How to Stop Eating Sugar

How to Stop Eating Sugar - Smarter living Guides - The New York Times

How to Stop Eating Sugar

If you’re like most Americans, you eat more sugar than is good for you. But it’s entirely possible to eat less sugar without sacrificing much — if any — of the pleasures of eating. Surprising as it may sound, many people who have cut back on sugar say they find their new eating habits more pleasurable than their old ones. This guide will walk you through why sugar matters, how you can make smart food choices to reduce sugar consumption, and how you can keep your life sweet, even without so many sweets.

: Credit to and By David Leonhardt

(original article here)


The Added-Sugar Problem
Here’s why you eat more sugar than you realize, and why it’s a problem. How to Stop Eating Sugar

The first thing to know: Added sugars, of one kind or another, are almost everywhere in the modern diet. They’re in sandwich bread, chicken stock, pickles, salad dressing, crackers, yogurt and cereal, as well as in the obvious foods and drinks, like soda and desserts.

The biggest problem with added sweeteners is that they make it easy to overeat. They’re tasty and highly caloric but they often don’t make you feel full. Instead, they can trick you into wanting even more food. Because we’re surrounded by added sweeteners — in our kitchens, in restaurants, at schools and offices — most of us will eat too much of them unless we consciously set out to do otherwise.

It’s not an accident. The sugar industry has conducted an aggressive, decades-long campaign to blame the obesity epidemic on fats, not sugars. Fats, after all, seem as if they should cause obesity. Thanks partly to that campaign, sugar consumption soared in the United States even as people were trying to lose weight. But research increasingly indicates that an overabundance of simple carbohydrates, and sugar in particular, is the No. 1 problem in modern diets. Sugar is the driving force behind the diabetes and obesity epidemics. Fortunately, more people are realizing the harms of sugar and cutting back.

Health experts recommend that you focus on reducing added sweeteners — like granulated sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, stevia and molasses. You don’t need to worry so much about the sugars that are a natural part of fruit, vegetables and dairy products. Most people don’t overeat naturally occurring sugars, as Marion Nestle of New York University says. The fiber, vitamins and minerals that surround them fill you up.

A typical adult should not eat more than 50 grams (or about 12 teaspoons) of added sugars per day, and closer to 25 is healthier. The average American would need to reduce added-sweetener consumption by about 40 percent to get down to even the 50-gram threshold. Here’s how you can do it — without spending more money on food than you already do.

Changing your diet is hard. If your strategy involves thinking about sugar all the time — whenever you’re shopping or eating — you’ll likely fail. You’ll also be miserable in the process. It’s much more effective to come up with a few simple rules and habits that then become second nature. (One strategy to consider: Eliminate all added sugars for one month, and then add back only the ones you miss. It’s easier than it sounds.)

Above all, most people’s goal should be to find a few simple, lasting ways to cut back on sugar. Once you’re done reading this guide, we suggest you choose two or three of our ideas and try them for a few weeks.


First Thing in the Morning
Remember, breakfast shouldn’t taste like dessert.How to Stop Eating Sugar

Breakfast is the most dangerous meal of the day for sugar. Many breakfast foods that sound as if they’re healthy are in fact laden with sugar. In Chobani Strawberry Yogurt, for example, the second ingredient — ahead of strawberries! — is evaporated cane sugar. And many brands of granola have more sugar per serving than Froot Loops or Cocoa Puffs. In the United States, as the science writer Gary Taubes says, breakfasts have become “lower-fat versions of dessert.”

There are two main strategies to ensure that breakfast doesn’t become a morning dessert. The first is for people who can’t imagine moving away from a grain-based breakfast, like cereal or toast. If you fall into this category, you have to be quite careful, because processed grains are often packed with sugar.

A few grain-based breakfasts with no or very low sugar:

Cheerios. They’re quite low in sugar.
Plain oatmeal. Flavor it with fresh fruit and, if necessary, a small sprinkling of brown sugar.
Bread. A few breads have no sugar (like Ezekiel 4:9 Whole Grain). A longer list of brands have only one gram, or less, per slice (including Sara Lee Whole Wheat and Nature’s Own Whole Wheat). Authentic Middle Eastern breads, like pita and lavash, are particularly good options and a growing number of supermarkets sell them.
Homemade granola. You can also make your own granola and play around with the sugar amounts.
But there is also a more creative alternative. Move away from grain-based breakfasts. If you do that (as I have recently, after decades of eating cereal), avoiding added sugar is easy. My new breakfast routine actually feels more indulgent than my old one. Most days, I eat three or four of the following:

Scrambled or fried eggs
Plain yogurt
A small piece of toast
A few nuts
A small portion of well-spiced vegetables, like spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes.

