Why Sugar is Worse than Darth Vader

Sugar.

Highly addictive, horribly debilitating, unfortunately pervasive, and freaking delicious.

If I had to point to ONE culprit to our country’s expanding waistlines and rapidly deteriorating health, it would be sugar.  The amount of havoc sugar and sugar substitutes have wreaked on our nation is horribly depressing.  Fear not, as I’ve come up with the perfect solution!

Eat less sugar if you want to live longer.  

The end.

Just kidding, there’s so much more to this story than that.

I’m sure you probably have a lot of questions about sugar:

  • Is sugar THAT bad for you?
  • Fruit has sugar! Is fruit bad for you?
  • Are certain kinds of sugar better or worse for you?
  • Can you really get addicted to sugar?
  • What about sugar alternatives that are used in drinks like Diet Coke?  What about natural sweeteners?

Let’s nerd out about sugar and find out what you can do to kick your sugar habit and get your life back on track.

Fair warning: This post is MASSIVE (over 4,000 words), even for Nerd Fitness standards.

American’s love affair with sugar

candy wall
Before we get into the biological and physiological stuff relating to sugar and how it affects our body, I want to talk about just how big of a factor sugar plays in our lives.

This might be the most telling statistic relating to sugar, especially when that close to 70% of America is overweight with a THIRD of the nation  obese:

1822: Americans consume 45 grams of sugar every five days, or the amount of sugar in a can of coke.

2012: Americans consume 756 grams of sugar every five days, or 130 POUNDS of sugar a year.

As we have grown as a country (in more ways than one), sugar has continued to play an increasingly more prominent role in our food.  It’s not just sugary foods like candy and cookies either, but sugar has made its way into practically EVERYTHING we eat.

Unfortunately, it’s not just sugar that’s killing us, but scientifically manufactured “sugar” as well.

Now, we all know that correlation does NOT prove causation, so let’s dig into the science behind why sugar is ruining our bodies.

What is Sugar?

Sugar Crystals

Sugar is a carbohydrate.

If it ends in a “ose,” it’s gonna be a sugar.  If that’s all you’d like to know, feel free to move onto the next section, as I’m about to get all Mr. Wizard up in here.

There are different kinds of sugar, starting with simple sugars (called monosaccarides) like glucose, fructose, and galactose. Then there are also more complex forms (called  disaccharides) like sucrose, maltose, and lactose.  

Here’s the cheat sheet to naturally occurring sugars:

  • Let’s start with glucose: It occurs naturally in plants and fruits, and is a byproduct of photosynthesis. In our bodies glucose can be burned as energy or converted into glycogen (essentially: liver and muscle fuel). Our bodies can actually produce glucose when needed.
  • Next, fructose!  This is fruit sugar, occurring naturally in…you guessed it, fruit!  It also occurs naturally in cane sugar and honey, and is incredibly sweet.
  • Onto the more complex sugars, starting with Sucrose.  This sugar is found in the stems of sugar cane, the roots of sugar beet, and can be found naturally alongside glucose in certain fruits and other plants.
  • Last but not least, we have lactose, which is essentially milk sugar!  This is something that is created as  result of a process happening in our bodies: children possess the enzyme necessary to break down the molecule into lactose to be used by the body, while some adults don’t. These are the lactose intolerant folks.

So, we have a few key types of sugar.  But where does sugar actually come from?  It is USUALLY created as a result of the processing of one of two types of plants: sugar beets or sugar cane.  These plants are harvested, processed, and refined to eventually resemble the white sugar you’ve come to know and love (or loathe).  This sugar has absolutely no nutritional value: it’s just pure, refined, sugar.

We’ll cover other types of laboratory-created-sugar later.

What happens in our body when we eat sugar?

Sugar Cafe

Hopefully you don’t need me to tell you that sugar can cause tooth decay and rot your teeth.  

Sugar is the lifeblood of the cavity creeps!

Beyond that, your body processes sugar in a very specific way.

When you consume sugar, your body has two options on how to deal with it:

  • Burn it for energy. WEEEEE!
  • Convert to fat and store it in your fat cells.  BOOOOO!

Depending on your genetic predisposition, your body might be better equipped to process sugar as energy, or you might be more likely to store it as fat.  Think of this like you think of people with faster metabolisms vs. people with slower metabolisms.

Problem is, there’s a LOT more room for fat storage, and a lot less room to burn the sugar as energy.

So, we have this sugar in our body and blood stream. What happens next? When your pancreas detects a rush of sugar, it releases a hormone called insulin to deal with all of that excess sugar.

Insulin helps regulate that level of sugar in our blood; the more sugar in the blood stream, the more insulin is released.  Insulin helps store all of this glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen and in fat cells (aka adipocytes stored as triglycerides).

Now, oftentimes our body struggles to get that balance right (with us putting way too much sugar in our system very quickly). TOO much insulin is released, which ultimately results in our blood sugar dropping below normal levels.

This is called hypoglycemia, essentially a sugar crash: Our bodies respond by telling us: WE WANT SUGAR.

So we cram sugar down our throats and the process starts again. 

Unfortunately, the more often this process takes place (the more sugar you consume), the more severe the blood sugar spike is, and the more insulin is required. This means it becomes easier and easier to skip using sugar as energy, and go straight to extra insulin and fat storage.

This is best explained by this three minute video, which is definitely worth watching: Why You Got Fat:

Why You Got Fat Video

Along with making you fat, sugar consumption has been implicated in a litany of crimes, including contributing to an increased chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, macular degeneration, renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and high blood pressure.

So, I should just eat less sugar?

measurement

Now, you might be thinking: I’ll just eat less sugar and won’t have this issue, right?  

Well, that’s a good start, but that’s only half of the battle.  You see, our bodies actually process certain types of carbohydrates in a very similar way to processing pure sugar.

Believe it or not, there is an entire area of scientific research on how our bodies process certain foods.

You’ve probably heard of the Glycemic Index, and its lesser known associate: Glycemic Load.

The Glycemic Index is the calculation of how quickly a particular type of food increases one’s blood sugar level, on a scale from 1-100 (100 being pure glucose). Harvard researchers have found that things like white bread, french fries, and other simple carbohydrates have nearly identical effects on our blood sugar as glucose.

