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Hey, Dummy, Read This Book to Stop Eating So Much Sugar: Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies

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How many times have you heard about the keys to weight loss or been given a list of foods you should avoid because they cause you to gain weight? Probably a lot, right? Well, I'm sorry, but here's another method for losing weight and getting rid of your addiction to sugar. Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies by Dan DeFigio, founder of GettingFit.com and BeatingSugarAddiction.com, shows you step-by-step how you can end your addiction to sugar and lose weight through what he claims is a "nutrition makeover."

The guidebook is organized into five parts, starting with helping you discover if you are just addicted to sugar or are a sugar freak -- his words, not mine. The second part gives you a low-sugar or no-sugar food plan by telling you how to analyze food labels and what you should keep in your pantry and fridge. The third part, which DeFigio says is the most important part of the book, provides tips and tricks for eating healthy during the holidays or when at a restaurant and how to avoid those terrible sugar cravings. The fourth part gives you 50 low-sugar recipes such as coconut lime shrimp and sugar-free brownies. The fifth and final part of the book lists ten foods you should avoid even though they seem healthy, and DeFigio lists ten ways you can beat that sugar craving.

While most of this book may seem self-explanatory, sometimes we need to hear the obvious to truly understand what it is we need to do to change our diet.

The standout tips from the book include simply removing any and all sugar and junk-food items from your home; maintaining blood sugars and stimulating your metabolism with high-protein breakfasts and having a protein in every meal; and getting regular exercise and realizing what foods and activities trigger sugar cravings so you can avoid them.

All this is well and good, but the final part of the book offers some interesting advice for foods you should keep out of your house, even though they seem to be "healthy." (To say I am somewhat skeptical about this part is to put it mildly.)

Here are the ten foods you supposedly should avoid:

10. Diet Soda

With so many studies suggesting that artificial sweeteners actually increase your craving for the real deal (along with other foods), I can see why diet soda made this list. Also, diet soda (and regular soda) are full of ingredients you probably can't even pronounce. DeFigio suggests just drinking sparkling water flavored with fresh lemon or lime, or just adding stevia powder to sweeten your drinks and slowly getting rid of your addiction to aspartame.

9. Frozen Entrées

Okay, this one definitely surprised me and I'm still a little skeptical about the validity of these claims. DeFigio says that the extra hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial coloring and high-fructose corn syrup make these meals quite unhealthy for you, and yes, I would agree, but there are healthier options for frozen dinners than Hungry Man or Marie Callender's. I do agree that you shouldn't cook your meal in the plastic container; just microwave your food in a glass container. You will avoid the extra toxic chemicals that accompany the plastic containers, even though there is supposedly a small amount of chemicals released -- I'd rather be safe than sorry.

8. Bacon

Umm, why would someone think this is a healthy item? Not too sure why this protein source made the list.

7. Canned Soups

Canned soups made this list because of the presence of MSG, preservatives, lots and lots of salt, and high-fructose corn syrup. There are plenty of options for soup that don't include all of these ingredients, like Amy's Kitchen, Healthy Choice, Campbell's Harvest and even Wolfgang Puck soups. You can, of course, make your own soup to have full control over the ingredients.

6. Genetically Modified Foods

Well, here's a problem: Genetically modified foods aren't required to be labeled so...if you ever see a label for genetically modified food, avoid it like the plague.

5. Microwave Popcorn

What? This just doesn't make any sense at all. Obviously, the popcorn loaded with salt and extra butter isn't the healthiest thing for you to eat, but there are plenty of natural microwave popcorn products available that don't contain the artificial colors, preservatives and chemical sweeteners.

4. Fruit Juice and Juice Drinks

No kidding.

3. Rice Cakes

Okay, I will give DeFigio this one. Eating a plain rice cake does spike your insulin and lead to your blood sugar crashing later, causing you to eat more food. I'm a type 1 diabetic; I get it. But, really, who eats just a plain rice cake? Solve the blood sugar crash problem by adding some cheese or peanut butter. Carbs plus proteins equals stable blood sugars.

2. Protein Bars

Yeah, you should read the ingredients and nutritional information on protein bars before you stock up on a lot of them. Many of these "healthy" snack bars are full of sugar and fat that you don't need. Choose the ones that are not as high in sugar or fat. Extra protein and fiber are good, too.

1. Peanut Butter

Well, of course you should avoid the peanut butter that's loaded with fat and sugar if you're trying to eat healthier. But that doesn't mean you have to give up peanut butter altogether. Just opt for the more natural and organic peanut butter products. Or, better yet, grind the peanuts yourself! That way you'll definitely avoid any extra ingredients.

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