Have you considered quitting sugar but don’t know if you have the discipline to pull it off?
Are you thinking about cutting back on carbs but you don’t want to eliminate some of your favorite foods?
As with most things in life, quitting sugar isn’t one-size-fits-all. It might just be possible that you should consider other options rather than quitting sugar cold-turkey. But what other options do you have? Let’s explore this.
Food for Thought
I sometimes like to go against the “whole” grain. Especially when it seems like people aren’t thinking for themselves. A lot of people learn something new, hear it repeated ad nauseam, make assumptions, and then stop questioning things. Bad move. That’s where I come in. I like to speak plainly and honestly so you might make a more informed choice. It’s not that I have all the answers, but I do have a lot of questions, which leads to a great deal of critical reasoning, and that’s a good thing.
The truth is, some people shouldn’t give up sugar. Yes, yes, I know. In the nutritional-eating world, I’ve just committed a dozen sins. But somebody has to say what needs to be said.
Quitting sugar was a turning point in my life. And as I continue to learn and explore about health and nutrition as well as conduct my own experiments, my perspective continually shifts. My goal is to understand nutrition and what works best for me. But nutrition is only one part of a healthy lifestyle, which is ultimately my goal. If you want to have a healthy body that will allow you to live a long and active life, you’ll eventually need to add exercise to the mix. That’s why I’ve decided to go extreme by starting the P90X program. Plus, this give me another opportunity to conduct another experiment.
In this video, I’ll show you my basement before we transformed it into our P90X gym. Also, I’ll talk about starting P90X and why I’m using the diet program that comes with P90X, which means taking in more carbs than I presently do. This is going to be an exciting journey. Stay tuned so you can watch my transformation. And check out some of my “Before” pictures below.
As we age, we tend to get bogged down with the things of life. We’re not as active as we were in our teens and twenties. The obligations and responsibilities of things like work, family, and owning a home distracts us from staying fit. Eating on-the-go, and trying to stay on top of things means we’re not always as careful with nutrition, and exercise gets put at the end of the To-Do list, and we never seem to reach the end.
Before I quit eating sugar, back in October 2011, I was feeling the effects of poor nutrition and lack of exercise. I was beginning to think that my body was wearing out because it’s suppose to as we age. Right? But I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. I still felt young in many ways and it didn’t make sense that I should be feeling so run-down, tired, and weak. What happened to the edge I had just a few years earlier? No! I refused to believe that my body was aging so rapidly. Something was wrong, and I was starting to feel desperate….no, determined to figure out how to reverse the feeling that I was falling apart.
I was shocked to learn just how damaging sugar and high-fructose corn sweetener is on the body. The book Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, by Gary Taubes, laid out all the scientific evidence and left a paper (or link) trail that anyone could follow if they want to verify the data for themselves. While the information is still a bit controversial, in spite of the validated research (which is open to individual interpretation), I applied my own critical reasoning and felt I could trust my own judgement. This is partly why I quit eating sugar. Anyone who joins the quitting sugar or low carbohydrate community will become familiar with the health consequences of over-consuming sugar. They also become familiar with the many experts who make certain claims about various foods and why they should be avoided. One such person is Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, who makes this claim:
“People are usually shocked when I tell them that whole wheat bread increases blood sugar to a higher level than sucrose. Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar.”
I’ve come across this claim being referred to on many blogs, podcasts and word-of-mouth. It seems to be widely accepted as true. And [full-disclosure] I like Dr. William Davis and his message, therefore, I accepted his claim when I heard it, even though it seemed a little surprising. Of course, if everybody is saying it, then it must be true, right?
“What if bad fat isn’t so bad?” This is the title of an article I came across recently from MSNBC and the subtitle stated: “No one’s ever proved that saturated fat clogs arteries, causes heart disease“. That sounds like health blasphemy, right? But I am living proof that it’s not. Why? Because I quit eating sugar and greatly increased fat in my diet and the results are completely the opposite of what we’re told will happen if you eat a diet that’s high in fat, including saturated fats.
After years of trying to eat a low-fat diet and struggling to lower my cholesterol, the results were that I was always hungry, which caused me to eat more food, my weight steadily climbed higher every year, and my cholesterol continued to rise, regardless of how healthy I tried to eat. The truth is, since adopting a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet (think Atkins Diet)–which is exactly the opposite of the “low-fat, healthy whole-grains” diet that most doctors, public health officials, and health-regulating government bodies promote–my weight dropped over 20 pounds and I have not struggled to keep it off. Also, I’m not always hungry, as I was on a low-fat diet. My cholesterol levels have improved dramatically. And finally, I feel great.
One good thing about eating a low-fat diet is that you reduce your intake of sugar which helps with weight loss, but otherwise, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But how did the unhealthy low-fat diet ever get accepted as the healthiest diet on the planet?
There’s just one thought I cannot reconcile after more than 6 months of quitting sugar. Dr. Robert Lustig and so many others are pretty sure that eating ANY sugar at all is deadly and shouldn’t ever happen. Yet, I have more trust in nature than I do Lustig, (who I’m a fan of, however).
So why, then, did we evolve to have sweet receptors (taste buds) on our tongues? Nature doesn’t do anything without a reason. The fact that we evolved to have sweet receptors and can specifically detect sweetness in food is significant, if you ask me, but it’s also confusing when I consider the current science behind the effects of sugar on our bodies. My present line of thinking is that there must be a reason for it. If that’s true, then my next logical conclusion is that eating sugar isn’t all bad. However, eating too much sugar is definitely very bad. And that’s where the problems begin.Because of this, I will be starting some new experiments that will involve eating sugar in various forms and seeing if I can identify a threshold where eating sugar becomes bad, or at least bad for me. How much sugar is okay to eat and how much is too much?
I’d say that eating too much refined sugar and (simple sugars in general) is what causes our health to decline. The best way (that I know of) to determine what any sugar is doing to me is to monitor my blood sugar levels, since many doctors and health scientists have already identified a range that appears to be “safe” and a range where blood sugar levels begin to cause problems. I realize that these ranges are not a hard-and-fast rule, but it’s a good starting point.
Friends, if you’ve been reading here for a while, you might know that my goal is to become super human–or as close to being super human as possible. Therefore, this update is possibly one of the most important I’ve written so far, here on Quitting Sugar. If you want to do some good in life and truly help other people, you’re going to want to shout this out from every rooftop, Twitter, Facebook, and social networking feed that you have. Not only that, but email the heck out of this article to everyone you know. Yeah, it’s THAT BIG!
On February 26th, Jamie Saal VanEaton (who is wickedly funny and has a must-follow healthy food blog!) told me about a book that had the potential to change my life. So before I go any further, I gotta give a shout-out to mah girl, Jamie….Hey, Jamie! Woot!! The book, which has now made history in my life, represents a turning point in my state of health. But before I reveal this book, let me share a snapshot of my results, as if the title of this article doesn’t say enough.