Here’s something we see all the time. You set out with a goal of cutting your sugar intake. You say something like, “I’m going to get in control of this once and for all!”
What happens next? You proceed to eat a bunch of sugar while wholeheartedly believing that you’re not eating sugar.
This is because the classic examples of sugar are what most people believe to be “sugar” in total. I’m talking about things like table sugar, donuts, cakes, soda, and candy. The obvious stuff.
This is why people who “don’t eat a lot of sugar” are still struggling with massive cravings and still seeing a real struggle to lose weight and reach their goals.
I had a woman on my email list who we’ll call Karen. She told me, “Kevin, I don’t get why I’m not winning. I’m dedicated to reading labels so I can cut my sugar intake. I eat Cheerios every morning because there’s only one gram of sugar per serving.”
Man, do I feel for her. She’s doing everything she thinks is right and she’s relying on that official FDA food label on the package to make her calculations.
Like so many people we work with, Karen is a victim of Dieting Dogma—the bad advice systematically peddled by the fitness and dieting industry.
Karen thinks sugar is white powdery stuff that gets put into different food products as an ingredient, but that’s the understatement of the century. For Karen to start making any progress, I had to help her adjust her understanding of what sugar is.
Cheerios, while “low in sugar,” are completely starch-based. Do you know what starch does almost immediately after hitting the blood stream? It gets converted to glucose, a fancy word for SUGAR. And what about the milk in the cheerios? More sugar.
I told Karen, “Look, you can eat a bowl of Cheerios with no added sugar or you can eat a bowl of sugar with no added Cheerios. Metabolically, they’re not far off.”
She had no idea.
I don’t care what the marketing on the front of the box says. I don’t care what the official FDA label on the back of the box says. I only care about what your body thinks. And that’s all you should care about too, if you care about being successful.
Of course, she was also drinking a small glass of orange juice (because that’s “healthy natural sugar”) and a slice of toast (no “sugar,” but more starch).
Karen’s breakfast was a metabolic dumpster fire. She’s literally digesting the Dieting Dogma every morning for breakfast.
The worst part is that it set up her continued demise for the rest of the day. Sure enough, two hours after breakfast her energy was crashing. She was “hangry” (hungry and angry at the same time) and on a mission to find something that would give her an immediate boost of energy.
This is when most people hit the vending machine for—you guessed it—more sugar that they don’t think is actually sugar (yay for granola bars!). Or, they run to the coffee shop for caffeine (also usually paired with sugar).
Of course, the stress of all this causes a rise in the stress hormone cortisol. Do you know what cortisol does to blood sugar? It elevates it.
More hormonal disruption.
When you accept that sugar isn’t just fluffy white powder that’s sometimes an ingredient in things, but rather the bulk of the 80,000 processed food products that surround you, it becomes quite clear that a mistake has been made in your strategy to beat this challenge.
It’s not just processed food products though. One of the most common statements people make when they first come to us for help is, “I eat healthy but I still can’t manage to get in control of this problem (sugar).”
“Healthy eating” is often what’s undermining you, especially if you’ve been led to believe that fat is the enemy. If fat is the enemy, you’re going to be eating a ton of foods that convert to sugar in the body and make your sugar dependence impossible to overcome.
Or maybe you think “healthy eating” is all about whole grains, juicing, beans, rice, and fruit? Or, maybe you think that smoothies and juices are great for you. Or, maybe you think that eating fake sugar is a great alternative. If any of that is the case, you’re doomed to struggle. It’s just the nature of having the wrong information.
To be clear, sugar is not evil. It’s not addictive. It doesn’t need to be completely cut out of your diet. I just don’t want you to be wolfing down sugar while believing you aren’t. I don’t want to see you struggle any longer when simple adjustments can free you forever.
Next Step: Make sure you take our free “Dieting Dogma” evaluation to find out how badly the fitness and dieting industry has programmed you and what you can do to “decode” yourself.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s helped tens of thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and now offers all of his signature programs through a “pay what you want” model.