But Why Do We Have Sweet Taste Buds?
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.
So, for example, eating forms of sugar that occur naturally in nature, such as in fruits and vegetables, in theory, wouldn’t be bad unless you’re eating too much of the fruit that tends to be very high in naturally-occurring sugar, such as dates, figs, or grapes. Eating processed foods that have sugar added would be bad. Eating processed foods that have some naturally-occurring sugar in it, but no added sugar wouldn’t be so bad. But it all depends on what it does to YOUR body. Does it spike your blood sugar levels?
This whole line of reasoning brings up so many more questions, all of which I hope to resolve. Is a so-called “Paleo” or paleolithic diet or more of a Mediterranean diet an overall better diet because it includes natural forms of sugar while eliminating excessive, processed forms of sugar? Would a Low-Glycemic index diet would be a better, more healthy approach. or does a low-carb approach (also known as a ketogenic diet) make sense in that it even eliminates sugar in higher concentrations, even though they may be in natural forms, such as in fruit?
This brings me to grains, such as wheat. When I first quit sugar, I quit every form of sugar that I was able to quit. If an ingredient in any processed food had sugar in it, even if it was naturally-occurring, such as from fruit or some vegetables, I rejected it. But I knew that I would eventually come around to taking a closer look at everything and reevaluating it to make sure I’m following the best diet for me.
That got me looking at diets in general. I know that some people thrive on a low-fat diet while others thrive on low-carb. And there are so many variations in between. Personally, I don’t like it when society tells me how to think, what to think and why I should think it. I like to think for myself. Which is why I eventually even begin to question my own motives and conclusions. It’s just how I roll.
So taking my thinking to the next level, I will also be looking into the whole “wheat science” and see what applies to me. If I should continue to not eat anything with wheat (or gluten) in it, so be it. But I want to know that this is the best choice for me by testing this and seeing what MY results are, not the results that doctors and health experts tell me it is, or that it SHOULD be.
Still, keeping sugar out of my diet makes sense to me and that’s where I am. But I see a time when I may allow some back in, such as in fruit now and then. But my diet will still likely be very low in sugar.
The bottom line here, is that each one of us should examine our own motives and make sure that we’re eating the best possible diet for our own individual needs and not rely exclusively on what everybody else is doing or saying you should be doing. I’m just starting to explore at a deeper level how food affects my body, so expect more on this subject soon. By the way, I chat about stuff a little more frequently on the Quitting Sugar Facebook page. So you may want to follow me there. Let the games begin!