours after eating, and have a calm relationship towards food. When I was a carb addict, I constantly thought about food. Now I don't have to because I feed myself well on mostly fat, moderate amounts of protein, and limited carbohydrates," he explained.

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