And watch your health, mood, and energy SOAR
August is a popular month for vacations.
Perhaps a relaxing getaway to the beach, a refreshing trip to the lake, or even a simple “staycation” is on the horizon.
No matter your plans, I suggest you add something new to your itinerary this year…
Take a vacation from sugar!
Yes, I know sugary indulgences are tempting. People love to let loose and “treat themselves” to margaritas, ice cream, donuts, and other sweets to celebrate the end of summer. But remember… #sugarkills.
And the sooner you cut it from your diet, the better your health will be.
That’s why I developed a simple plan to help you CONQUER your sugar cravings in just THREE DAYS. (You may even find it’s easier to implement it when you’re on vacation—away from your regular routines… and secret goodie stash.)
But before I tell you all about my quick, simple plan to cut sugar, let’s look at some recent research showing the terrible toll it takes on the body.
Sugar increases MAJOR disease risk
We have to start thinking of sugar as more than just an ordinary food additive. It’s FAR more dangerous than that.
In fact, it’s an “anti-nutrient”—meaning it robs your body of vital nutrients, particularly B vitamins. And eating too much of it wreaks havoc on your metabolism and hormones. Plus, it has direct links to our obesity epidemic. And contributes to a soaring rate of Type 2 diabetes.
(The 21st century has been so plagued by these conditions, that they’re commonly referred to as “twin epidemics.” We’ve even combined the two into a single, deadly phenomenon known as “diabesity.”)
Now, modern research shows sugar’s effects go way beyond that toxic, diabesity link. In fact, we now know sugar increases your risk of developing FOUR additional types of diseases…
For starters, scientists at the Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg (JMU) recently discovered a strong link between sugar consumption and hard-to-treat autoimmune disorders.1
Specifically, they found that excessive sugar consumption causes your immune cells to overreact and attack the body’s own tissues. It also “turns on” certain pro-inflammatory genes.
As a result, sugar-lovers run a much higher risk of developing chronic autoimmune problems—including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Type 1 diabetes, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland).
You may also have sugar to blame for your low mood…
In fact, in another study, researchers looked at sugar consumption over 30 years in more than 10,000 middle-aged men and women in London. It turns out, men who regularly consumed the amount of sugar found in just two cans of cola increased their risk of mood disorders, most notably depression, by 23 percent after five years.2
So, if you’re struggling with any type of mood disorder, or simply can’t overcome a dark feeling, I suggest looking at your diet. Are you stress-eating? Or maybe taking a holiday from your healthy, balanced diet more often than not? If so, it’s high time to make a change.
Now, let’s move on to the disturbing link between sugar and cancer…
Cancer’s secret FUEL
The connection between sugar and cancer is so well-established, I recommend anyone battling the disease to immediately stop eating it.
That’s because sugar FUELS cancer cells. (In fact, cancer cells can’t live without it!)
The medical community may even start using sugar as a contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screenings. Why? Well, cancer cells take up a lot more sugar than ordinary cells. Meaning the malignant cells should become more visible during the screening if their “fuel” is circulating.
Plus, the best tool we have for diagnosing cancer—the positron emission tomography (PET) scan—already uses radioactive sugar. (The more sugar the tumor consumes, the more malignant it is.)
In addition to fueling existing cancer cells, sugar also increases your risk of developing this horrific disease in the first place…
In a recent, long-term study out of France, researchers looked at the association between sugary drinks—such as 100 percent fruit juices and other sugar-sweetened beverages—and the risk of developing cancer.3
Results showed that an increase in sugary drink consumption of just over 3 ounces per day (that’s less than half a cup) resulted in an 18 percent greater chance of developing cancer in general—and a 22 percent greater chance of developing breast cancer specifically.
(Yes, 100 percent fruit juice was just as bad as soda.)
Of course, sugar also attacks your cardiovascular system…
DOUBLES your cardiovascular disease death risk?!
