Sugar is Evil.
Why do we love something so destructive so very much? Evolutionary Biologists claim we are hard-wired to pursue the sweet stuff and consume as much as possible as a survival mechanism. In whole food form, sugars in fruits and veggies attract us to foods rich in fibers, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. However, we humans are just too clever for our own good. We isolate the sugars from the fiber and other plant nutrients, leaving us with something that becomes toxic on its own in quantity.
After watching Dr. Robert Lustig’s lecture Sugar: the Bitter Truth a couple years ago, I’ve made concerted effort to consume whole fruits and honey instead of processed and other natural sugars like maple syrup or evaporated cane juice (which are separated from the whole plant) to satisfy my desire for sweetness.
I understand only too well that I am a recovering “Sugar Hound” and must be cautious of the slippery slope that is the sweet stuff. Keeping blood sugar steady is of utmost importance for those of us with autoimmunity and vigilance is required to avoid candida overgrowth, from which I suffered nearly my entire life – and am currently battling again due to the (necessary) use of antibiotics.
I recently viewed another lecture by the good Dr. Lustig: Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0 which reinforces avoidance of high fructose corn syrup and other processed/natural sugars outside whole food form due to its overall toxicity as well as its special contribution to obesity.
I encourage you to watch both of these. They are important and worth your time!
Post-Detox advice from Diane Sanfilippo – a Few Important Things to Consider:
If you were completingThe 21-Day Sugar Detox…
Then you’ll want to think about the following before chugging a glass of fruit juice or a pile of candy: What was your diet like before the 21-Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) and were you on Level 1, 2, or 3? How do you feel now that you’ve reduced the amount of sugar or dense carbohydrates you’ve been eating? How has your sleep been? What about your digestive function? Do you think that eating sugary or carb-rich foods will make you feel better or worse? Has the time and energy commitment that’s gone into avoiding sugar and dense carbs added more stress to your life than it alleviated your cravings and how much sugar or carbs has controlled your life and food choices?
Consider how often you used to consume sweetened or carb-rich foods, then decide whether adding some of those foods back in perhaps once a day versus at every meal will be something more livable for you on a regular basis. Fruit, for example, is a great way to enjoy a dessert or a treat, but most of it isn’t included on the 21DSD. Consider whether you previously ate sweets or dense carbs as rewards, as comfort, or even just as part of a habit. Then consider whether or not eating them made you feel your best or helped you to reach your goals. A LOT of people lose weight on The21DSD, but it’s not the primary goal of the program. If you did lose weight, recognize that the bite here or there of sweets that seemed innocent enough before may have been too much for you and for your goals. If your goal was not primarily weight loss but rather to break unhealthy habits and conquer cravings, think about how eating sweets again triggers the problems and causes a downward spiral, then become mindful and conscious when choosing what to eat on a daily basis.
To safely and slowly add some naturally occurring sugars (like fruit) and starches back into your diet, take care to consider portions and the timing of these foods. Fruits should not be eaten alone if blood sugar regulation and cravings have been issues for you historically. Eat small portions of berries or half of a piece of fruit if you’re not a very active person, or larger portions if you are more active. Starchy foods are best added back in on days when you are more active and specifically in the meal following your activity. Keep portions of starchy foods to a minimum otherwise, and don’t allow them to monopolize your plate if weight loss maintenance is your goal. If simply avoiding cravings is your goal and you feel okay/don’t have them when you add back in some starchy foods, then you can enjoy some root vegetables, tubers like sweet potatoes and squash more frequently. Continue to avoid refined foods including bread, pasta, cereal and other products made from flours and purchased in packages- these are never healthy options.
The bottom line: After the 21-Day Sugar Detox, a sugar-bender is not recommended. The first time I completed The Detox myself, I ate candy the following day when I was hungry (note: this means my blood sugar was already low!). I spiked my blood sugar SO high that when it crashed about an hour or two later, I nearly passed out. Seriously. It was THAT intense. I vowed at that point that I’d never let that happen again. Hopefully you can learn from my mistake, and from the questions outlined above, when choosing how to ease back into your regularly scheduled programming of life and food.