Generally, the more refined (processed) the food, the more likely it’ll be to get converted quickly to sugar in our body for processing.

What about fruit and fruit sugar?  Keep reading!  

For now, hopefully you’re coming to a conclusion with something like this:

“Oh, maybe fat isn’t making me fat. Maybe it’s the sugar and carbohydrates that I’m consuming…”

And unfortunately, it’s not JUST sugar, but also fake sugar, which I’ll get to soon.

What surprising foods containing sugar?

frozen foods

So, we’re learning that sugar is bad for us.

That’s nothing new, and it’s not a shock to companies that manufacture food.  For that reason, companies have started to disguise the sugar in their foods, so it’s not as apparent how much sugar you are consuming.  Here’s a quick list of what sugar can be listed as on a label:

  • Agave nectar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Organic evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Syrup

Why do they change the name of sugar?  Because nutritional labels are required by law to list their most prominent ingredients first. By putting two or three different types of sugar in the food (and calling them each a different name), they can spread out the sugar across three ingredients and have it show up much further down the list!  Tricky tricky tricky!

To be sure, READ THE LABELS OF FOODS THAT YOU CONSUME! 

If you’re curious how much sugar you are consuming, check out SugarStacks.com, which gives you a simple visual aid as to the amount you’re pumping into your body through surprising meals.

What about fruit sugar?

strawberries

Ahhhh, the great “is fruit sugar bad for you” debate…

Honestly, I’m quite torn on fruit and fruit sugar.  I’m a big fan of the Paleo Diet, and I know a LOT of fruit can contain a lot of fructose (and thus a lot of sugar).

That being said, I believe the consumption of fruit can be beneficial.

When you consume fruit, you are not only consuming fructose (in its natural state), but also consuming fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals.  Yes, fruit can have an effect on your blood sugar, it IS sugar. But generally fruit will cause less of a blood sugar spike compared to nutrient-void table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Along with that:  Fiber is an important part of a balanced diet (ask your bowels), and fruit can contain a lot of it!

Here’s my official stance on fruit: Consume fruit that has a low glycemic index/glycemic load to reduce blood sugar spikes and insulin secretion.  Consume organic fruit when possible.

If your main goal is weight loss, and you need to keep your carb intake low, minimize fruit consumption and instead load up on vegetables.

However, if your choice is between processed foods, sugary drinks, candy, or fruit…GO WITH THE FRUIT.

What about fruit juices?

mango Juice

So, we’ve established that fruit can be healthy if consumed properly.  

Unfortunately, fruit juices don’t really fit into that bill.  Here’s why:  When you consume fruit juices like orange juice, apple juice, or cranberry juice, the juice is squeezed, giving you  all of the juice but very little of the fiber or nutrients that get left behind in the process.

For this reason, many fruit juices should probably be called “sugar water.”

Here is a typical amount of sugar for four popular beverages (stats from DailyBurn):

  • Orange juice - 21g of sugar
  • Apple juice - 28g of sugar
  • Cranberry juice – 37g of sugar
  • Grapejuice - 38g of sugar

For reference, a can of teeth-rotting, insulin-spiking, fat-inducing Coca-Cola has 40g of sugar.

Want to know an even worse offender?  Naked Juices!  The “Green Machine” variety, with “NO SUGAR ADDED” and promised to be “ALL NATURAL” has 28 grams per serving…and there are TWO servings in those little tiny bottles.  That means when you consume one small bottle of  this “healthy” smoothie, you’re getting almost 60 GRAMS of sugar.

Brutal.  Shame on you, Naked.

If you’re going to eat fruit, get it in FRUIT form, not juice form.

If you’re going to drink juice, squeeze it yourself, and even then consume it in small quantities.

What about sugar alternatives?

substitutes

So, with more research coming out about the dangers of sugar, companies are scrambling to protect their image by promoting “healthy” alternatives so that they can slap on a fancy labels and toot their own horn.

There are a few main sugar alternatives that I want to cover, and allow you to make up your own mind:

Honey – Is Winnie the Pooh onto something here? Is honey a better alternative than regular sugar? The appeal of honey is that it’s not just fructose or glucose, but a mixture of all sorts of compounds, minerals, and more.  A study comparing honey to various types of compounds resulted in good results for the sticky stuff: “Overall, honey improved blood lipids, lowered inflammatory markers, and had minimal effect on blood glucose levels.” Along with that, honey resulted in a lower blood glucose spike in rats compared to other types of sugar.

Agave Nectar: This is the most recent darling of the fake “healthy food industry.”  Unfortunately, despite the fact that it comes from a cactus (which is natural!), this stuff is so processed and refined, and contains an absurd amount of refined fructose (90% fructose and 10% glucose).  Also, the process to create this stuff is similar to the process used to create high fructose corn syrup.  

Aspartame: So, many people have switched to diet soda because they heard regular soda can be bad for you.  I would guess that 90% of diet sodas out there contains aspartame, a laboratory-created sugar alternative. NutraSweet also contains aspartame and should be avoided.  Studies on this stuff have proven inconclusive and wildly different. Although some studies cite an increased link with aspartame and cancer, I believe more research needs to be done.  Even still, I have made the decision to avoid aspartame until more conclusive studies surface.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is non-caloric as the body struggles to break it down.  Sucralose is approximately 600 times as sweet as sucrose (table sugar), and thus can be consumed in smaller quantities to get the same desired “sweet” effect as sugar.  Sucralose is available in things like protein powders, Splenda, and other products reliant upon remaining low-sugar or low-carb.  Allegedly, sucralose has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels.

Stevia is a naturally occurring sweetener from the Sunflower family.  It is approximately 300 times sweeter than table sugar, and allegedly has a lower effect on blood glucose levels.  As you can read about here, Stevia has had an interesting history in the United States (for political reasons), but appears to have been used in Japan and South America with minimal adverse effects.

Saccharin is another artificial sweetener, created back in the late 1890s, that is much sweeter than table sugar and thus is consumed at lower quantities.  It was linked to increased risk of cancer within laboratory rats and labeled as dangerous by the US, though this label was removed in 2000 due to the fact that the results couldn’t be replicated in humans.  That being said, more studies need to be conducted.