A massive, 15-year study looked at the relationship between sugar intake and cardiovascular mortality (death) in more than 30,000 people.5
And the results were eye-opening, to say the least…
Those who took in 25 percent or more of their daily calories from sugar were more than TWICE as likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to those whose diets included less than 10 percent added sugar.
Of course, very few Americans actually limit their sugar intake to less than 10 percent of their daily calories.
Instead, the average American adult consumes an average of 77 grams of sugar per day—which is TWO to THREE TIMES the recommended levels. Plus, that amount equates to 60 POUNDS of sugar consumption each year!6
Most of that sugar comes from ultra-processed, packaged products. (That’s a main reason I advise eliminating such products from your diet.)
But if manufacturers would cut just 20 percent of the sugar from packaged food products and 40 percent from beverages, it would prevent:
- 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events (such as strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrests)
- 490,000 cardiovascular deaths
- 750,000 diabetes cases
And that’s just in the current U.S. adult population of people ages 35 to 79 years!
If we could make such a plan a reality, the U.S. alone could save $4.28 billion in total net healthcare costs and $118.04 billion over the lifetime of the current adult population.
Not to mention, it would reduce MAJOR health risks and eliminate unnecessary DEATHS. That’s a win-win-win in my book!
I hate being that guy who proposes legislation to get people to eat right, but how can I not? The government already regulates trans fats. So, why not do the same to sugar… which is FAR deadlier?!
Instead, they continue to turn a blind eye, letting Big Food manufacturers get away with—well—murder. Which means, for now at least, you MUST look after yourself and tame your sugar consumption.
That brings me to my simple, three-day plan…
Set yourself up for success
Sugar is a powerful draw for all of us.
In fact, several recent studies claim that sugar is just as addictive to humans as illicit drugs—like cocaine and heroin.7 And when you consider all the new research discussed earlier, I would contend that it’s just as deadly!
Now, as an overweight person trapped inside this thinner body (I’m talking about myself here), I know how hard it can be to cut sugar from your life.
But one thing I’ve learned is that you CAN do it—you just need a good plan.
Here are a few steps I recommend you take in the days leading up to your sugar holiday to set yourself up for success:
- Throw out or donate all the processed, packaged foods and beverages in your fridge and pantry that contain added sugar. (And if you’re going away on vacation, certainly don’t bring the junk with you!)
- Stock up on easy, nutritious snacks—like fresh vegetables and crunchy nuts—that allow easy access when a sugar craving strikes.
- Plan out (or even prepare) your meals for the next three days. Keep the focus on cutting sugar, NOT calories or fat! This approach will help keep hunger at bay, so you’re less likely to fill up on sugary snacks. (See some daily meal ideas on the next page.)
- Make sure to get plenty of sleep—seven to nine hours is ideal.
- Purchase some glutamine to help tame sugar cravings. I suggest supplementing with 500 mg of glutamine three times a day or whenever a powerful sugar craving hits.
- Tell your family and friends what you’re trying to accomplish… and ask them for their support and cooperation. (Maybe you can even convince them to join you.) Cutting ties to sugar is a mental journey as much as a physical one. And it may take a village to get through it!
- Figure out what your triggers are. For example, if you always want a sweet snack after dinner, figure out how you’re going to curb that temptation. It can be with a walk, a hot shower, a call to a friend, a cup of tea, or whatever you find works best for you.
Now, let’s move onto the main event…
Your personalized plan to cut sugar in THREE DAYS!
Day 1: Cut the crud. This first day is relatively simple: Avoid everything that obviously has sugar in it. This includes cookies, cakes, ice cream, juice, and soda. And remember to drink plenty of water.
Here are some ideas for meals to enjoy on day 1:
Fried egg with bacon and watercress
Tuna melt on a big portobello mushroom
Bacon and blue cheese stuffed burger—served on cabbage and caramelized onions, instead of a bun
Then, when you find yourself craving a sugary snack, perhaps cut up a hardboiled egg and dip it in some hot sauce or spicy mustard. (Hot flavors tend to diminish the brain’s desire for the sweet stuff!)