I realize the part about vegetables may sound weird. Maybe morning veggies aren’t for you. But maybe you’ll be surprised to discover they are, as I was. Remember: In much of the world, including large parts of Asia, breakfast is a savory meal, not a sweet one, just as lunch and dinner are. Vegetables aren’t a weird thing to eat for breakfast in China or India. For more breakfast ideas, check out breakfast recipes from Whole30 (a food program that eliminates much more than just sugar).

A final tip: Keep your juice portions small. Real juice doesn’t have added sweeteners. But fruit juice is one source of natural sugars that can be dangerous, because of how efficiently it delivers those sugars. You’re not eating the stomach-filling fiber of an orange when you drink a glass of orange juice. Keep your juice portions to no more than six ounces, and have only one per day.

From the Bottle and Can
Beverages are one of the biggest sources of added sugars in our dietsHow to Stop Eating Sugar

Eliminate soda from your regular diet. Just get rid of it. If you must, drink diet soda. Ideally, though, you should get rid of diet soda, too.

That may sound extreme, but sweetened beverages are by far the biggest source of added sugar in the American diet — 47 percent, according to the federal government. Soda — along with sweetened sports drinks, energy drinks and iced teas — is essentially flavored, liquefied sugar that pumps calories into your body without filling you up. Among all foods and beverages, says Kelly Brownell, an obesity expert and dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke, “the science is most robust and most convincing on the link between soft drinks and negative health outcomes.”

Get this: A single 16-ounce bottle of Coke has 52 grams of sugar. That’s more added sugar than most adults should consume in an entire day.

As for diet soda, researchers aren’t yet sure whether they’re damaging or harmless. Some scientists think diet soda is perfectly fine. Others, like the Yale cardiologist Dr. Harlan Krumholz, think it may be damaging. Dr. Krumholz recently announced that after years of pounding diet sodas, he was giving them up. There is reason to believe, he wrote, that the artificial sweeteners they contain lead to “weight gain and metabolic abnormalities.”

Many people who think they’re addicted to soda are attracted to either the caffeine or the carbonation in the drink. You can get caffeine from coffee and tea (lightly sweetened or unsweetened), and you can get carbonation from seltzer, flavored or otherwise.

For many people, the shift to seltzer, club soda or sparkling water is life changing. It turns hydration into a small treat that’s still calorie-free. Buy yourself a seltzer maker, as I have, and gorge on the stuff at home, while saving money. Or buy fizzy water in cans or bottles. Sales of carbonated water have more than doubled since 2010, with the brand LaCroix now offering more than 20 different flavors, all without added sugar.

If they’re not sweet enough for you, you can also add a dash of juice to plain seltzer. But many people find that they lose their taste for soda after giving it up. And many Americans are giving it up: Since the late 1990s, sales of full-calorie soda have fallen more than 25 percent.

Tip: If you live near a Trader Joe’s, it provides a lot of good, affordable options. Many of its staples have little or no added sweeteners, including some of its house brand sandwich breads, tortillas and bacon.

Try it: When you go to the supermarket, compare various brands, and choose one with little added sugar. Do this once, and then it’s easy to make the no-sugar items your default. You no longer have to spend energy thinking about it.

Start with a product’s Nutrition Facts table. Some products now include a helpful line listing the amount of “added sugars,” in addition to the standard “sugars” line (which includes naturally occurring sugars). The Trump administration has made the “added sugars” line voluntary, however, so you may also need to look at the full ingredient list next to the Nutrition Facts table, to figure out whether a food has an added sweetener. Here’s a helpful list of the many sweetener names.


Snacks can all too easily turn into yet another dessert. Many granola bars and power bars are packed with added sugars. The same goes for canned and dried fruits. And don’t kid yourself about those flavored Starbucks drinks: They’re more like a milkshake than a cup of coffee.

What are better alternatives for snacking? Have some nuts, as Barack Obama famously does. Or popcorn. Or fresh fruit. Or canned fruit that doesn’t come soaked in thick syrup.

Several companies have also realized that more people are trying to reduce their sugar intake and have begun offering snack bars without added sweeteners. These options include Larabars and Rxbars.

The Sauce Risk

What’s hiding in your ketchup? Sugar, most likely.

How to Stop Eating Sugar

Other than breakfast, sauces and toppings are the biggest stealth sugar risk.

Two of the four biggest ingredients in Heinz Ketchup are sweeteners. The biggest ingredient in many barbecue sauces is high fructose corn syrup. Many pickles — especially those labelled “bread and butter” — are heavily sweetened. Not only does Ragu pasta sauce have added sugar but so does Newman’s Own Marinara. Even Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard has some added sugar.

