Hi. My name is Rand, and I have a sugar addiction. I was born into Nixon’s war on poverty… At the birth of High Fructose Corn Syrup. I grew up in a hard working meat and potatoes suburbia bubble sort of family. When I didn’t want to eat what was for dinner mom would put applesauce on it. This lead to a sweet apple topping for everything from scrambled eggs to spaghetti or stuffed peppers. It worked out for everything except green vegetables. I grew up on white bread, corn, macaroni and cheese, Spaghettios, bologna sandwiches,cookies, and of course, applesauce.
I’ve been heavy as far back as I can remember and have struggled with weight management for three decades.
Shortly after graduating from high school, at 270+ pounds, I went on a protein sparing modified fast. I dropped eighty pounds in just under a year. My lowest weight as an adult was 173 pounds. That was at the end of the PSMF. The lowest I’ve made it back down to is 190. Getting below 200 is where it gets challenging.
I ate fast food & kept a Pepsi or a candy bar in my hand for far too long. When I first decided to limit my sugar intake, my idea of cutting back was only having three cans of Pepsi and one king sized Snickers bar a day. I went at it slowly. I tapered myself off of sugar over a period of time. I still love Pepsi. I have maybe one a month. I savor it and enjoy the hell out of it when i do.
I’ve done the roller coaster thing. I’ve been lucky that I have managed to not go above my highest weight. I’ve been back to 260 pounds a few times… When my weight is up, my hip aches,my back is more likely to hurt by the end of the day, I have more issues with heartburn & indigestion, exhaustion and the worst was an ache in my testicle. That one got me to the doctor in a hurry. It seems that i have a tangle in the tube that connects it, and when my weight is up, it puts more pressure on it, resulting in a dull ache.
Watered down soft drinks is one of the first changes I made in this path to carbohydrate snobbery. When the ice melts, a soda tastes like crap. You still get the caffeine, salt and HFCS though. I decided that if it’s not good for me but I’m going to consume it, i deserve to enjoy it. These days I get my caffeine fix the old fashioned way. Hot and black. I used to drink it with 4 spoonfuls of sugar. These days the only additive is the occasional shot of espresso.
I’ve been packing on the pounds for several months now. I’m up to 220 again. I’ve set a goal to lose 45 pounds by May of 2016. I wasn’t sure quite what i was going to do to get there… You know,eat better,eat less, & exercise more I guess… I was at the library working on research for this site & found the book JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet. I started reading, and she’s identified seven foods that have a high impact on your blood sugar & a transition plan to move towards low impact foods to replace. Sounds like what I’ve been figuring out for myself.
She’s identified the sneaky sugars; and that reducing hidden sugars is the key to successful weight loss. There are more than fifty different types of sugar that you may find a nutrition label. Sugars are not created equally. Glucose is the fuel of life. Fructose, which is common in fruits and fruit products can be processed by the liver to create glucose. The downside being that if your body has enough glucose, your liver will metabolize the fructose into triglycerides for storage in your fat cells.
Her book led me to watch Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig. In this 2008 lecture, he explains the science of how our bodies process the different types of sugar as well as the politics that have also been at play in the food industry for the last four decades.
There’s a lot of negative press out there about fructose. Naturally occurring fructose in fruits, when consumed with the fiber of the fruit, is much better than it’s highly refined cousin, High Fructose Corn Syrup. Sometimes referred to as HFCS or just corn syrup, it flows straight through your digestive tract and goes straight to your liver.
I found it interesting that a woman’s sugar consumption during pregnancy can effect a child’s tastes later in life. The amount of sugar your mother consumed while pregnant can affect your tastes and in turn a lifetime of food choices. My wife was insulin resistant during her pregnancy with our now elementary aged son. She was careful about what she ate, and now we see where he doesn’t care for sugary snacks. As a toddler he readily tried all sorts of foods. I can remember one meal where he ate seven different vegetables in one meal. He can be sort of stubborn about trying new foods these days, but I am confident the healthy patterns have been laid, and later in life he will reap the rewards. We have broken the cycle for him. He will not be burdened by so many of the health problems associated with obesity.
Dr. Lustig works with obese and overweight children suffering from and on the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. He says the advice they gave their patients will fit on a matchbook.
- Remove all sugared beverages and liquids from the home. This includes salad dressings and barbecue sauces and any number of juices and flavored beverages.
- Eat your carbohydrates with fiber. If your counting carbs or exchange points, look for carbohydrates with fiber. The fiber helps to control the carbs your intestine absorbs.
- Wait twenty minutes before taking a second helping. Give the hormone Leptin the opportunity to send the signal that you are full to your brain.
- Trade screen time for Physical activity time. Earn your screen time as a reward for your exercise.
Its that simple.
Dr. Lustig refers to a 1972 book, Pure, White, and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It by John Yudkin. The book was re-released in 2013. My local library has it. I’m looking forward to checking it out.
I’ve got a lot more reading to do. I’m inspired by how much info I’ve found so far. I hope you’ll stay tuned. I’m sure to have more to share in the future. I’m going to read the rest of JJ Virgin’s book and skim over John Yudkin’s book. I’m going to search out fiber, and watch for secret sugars on nutrition labels. And as always, I’m going to do my best to enjoy my carbs. Savor Every Bite.