Day 2: “Un-refine” your diet. Get rid of all the processed, refined carbohydrates in your diet. This includes white rice and white flour (as found in pasta and breads). Basically, you want to avoid consuming anything sold in a box or produced in a factory.
Then, when a craving strikes, grab a quick snack that I mentioned above, like a handful of nuts or seeds… or even a spoonful of avocado.
Here are some ideas for meals to enjoy on day 2:
Tartlet with eggs, ricotta cheese, and prosciutto
Astoria Greek salad with chicken breasts and kalamata olives
Creole gumbo with Italian sausage, shrimp, and oysters
Day 3: Spot sugar’s deadly aliases. Make sure to take a close look at the ingredients listed on all processed foods you consume. It’s surprising how many seemingly healthy foods hide added sugar, corn syrup, and refined carbohydrates.
Specifically, you’ll want to avoid anything made with these additives (or sugar):
- Anything that ends in –ose or –ol
- Barley malt
- Cane sugar
- Concentrated fruit juice
- Maple syrup
- Rice syrup
Then, treat yourself to a third day of delicious, satisfying meals, such as:
Protein crêpes with lox and cream cheese
Homemade vegetable soup
Halibut with salsa fresca
For a snack today, make a fresh batch of pico de gallo or guacamole to enjoy with some endive or peppers. Enjoy some plain herbal tea, such as mint or peppermint, as a new after-dinner treat.
In just three days, you’ll see your health, mood, and energy SOAR
In the end, cutting out sugar is one of the very best things you can do for yourself when you go on vacation this month. And in my view, there’s simply no better way to close out my absolute favorite time of year.
Plus, in just a few days’ time, I promise that you’ll start to see your health, mood, and energy SOAR!
For the actual recipes to go along with the meal ideas I mentioned above, check out my A-List Diet cookbook. (Order yourself a copy from www.AListDietBook.com.)
Finally, for additional meal-prep guidance, I encourage you to tune into my Cooking With Dr. Fred show on Instagram (@DrFredNYC) and YouTube (“The Dr. Fred Show”). Then, cook alongside me! I even demonstrate one of my favorite “sweet treats”—made without the toxic stuff (sugar)! Just search for my very own “Dessert Crepe.”
SIDEBAR: Are artificial sweeteners any better?
You may think artificial sweeteners are the answer to your sugar cravings because they help satisfy your sweet tooth… while warding off weight gain.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, scientific studies show artificial sweeteners in diet soda and “sugar-free” snacks actually sabotage your weight-loss efforts and make your sugar cravings STRONGER.
Plus, when it comes to cancer, they’re just as bad as—if not worse than—real sugar. Case in point: Results from a large-scale, population-based, cohort study suggest a strong association between artificial sweeteners and overall cancer risk.4
In particular, they noted a link between aspartame and increased breast and obesity-related cancers.
Even though the strongest data comes from lab studies with rodents, why would you ever ingest something with clear links to cancers in any living species?!
So, don’t just say NO to sugar… say NO to the “alternative” yellow, blue, or pink packets, too. Then, when you absolutely must, opt for a natural sweetener—derived from plants, not chemicals—like stevia or monk fruit.
Lastly, keep in mind these toxic sweeteners aren’t just found in foods and beverages. They’re also hidden in things like toothpaste, gum, and breath mints. So, always check the label.
- “The glucose transporter GLUT3 controls T helper 17 cell responses through glycolytic-epigenetic reprogramming.” Cell Metabolism, 2022; doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2022.02.015
- “Higher Sugar Intake Linked to Depression in Men.” Medscape, 7/31/17. (medscape.com/viewarticle/883604#vp_1)
- “Sugary drink consumption and risk of cancer: results from NutriNet-Sané prospective cohort.” BMJ, 2019; 366:12408. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2408
- “Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study.” PLOS Medicine, 2022. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003950
- “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults.” JAMA Intern Med 2014; 174(4):516-524. doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563
- “How much sugar it too much?” Heart, accessed 6/2/22. (heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/how-much-sugar-is-too-much)
- “Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:910-913. doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2017-097971