This nerd’s opinion: If you’re going to eat sugar, get it from fruit or naturally occurring sweeteners. With that being said, to minimize the effect on your blood sugar, minimize sugar consumption across the board if your primary goal is weight loss.

what about High Fructose Corn Syrup?

beakers

I’m writing this section while grinding my teeth because it grinds my gears.

In an effort to keep family farms alive in the Great Depression, the government started paying farmers NOT to grow food, since crop prices were wildly low. Over 80 years later the program has evolved many times, and today we give almost $5 billion a year to growers of commodity crops, creating cheap corn.

Not surprisingly, when given the option to grow a crop with or without a government subsidy, many farmers went the lucrative route.

And thus, we ended up with a crazy amount of excess corn, and nothing to use it for!

(Un)luckily, science stepped in, and found a use for corn beyond just eating it or feeding it to animals.

Scientists discovered by processing and refining the corn, it could be turned into a sugar alternative, called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Despite the name, high fructose corn syrup is actually composed of equal parts of fructose and equal parts glucose.

This video gives a quick demonstration of how HFCS is produced.  

As the government continued to subsidize farmers to produce corn, the cheap price of HFCS created a MUCH cheaper alternative for food producers compared to regular sugar.

Now, producers of high fructose corn syrup (and producers of food who use it) argue that it is no different on a molecular level from regular sugar, and is thus a safe alternative to sugar in food and drinks.

Unfortunately, it turns out that HFCS, despite being molecularly similar to regular sugar, does not affect the body the same way as table sugar.  A recent study conducted by Princeton University concluded:

Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.

Two groups of rats were fed the exact same number of calories. One group was fed HFCS, while the other was fed regular table sugar.  The rats fed HFCS gained significantly more weight.

If this was a movie, you’d see an evil scientist in a laboratory, with lighting flashing in the background as he laughs maniacally while creating his greatest evil creation: HFCS, knowing that it’ll soon take over the world.

I highly recommend you watch the documentary “King Corn,” available for free on Amazon Prime for an interesting look at just how pervasive corn and high fructose corn syrup has become in our nation.  

Sugar = bad. High Fructose Corn Syrup = Bowser evil.

Can you get addicted to sugar?

Candy

So we’ve covered natural sugars, sugar alternatives, and the evil HFCS. Is this stuff addictive?

Short answer: YES.

Long answer: Sugary foods can be as physiologically addictive as many drugs.  You can legitimately become addicted to sugar and sugary foods.

HOLY CRAP!

From another study:

In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants. The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

In other words: We are not genetically designed to consume the amount of sugar that we are currently eating.  For that reason, our brains get that ‘happy feeling’ from sugar and it can override the “I’ve had enough” mechanism.

It’s why your concentration goes to Hell when you eat a chocolate chip cookie and there is an additional plate of them in front of you.  Suddenly it’s the only thing you can think about until you’ve eaten them all!  Or you eat a Peanut M&M, and suddenly you’ve polished off a family-sized bag.

Do this repeatedly, and like Pavlov’s dog, your brain will start to anticipate this sugar rush and get prepared for it…even when you’re merely thinking about food!  

It’s why Cinnabon is usually isolated in malls - away from the food court, it has a better chance of getting its smells into your nostrils from far away…which then triggers that mechanism in your brain if you love sugar: “SUGAR! CINNABON! HUNGRY NOW!” Suddenly you can’t think of anything else.

It’s also why everybody in line for Cinnabon looks so depressed. As Louis CK hilariously points out (NSFW language): it’s like they have no control.

I think I’m definitely addicted to sugar.

Dixie Crystal Sugar

I’ve already covered food addiction, but I want to talk specifically about sugar.

Like with any other addiction, you have two main options:

  • Cold turkey (and suffer through the withdrawal).
  • Slowly ramping down the addiction.

I’m a bigger fan of the second option, as I find that most people end up going overboard when they fail on the “cold turkey” and are worse off than before.

However, I don’t know you personally (which is a shame!), so you’ll have to decide for yourself which method is best for you.

Like with any habit, it’s far easier to build a new habit in place of an old one than just trying to get rid of the old habit, so let’s take action:

1) Create your new identity.  “I am somebody who is completely in control of the food that I eat.” “I only drink soda once a day instead of four times a day.”  “I don’t eat cookies.”  The more specific and positive and definitive you can make your new identity, the more likely you will be to eventually make that identity your new reality.

2) Be aware of your cravings. When you start to crave sugar, don’t just run to get sugar immediately.  Take a few minutes and analyze why: is it because you are depressed and unhappy? Bored? Hungry?  Sugar creates that happy feeling in your brain, and thus you could be craving sugar for any number of reasons.

3) Once you identify the reason for your sugar craving, decide if there is another activity you can complete to accomplish the intended desire without sugar.  Maybe you’re bored, so going for a walk or playing a game or talking to a friend could help. If you’re unhappy, understand that the quick rush of sugar does not beat out long-term happiness and success.  If you’re hungry, eat  food with lots of fat and protein and fill yourself up.

4) Identify rules for yourself, and stick with them by minimizing willpower required.  “Today, I will replace one of my sodas with water.”  “I drink water with dinner, I don’t drink soda.”  “I don’t ________.”  It’s important to use “don’t” instead of “can’t”. Studies have shown that using “don’t” results in a much stronger dedication to habit building.

5) Increase the difficulty to continue your bad habit.  Don’t keep cookies on the counter.  Don’t keep ice cream stocked in your fridge. If you are trying to eat less sugar, increase the number of steps between you and sugar. If you are on your couch and see a commercial for something sugary, use your own laziness to work for you. Suddenly, getting in the car, driving to the store, and buying something sweet is more effort than its worth.

Along with those few steps to get started, here are some other things you can do to help yourself fight the battle and win.

