I have been sharing my “sugar experiment” with you in previous posts, and want to just wrap up by encouraging you to consider the refined sugar content in the food you keep in your house, the food your kids eat and your “go-to” food fixes when you feel tired, depressed, etc. My self imposed “sugar experiment,” which lead to a 35 pound unexpected weight loss and the return of my health, revealed a few things to me that I think apply to almost everyone.
Most of us tend to find a way to quickly fix feelings of hunger, exhaustion or boredom. Refined sugar is the quickest “fix” of all because it rushes straight to your blood stream. But it leaves almost as quickly, which causes the up and down spikes in sugar and insulin levels, stresses your body systems and over time, wreaks havoc with your health. So we all end up like the frog in the kettle. This explains why Type II Diabetes occurs as you age, typically crashing your health by middle age (although there are increasing numbers of younger diagnoses.) The scary fact is that 95% of all diabetes cases are Type II, which is the type we essentially give ourselves!
We all seems to know that fats and simple carbohydrates (refined white flour and rice, white potatoes, etc) can also negatively affect our health and weight. However, recent information bears out that our fat consumption in our country has slowed over the past ten years, essentially remaining at the same level, while our incidences of obesity have sharply risen. Sugar has to be the culprit!
My experience with sugar has revealed that the negative effects of fat and carbs are minimized by the absence of refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Or to say it the opposite way, I saw that by adding refined sugars to fatty foods or high carb foods, I created a “toxic brew” that my body could not assimilate or turn into energy. That is where body fat is added, the pancreas and gallbladder is stressed, and body systems start shutting down over time. Even brain function can be impaired— which is even linked to juvenile behavior problems, not to mention memory loss and fuzzy thinking as we get older— by low insulin production creating a high sugar level in the bloodstream.
Once I realized this, I could see a marked change in my health. I made a list of all the changes I had noticed once I quit feeding myself the “toxic brew.” That list inspired me to extend my six month experiment to a permanent life style change. In as much as I let myself go back to the old “quick fixes,” my health is affected and the weight starts piling on. Sometimes, I can feel the effects within a couple of hours!
So let me just offer encouragement to you to:
- do some research on refined sugar and corn syrups
- read food labels – even the labels from purchases you make at your health food store
- see if you can limit your sugar intake to 5 grams per meal
- drink unsweetened beverages and avoid fruit juices
- eat fruit with the skin for the fiber to slow sugar elevation
- replace sugary foods with whole foods (don’t add desserts to your E-Mealz menu plan!)
I hope that my story is just that… an encouragement to you! Writing these blog posts have been a crucial reminder of all I have learned… to myself! I will also tell you that my favorite sweetener is Agave Nectar, which I use in moderation. There is some debate about the glycemic effect of Agave Nectar, but I have not found it to have any negative affect since it is an unrefined, natural source derived from a plant. I love the taste (it is actually a little sweeter than sugar), and I like that it doesn’t have the distinctive flavor of honey or molasses. I am not an expert… just a person like you searching for answers in the fog. Please leave a comment if you have a question or an experience you would like to share.
Dr. David Reuben, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition says, “…white refined sugar-is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. Its true name is sucrose and its chemical formula is C12H22O11. It has 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, 11 oxygen atoms, and absolutely nothing else to offer. …The chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4. Sugar’s formula again is C12H22O11. For all practical purposes, the difference is that sugar is missing the “N”, or nitrogen atom. …After the crystals condense, the “sugar” crystals are bleached snow-white usually by the use of pork or cattle bones. …During the refining process, 64 food elements are destroyed. All the potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphate, and sulfate are removed. The A, D, and B, vitamins are destroyed. Amino acids, vital enzymes, unsaturated fats, and all fiber are gone.”