Welcome to The MetPro Method. I am your host Crystal O’Keefe. I am joined by Jessee Davis and we are discussing how to detox from sugar. She is a MetPro coach and has several years of experience helping clients navigate sugar pitfalls. I know you are the perfect person to talk to Jessee. Welcome and thank you for joining me.
Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
I'm excited to have you here because I have major sugar issues. I can’t not eat chocolate. Even when I'm at my best on MetPro, there is at least a square of dark chocolate in my life every day. It has gotten better but if I'm a person who has been binging on sugar, this time, that could happen, what's the best way to stop?
We first tell you that you are a woman and we have a little bit of a harder time than those men do.
What is that about? Is that a hormonal thing?
I am for sure convinced that there is a biological hormone thing that when it is our time of the month, whether it's the iron or whatever, we don't have to go into those details that our body needs that cocoa and dark chocolate. I hear you. I need my little chocolate. Not every night but it's about getting better. It's about handling those cravings. First off, those women out there know it's normal. We struggle more than men. That's why they say, “I don't have to eat the whole bag.” You are like, “I do. Hide it from me.” That happens. Don't worry. They are men and are usually taller than us. Tell them to put it somewhere out of sight.
Somewhere I can't find it by looking. I need a little effort.
Back up to the question of how do we combat these sugar cravings? The first thing I would ask somebody that's telling me that they are craving sugar all the time. I would ask them about how frequently they eat. Most of the time, when we are craving sugar, it's because our blood sugar is low and our body knows sugar is the most immediate fuel source we can have. It doesn't want vegetables. It wants chips, candy, and something that it's going to be able to absorb and have that energy immediately.
Being able to distinguish the difference between low blood sugar, “I haven't eaten all day, skip breakfast, and miss my snacks. It's 2:00 and I haven't had lunch. All I want is to go grab a burrito.” That's pretty normal. Your body is in starvation mode at this point of the day. You've given it no fuel. If somebody says, “I'm fueled. I'm eating all my food. Jessee. I ate breakfast. I have my snacks at dinner time.” After dinner, I have this Hank Cream for sugar. Those are completely different people, mindsets, and experiences.
I'm going to talk about the latter about the person that's already fueled, doing everything they need, and still combating that sugar craving that's going on usually at the end of the day. We usually don't have it at the beginning of the day. A couple of things could be, one, they are under-fueled. No matter what meal plan, if it's a meal plan, we have them on or something that they have been doing on their own and they make sure that they eat. They could not be eating enough. By the time the day is over and the body is lacking fuel, it's looking for that immediate fuel source.
The other thing would be that you are truly addicted to sugar. That's the other alternative. Studies show that sugar is an addiction. It creates opiate reactors in the brain. It triggers things. It is 100% percent related to anxiety and depression. The more sugar somebody eats, the more likely they are to be depressed or have medications to combat those things because their sugar intake is out of control.
I was interested to see what the recommended amount of sugar is. For those out there that are curious, and of course, women and men were different. We are of different sizes and ages. This is a super ballpark but it says a woman should have about 25 grams of sugar in a day. If you were to look at a cup of milk, one 8-ounce cup of milk it's got 15 grams of sugar in that cup of milk. People won't even know there is sugar in milk.
We are eating things that probably have sugar in them that we are not even aware of. That's why we are having these addictions because you are like, “I don't eat sugar. Why am I craving sugar?” In men, it's 38 grams. Men get a little bit more sugar in their day. You can look at that and be like, “I get 25 grams. I can do that. I can have my chocolates at the end of the day.” Great. Have your chocolates at the end of the day.
If you are feeling like you need more than that or you start binging, we can start diving into the specific details and needs. For the most part, if someone is craving that sugar, I would like them to become aware of how much sugar they eat in a day because that's probably a good start to becoming aware of what your brain is ingesting.
A way you could probably do that is to take a look at the actual packaging of the things you are consuming and get an idea because a lot of people are not aware that there is sugar in milk. I'm sure there are other things that sugar is hidden and we have no idea.
Who thinks there is sugar in peanut butter because there is? We say all-natural but still, you have to look at those ingredients. People add sugar to tomato sauce and ketchup. Why do we add sugar to something that's already sweet? It’s the American way.
It tastes better, which leads to more cravings.
