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Apparently Sugar is Bad (Really Bad)

Have you watched the 60 Minutes episode on how toxic sugar is? I’ve been obsessed with foodie-related shows on Netflix like The Beautiful Truth and The Gerson Miracle which talk about how horrible our current diet is and how a plant-based diet with loads of juicing can cure cancer. And Ingredients which talks about the benefit of local food. And Killer at Large and The Future of Food that talk about how sugar is in everything and has been linked to diabetes and obesity (duh), and heart disease and cancer.

And it just hit me that we are destroying ourselves! All these shows keep repeating the statement that I’m sure you’ve heard – where our children’s life expectancy is shorter than our own. We’re basically destroying our bodies and they’re checking out early. We are starving our bodies AND we’re obese. We aren’t getting enough nutrients because we’re overdoing it on crappy foods. It’s so sad!

I’ve always been a big fan of sugar (as any of my friends can attest). I used to eat gallons of sugar and I’d never feel sick. I could eat a half box of donuts without blinking. And I loved candy. It’s interesting that it wasn’t until I got pregnant with Holden that I actually felt sick after eating sugar. I kept thinking: “hmm, this is probably how I should feel after eating sugar, but it took me being pregnant to really feel it.”

So after we put Holden on the GAPS Diet we started paying attention to labels. And unless you have done this, I bet you have NO idea how many foods contain sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup: Hot dogs, yogurt, sausage, pepperoni, peanut butter, SunButter, juice, bread, bagels, deli meat….not to mention ALL fast foods like hamburgers, chicken nuggets, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc.

The thing that kills me is that I expected things like Snickers and Coke to have sugar in them. But I didn’t expect sausage to have it! GAPS Diet taught us to read labels and make more of our food from scratch. I used to make my own yogurt and sour cream so I KNOW that it should only have two ingredients, not 5-8. After that we became extremely cautious of the foods we bought.

We had already been buying grass-fed beef, range-free chicken, raw milk and fresh farmed eggs, after watching Food Inc (it will scare the $#@^ out of you) and reading Real Foods What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck. But after this we started shopping and buying organic fruits and vegetables, buying hot dogs without nitrates or sugar, peanut butter and sunflower seed butter with only peanuts or sunflower seeds in them, raw honey, bought 100% Maple Syrup to replace Mrs. Butterworth’s and stopped using white flour and white sugar.

But here’s the thing – to reward myself for eating so many wholesome foods, I still like(d) to treat myself to Baskin Robbins ice cream, cake, cookies, or candy bars sometimes (much to the dismay of my personal trainer). But watching these shows makes me feel like a pawn in some corporate-predator kind of game and I don’t like that at all. And I’m angry at how cute sugar is and how it’s almost always dressed up to appeal to kids.

Now I’m trying to eat more plant-based food, have way more veggies at our meals, and more protein and healthy fats. It seems like if I can keep myself full on good food, I crave sugar less. There are some awesome recipe websites that are helpful: The Nourishing Gourmet has great more nutrient-dense recipes with alternatives to white sugar. My Year Without Sugar is really fun to read and her Upside Down Pineapple Cake is amazing. I turn to these websites when I want a treat. Because I still like something sweet now and again 🙂

This no-sugar thing is new for me. What keeps you from eating sugar? What do you do to manage cravings?

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4 thoughts on “Apparently Sugar is Bad (Really Bad)

  1. This is A first for me reading your blog post…wasn’t aware of it. Neat post! I’ve been a bit obsessed with food documentaries lately too and I love that you also share links for websites you’ve tried. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Amber, after a few years of mostly not eating sugar I feel the effects of the back stuff (i.e. cocaine sugar) immediately; I get a headache within 15 minutes and my throat gets almost instantly sore. It’s crazy. So, that’s what helps keep me within pretty reasonable bounds and sticking to mostly not-so-bad sweeteners. But the interesting thing is that if I start eating white sugar, those warning signs become less and less, and I know if I completely gave in that I could go back to eating a whole bag of Twizzlers without batting an eye. It’s scary!!

  3. Since I was diagnosed with diabetes I’ve had to cut way back on my sugar intake and eliminate almost all white carbs. It can be very hard and I’m not saying I’m perfect but we are all better for making the attempt. When I first started I was also shocked at all things that have sugar in them- like some canned garbanzo beans had sugar added! Who would have thought? I must say I disagree with this movement that eliminates fructose. I think fruit in the right proportions is perfectly healthy part of a diet and a good way to substitute when the sweet cravings inevitably come.
    Have you tried the bountiful baskets? They are a great way to get organic healthy food at a bargain. I split mine with a friend and its been fantastic. All volunteer http://www.bountifulbaskets.org.

  4. I’ve noticed that when I drink a big glass of water after I’ve had a sugar craving it seems to keep my sugar levels under better control then when I don’t drink a glass of water. I guess because it flushes the sugar through my system quicker. And when I eat a big salad for one of my meals it keeps my sugars under better control for the whole day as well. They have new site that replaces the food pyramid http://www.choosemyplate.gov/index.html it teaches you how to eat a well balanced diet. I need to be better about following rules like this and teach my kids how to eat right before they get jinxed with the horrible diabetes too. ;(

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