  • Get mad. Like, really mad.  I hate not feeling in control, and right now, the sugar and food companies have you under their control.  If anything, you’re going to kick your sugar addiction to make yourself healthier and happier, but also out of spite.  Stick it to the man, and let him know you’re taking back your brain.
  • Don’t do it alone.  Have somebody to talk to through the process. Work with others who have successfully kicked their sugar habits (check the NF boards if you don’t have somebody at home).
  • Need SOMETHING sweet? Try dark chocolate or fruit. If you are craving something sweet, aim for alternatives that aren’t as bad for you or don’t trigger the same blood glucose spike.  Eat dark chocolate with a cocoa content above 70% – you still get to feed your sweet tooth, but the sugar content in minimal compared to milk chocolate.
  • Slowly scale it down.  I don’t care if it takes you a year of slowly changing your habits to kick your sugar habit. Every change counts, and every little bit adds up.  If you drink a case of diet coke every day, tomorrow only drink 11. In two weeks, cut it back to 10 per day. And then 9.  And then eventually maybe it’s “only one on Friday.”
  • Keep busy.  If you are thinking about sugar, get up and go do something or engage your brain in another way so that you are not stuck with a one-track mind (focusing on the sugar that you’re not currently eating).
  • EXERCISE! Sugar raises serotonin and dopamine levels, which can factor into your cravings. Exercise can do the same thing! Try exercising when you have sugar cravings…get that rush (and build your habits around that).  Get addicted to the high from exercise.
  • If you have children, save them now! Sugar addiction is built up over time, and yours might have started back when you were a child.  Instead of creating a reward system with candy and treats, create a reward system that rewards your kids back with a healthier lifestyle (like in Zelda!).
  • If you have to have sugar, consume it close to a workout. When you consume sugar before or after a workout, you will have a greater chance of burning the sugar/carbs as energy or having it stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver rather than being stored as fat!.

At the end of the day, understand that you are in control.  If you are going to eat chocolate or something sweet, it’s because you made a conscious decision to do so OCCASIONALLY, not because you had to have it.  Understand that it will be challenging.  Understand that there will be cravings that get better with time.

Most importantly, understand that what you really want (a happier, healthier life) can’t happen if you keep settling for what you want RIGHT NOW (sugar!).

Understand that you can change.

Vote with your wallet

Opportunity Center

Every time you buy food, you are casting a ballot.

Every time you purchase something with high fructose corn syrup in it, you’re sending a message that you don’t care about your body, that you are satisfied with food that is making you sick, fat, and unhealthy.

Why not cast your vote for a better life?

Today’s article is educational: without action it’s just a pile of underpants

I challenge you to decrease your sugar intake.

I challenge you to start eating more real foods and less processed ones.

I challenge you to cut back on candy and soda purchases.

Are you up to the challenge?

I’d love to hear about your personal relationship with sugar.  Would you call yourself addicted?  Have you kicked an addiction? If so, how did you do it?

Share your story below and help out your fellow rebels!

-Steve

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Photo source: action figure and sugar pile, beaker, measurement, alternatives, candy wall, frozen food, juice, fruit, candy, sugar spoon, dixie sugar, sugar cafe,opportunity

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  • mplo

    Here’s something else that I’ve read/heard, however: Although fruit has natural sugar plus fiber and antioxidants, thereby making it fine for people once it gets inside their bodies, the sugar on fruit, like refined sugar, if it’s left inside the mouth, can also cause harm to the teeth and the gums. In either case, the bacteria that’s present inside the mouth acts on the sugar to form an acid that harms the teeth and the gums. Therefore, it’s important to brush one’s teeth, at least rinse one’s mouth out, or to at least eat some raw sugarless vegetable(s), such as cucumber, celery, or even an apple, if one can’t brush their teeth at the moment.

  • PMM

    I just read that Naked Juice is bad — anyone try or have an opinionon cold pressed juice?

  • Latha Tamil

    Good one! this article is really interesting… I found that the following link will also be helpful to know the bad effects of sugar…. http://bingoose.com/bad-effects-of-sugar/

  • Latha Tamil

    Good one! this article is really interesting… I found that the following link will also be helpful to know the bad effects of sugar…. http://bingoose.com/bad-effects-of-sugar/

  • Kelly

    Hi! I just wanted to say that I’m going to link to your article in my food blog where I am documenting my journey of breaking the sugar habit. I wish someone would write about the fact that quitting sugar doesn’t mean quitting carbs and that we still get carbs from many veggies, rice, sweet potatoes, squash, etc. Anyway, your article does a great job of breaking down the basics, thanks!

  • Maryon Jeane

    Try making your own bread, with spelt grain (or another older grain – the newer grains have much of the goodness bred out of them for the sake of longer shelf life, increased resistance to disease and weather, etc.), grinding it yourself and using raw (unpasteurised) honey as the sugar to go with the yeast. I promise it will satisfy your craving for bread and you won’t be able to overeat it!

  • Maryon Jeane

    Try the film or book ‘Sweet Misery’ – that’s got perhaps more information than you want!

  • sp

    I loved this article. although aware about the facts about sugar at times one just gives in to the cravings. I have some corn flakes on and off (kellogs original n the best) but I feel even they have harmful sugar in it. I was gonna try special k but need to read up on that now. its just amazing how almost everything available in a supernarket is so unhealthy.

  • GaryKas

    Dietary science is a constantly evolving field, and there have been a
    few (highly egregious in my opinion) mistakes in the past with things
    like our misunderstanding of dietary vs blood cholesterol, demonization
    of fat, etc…

    That said, we’ve known for a very long time now
    just how damaging and completely unnecessary sugar is in the diet ( http://onlinepharmacyreviews.org/forum/nutrition ), and
    it’s really been an uphill battle against big holders in the food
    industry for years to try and raise awareness and start making progress
    toward reducing our nation’s sugar dependency.

    Portion control
    is actually affected by sugar intake, and the metabolic syndrome
    (a.k.a., “why Americans are fat”) has been demonstrated to be largely,
    if not entirely, the result of the body attempting to process an excess
    of fructose, the primary ingredient of refined sugar. Sugar impairs the
    body’s satiety response, causing hunger and an inability to tell when to
    stop eating. Fructose, like alcohol, can only be metabolized by the
    liver, and involves virtually all of the same biochemical processes as
    metabolizing alcohol, resulting in all of the same health problems as
    excessive prolonged alcohol use.