It is easy enough to use sauces without sugar in most cases. These products are good examples of sauces that forgo the sugar:

  • Maille dijon mustard
  • Gulden’s spicy brown
  • French’s Yellow Mustard
  • Prego’s Marinara
  • Victoria pasta sauces
  • Vlasic Kosher Dill Pickles
  • Newman’s Own Classic Oil and Vinegar salad dressing

As for barbecue sauce: You’re probably won’t find a good one without sugar. And as a Texan by marriage, I’m not going to suggest you give up barbecue. But no one said that you have to eliminate all sugar from your diet. Cut back on it elsewhere, and you can enjoy your brisket, ribs or pulled pork, slathered in a delicious sauce, without feeling guilty.


Want to control what’s in your sauces? Make them yourself. You can quickly and cheaply make your own salad dressing with some combination of olive oil, an acid (like vinegar, lemon or lime), herbs, garlic and shallots. Here’s a great, and extremely simple, recipefrom my friend Sam Sifton.

While you’re at it, try making your own homemade marinara sauce, and impress your friends with ketchup cooked on your own stove.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling,Foam rolling was introduced to me in 2013. I was mounted to the floor, facedown on my stomach, with almost no ability to move from the position. A day earlier I had been trying a new exercise that was similar to one that I had been well trained in. The slight variation in retrospect put an extreme amount of tension on the lower back. Simply put, coupled with the “loose” form and 225 pounds my lower back went…

I dropped to the floor like the iconic see of platoon and that was it. I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t even cry out for help because the pain was so intense. Luckily I was born in an era where my cell phone was also my music device and I quickly contacted my roommate (at the time of this writing my future groomsmen). He along with 2 other friends picked me up, set me in his car. After a short call to my mother who is a nurse, we decided to head to the nearest hospital. After some super cold fluid I literally felt go through my veins via the IV, the pain subsided and I was happy to lay back on the gurney. (See fun image below)

hospital trip

A severe grade 2 muscle Tear. They said anymore and the muscle probably would have and may come off of the bone. I was told to rest, not workout for 2-6 weeks, and take over the counter meds for the pain. So there I am, mounted to the floor. My roommate is feeding me protein shakes and bless his heart, dumping the uernal they gave me at the hospital. My back was pretty much healed at the muscle level by day 3, but my gosh I had no mobility. I may as well have had a steel rod in my back. So what’s an exercise science major to do?

I spent the next couple of hours looking how to best get my back from being so stiff. Everything was stretching, take a hot shower, lay on a heating pad. Meanwhile, I still can’t make it to the bathroom (thank God it was only protein shakes I was consuming…). Then I found it, myofafcial release. This is the stretching and mobilization of the fascia.

Perfect! How do I do this witchcraft? Foam roller? Okay, well I didn’t have that near my person. I had my roommates tv remote. It would have to do, I pushed that thing in my back until My eyes filled with tears. I continued this for 10 minutes, literally feeling the tension release moment by moment. “Finally, that had to work”,  I thought to myself. Sure enough, I slowly gathered myself and stood up. Hallelujah hallelujah like the famous song of a eureka moment.

My back was still so sore and weak, but I had enough strength to walk. In three days I hadn’t moved from that spot. That day I went and had my first solid meal, edible gold. No doubt, I was 100% the happiest person in that cafeteria. I could have cried tears of joy. What a day to be able to walk again and eat solid food!

I thought okay, I’ll take it easy and be back in a week or so. I’m an optimist, so this would be easy to be hopeful for a fast recovery. I woke up the next morning unable to get up again. I continued my state-of-the-art Toshiba remote control myofascial release for the next 3 weeks.   It ended up taking about 2 months before I did any back or leg work because of it and nearly a year before I wasn’t concerned about reigniting an injury. I moved on to using the black foam cylinders tucked away in the corner of random areas of my recreation center.

After finding a couple of articles and how to descriptions I was hooked. I did not have and have not had any injuries since (knock on wood). It is now a cornerstone of what I do after my workouts, when I have time prior, and whenever I am lacking mobility. I had the great fortune of being asked to be an ambassador for hyperice, a major professional athlete rehab and prehab company for many renown professional athletes. One of the products I use and have my clients use is the vyper 2.0. It’s a vibrating foam roller that helps to penetrate deeper into the tissue and increase circulation more effectively.

I still keep my old foam rollers for myself and clients. This is mainly for spatial cues for form and the less dense one for those who are not accustom to the technique. If you aren’t foam rolling yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a simple 5 minutes or so that may keep you from being stuck on the floor, facedown, using a urinal, that your future groomsmen takes care of for you… thank you Adam! So there you have it folks, foam rolling and my introduction to it. foam rolling and adam

Today, more people are rolling now than ever before in time for recovery. As active individuals, this is a great addition to a healthy fitness regimen. Just like it’s cousin stretching, foam rolling has numerous benefits. It can help to alleviate sore muscles greatly for starters. Injury prevention is also increased when foam rolling is incorporated. Decreased time for recovery is an added bonus. Lastly, it is a great way to stimulate the nerves and nervous system.

