Sugar… Ah, Honey Honey! Part III

Sugar

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.”

9 thoughts on “Sugar… Ah, Honey Honey! Part III

  1. Erin

    I went on a sugar fast for a week just recently and i noticed a major change- I didn’t have mood swings, i had more energy, and i was eating healthier and starting to like it. But I did use honey as a sugar substitute as well is that bad? Also what can I put in coffee to sweeten it so I can actually drink it? I cut the sugar out of my kids diet as well for a little bit and they weren’t as crazy in the mornings (because the cereal they used to eat had a lot of sugar). Thank you for this post!

    1. Judith Barber Post author

      Thanks for your comments and way to go, Erin! Try the Agave Nectar in your coffee and see what you think. I also found that regular Cheerios have very little sugar. Milk has a good amount of sugar, so I switched to unsweetened soy milk (which I think taste almost exactly like 2% milk.) I find that I get more real energy from protein, and more leveled energy through out the day without the refined sugar (I still eat fruit). I recently got my nerve up to have my blood sugar tested, and I am good!

      1. Deanna E.

        That’s fantastic that you guys are cutting sugar out of your diet; however, as a Nurse…
        I absolutely cringe when I see someone recommending any type of soy (milk, tofu, etc) to children. Boys can be quickly affected by the estrogenic compounds in soy (not all boys, but most). This should be fairly common knowledge since “soy supplementation” is quite frequently recommended for (peri) pre-menopausal women since it quickly turns into estrogenic compounds after ingestion.

        This conversion can have detrimental effects on little girls (ie:early onset puberty, frustration, problems later in life, etc.), but can be absolutely devastating for little boys (ie: gynecomastia, severe mental anxiety (conflicting hormone dominance), and NO… I am not speaking of “gender identity” issues).

        People like to defend soy by referring to some Asian cultures who do indeed consume larger amounts with little to no ill-effect, but again, due to the tremendous amount of “half-information” that we receive from the media, the facts are misconstrued. In fact, most cultures who eat soy, primarily eat fermented soy, which is a HUGE difference than what is being pushed into our food supply, since it is not converted or assimilated in our bodies in the same way, and is much healthier for us than the non-fermented food Americans tend to eat. Amazingly enough, even our tofu (which is traditionally fermented) is often NOT fermented when we buy it in our grocery stores.

        1. Judith Barber

          Awesome comment. I didn’t share my personal experience as a recommendation for children, but I didn’t actually state that either. So your input is wonderful. I should have qualified my post with the same information about soy, because I know it all to be true. (I have lived in Japan, as well.) I don’t give soy milk to my son for all the reasons you outlined. I mentioned that I switched to unsweetened soy milk primarily because regular milk has sugar content, which most people don’t realize. Also I would think that there are so many milk alternatives at whole food markets, anyone at any age should be able to find one to satisfy their taste and specific health needs — without the sugar content. Thanks again!

    2. Amy Boyd

      One thing I’ve tried to replace cream or sugar in coffee is to put a tiny – I mean tiny – pinch of salt in your coffee. It balances out the bitter taste.

  2. Amy Boyd

    Can you share some of your research sources and other information? I try so hard to eat well and serve my family nutritous meals (E-Mealz!), but I am so sadly educated when it comes to food nutrition. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts – thanks for sharing!

    1. Judith Barber Post author

      Amy, there is such an endless plethora of sources to read… so much so, it seems that sugar should come with a big health warning, and the skull & crossbones poison symbol imprinted on the package! Just start with a Google search for “Is sugar poison” and see what you find. This site is fascinating, and the list on the side bar for names of sugar is very helpful: http://macrobiotics.co.uk/sugar.htm But E-Mealz is a huge help in avoiding fast food and pizza. Just refrain from adding dessert or ice cream to your dinner, and don’t keep M&Ms around the house for snacks!

  3. MombyLove

    Wow! Good for you! I tried a sugar fast about two years ago, because I had a horrible yeast infection while nursing my 14-month old. Instead of feeling better, I passed out twice and experienced a non-stop headache until I finally ate a piece of whole-grain toast the second day. I’m sure that means I had over-dosed on sugar prior to my “experience,” but my concern is that a sugar-free diet does not seem to be a reasonable option, if I’m passing out :-) True? What other options? Are there other carbs that are not sugar? I had cut out all fruits and everything except humus, chicken, and very few veggies, because of the natural sugars in so many foods.

    1. Judith Barber Post author

      I think I would have passed out, too! That is scary. Really. But, the real point of my “long” story is that most of us would drastically alter our health (for the better) if we JUST cut out refined sugar from our diet. Leave everything else in. (The exception to that would be refined white flour, bleached white rice, and as much corn and white potato as possible — keep the sweet potatoes!) I eat all kinds of pastas, whole grain breads, fruits in moderation, and ALL the veggies because carbs are not the problem. Here is a tip… it takes 6 months of NO refined sugar in your diet to kill the yeast in your system. By the end of that, you will feel like a new person in many ways!

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