    And that’s really only the
    tip of the iceberg. There’s all kinds of other ill effects of a diet
    high in sugar, such as glycemic load, diabetes, etc… while it supplies
    no benefit whatsoever to your body. It’s effectively poison. I could go
    into a whole spiel on all the reasons you should avoid sugar, but it
    would be long and boring, and I’m not really fully qualified to discuss
    all of the biochem aspects anyway… but let’s just say that while it
    seems unrealistic to try and eliminate sugar entirely from the western
    diet (It’s everywhere), it is highly advised to reduce your intake as
    much as possible, as the less of it you consume, the better. As a former
    smoker, I consider sugar more hazardous to public health than smoking.

  • Anika

    Very well written and entertaining. I agree 100% with all you’ve said since I’ve already done my own research into ‘sugar’ and it’s evil cousins. I have been making a concerted effort to curb my sugar addiction for almost a year now and reading posts like this just makes it easier for me to stay on track. I know that sugar (from various sources including but not limited to wheat and other high glycemic-index grains) reacts poorly with my body’s internal mechanism. It’s like sludge being injected into my body instead of fuel. It causes all kinds of visible inflammation from candida to eczema flare-ups to acne and invisible inflammation from headaches to inability to focus to overactive bladder in my body (to name a few reasons why I refuse to intentionally pollute my body any longer). I am a much saner and happier person when I am not bombarding my body with more than the recommended 25 grams of sugar per day for a woman. My skin is clear, my mind is focused and life is beautiful.

    Thanks for taking the time to put this out there. I will be sharing this on my fb page. Best~

  • Sam Bailey

    Well, sort of… If you were in the hospital, most doctors would just administer Valium or some variant thereof, which works on many of the same receptors as alcohol and can prevent death by withdrawals. Alcohol is one of the few drugs that can kill you if you quit cold turkey. That’s why it’s such a great analogy here.
    If it is safe to quit cold turkey, and probable that you will be successful that way, by all means do it. But if it isn’t being possible that way, BETTER IS BETTER. It is better to step down slowly and be successful over a year, than it is to quit cold turkey this week and binge even harder next week. I don’t want to start a flame war over which method of recovery is best for any type of addiction, alcohol, sugar, or otherwise, because no one but YOU can determine which is going to be best for YOU.
    And you can ask any doctor, and he’ll begrudgingly tell you, even with cirrhosis, one bottle of beer is better than one bottle of wine is better than one bottle of whiskey. No bottles of beer is better than all of that, but if you must choose, better is better. And the same goes for anything. Perfect is the enemy of done.

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  • jayden

    i don’t know

  • Karla

    I enjoyed your article. I started cutting back on sugar about 3 months ago when my doctor told me I was borderline diabetic. I stopped putting sugar in my coffee, and also only drink unsweetened tea and water. Also, I’ve cut back on my carbohydrates and alcohol (I love sweet wine!) and switched to chocolates that are at least 70% cocoa. So far, I’ve actually lost 16 pounds just from cutting back on all the sugar! It hasn’t been easy, but I feel so much healthier. Good luck to everyone trying to cut back on sugar!!

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  • Canis Lupus

    Great article, thank you very much! Just, being nerdy and nit-picky (and sorry if someone else already pointed it out): Lactose, milk sugar, is the molecule that gets broken down by the enzyme children (and adults to varying degrees) have, ^^. Might just be a typo, but sounded like lactose was the end product of the breaking down.

    Personally, I thank nerdfitness for finally giving me the kick in the butt I needed to cut down on my fruit juice consumption, which is the factor I credit most for getting back to a happy weight where I fit into the jeans I was wearing 2 years ago. Sure, it was just five kilos, not the major struggle some people face (and you have my highest respects!), but still, thanks! I do eat my share of sugar, but thankfully, I don’t think HFCS is as pervasive here in Europe as it is in the US (yet), so it’s easier to eat real food here. I also wasn’t brought up on a fast food diet, but rather a traditional home-cooked meal one, for which I’m profoundly grateful (thanks, Mum!). My strategy for fighting the odd sugar craving: Imagine eating what you’re craving- and make it disgusting in your mind, focus on the negative: That sticky, cloying, too-sweet taste of the chocolate, that chemical, dusty tang in the cookies. Works wonders for me, anyway… Eventually I want to get to the point where the only sweets I eat are ones I make myself. At least then I know what’s in there!

  • Nate Evans

    I decide just over a week ago, after hearing an interview with Director Kevin Smith, to go pretty much “cold turkey” and cut out the sugar from my diet. I also watch the documentary “Fed Up” (the 2014 version) and it further solidified my decision. Now, 10 days in, I’ve dropped 3 lbs, my energy level and focus is drastically different, and I no longer have the constant food cravings.

    This being “Nerd Fitness”, we all know the common picture of nerds and geeks, playing video games and drinking gallons of Mountain Dew and eating Doritos by the ton….the sugar being strategically and diabolically pushed on us at every turn is killing us as a nation, all for profit.

    Great Article..you have a new fan..as this was the first visit to NF, but it won’t be my last..you’re bookmarked and I’ll be back regularly!

  • Katherine

    Great article! Just a shame you didn’t specifically refer to type 2 diabetes as a factor in the implications. I have a child with Type 1 auto immune diabetes, which has nothing to do with diet. Sugar can save a type 1s life.

  • Richelle

    I am just now starting to kick my addiction to sugar. This article came at a perfect time for me. Thanks for sharing the info!!!

  • becky

    I think you’re missing the point a bit; the point Tom is trying to make is that everything contains more than one nutrient, so you could be living with a diet that is dangerously low in a certain thing, like iron, to use myself as a example, so then you unnoticingly pick junk foods that have that nutirent, like I did with my chocolate intake. If you atually check, lots of processed foods, like precooked soups and chef boyardee and choclate have a small amount of iron in them, because it’s probably an easy way for manufacturers to get nutrients in so they can say that their food is healthy. What Tom seems to be trying to say is to check your diet to see if you’re doing the same thing as I did or not; if you are you might want to look into getting in other foods that have that nutrient like I did with asparagus and brussels sprouts and spinach. Now instead of getting chocolate cravings when I’m low on iron, I find myself day-dreaming about brussel sprouts and how to get them into tasty meals.

