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Tips for a Healthier Year from Piera Carubia, RD

Tips for a Healthier Year from Piera Carubia, RD

Words by Piera Carubia, Registered Dietitian
Photos by Olivia Bauso, taken at Hart's Local Grocers

Whether it be through store bought treats or homemade creations, Americans over-consume sugar on a daily basis. This barrage of sugar has led to sugar addiction and a whole host of physical problems.

In addition to the bombardment of sugar-laced foods that surround us daily, there are 10 holidays in a calendar year-- that is 10 extra days of temptation and excessive abundance of high sugar foods. Though the holiday season is over, sugar is still central to any celebration. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and upcoming Valentine's Day will all tempt our sweet tooth. 

When I speak of high sugar foods people often assume I mean chocolate, candy and desserts. However, white processed flour has been shown to raise blood sugar higher than regular table sugar. We often do not think of these processed flours as being an extremely large problem with the our sugar addiction.

It’s important to be aware on a daily basis of sugar intake, and even more important during a celebration. Having a strategy prior to a party or holiday event can help you combat the need to over consume sugary foods. It’s (approximately) a 70% mental game and I recommend having a conversation with yourself before you are tempted with pizza and chocolate cake. 

Here are some tips I recommend:

1. Avoid Liquid Sugar

Many celebrations call for alcohol consumption and most people who drink alcoholic beverages do not think of it as a pure form of liquid sugar.  Any liquid sugar such as juice and sodas are rapidly absorbed in your blood.  Liquid sugars tend to be the most dangerous for our health and we don’t tend to compensate for calories we drink by reducing our calorie consumption elsewhere.

2. Splurge on Appetizers

If you are going out to a restaurant with friends or a significant other, decide ahead of time that you will spurge on an appetizer instead of dessert. Choose something filling and low-sugar pre-meal-- this way you will be less tempted to say "yes" when the dessert menu comes around. 

3. Keep Low-Sugar Sweets at Home

If you really want to celebrate with a sweet treat, I suggest you wait until you get home. Make your own special treats so you can control the amount of sugar and other ingredients in the creation.


4. Let Everyone Know

Make your friends and loved ones aware that you have an issue with sugar, and suggest that gifts are non-food related would be better appreciated. For example, instead of a box of chocolate from your significant other, you'd like a 30 minute reflexology foot message or pedicure. This way you are not tempted, and they can help support your food decisions.

5. Strategize Ahead of Time

Decide ahead of time how many sweet treats you are allowing yourself at an event or party.  Think about your strategy ahead of time at least 2-3 days. Last minute decisions tend to make us falter, but if you your get the thought of moderation in your brain several days prior to the event your chances of success will be higher.


6. Ditch the Leftovers

Get rid of leftovers, give them away to friends and family, and do not bring deserts and sweets into your house.  Make your house a safe haven from sugar, to avoid guilt and temptation.

7. Stay Hydrated

Drink more water.  People who are not well hydrated tend to eat more, and may begin to crave sugar. Stay extra hydrated prior to an event or holiday.

8. Protein and Fiber First

When at parties and events or at home, try to snack on protein and fiber first before going for the sweet treats. This will help level off your Insulin levels and fill you up.

9. Write it All Down

Food journaling will make you acutely aware of your sugar intake. Having a visual on a daily basis makes you more mindful about sugar and calorie intake. There are some great online food trackers to help you with this. You can conveniently track on your phone.


    Piera Carubia is a Registered Dietitian with over 17 years’ experience in nutrition and food service. She obtained her degree in Science and Dietetics and completed her Nutrition Internship at Virginia Common Wealth University Medical College. Piera has obtained her certification in Integrated Energy Therapy and is certified in adult weight management. She is currently employed at the University of Rochester teaching morbidly obese patients how to make lifestyle changes prior to weight loss surgery. Piera runs a group called Life after Weight Loss and gives monthly nutrition seminars and cooking classes on the latest prevailing health and nutrition topics. She also has a private Nutrition Consultant practice. 

    For detailed step-by-step assistance with breaking sugar addiction and detoxing  your body, take Piera's SUGAR DETOX: GET CLEAN OF YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION class at Rochester Brainery. Tickets available for Monday, Febrauary 5th + Tuesday, March 13th.

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