Most of us are addicted to sugar without actually realizing it, which makes cutting it out so hard. As soon as you deprive your body of its craving for the sweet stuff, we go into withdrawal and feel awful. As hard as the process can be, it’s totally worth it. You can do it!

Diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, premature aging and heart disease are all linked to sugar consumption. That list alone should be enough to make you quit cold turkey, but a large percentage of the population is already addicted, making it seem impossible. When also figuring the amount of added sugar hidden in a lot of processed foods, it can seem like a much harder task.

If eliminating sugar sounds completely scary, try cutting back instead. The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that we only consume about 12 teaspoons of added sugar a day (for a 2,000 calorie/day diet). Start by watching what you’re drinking, since a lot of popular drinks like pop, juice, sports drinks and specialty coffees have half or more of your suggested daily intake of sugar. Two cans of soda a day and you’re already well over your daily limit. Lots of sauces and dressings can be deceiving as they can also be sweetened with sugar, even though they taste savoury instead of sweet.. Desserts are an obvious source of sugar, but watch out especially baked goods like pastries, cakes and pies. They are an easy snack for the 3pm slump, but that energy high is short-lived and you’ll likely find yourself reaching for another when you crash.

As much as it might (literally) hurt to do it, try cutting out sugar completely for 3 days. No added sugar, no sweeteners and no foods high in natural sugars. The shorter time frame will make it easier to manage and the results at the end will hopefully have you kicking your cravings for good! After you’ve taken out sugars completely for 3 days, an apple will taste like candy. Your palate will reset and you’ll be able to taste natural sugars again. The added benefits of having more energy, better sleep, less stress and likely a more radiant complexion will make the pain of withdrawal for those 3 days worth it.

Whole foods will become your new go-to, which might seem stressful at the beginning since you’re likely used to grabbing the convenient processed items at the store. A lot of whole foods are quite simple to prepare and can be made in batches, so you can always have options on hand. A lot of vegetables actually taste sweet when roasted and make great toppings for salads, soups and purees. If you don’t already use them, your spice rack will become your new best friend. Often adding spices and heat to your food replaces the desire for sweets, while adding loads of flavour to foods that you might (at first) look at as boring. And don’t underestimate a simple snack of celery with no sugar added nut butter. Not only is it creamy and filling, but it also has a satisfying crunch.