I can tell you about the fake sugars too but that's a story for a different day. I will tell you that if you are a person that drinks diet soda every day, you are a sugar addict. Even though it is fake sugar, your body is addicted to not only that sugar but the caffeine in Coca-Cola. Diet soda, no-no. Fake sugar, no-no. Have your regular 25 grams of real sugar, wherever it is in your day, and move on.
I know that it's best not to have the sweets in the house but other people in my family don't have the same goals that I have. Let's say that. They also love their sweets. I can't take them out of the house. What should I do? I know you said, “Hide them.” My husband doesn't want to be responsible for hiding my chocolate. He's like, “You are an adult. I don't think that that's cool that I hide your chocolate.” I'm like, “I know where it is.”
I'm a firm believer in trial and error until success. Even if you try something and it doesn't work, try something else. Keep trying until you find something that works for you and your family. Your husband is not willing to hide your chocolate. “Check, I can't do that one. My husband is short. He can't lift up with that.” There are different things that people will say that we can't do.
The number one thing is to make sure that you have good alternatives. If you had that sugar craving, you are going to go to our MetPro Recipes treats that we have or somewhere where it's going to tell you, “You want to have a strawberry smoothie. Do you want to get some strawberries?” Teaching people, it's about natural sugars. You want to be able to be like, “Sugar is okay in moderation if it's the right stuff.”
Somebody that is having a sugar craving or wants dessert at the end of the night might say, “Let's plan on making frozen banana and peanut butter smoothie.” I take cottage cheese and I will put a spoon full of crunchy peanut butter because I love crunchy peanut butter and it's delicious. That's low carb. There are no carbs from the peanut butter. I would tell my clients that they are low carb. I will put some cinnamon on it or you could put cocoa powder on it. Creating spices, eating those flavorful herbs and spices and the natural sugars together is much better for our body and our brain. The more you do it, the more your body is going to crave it.
I would never have thought of cottage cheese as a basis. That doesn't sound sweet. When I think of craving, I do not think of cottage cheese. How would you explain the flavor behind that? I'm having trouble picturing.
I think you are going to have to try that for your afternoon snack. For people that like the sweet and salty, the peanut butter is going to be salty and the cottage cheese is going to be on the sweeter side, the way it mixes and that's why I put cinnamon on top of it. The cinnamon, for me, is that sweet edition. If you are trying to get the carbon, put apple sauce and peanut butter. I might even chop up almonds instead of peanut butter. You don't have to use peanut butter. There are many different things you can do. That's one of my favorites, for sure. You can also take regular yogurt and mix it with peanut butter, put it in the freezer, and I've got frozen yogurt.
Does it taste like frozen yogurt? You don't have to do anything about it.
I add cinnamon. Cinnamon is my go-to for anything sweet. I will use my cocoa powder here and there but I use cinnamon a lot more.
You start making these changes. Does your body have a physical change when you start eating less sugar? What happens there? How does that work?
Depending on the level of sugar addiction, it is the same withdrawals that you will have similar to caffeine or alcohol, where you are going to get migraines. Your body is telling its brain, “I'm missing something. Where's that sugar?” There is that detox stage. Every single client that I have ever had on my roster that starts eating cleaner, those sugar cravings, if they do not crave, they at least decrease substantially.
8 out of 10 clients are going to say, “My sugar craving is out of control and I need help.” I will say, “First off we got to fuel you enough to see how the cravings go.” Sure enough, soon as they get on a plan for 3 to 5 days and you are giving your body, all this food constantly, it is asking for different things. It's no longer asking for the stuff that makes it feel bad.
Digestion can be a huge indicator of having way too much sugar. Your digestion could get backed up and you are stocked up and you can't do anything. If you are trying to eat clean and start getting headaches, then you probably were eating too much sugar. If you are having digestion issues, you feel like you eat a lot of vegetables and have a lot of fiber in your diet, then you might be having too much sugar.
I didn't realize that it could affect that much. I know that it's considered to be a drug for lack of a better explanation but I didn't realize that it could affect your digestion. Anything you put into your body can affect your digestion. I will say though, that since I have been on MetPro, I have noticed that the sugar cravings are less and the better I eat, the better the sugar cravings are. That's important to explain to folks because there's that painful detox period where you feel like you are missing something, as you explain. It's good to know there's light at the end of the tunnel, that it does get better if you are consistent with it.