For people who want to maximize their fitness and health, foam rolling is a wonderful addition. Oftentimes, sore muscles are a large complaint about exercise. This is especially true for those whom are new to the activity or those whom are resistance training. For those who decide to go forward with both, it can be downright debilitating. Being a personal trainer, I’ve had clients tell me that the were unable to straighten their arms fully after a work… for several days.

In retrospect, my lack of experience when I first started training, probably lead to too much too soon. If you fall into this bit of lack of mobility, extremely sore muscles or a combination of the two, foam rolling can be a Godsend. It can bring muscles that seem improbable, back to life. It may be very painful, but if you can get through this brief period, it will make a world of difference in both the amount of pain experienced and decreased mobility. Both factors will improve as a result. You may need to repeat this multiple times, as soreness will linger along with tightening of the muscle.

Stretching is good, but foam rolling has benefits stretching does not, or does not have to the same degree. In addition, foam rolling is great for relaxing the goli tendon organs, allowing a muscle to contract better and have increased range of motion. In addition to this, foam rolling also increases localized blood flood of the area in contact. I share how this has been improved even more so below in my personal experience with foam rollers that vibrate to increase circulation even more so than traditional foam rolling.

One of the best overall advantages to foam rolling is better overall healing. The amount and acuteness of any adhesions (knot-like buildups of healed muscle at a microscopic level) are significantly decreased. This allows for better sliding of the action and myosin filaments that make up our muscle tissue. This in turn equates to better overall function and reduced risk for injury. This rolling of the adhesions increases blood flow, nutrient delivery, and oxygen to the tissues. Because more oxygen is present and a greater concentration than would normally occur of nutrients is present as well, greater and faster healing occurs.

Look at it this way. Say a building is being built and a storm comes through and damages it. The workers assigned to that section will then fix it accordingly with what material they have one site and continue on after they are finished. This is similar to what happens when we damage the muscle in a healthy way with exercise and give the body good rest and nutrition to rebuild. But, imagine if those workers had a brand new delivery of supplies and didn’t have to scavenge for replacement parts.

This is similar to the body bringing the nutrients and oxygen to the focused area from the foam rolling. It is maximizing its potential for the area with everything the body needs (assuming you’re eating a well balanced diet with plenty of complete protein for repair purposes). This can be a game changer, especially if it is debilitatingly painful, you train frequently, or you simply don’t want to be sore for a longer period of time.

Alternatively, this is great for helping to prevent injuries as well. I can personally attest to this with (knock on wood) no injuries over the past 5 years. Another benefit to foam rolling is that it is similar to a warm up in that you must stabilize yourself to perform the various moments. Each movement requires a different angle and requires you to use the arms, legs, and core to obtain the proper movement. This actively engaged those muscles, and in some instances, works them to the point of mild fatigue. Oftentimes, I’d perform prior to the workout I will break out in a light sweat by the end of the foam rolling session due to all of the movement that occurs.

This is definitely an added bonus as I do not have to formally “warm-up” as much. This is a great way to save time and maximize efficiency. This also has the mental benefit of forcing you to focus on your body’s sense of awareness and the workout ahead. It’s pretty hard to balance and roll on your IT band and text at the same time. This helps to make a more coherent transition into the workout from your previous activity.

Another added benefit is an increase in proprioception.

What the heck is that?! It is essentially your awareness of your body and your body in space. A fun example I like to try from time to time on myself and clients that shows quick and easily what and how good yours is is the door test. Basically stand 10-15 feet away from a door, take a good long hard look, to the best of your ability with your eyes closed, try to walk over, grab the handle, and walk out of the room.

If you have great proprioception, you will be able to navigate through space with only your body’s awareness of where it was at the start. Poor awareness and you may end up at the adjacent wall. If you try this, go slowly, hand outstretched, and with no obstacles on the way (unless you are trying to go master level). Normally, I’ll miss the door handle by about 8-12 inches. A goal to strive for in the future! Here are some links that you can visit to see the science behind foam rolling. Fibromyalgia patients

If you have any questions, send them my way! Take care, all the best, and God bless!

Interested in the viper 2.0 or my earlier foam roller models, check out these links:



Sleep better – 5 Easy Tips

Sleep,better sleep

We all want to perform at our best and sleep is crucial for that to happen.

Sleep is pretty awesome. You put in a hard day of work and you get to just lay there and recuperate. You come out of the land of the Mr. Sandman and pixies, refreshed, and ready to take on another day with life and vigor. But, sometimes we wake up and it’s a living nightmare. We are exhausted, disoriented, and sometimes downright unable to function. Here’s 5 Tips to make sure you’re walking on sunshine every morning.

Continue reading “Sleep better – 5 Easy Tips”