  • becky

    Now I’m hungry lol

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  • Kristen

    what about organic maple syrup?

  • Steve

    The article should have listed the RDA’s for sugar and pointed out why the RDA’s exist and how easily we go over the RDA for sugar. That would be educational and enlightening.

  • Pebbles

    It does my heart good to see such common sense. It’s rare these days. Thank you.

  • http://www.therealindianajones.blogspot.com Joe

    I used to be a sugar addict. I started to kick it when I was about 13. The first step was to get rid of adding it to tea and coffee. That helped me stop NEEDING the added taste of sugar. Then I cut back on my candy intake. And then I kind of kept steady until I found Nerd Fitness.

    After I started reading Nerd Fitness I decided to cut back even more. I was skinny, (although I noticed at one point I was starting to get a bit of a belly), but I was also pretty weak. No muscles at all. So I stopped drinking soda. The hardest part was when there was only soda in the fridge, because that’s what my family drinks. So I began drinking a lot of plain, unsweetened tea. Now, I admit, I found a bottled iced tea here, with no sugar, and I do drink a large quantity of that, but I’m happy to have cut out soda.

    THEN I cut out potato chips (partially, at least). I’m happy to have at least cut back, and I lost my little bit of a belly from that and soda. Now I’m getting back into shape, my 6 Pack is even coming back! Thanks Nerd Fitness!!!!!!

  • Iliana

    Hey ! I really liked this article. I live a sugar free lifestyle and I get sick of people telling me that I need sugar in my diet. No , I don’t! Understanding insulin and fat storage may be comes for some people but through many trial and errors I have come to understand it and I now have control over my body. I went through years of terrible and scary sugar spikes and I did not understand what was happening and why I was gaining so much weight. I Was misdiagnosed as depressed and anxiety. I was told by three nutritionist to eat whole wheat, brown rice, sweet potato , milk, lots of fruit etc… I still found no relief. After finding my beloved 4th nutritionist and she explained what was happening and suggested a sugar free, grain free lifestyle, not only have I lost weight but I can maintain a normal life. I still have rather high glucose levels but I think I have reversed diabetes.

  • Anagha

    So I know this was posted a long time ago, but I JUST started trying to eliminate sugar from my diet, and HOLY WOW is this hard! The good news is, I’m living in India right now and we eat sweets less frequently than Americans do – but I find myself craving sugar! I’ve chosen the cold turkey approach, because historically, I suck at scaling back – I always promise myself I’ll start scaling back “tomorrow,” and that definitely never happens. Thanks for the support Steve! :)

  • David Evich

    What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flourand all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

    The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease (Not high cholesterol) is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

    What, sugar the real cause of heart Disease…..

    Read more: http://www.disclose.tv/news/World_Renowned_Heart_Surgeon_Speaks_Out_On_What_Really_Causes_Heart_Disease/113103#ixzz3Pg586V6A

    Read more: http://www.disclose.tv/news/World_Renowned_Heart_Surgeon_Speaks_Out_On_What_Really_Causes_Heart_Disease/113103#ixzz3Pg4oUGWg

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  • Carol Kelly

    Thanks for the great article.
    I actually don’t like sweets. I think its a genetic thing because my father was like that and so is my son. Cakes cookies candies are never in my house. They simply do not appeal to me.
    I was particularly interested in the agave nectar information because this in the organic granola bars which are quicker to eat than making oatmeal. I can eat it while racing off on my bike to what ever I’m about to be late for. I will not buy them again since it is the fructose that needs to be avoided for good health. I did not know that agave had a higher fructose ratio than other sweeteners.

  • Nadia

    I love this page, it alone is a sole motivator for cutting out the bad things we learn about in biology but never properly take in. The video link is awesome too, thanks so much!

  • Allllllly

    Lucky for me my family has avoided HFCS since I was 9, and I still actively turn it down.

  • ChamelyMily

    Dangerous Drugs Disguised As ‘Bath Salts’

    Bath salts is a tittle that is given to a family of drugs that contain one or more than one synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the Khat plant. The name ‘bath salts’ was given to these drugs because of the ways they were disguised in the market. These drugs are often in the form of white powder, or crystals which often resemble legal bathing products like Epsom salts, but are different in chemical composition from actual bath salts. Those trading in these drugs were very cunning or do we say they were clever they even wrote on the packaging of these drugs as ‘not for human consumption’ just to evade all the problems from the authorities. Hence these drugs were traded for a long time without fear of prohibition.

    It is therefore necessary for me to state this here, these drugs that were marked as bathing salts simply to evade problems that the traders would go through incase the authorities detected they were dealing in drugs should never be mistaken for the genuine bathing salts such as Epsom salts that are sold with intentions of improving bathing experience. Epsom and other genuine salts do not contain the drug properties that are in designed drugs disguised as bathing salts.

    These drugs have since become a public health and safety issue. There has been a growing concern to tame the use of these drugs after several scientific studies have shown that they do affect the people who use them adversely. The users of these ‘bathing salts’ are always lured by the opinion that these drugs would give a person a feeling of euphoria, increased sociability and even increases a person’s sex drive. Those who are using these drugs for these reasons are misled because they do not always check for the side effects that may come along with the ‘benefits’ that they seek to find in these bathing salts. Some of the side effects that are associated with the use of these ‘bathing salts’ are paranoia, agitation, and hallucinatory delirium; some even display psychotic and violent behavior, and in extreme cases, deaths. With proof that these drugs can cause death it therefore calls for caution in handling these drugs and strict laws should be adopted to deal with those found in possession of these ‘bathing soaps’ just as it has always been done with other hard drugs.

    The use of these drugs has really spread as fast as they are now being sold online under such names as plant food, jewelry cleaner and even phone screen cleaner. There are also other online drug stores that also sell these drugs under such brand names as Ivory Wave, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning and Scarface.

    Common synthetic cathinones found in bath salts include 3, 4 methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone commonly known as Drone, Meph, or Meow Meow and methylone, but there are others that are not mentioned here. Much is still unknown about how these substances affect the human brain, and each one may have somewhat different properties. Chemically, they are similar to amphetamines such as methamphetamine as well as to MDMA also known as ecstasy.

