Kelly Ripa touches on her relationship with sugar in the foreword of Dr. Daryl Gioffre's new book, Get Off Your Sugar
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Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa
| Credit: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Kelly Ripa is sharing the secret to her health success — one step away from sweets at a time.

The Live with Kelly and Ryan host, 50, opens up in the foreword for Dr. Daryl Gioffre's new book Get Off Your Sugar, which focuses on adding nutrient-dense foods to one's diet to help kick sugar addiction, as opposed to taking things away.

According to Ripa, she used to be addicted to sugar herself, but Dr. Gioffre's program has "helped changed [her] life" over the past year.

"For years I had a candy drawer at home that I kept fully stocked and would dip into whenever I felt the faintest urge for sugar," she writes. "I knew that sugar isn't good for you, but I figured that everybody needed to have some kind of vice, right? What was so bad about rewarding myself with something sweet?"

"What I didn't fully appreciate is just how addictive sugar truly is," she says, adding that Dr. Gioffre told her that "sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine."

"That helped me feel better about having them, but I still didn't know how I would prevent the cravings from happening in the first place," Ripa says.

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Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa
Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa
| Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty

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Ripa says that she previously did Dr. Gioffre's alkaline cleanse to help remove acidic foods from her diet, which gave her "great results" that eliminated "some recurring aches and pains that I had chalked up to getting older."

"I was so inspired, I got rid of the candy drawer," she recalls. "If only my cravings had disappeared with it! Sadly, they didn't. When life got super busy with work, or the kids, or both, the urge to eat jelly beans would come on so strong it took everything I had not to send my husband out to the deli to pick some up."

Ripa calls Dr. Gioffre's Get Off Your Sugar program "doable" and "delicious," and reveals in the book that it had another unexpected (albeit welcome) effect on her health that served as "proof" to her that it works.

"Last year, when I turned 50, Dr. Daryl tested my biological age, and it showed I had the physical health of a 35-year-old," she says. "Clearly, we're doing something right!"

Get Off Your Sugar book
Get Off Your Sugar book cover

Dr. Gioffre tells PEOPLE that the average American eats about 130 lbs. of sugar a year, which "creates its own self-perpetuating cycle of cravings, and because it's so acidic, it makes your body work harder just to keep going."

He recommends starting the day with green juice and incorporating more healthy fats like avocado to help kick the sugar habit.

"There's actually an alternative to [stress eating] called strength eating," he adds. "As you start to add more strength foods into your diet, it will begin to crowd out the stress foods. Strength eating is not based on deprivation — it's based on adding to what you are already doing. You can't choose not to eat, but you can choose what to eat.  And once you begin to strength eat, big things start happening: Your energy increases. You lose weight. Your digestion improves. You sleep better. Cravings naturally go away, and your body just plain feels better."

He also recommends considering the true reason or the "why" behind wanting change. "Get a journal or a notebook, and spend 5 minutes to write down your why," Dr. Gioffre advises. "It should go deeper than wanting to lose weight – what is it that weight loss is going to give you back in your life? Your why must be so compelling and so clear that when the cravings come at you and obstacles pop up, you'll remember why you're doing this in the first place. That knowledge will help you stay on track and ride out any bumps you might encounter."

Get Off Your Sugar is available now on