Many of us are familiar with the connection between sugar and cancer, however a global pandemic, on top of the December holidays, may mean that many of you, like me, have been consuming more sweet treats lately, even though we may know better. You may have experienced over these past timeless months, that eating more sugar can contribute to a sugar addiction and that the more we have, the better we feel from it, the more we want and crave it.
One of the biggest concerns is the amount of added sugars in our diets, which are often hidden in foods. Although we know that ice cream is an obvious source of sugar, other foods that may not even taste sweet – such as salad dressings, tomato sauces and breads – can be loaded with the white stuff.
Reducing and eliminating all added sugars from your diet is a valuable goal – not only for people with cancer. Many health experts confidently claim that there is not one person who wouldn’t benefit from removing these sugars from their diet.
What we are recommending this week is to:
- Eliminate all added sugar from your diet, for at least 3 days, however the longer the better and many of us may be able to last a full week.
- Go cold turkey with sugar elimination – believe it or not, this is easiest as that sweet taste in your mouth will make you crave it even harder. By quitting it altogether for a specified amount of time, you will recalibrate your palate, reducing cravings and that sugar-dependency. Natural sugar in fruit, for example, will start to taste sweeter.
- Although they don’t contribute calories, artificial sweeteners are not allowed during this detox either. Again, we are hoping to reset our taste buds and these ultra-sweet sweeteners can dull them and make them less reactive to that real sweetness taste.
- Keep an eye out for sugar ingredients by reading food labels: agave nectar, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt sugar, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose
- Lastly, have a plan for those high-craving times, like the middle of the afternoon, or after dinner. These are excellent opportunities to start a new habit, like eating a piece of delicious fruit, or instead, doing a short walk, a mindfulness exercise or taking a self-compassion break.
While a sugar detox may sound extreme, it can be a great way to cut out your intake of refined sugars and move toward a cleaner diet and better health. It’s important that you do what works best for your lifestyle and body, but cutting back on sugar will likely benefit your health. If you would like extra support on moving towards a healthy, anti-cancer diet, consider joining our Cancer Nutrition Program, held online, Tuesday nights from January 19th to February 9th. Learn more about all of our programs here: CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre Program and Events.
Author: Dr. Elise Hoffman, ND