If you are going to do the keto diet and eat keto foods you have to quit sugar and nasty carbs. It will be a complete waste of time preparing and eating keto meals high in fat if you still eat sugar and carbs. The idea behind keto based meals is to not spike insulin in the body. The consumption of sugar and carbs will do the complete opposite and spike insulin and start converting the excess sugars to fat. So if you decide to do keto, drop sugar and carbs completely or you won’t get the results you’re after.
Sugar And Carbs Are Addictive
There was a study run by QUT which found that sugar had similar addictive reactions as harmful drugs. Professor Bartlett stated that:
Excess sugar consumption has been proven to contribute directly to weight gain. It has also been shown to repeatedly elevate dopamine levels which control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine.
After long-term consumption, this leads to the opposite, a reduction in dopamine levels. This leads to higher consumption of sugar to get the same level of reward.
To clinically prove that sugar has the same affect as addictive drugs is really concerning. Then to compound the issue, prolonged long-term use will desensitise our bodies and we have to consume more sugar to get the same dopamine buzz. Due to this addictive nature, sugar levels get out of hand and all that excess sugar can lead to not only weight gain but other health issues such as diabetes.
How Did I Give Them Up?
However, giving up sugar and carbs is not easy. This was by far the toughest thing for me to do. As I mentioned in my journey posts, I love fruit, bread based foods, especially sweet desserts. I regularly enjoyed an apple, banana, a yummy pastry like a freshly made creamy vanilla slice, chocolate eclair, or a fresh cream apple turnover. How in the world was I going to give them up? Commitment.
When I did all my research about keto and found out how the foods I was eating were affecting my body, I understood what I needed to do. From that point, I committed to stop consuming sugar and carbs as best I could. I say ‘best’ because I have had a few cheat days where I chose to consume them. Regardless though, that knowledge of what it does to my body was enough to motivate me to commit for the long term.
Was it easy? Heck no, physically it was tough. I didn’t realise how much my body relied on sugar and carbs to keep me going. I went through the keto flu as part of my withdrawals from sugar and carbs and it can be physically punishing. Fortunately there are things you can do to smooth out that transition to being keto adaptive. Thankfully once you become keto adaptive the physical benefits are noticeable and you will feel better.
The key is to be committed, once you know that sugar and carbs are damaging your body it helps mentally to stick to your guns and your keto objectives. Remember in the long run this can improve your health and heal your body.
The following video by Doctor Axe provides some excellent tips on how to overcome your sugar addiction naturally:
Is It Easy To Maintain?
At first no, your body will crave that chocolate bar, that blueberry muffin, that can of soft drink but you will need to resist that. However over time if you stay committed, it becomes easier to say NO as your body starts to lose those cravings. At this point in time I don’t have any urges or cravings for sweet treats. I still enjoy the smell of fresh bread, pizza or pastries but I have no cravings to eat them. It’s a strange sensation but it’s real, over time you eventually lose the cravings for the bad sweet treats. Funnily enough my biggest craving at the moment is eating pan grilled salmon with skin. I recently started eating it with my salad and I love it.
Admittedly when I still feel like something sweet for variety, I will have a keto friendly sweet treat. Some will say that even sweet keto treats should be avoided altogether because it still provokes those old sugary cravings. I agree with this thought when you first start keto and you are trying to quit sugars and carbs. Substituting sweet keto treats at the beginning may keep those mental craving triggers fired up. Maintaining the sweet sensation may make it easier to revert back to sugar and carbs.
However, I’ve found months after your body becomes keto adaptive, you lose the craving for sweet treats. But if I feel like something sweet I will have one keto friendly treat which is much better than eating a cheat treat. Even if you do keto friendly treats try not to go overboard. I stick to a maximum of one a day which is usually after my dinner meal. Having too many keto friendly sweet treats may bring back those cravings.
You Can Do It!
In summary, learn why keto requires you to drop the nasty carbs and sugars from your diet. Knowing what damage they do to your body and how addictive they are, will help you to commit and say NO! Once you overcome the initial mental and physical challenges of quitting sugar and nasty carbs, your body will adapt without them. Then if all goes well and you stick to your commitment you will lose those cravings altogether. Good luck and stay committed!