A package of Paleo Treats arrived the day after my Detox was completed, and I heeded Diane’s words in that last paragraph. I planned ahead to deal with my sugar-demon temptation – or rather, what I thought would happen. I took out one treat of each variety and promptly placed the rest in the freezer – out of sight, out of mind. Then I shared those morsels with others, thereby limiting my own consumption. I was able to sample each, but not get carried away. I was in no mood to feel sick! Surprisingly, I did not feel the pull of Sugar Love to go back for more. One bite of each was enough. Mission accomplished!
Today is Day 21. I made it, more or less sugar-free. Looking back on the past three weeks, a few things learned: (1) I was definitely consuming far too much honey and high-sugar dried fruits over the holidays. (2) I need veggie or unripe banana carbs to avoid feeling hypothyroid. (3) A week or so off of sugars can reset the taste buds and kill cravings.
Follow me on my 21-Day sugar-free journey in the COMMENTS of my original post.
I highly recommend everyone do this periodically. It’s just too easy for that destructive Sugar Love to sneak up on us! Click HERE to get your own 21-Day Sugar Detox Guide!
It is now Day 5 of my 21-Day Sugar Detox and all is well. I’ve been adding daily updates in the Reply section of my original post. Follow along with my progress!
The sugar cravings have been conquered and inflammation is going down. No more ripping knees and *snap-crackle-pop* hip joints. Rings slide on and off fingers again. Brain fog is lifting. Skin is healing.
And thanks to Liz Wolfe’s newly released SKINtervention materials, I have returned to oil cleansing and my complexion is rapidly improving. What a difference a few days makes!
Who knew sugar could cause so much trouble? Well, I did – but as I’ve shared before – that sugar is some sneaky stuff. It’s so addictive that studies show rats prefer it to cocaine! No wonder I suddenly found myself wallowing in the midst of sugar addiction after two years of freedom. I now know that I cannot allow myself to indulge in the high-sugar dried fruits like dates and raisins. Those Larabar-style treats combined with chocolate over the holidays turned into a slippery slope. Only goes to show what can happen when you’re not paying attention.
Sugar causes so much damage to our bodies and minds. Dr. Robert Lustig outlines sugar toxicity very clearly in his lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth. Worthy of the hour+ it takes to watch. You’ll never look at sugar the same way again.
Consider joining the next 21-Day Sugar Detox starting February 4th!
Stacy of Paleo Parents posted her experience with the 21-Day Sugar Detox this week and I was inspired – I identify with the feelings of inflammation and sluggishness, especially since recovering from a virus. So I joined one of her Facebook threads, commenting:
Thanks for sharing, Stacy! I’m going to do this too, starting tomorrow! I just bought my copy to get me re-focused in the next few weeks. I need a jump-start. Just recovered from a virus and everything seems to be bothering me – the inflammation is palpable. …And the (natural) sugars have been creeping back in too. Bone broth and probiotics alone just aren’t doing it.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way without being glutened and I’m not sure what’s up. I speculate it’s the natural sugars that have been creeping back into my life with the winter holidays. While I’ve tried to leave it alone, that sugar is sneaky stuff!
So I decided to put it in writing – out in public where it becomes real.
No sneaky cheats, and I’m accountable to more than just my own conscience.
Eliminating sugar from my diet was the HARDEST part of my journey to health. Giving up grains and dairy was far easier. As a sugar addict, I had the dreaded Candida Albicans yeast sending messages to my brain to feed it. Once it’s embedded in the body, it has the potential to reestablish (overgrown) colonies. Coconut oil and Caprylic Acid were my secret weapons in the war against candida, and they will once again be my best friends.
But I know it’s more than just the candida. It’s the rediscovered love of sweetness and habit. I went for many months without a twinge of sugar love and I was happy. I want the happy back. The taste of sugar is not worth the inflammation in the joints, skin and insides. So here we go! I will be doing the Level 3 program with adjustments for autoimmunity, just like Stacy. No nightshades or egg whites, and minimal nut products.
I’ll keep you all posted on the progress. Wish me luck!