Top Tips From the Anti-Sugar Nutritionist
You may recognize Brooke Alpert from The Dr. Oz Show or Good Morning America. She is a best-selling author, sought-after nutritionist, and sugar authority. I am also lucky to call her a friend. Her first book The Sugar Detox earned her the title of “The Anti-Sugar Nutritionist,” and her new book The Diet Detox is even better: It’s the ultimate guide to a low-sugar lifestyle. Not only does it have incredible low sugar recipes, but it’s also filled with great guidance on how to read labels and tips and tricks for better sleep, exercise, hydration, and supplementing smartly. She recommends Sweet Defeat to all of her clients, and I sat down with her to tackle the hard questions about living low-sugar! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exqrMxIyDVk Q: We all know that we should eat less sugar. But does sugar also make us look older? A: The answer is sadly “yes.” Excess sugar in your diet can show up in your face. Basically, all of that sugar attacks everything in your skin that helps to keep you looking young—like collagen and elastin—and it creates something aptly named AGES, or Advanced Glycation End Products. All of that extra sugar that we are eating eventually will show up in the face and cause premature aging. Q: What can we do about it? A: We need to start limiting all of the extra sugar we’re eating. People are having sugar from the very moment that they wake up. They’ll have coffee, but the coffee is more like a milkshake! They’ll have a muffin that has the same amount of sugar as a cupcake—it just doesn’t have the pretty frosting. And even flavored yogurts—you might as well be having ice cream. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exqrMxIyDVk Q: Sugar Math—we’ve all done it in our head, trying to figure out if that treat or that dessert is worth it. How do you do that calculation? A: The number one rule that I give my clients is, are you going to feel guilty after you eat it? Because If you are going to feel guilty, that means that you are going to make more poor food choices. But if you can eat the cookie, not feel guilty, and move on, then great—go ahead and do it. But if you are going to feel guilt, those foods need to go away. Q: What about fruit? How much is too much when living a low-sugar lifestyle? A: Fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber—all good stuff. But fruit also contains sugar. So while fruit doesn't cause anyone to have to sit on my coach in my office for help with weight loss, it can stall that weight loss. Even worse, it can sometimes trigger sugar cravings for people who are really struggling with their sugar addiction. I recommend limiting to 1-2 servings per day. But I’d always pick fruit over dessert if possible! Q: What about wine? Can you drink alcohol when you’re cutting back on sugar? A: Absolutely! There is a time and a place for a cocktail. I give my clients who drink alcohol one of two options: They can either have dry nights, meaning that they can only drink three nights a week, or they can only have a maximum of one or two drinks per night throughout the week. The choice is theirs. I also recommend low-sugar options. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWzg0n84x0U Q: What are the top five hidden sugars keeping us addicted to the sweet stuff? A: Sugar is so sneaky and it can be in foods that we think are healthy. Here are some examples: Tomato sauce. It should be so simple, with very few ingredients. Tomato sauce doesn't need extra sugar, but you need to read the ingredients on the bottle. Otherwise, you are just pouring sugar on top of pasta, which is already sugar to begin with. Sushi. We all think that sushi is a great healthy meal, but often sushi rice can have added sugar, so you need to be careful. Even the imitation crab that is often found in California rolls can be filled with added sugar. Salad dressing. It’s so upsetting to me when I am in line at a salad bar and I watch people pour sugary salad dressings all over their delicious green salads. Fat-free salad dressing is often filled with sugar to make it taste good. Whenever you see “low fat” automatically think “high sugar.” Whole wheat bread. It looks so healthy, but if you don’t read the ingredients, you would never know that in some store-bought whole-wheat breads, the second ingredient is sugar. Green juice. Green juices or green smoothies have that great color, so of course they look healthy. Unfortunately, many versions have as much sugar as soda. If the first ingredient isn’t a green, put it back on the shelf. Q: Is it okay to have dessert? A: Absolutely, I believe in the intentional treat. I mean, dietitians like dessert, too! Everybody should be able to have a square of dark chocolate. Try to get it over 70% cacao, which is lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants. The darker it is, the less likely you’ll be to overeat it. Life is short, have a piece of chocolate! For more great tips on how to live a low-sugar lifestyle, follow @sweetdefeat or check out Brooke’s latest book The Diet Detox.