Feb 5, 2017

How to quit sugar

Sugar can lead to a host of health problems. Hindy Weber-Tantoco gives a few tips on how to eliminate it from your fridge—and your life

In case you haven’t heard, sugar is bad for you.  With high-fructose products like cereal and commercial beverages masquerading as “health” foods, consumers have finally realized the high cost of sugar overconsumption, thanks to a host of illnesses outside of diabetes affecting more and more people.

“The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead,” according to The New York Times.

“Given the data that we have today, we have shown that refined carbohydrates and especially sugar-sweetened beverages are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but that the type of dietary fat is also very important,” Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told the NY Times.

Common perception, or at least my mom, demonized fat, instead of sugar. Fat is bad; sugar, meh. At least, that’s what I grew up believing, in a family that regularly consumed soda, cereal and dessert, like we were personally funding the sugar industry. 

No surprise, then, that I ended up with type 2 diabetes.

Ridding myself of my sugar addiction required extreme levels of discipline. I quit soda (even the zero-sugar replacements) almost a decade ago, and went on a low-carb, sugar-free cleanse. 

I don’t advise everyone follow the same path I did. No more cakes, desserts, commercial chocolates—where’s the fun in that? As my mom often says, after taking a peek at my fridge, “There is no joy in this house.”

But figuring out a more nourishing path is ultimately beneficial. It all comes down to avoiding refined sugar as much as possible, and finding a way to eat whole, healthy foods.

nolisoli blog sugar hindy weber tantoco holy carabao
Hindy Weber Tantoco of Holy Carabao. Photo by Artu Nepomuceno.

Organic farmer and wellness advocate Hindy Weber Tantoco, who sells wholesome products under her label Holy Carabao, offered a few helpful tips on how to eliminate sugar:

1. “I do not stock any white sugar in my pantry whatsoever.”

2. “I never use artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Equal, Sweet ’n’ Low.”

3. “Rely on the natural sweetness of food. Use fresh-squeezed fruit juices (not canned, bottled or pre-packed) or sweet vegetables to naturally sweeten. For example: pineapple, yakon, sugar beets.”

4. “Consider natural sweeteners like organic muscovado, organic coconut sugar, maple syrup, raw wild honey, coco nectar, yakon syrup, pure organic cane juice and stevia.”

5. “It’s important to alternate your sweeteners so your body does not develop an addiction to any one particular sweetener. Eating a variety of foods, including sweeteners, contribute to healthier intestinal flora.”

TAGS: diabetes health healthy pineapple stevia sugar sugar beets


Bea Ledesma

Bea Ledesma is the group publisher of Hinge Inquirer and a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. She has a dog named George, and spends much of her leisure time photographing him while he naps. You can see more of her dog photos on her Instagram @bealedesma.