    The energizing and often agitating effects reported in people who have taken bath salts are consistent with other drugs like amphetamines and cocaine that raise the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating reward and movement. A surge in dopamine in these circuits causes feelings of euphoria and increased activity. A similar surge of the transmitter norepinephrine can raise heart rate and blood pressure. Bath salts have been marketed as cheap and until recently, legal substitutes for those stimulants. A recent study found that MDPV—the most common synthetic cathinone found in the blood and urine of patients admitted to emergency departments after bath salts ingestion—raises brain dopamine in the same manner as cocaine but is at least 10 times more potent. This shows how dangerous these drugs are.

    Those who use these bathing salts have been reported to inhibit hallucinatory effects that are similar to those experienced by those who are using such drugs as MDMA or LSD that are known to increase the levels of serotonin which is another known neurotransmitter. Researchers have done experiments on rats through which it was found that mephedrone and methylone increased the levels of serotonin as it happens with the use of MDMA.

    Here are some other side effects of Bath salts

    Today hospitals are receiving victims of these bath salts. Most of the reactions that they inhibit include but not limited to high blood pressure, and chest pains, psychiatric symptoms like paranoia, hallucinations, and panic attacks. There is also a symptom commonly referred to as ‘excited delirium’ from taking bath salts also may have dehydration, breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, and kidney failure.

    These drugs are also very addictive and since may prove a real hell to break free from. The more a person uses these drugs the more he craves for more of this drug and this with time may prove fatal. When used for a long time it may beckon dependence.

    There are very many side effects associated with ‘bath salts’ but the greatest fear is that these drugs are designed and so most of the contents are unknown which seem very dangerous.

    Finally, Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an experienced Medical Educator who has been in the frontline fighting drug addiction. She runs a website that equips readers of better ways to overcome not only drug addiction but also serious health problems that have caused nightmares to the world population. Get in touch with her today and learn more. Dr. Akoury offers great Natural addiction education to Physicians, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners , and Councilors.

    http://www.integrativeaddiction2015.com

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  • Aminarra

    Pardon me for the necro-post but there was a link-back to this article in today’s NF post (Is Diet Coke Bad For You?)

    Hi! My name is Ami, and I’m a sugar addict. This article was really useful and I intend to beat my sugar addiction again. I think the most infuriating thing is that there is sugar in *bread* – like, really? Is that really necessary??

  • Laure T

    Hi I’m Laure, i’m actually doing a science fair project on sugar and i came across this page. I am as as well doing a program called the year of no sugar, I’ve had some cheats with it but I’m doing very well and i recommend it. This page was very use full and i learned a lot thank you so much Steve

  • The Cookie Monster

    This was one of the best, easy to read, informative and helpful articles I’ve read!

  • gary

    I encourage everyone to try a low carb or Southbeach for one week, or more. The initial cold turkey creates cravings that make you insane.

    Try filling your gut with good fatty and protein filled food. The cravings persist and are extremely powerful but only for sugar/carbs. My question to seperate hunger from craving, “does a steak (or other favorite no carb food) sound good?” If not, it’s a craving.

    Walking through Walmart with a carb craving is extremely educational. I couldn’t believe how strong the instinct was to purchase and consume about 90% of what’s for sale. It really hijacks the neurocircuitry.

  • Tyler Collins

    yeah

  • Health Nut

    LOVE your article!!!!!!! sharing it with my network.

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  • taiubita

    I loved this article

  • Crisso

    I will make it my mission to read this article every time I crave sugar. It is what’s ruining my life! I love cooking healthy food but my sugar intake is through the roof. It’s embarassing to admit, but I can’t stop myself. A while back I realized that I’m no better than a person who smokes or drinks heavily which is really sad because I believe in treating your body with respect. I felt like a hypocrite…but enough of this sad tune! I am leveling up. Thanks, Steve!

  • Emil Sørensen

    I’m gonna be the troll who defends aspartame. I’m not paid by Donald Rumsfeld. My only bias is that I like aspartame a lot.

    I find that the evidence – including the evidence hinted at in the article – don’t match the verbiage of “avoiding” aspartame. I’m not saying aspartame has no downsides, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to live without it, and I’m certainly not saying you should exceed the 40 mg/kg daily recommended limit of aspartame.

    What I will say, though, is that if aspartame is what gets you off sugar, I can practically guarantee that you’ll be better off. Obesity and diabetes and oral hygeine are all extremely serious problems that – at least in the first two cases – will lead to a shorter life. If the scientists finally come to a consensus that the permitted intake of aspartame increases one’s tendency to get cancer, I’d bet my life on the fact that it’s less of a problem than the equivalent amounts of sugar would’ve caused. Now, my life isn’t worth much, but just calculate how much sugar you’d have to eat in a day to get the same experience that 40 mg/kgs. For me, it’s like 7 litres of diet cola. That’s 630 grams of sugar. That’s literally my entire daily calorie intake. In pure sugar. The amount of sugar aspartame replaces is utterly mindblowing and disgusting to contemplate.

    Anyway, on another note, I’d have loved to read more about why HFCS might be worse than sugar – I’ve been led to believe that it’s essentially a mix of glucose and fructose? Are there other chemicals in HFCS? Are they added or do they occur naturally in corn? Or does the combination of the two sugars cause a negative synergy?

    Also, I’d like to know more about lactose. Is it as bad as glucose or fructose?

    Thanks for reading.
    And for the record, the acid in the 2 litres a day of Pepsi Max I drink eroded my teeth in a span of about 8 years. I got plastic caps put on my teeth, and frankly I’d do it all over again. Plus the acid seems to suppress germs so I don’t seem to have bad breath much any more. (Bet your arse I would if I drank 200 grams of sugar a day).
    On a lighter note, I lost 30 pounds over the last two years while maintaining the Pepsi Max habit. It’s not exactly easy, but it’s simple. I found a way to live with eating fewer calories. I want to encourage everyone to try different ways of eating – I experimented with fasting and it turned out to be the thing that kept me from being constantly hungry. I tried it on a lark and it vastly improved my life. Not every diet or lifestyle is for everyone. It’s hard to know what works until you’ve done it for a bit and experienced the very unique effect it will have on you.

