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Kara’s Korner: How to Create a Sweeter Life

“How I Created A Sweeter Life – By Cutting Out Sweets” was originally posted by hint Founder & CEO, Kara Goldin, on LinkedIn here:

When I became CEO of Hint, I was pregnant with my fourth child. At the time, I was looking at my diet, trying to explain why I didn’t feel great. I’d gone to a number of endocrinologists and no one thought to look at what I was eating, let alone what I was drinking. The doctors just assumed it was hormones from the pregnancy. But when I came home and opened up the refrigerator, I realized there was a lot of junk inside. I was drinking tons of diet soda. I was pouring a huge amount of so-called “healthy” fresh juice drinks into my kids’ sippy cups, just because it said it was “natural.” That’s when I realized that I did not want my kids consuming all of this sugary and artificial stuff, so I decided to create a sweeter life in an ironic way.

There were a number of things that happened around this same time. One of the important ones: I experimented with diet and discovered that when I cut out the sweet, I felt a lot better. Hint was an extension of that. Lots of people are now figuring this out on their own because they’re reading books on nutrition. It was a process for me–and I discovered some good resources along the way.

JJ Virgin is one of my favorite nutritionist authors. She’s not anti-meat. And not “earthy crunchy.” She really just says you can do what you want, but do your best to drink and eat organic and watch the sugars. She’s now saying you should really try to move away from sweet altogether. If you eliminate as much sweet as you can out of your diet, the rest will come. I also learned a lot from another writer, Dr. Frank Lipman. He practices integrative medicine. He believes in cutting “the sweet” too.

When I stopped drinking diet soda, I discovered that it wasn’t about the type of sweetener. It was actually about “the sweet” itself. Since establishing Hint Water nine years ago, I have found that the more I eliminated sweets from my diet altogether, the fewer actual cravings I had for it. That doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally have a chocolate chip cookie! But I won’t usually have more than a bite.

Since moving away from drinking sweetened drinks and eating sweetened food, I have seen a tremendous change in my health. I have lost a lot of weight and it came off easily and naturally. I also have more energy and never have mood swings anymore – and my skin is clearer and more vibrant.

My tips for switching out sweet – change sweetened beverages for water or Hint. Look at how much sugar your yogurt has and consider switching to unflavored greek yogurt and adding a bit of chopped fruit if you need it. I couldn’t believe how much sugar and dense calories were in granola – switching to almonds made a big difference for me. Most of whole – eat whole, real foods. Processed foods have so many ingredients and cooking processes that can make them the furthest thing from what our body really needs.

The most important things to remember as you take the steps to get off sweet:

– Don’t be tricked by moving from sugar to diet sweeteners – Natural or Artificial. Often people think they are making a healthy change when they switch from sugars to diet sweeteners, like the kind used in diet sodas, but usually these are actually much sweeter than sugar. Once something hits your brain that’s sweeter than sugar, that’s the level of sweetness your brain craves every time. Watch out for that.

– The word “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s less sweet or better for you. Juice and so-called “healthy” juice drinks are a great example of items to that are deceptively high in sugar. Unless you’re using them as a meal replacement, to load up on those is just asking for trouble.

– It’s better not to deprive yourself. If you’re going out to dinner at a restaurant and they have the best dessert chef, get dessert! Also know that if you do end up cutting back on sweets significantly, when you do decide to indulge, you will likely find that you have a lower tolerance (and fewer cravings) for these type of sweets.

-Kara Goldin