We are retraining our body, palette, mindset, and the way we think and look at food and exercise. This is part of the very normal process, especially in America. In the United States, we have a sugar crisis. I challenge you all to go to the store and start reading ingredients. Look at how much stuff has sugar added into it. You are like, “Why are we doing this? Why do we have to stay aware of our food to this degree? I'm trying to be healthy.”
Fun fact, as a society, we have spent more money as the decades increase on health, wellness, gyms, and food. We are spending more and getting worse in our health. Something is not working and the biggest takeaway is to educate yourself. People that are reading this blog are educating themselves already. You are trying to figure out, “What can we take away from all the things that have been said to know what works for me? What is right?” There is a lot of stuff out there. If it doesn't make sense to you and your body doesn't feel good doing it, it is probably not the right thing for you. If you feel good and the scale is not going down, that's a different story.
To recap, we have in general, tried to reduce the amount of sugar that you have in your house. You have to treat yourself but do it 25 grams for women and 38 grams a day for men. Look for hidden sugars in any nutrition, anything you are eating, including things like spaghetti sauce, which you would never guess or peanut butter that has sugar in them. Try to find alternatives that still get your sweet tooth. They still satisfy your sweet tooth. If the cottage cheese, the peanut butter or the yogurt don't work for people, is there a place that they can go to look for other alternatives or ideas?
As coaches, we put together our top favorites for our sweet treats. If you are a MetPro member, you ask your coach for that link and they will send it to you. I'm not sure if it's on our website. I don't know but we could add it. If people are requesting it, let us know. I would also say, protein. I know I skip it but the most important part of those sweet treats is that if you are going to have sugar, chocolate chips, peanut butter square or your chocolate square. Try to have a little bit of protein with it.
That will help the body absorb that sugar a lot differently. If we are eating pure sugar, even if it comes from an apple, that's going to look different than if you have that apple with some almonds or you are having that sweet treat with some protein. It allows your body to absorb and utilize those carbs more efficiently.
That is counterintuitive because we are told our whole lives calories in versus calories out. You think I eat the sugar because I'm eating a treat. I should not add anything to the treat that's going to make it more calories but no, that's not true. Our body can digest better if we add protein. If you are going to treat yourself to a brownie, and have a handful of nuts with it, is that what you are saying?
I would probably do cottage cheese. That's my go-to but it's dairy. Some people don't do dairy. Nuts would be another alternative. Almond or peanuts are the highest in protein. You could make a protein shake. That might go good, unsweetened almond milk with a little bit of chocolate protein powder or vanilla, and have that with your brownie. That is going to be a lot better for you than just the brownie by itself.
Is it true that whenever you do eat that sugar, let's say you don't have anything with it, not only does your body process it differently, but it also causes different things with your blood sugar too, which might make more cravings later? Is that how that works?
The more irregular your blood sugar is, the more it goes up and down. The part of your body is working. Think about it that way. Your body is trying to stabilize and it keeps going up and down because you are giving it a sugar spike. They are giving it nothing else to eat with it. If you look at the glycemic load of certain foods, you will look and see that they are different.
Their glycemic load is different if they are added with something else. You can have a glycemic load of banana and have it be super high, and you add some protein to it like peanut butter, and now it goes down. Everything the way it gets broken down inside the system is much more efficient when they work together versus separately.
Jessee, is there anything else people should know in general about sugar cravings? Is there anything we missed?
I think you nailed it all but I would reiterate the meal timing. For those people that are struggling with their blood sugar or struggling with keeping that blood sugar stable and keeping those cravings at bay, it is all about that frequent snacking. If you are used to 1 meal a day, go to 2, try to go to 3, try to add some snacks, and try to do a handful of nuts and a few grapes. Finding that balance to keep your blood sugar stable, that's going to be the best first step in regulating and managing those cravings.
Jessee, thank you so much for your time. This has been a lot of fun. Before we go, can you tell everybody where they can find you if they have questions for you?
You can find me on Instagram, although I just got married, so my Instagram has my own name. You can email me at Jessee@MetPro.co. That's my email. I would be more than happy to answer any specific questions.
That's all for this episode. If you want to learn more about this topic or MetPro in general, you can also check us out at MetPro.co and you can find The MetPro Method wherever you find the show. Please be sure to read and review. Until then, remember consistency is key.