  • Amanda

    Very informative! I have PCOS. It’s existed (in name) since 1935 but all these years, very little is actually known about it. PCOS affects women and new science is emerging to show that it also affects men and even children.

    For years doctors blamed PCOS on obesity but now that they’ve been learning more they’re seeing that for some obese people, PCOS symptoms begin in childhood with signs of insulin resistance and increased testosterone. Both cause weight gain, together they can cause morbid obesity and many other conditions.

    When you see a heavy woman with a large upper body (big arms especially/upper body) and hips/legs that are disproportionately smaller than expected, creating a taper down appearance, you’re likely seeing insulin resistance. If you see someone with a large stomach but thin limbs, you’re likely seeing high testosterone and both the heavy upper body and belly signal both (along with other symptoms that vary). The worst part of this is that so many people go un-diagnosed, they have no idea that weight loss is a matter of correcting the hormone imbalances. It can be done with a diabetic diet, high protein and possibly with the added help of metformin, appetite suppressants or stimulants depending on the weight of the person. Without correcting the imbalance these people cannot maintain a healthy weight. I’ve been there, I’ve tried ever diet there is and gained back every pound I lost and then some.

    I’m seeing a weight loss specialist who understand PCOS better than any OB I’ve ever been to. I’m on a diabetic diet, low sugar/low carbs, high protein (100g) and high fiber. I am considered morbidly obese. I take Adipex (stimulant/appetite suppressant), metformin 500mg 3x’s daily, and several suppliments that help with insulin resistance (cinnimon 500mg, chromium 100mg, alpha lipoic acid 500mg, green tea extract 100mg, EPA-DHA 4 grams which also reduces triglycerides and inositol 500mg).

    For exercise I do light aerobics (back injury) and am working on strengthening core muscles. Women with PCOS should avoid weight training because our testosterone levels increase muscle mass and we don’t need more muscle, we just need to tone what we already have in abundance.

    I don’t like fatty meat and don’t eat much meat because I can’t stand the smell of it raw and cooking. I can only eat very lean meats and I’m lactose intolerant. My doctor has me drinking protein shakes designed for body builders. At first I wouldn’t do it, thinking that it would negate all my effort to lose weight. Nope, lost 17lbs that 1st month after starting the protein shakes! It really does help.

    In 5 months I have lost 58lbs and went from Body Fat at 63% down to 43.2%! I still have a ways to go. If I go off the BMI I should weight 90lbs. There is no way 90lbs would be remotely healthy for me, I have a wider structure, larger muscle mass and would look emaciated at 90lbs. I’m aiming for around 130 (80lbs to go). It’s a lot but with the correction to my diet, insulin resistance and the stimulant, I should reach my goal in around 8-10 months.

    Also, the BPA we all grew up on is a hormone disrupting chemical. It causes obesity and endocrine disorders among many other side effects. And don’t be fooled by the “BPA FREE” plastics, the chemicals that replaced BPA have the same or very similar affects on our bodies. It’s best to use glass or steel bottles, utensils and plates and never heat food in plastic containers. Also, avoid some canned goods, they’re lined with BPA and is leached into the food. So, our nation’s weight issues may be attributed to BPA and un-diagnosed PCOS in addition to eating habits and life style.

    I got a bit off topic, I’m passionate about PCOS awareness because I suffered for 29 years, blaming and hating myself when all along it was so simple.

  • Amanda

    I think it’s a bit of both. Cravings can signal nutritional needs. I craved baby spinach & romaine salads (some of the best sources of Folic Acid) before I even knew I was pregnant. I would eat 3-4 plates of it a day.

    But sugar is a different story. A person can just be used to having it and going without causes intense cravings or cravings for sugar could signal underlying issues that should be taken seriously. If the cravings occur at specific times of day and/or are accompanied by dizziness, shakiness, nausea, clammy skin, tiredness . . If someone (male or female) has these symptoms they need to ask their doc to do an A1C test (gives average blood glucose for 3 months) to rule out diabetes, they may suggest a glucose challenge test, ask for an LH test, Triglycerides and Testosterone tests. Go to the doc fasting so they can get a fasting BGL on you. The high triglycerides, high LH or high testosterone may signal an endocrine disorder that causes insulin resistance (the body doesn’t properly accept insulin, causing an over abundance of it. This can cause cravings for sugar, for me it hits in the evening or after a large meal). Many people have this and many, many more are not diagnosed.

  • Phil Lu

    Steve, loved the article. If you are still reading this I would recommend checking out “Sugar, the Bitter Truth” by Robert Lustig (youtube video). He dives deep into the biochemistry of sugar and demonstrates that fructose is actually a toxin.

  • Danny

    I can’t be bothered to do anything unless I see some kind of benefit, and see it quick! Which is why when I gave up sugar, I have been able to stick to it. I’ve never felt better!
    No more do I get those mid day and late afternoon slumps where I can barely keep my eyes open. No more do I get in a foul mood when I’m hungry. My appetite is far more balanced and my head clearer.
    I have always been skinny, I can eat chocolate and sweets to my hearts content and I was seriously addicted to sugar. In a way I wish it made me fat because I would have done something about it sooner. But it was kind of a silent assassin.
    I eat a lot more protein and veg, some fruit and wholemeal rice etc. some days I just have a ball of energy inside me which stays constant through the day. It’s great.
    My aim now is to cut the kids right down on sugar and my wife. It’s hard because we rely heavily of ready made sauces etc. I can’t believe there is literally almost nothing pre prepared you can buy that doesn’t have sugar in.
    The more I read about sugar, the better I feel about giving it up.

  • Jailynn Graham

    I am a hardcore sugar addict and not in a cute way. I would eat soooo much candy and baked goods. There was nothing too sweet for me and because I was healthy in other areas of my life and never gaining weight, I thought it would be okay to have this ONE vice. Needless to say, that train didn’t last long and now I’m trying to get better. I have been off candy for a couple of days now and its so hard. But I know if I ease off slowly I’ll keep justifying my habits. I was having a really bad craving when I decided to read this article. It got my mind back on my goal and my new identity. I wanted to let you know this is working for me and I appreciate all the work you’ve done. Thank you!