Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Blog

Ditch the Sugar - Cut the Cravings

Ditch the Sugar - Cut the Cravings - Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness | Optimal Health Solutions - Revised_-_Ditch_the_Sugar_Cut_the_Cravings_-_Header

Did you splurge a bit over the holidays on the sugary holiday treats?  Are you finding you are still craving more sugar than usual?  If your “bad” bacteria (like Candida, for example) are overgrown from all the holiday lifestyle imbalance and stress, it could be triggering those cravings for the refined sugary foods (See my other gut health blogposts for more information on how the health of our gut affects your overall health!) Regularly eating excess sugary foods results in elevated blood sugar.  Overtime, insulin receptor sites become less effective and insulin resistance develops which can cascade into outright diabetes and a cascade of negative health effects.

Any time of the year is the perfect time to zap your sugar addiction and cravings.  Cutting out refined sugars and focusing on whole foods to help reset your insulin function and reduce your cravings begins by becoming aware of how much added sugar is in your diet.

Ditch the Sugar - Cut the Cravings - Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness | Optimal Health Solutions - Click_Here_Printable_-_Calculating_Sugar_IntakeReading food labels is the first step in really understanding how much sugar you’re consuming. This formula will help you make sense of the numbers when looking at a food label in regards to sugar consumption.  Click the picture here and print it so that you can carry this with you for future reference!


1 tsp. of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar.

Each gram of sugar is 4 calories.

1 tsp. of sugar has 16 calories.

To figure out the grams of sugar from calories, divide the TOTAL Calories from sugar by 4.  Total cal/4 = g

Number of calories from sugar = grams of sugar x 4 calories per gram

To figure out the number of teaspoons in a serving, take the grams of sugar and divide by 4 g per tsp.   Example, if there is 12 g of sugar /4 g per tsp = 3 tsp.

So, 12 g of sugar is equal to 3 tsp. of sugar and 48 calories (12 g x 4 calories per gram = 48 calories).

Remember, the US Dietary Guideline recommend limiting calories from sugar to 10% of your total intake.  For a standard 2,000 calorie diet, this would allow for 50 g of sugar, or 12.5 tsp a day! Not everyone will be consuming 2000 calories a day, and even at that calorie level, 50 g of added sugar intake a day is way too much!  The American Heart Association (AHA), on the other hand recommends 6 tsp sugar (24g) for women and 9 tsp sugar (36g)for men a day.  For children the max recommendation is only 3 tsp. or 12 grams of added sugar a day. So what is your daily intake of added sugar?  Spend a few days looking at labels and calculating your total intake per day, and you might just be surprised at how much you are getting!  Even I was surprised when I did this over the holidays after a few family gatherings!

"Food is MEDICINE" is the mantra of Functional Medicine, and it’s true. Food gives messages to our cells and those messages produce either health or disease.   Focus on whole fruits and vegetables with lots of fiber and nutrients, organic to avoid pesticides, and avoid processed, highly refined “food-like substances but not real food”! (Michael Pollen) 

Ditch the Sugar - Cut the Cravings - Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness | Optimal Health Solutions - Food_is_Medicine

Be sure to include clean protein like grass fed and organic meats and high omega -3 fish like wild salmon, or plant-based protein meals including legumes, which are a rich source of fiber, complex carbs, and protein and also loaded with protective antioxidants. 

Focus on low glycemic index foods which stabilize blood sugar (watch for an upcoming blogpost on glycemic index) vs. refined, processed foods which tend to be high calorie, low nutrient, high glycemic index. 

Balancing a good protein, healthy fat and complex carbs will stabilize blood sugar and add satiety to keep cravings at bay for a longer period of time. 

Get your Gut Healthy – balancing the gut microbiota and help with cravings (see previous posts on gut health for more info).

Remember, food is medicine, and every bite of food we eat gives messages to our cells… ultimately producing health or “dis”ease.  Reframe your thinking around food.  Think of food as fuel for your body and consider what messages you might be sending to your cells with every bite you take!

STOP THE CASCADE!! My 4 -week Clean Eating, Detox program includes Advanced Cardiometabolic testing and Results Review to see where you are and to create a targeted blueprint for optimizing your health.  You will get a personalized program, results review and program adjustment, supplement recommendations and  4 weeks of nutritional coaching to get you on a path to wellness ! 

Get 2020 off to a healthy start!  Call or email for more information today!  248 652 2323 or


To Elderberry or Not with COVID-19? My Take

Obviously, everyone is working to gain an understanding of the physiologic changes with Covid-19, but what is becoming evident is that what is dangerous about the virus is not necessarily the virus itself, but the affect it has on the immune system.

Sugar: The Silent Killer

The addictive nature of sugar and the effects on our physiology create a perfect storm for creating an obesity epidemic. What’s becoming clear, though, is that it just may not be all your fault!

When Your Gut is a Jungle Instead of a Pasture

Hippocrates once said, “All health comes from the gut” and we understand more today than ever just how true that statement is. There are many things that can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut. One of the most common and powerful disruptors of a healthy microbiome - antibiotics. What many people don't know is that the disruption of the gut microbiome by antibiotics can trigger mood disruption. In a 2015 study looking at multiple types of antibiotics, it was found that even one dose of any of the antibiotic groups was associated with a higher risk of depression, while recurrent antibiotic use increased the participants risk factors even more.

Manage Your Holiday Stress

Most people don't realize that the stress response triggers a cascade of physiological actions in the body that can shut down stomach function and create digestive upset! There are ways to counter the effects of Holiday Stress this season - read on!

Optimizing Body Composition and Weight Loss by Optimizing Gut Health!

In my practice I work with patients to optimize gut health as a means of optimizing their health. Patients come to me with a plethora of symptoms such as brain fog, digestive issues, skin rashes such as eczema, low energy, muscle pain and fatigue, weight gain, cardiovascular issues like increased cholesterol and atherosclerosis, food allergies and sensitivities, immune system issues and autoimmune disease and more. Most everything begins in the gut whether they realize it or not. Gut imbalance creates inflammation and inflammation sets up increase in fat storage; the excess fat then creates more inflammation and a cascade of health issues over time!

The Gut Microbiome and Health

The Human Microbiome Project has shown that the intestinal microbiome has communication networks with other organ systems including the gut-brain, gut-liver, gut-adipose axes, and it plays a critical role in our health, brain function, body weight and fat maintenance. Nature, 2012.

The Mind-Gut Connection

Did you know you have two brains? One in your head, another in your gut, and the health of your gut can result in many "non-gut" symptoms!

Breast Milk, “Good Bacteria” and Immune Health

Why is mother's milk so healthy for the baby? Not only does the composition of the milk change from week to week to best suit the needs of the baby, we have known that breastfed babies have better immune function and protection in later life than bottle fed babies.

Looking to Get Healthy? Focus on the Gut!

New Years Resolutions nearly always include a goal of weight loss. And this year will be no different in that sense. What is different in the last few years is that we now know that weight loss is not just calories in = calories out anymore!