Sugar can have a drastic effect on skin picking. Often it’s THE biggest contributor to it. But there is a lot of confusion about what you can eat and what you can’t eat when you’re removing sugar from your diet with the intention of reducing your skin picking. The intention of this post is to clear up this confusion.
But first, If you haven’t seen this video, start here, because it does a good job of showing you the effects of sugar on real people’s picking. I posted the video two weeks ago and not only is it my most popular video so far, but I’ve already had people write to me telling me how it motivated them to change their diet with amazing results over the past week or so.
For full guidelines on a sugar elimination and how to do it, you’ll probably want to read my book. But in general, removing all processed foods is best, as most have some form of added sugar. By processed foods I mean foods in a package with a list of ingredients, rather than single item foods that you could mix together to make something.
Foods that have sugar in them naturally are generally fine to eat – for example, fruits and vegetables. The exceptions are dried fruit (especially raisins, dates and figs) and fruit juices. With the fiber removed from the fruit, fruit juices are as sugary as soda pop.
We love sweet. The good news is that without added sugar, our taste buds adapt so that everything tastes much sweeter. You’ll find that you don’t need much sweetener. But if you do want something for coffee, tea, lemonade, oatmeal etc., what are the best options? First let me say that I would never trust artificial sweeteners. There’s no reason to eat potentially risky synthetic chemicals when there are healthy natural alternatives:
Stevia can be a healthy natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, but there are two potential drawbacks. The first is that much commercially available stevia (like Truvia) is highly processed, extracted with carcinogenic solvents and combined with erythritol from GMO corn. A better bet is organic liquid stevia that’s extracted with alcohol. Trader Joes sells their own brand.
I have a bottle that, to be honest, I’ve had for a year or two because of the second drawback. I don’t like the taste. To me, stevia has a nasty aftertaste in hot drinks. It’s pretty neutral in lemonade or iced tea though, and not everybody seems to mind the taste, so it’s worth a try.
Another much less well-known but better tasting healthy sugar substitute is monkfruit sweetener. We like this Lakanto monkfruit sweetener, which is the most popular non-sugar sweetener in Japan. My husband tried another brand too, but he says the Lakanto one is much better. It also contains erythritol, in itself not a bad sweetener and which in this product it is not made from GMO corn. The monkfruit sweetener tastes delicious and you can bake with it. The major drawback here is that it is more expensive than the other sweeteners.
Other healthy sweeteners
I would not eat any other sweeteners for at least a week and a half, so you really get a clear idea of how much (or more likely how little!) you are picking in the complete absence of sugar. In SMALL amounts, raw honey or maple syrup are quality healthful sweeteners, but they may still affect your picking. Experiment to find out. Lastly, agave nectar is often used as a “healthy” sweetener, but it even worse for you than sugar due to its extremely high fructose content.
If you’d like to see these sweeteners, I’ve made a video on the topic:
Questions or comments? Please post them below: