Get the Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet, 2nd ed.
New York: Crown Publishing, 1996; 2008.
Here are a few things that stuck with me from this first primer on nutritional research about sugar and ideas to help me live without it.
No wonder I can eat SO much candy:
“By replacing sugar with high fructose corn syrup, you can override your body’s natural ability to feel full, so you eat more. Without this type of signal you don’t know when to stop eating. Now that is downright scary,” (7).
“Your body is not designed for high levels of refined fructose,” (23).
“When you eat refined simple sugars, such as table sugar, candy, cookies, or other sugar-laden foods, your blood sugar levels rise very quickly. Your pancreas responds by releasing a lot of insulin. That’s not good. High insulin levels are one of the biggest risk factors and promoters of breast cancer…excess sugar fuels the cancer fire in areas beyond breast tissue,” (20).
“Though diabetes is caused by high blood sugar, hypoglycemia is low blood sugar, a condition that often precedes the development of adult-onset diabetes. In hypoglycemia, the pancreas reacts to excess processed carbohydrates in the diet by sending out so much insulin that blood sugar drops too low, resulting in fatigue, lack of concentration, anxiety, mood swings, and irritability. Several health professionals, such as research psychologist Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., believe that alcoholics and drug addicts start out as hypoglycemics first and that hypoglycemia can also lead to criminal activity. Since almost all Americans eat too much sugar, many nutritionists think that most Americans are on an almost certain collision course with hypoglycemia,” (21).
“Sugar is a known immunosuppressant,” (25).
Understatement of the century:
“If you experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, moodiness, depression, irritability, and fatigue, you most certainly are addicted to sugar, just as others are addicted to coffee or alcohol. Like alcoholics, who need to avoid alcohol, you also need to eliminate all forms of sugar in your diet, at least until your body chemistry improves,” (44).
“If you can’t go long without eating sugary foods, you probably have a physical dependence on sugar to give you the quick energy your body is lacking. Switch to eating five or six small, protein-rich meals a day. This will better balance your blood sugar and give you more long-term energy so you’re less apt to grab for the sweets,” (45).
“If you crave sugar or even complex carbohydrates, that’s almost always a sign that you’re not getting enough protein,” (45).
Hmmm…“If you’re a vegetarian, you might want to consider having your amino acid levels tested. Plasma and urine tests often reveal that vegetarians are deficient in the amino acids lysine, methionine, tryptophan, carnitine, and taurine. Without sufficient amounts of these amino acids, vegetarians can develop numerous problems, not the least of which are blood sugar imbalances and sugar and carbohydrate cravings,” (46).
A trick that has already helped me: “Chew on a cinnamon stick to help you beat your sweet tooth,” (47).
“Cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves might soon be just what the doctor orders to help regulate blood sugar levels. Test-tube studies conducted at the USDA’s Vitamin and Mineral Laboratory have shown that these spices triple insulin’s ability to metabolize sugar and remove it from the blood. To give your body extra help maintaining blood sugar balance, add these spices to foods and drinks whenever possible,” (52).
Somewhat of a revelation for me and a new practice: “A treat doesn’t have to be sweet,” (50).