Is Removing Sugar from Your Diet a Last Resort?

Is it scandalous to believe that removing sugar from your diet, a natural solution to many health problems, is the last thing that doctors are recommending?

Throughout western society, medical systems focus more on allowing people to maintain their fast-food, sugar-filled, lifestyle than to help them reverse medical problems brought on by diet. You can take control and remove sugar from your diet while benefiting from significant changes in your health as well.  

Health Risks of a High Sugar Diet

Put simply, sugar can lead to death in a variety of ways, but all attribute to the slow decline of your health. In 2014 studies found that sugar lent itself to high blood pressure as well as a raised risk of cardiovascular disease.

Unsurprisingly, sugar intake is linked directly to obesity at all ages. The health risks can include inconsistent or “spiking” glucose levels, risk of diabetes, heart disease, lowered immune function, tooth decay, and more.  

But how many of these health risks can you mitigate or outright reverse? People have proven that through diet, it’s possible to reverse type 2 diabetes in some cases. And while you can’t undo damage to your heart, you can change your diet to stop further damage.  

So why aren’t doctors everywhere telling their patients to change their diet? Some are, and others have problems with making recommendations. Specifically, within the Medicaid system, primary doctors have strict limits with what they can and cannot recommend.  

Among the restrictions, they cannot advise patients on aspects of medical care that lay in the hands of a specialist. For example, if you’re on Medicaid, a doctor can advise you to change your diet, but they can’t tell you how or help you make impactful decisions because you would need to speak to a nutritionist for that.

Medicare Part B Coverage – A Lack of Resources

The only way to get attention from a nutritionist, unless you’re paying privately, is if you are under Medicare Part B and have either kidney disease or diabetes. Additionally, you have to ask for a referral. Primary doctors that see Medicaid patients aren’t focused on long-term solutions such as diet change. These doctors make it easier to treat everything but the root cause.  

In some cases doctors feel that they are unable to provide the necessary level of care. As a patient what can you do? Many are finding that they need legal help in order to qualify for certain medical programs.

But with the expense of a disease such as diabetes, it’s hard for people who fall in the grey area of making too much for coverage and not enough to pay for quality insurance privately. While you work on changing your diet, learn more about spend down programs which may help you qualify for Medicaid even if you were denied previously.

Medical Coverage Alternatives

Instead of working to provide the resources available to quality knowledge and assistance through a significant diet change, medical coverage often opts to provide intervention instead. Many people who have diabetes are hardly ever told to change their diet. Instead, they’re advised to monitor their blood sugar closely.

The issue is that both are necessary. People with type 1 diabetes have much more access to resources for learning about diet control and management. There’s no chance to reverse type 1 diabetes, but diet management is vital in these cases.  

While there is a chance to reverse type 2 diabetes, these patients are advised to take insulin as needed. Why? With the use of Medicare Part D coverage, the costs of insulin, pens, syringes, gauze, alcohol swabs, and needles are covered. Doctors will often see that it’s easier for a patient to maintain their lifestyle with medical intervention than to repair their health through lifestyle change.

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

It’s hard for most people to know how much sugar they’re intaking and how much is acceptable. According to the American Heart Association, men should intake no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day, while women should intake no more than 6.

If this seems like a lot of sugar, think again. The average American consumers nearly 23 teaspoons of sugar per day. How? Added sugar has made its way into things such as yogurt and even bread.

Learning More About Your Sugar Intake

When you’re ready to start removing sugar from your diet, you’ll need to set a benchmark of your sugar intake first. Even people who regularly read nutritional labels can struggle with understanding grams, consumption, and serving sizes.

Always consider your serving size and determine if it’s reasonable. If a serving size on a loaf of bread is one slice, you know that’s unreasonable if you’re making a sandwich as you will need two slices of bread. Additionally, you can shift your focus to the percent of daily values.

Many American’s struggles with measurements in grams and the percentages are more comfortable to monitor. The British Heart Foundation recommends that free sugars make up no more than 5% of your daily intake.

Making Changes to Your Diet

If you’re interested in taking an active role in your health, the best thing you can do is to reduce your sugar intake.

Here are some tips to help you reduce your free sugar intake and balance your natural sugar intake as well:

  • Do not add table sugar to drinks such as coffee or tea.
  • Replace or moderate your intake of sweetened beverages (this includes drinks that use sugar-alternative sweeteners, which also contribute to diabetes).
  • Compare food labels and review the “added sugar” section.
  • Replace sugar in recipes with fruit whenever reasonable, such as in baking or on cereal.
  • Eat the “recommended serving” size first.

Elizabeth S. Coyle is the current Director of Client Services for JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law based in Mesa, Arizona. She serves as a paralegal for the Family Law Department of the firm.