Truth : Sugar

02Jul08

The Truth About Sugar
Here’s another one of those awesome things that is absolutely true, no matter what diet you’re taking or who you’re talking to.

Sugar.

Sugar is bad.

Sugar is one of the Dark Forces of Evil.

We eat too much sugar. I eat too much sugar, you probably eat too much sugar – it’s in damn near everything we consume. Even stuff we think of as healthy is often totally laden with hidden sugars.

Not a Scapegoat
I don’t think saying that overconsumption of sugar is probably one of the biggest reasons behind the obesity rampant in most “civilized” countries is inaccurate or using sugar as a scapegoat.

To be certain, there are other factors as well (there always are), but sugar is fattening, addicting, ruins your teeth, and tastes absolutely wonderful.

It does. I love it. I’m totally, madly addicted to it.

Addiction
And I don’t mean that in the funny-ha-ha way some people mean “addicted.”

Sadly, sugar is TRULY addictive. As in, once you reach a certain level, you WILL go through clinical physical withdrawal symptoms, just like you were coming off a drug.

How crazy is that? It’s everywhere! They sell it EVERYWHERE. Use to to flavor damn near everything. How bad can it possibly be, right?

You already know the answer to that. How bad are cigarettes, how bad is alcohol?

It’s not illegal because people won’t let it be, and that’s the sad truth.

Insidious
I’m not just talking sugar cane processed white sugar here. I’m not talking about the cookies and cake and muffins and cobblers and jams and pies and ice creams and sodas that we already KNOW we shouldn’t be eating but eat anyway.

I’m talking about pasta sauce. I’m talking about salad dressings. I’m talking about fat-free diet food. I’m talking about pickles and mustards and ketchup and bread, for cripes sake.

Some of you probably already know this. Some of you may have heard it, and may not quite believe it. May treat it as over exaggeration by someone who is trying to justify a restrictive diet.

I am 100% serious here, folks. Sugar is in a lot more things than you think it is.

Sugar and Corn Syrup are the two biggest offenders, but ever since people started really reading labels, companies have started hiding the sugars better in the ingredient list. Look for anything that ends in “-ose”.

Most of the time, you’ll find a line in the Nutritional Information to tell you about the sugars in something.

Homework
Now, go through your cupboards and find me things that you eat on a regular basis that don’t have sugars.

Chicken’s good, but what are you marinating it in? Steak is good – what kind of sauce do you use? Burgers…slathered in ketchup?

Pay attention to the things you eat. You may have known you were eating bad, but what’s so wrong about a couple cookies here and there, a slice of cake at work, partaking in oh, half a muffin or donut while at work?

There’s a ton of sugar you consume on a regular basis and you probably don’t even know it.

Go ahead. Check your cupboards. Start reading labels while you’re at the grocery store. Hopefully you’ll be horrified enough that you’ll put it back, but sometimes there aren’t any good alternatives. Do NOT fall for “low fat, low carb, low calorie” gimmicks. READ the label.

Lying Food
If you’re with me, you haven’t started a diet yet. Maybe you’re thinking that you might need to lose a few pounds, but surely you don’t need to diet.

That’s fine. I’m not going to tell you that you need to.

But you DO have to be aware of what you’re eating. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you pass up that slice of cake at work, you’re okay to have extra pasta sauce or some sugar-laden yogurt, and you’re being healthy.

One of my pet peeves are foods that pretend to be healthy and that aren’t. As far as I’m concerned, that’s LYING. Knowingly lying to the customer. And I hate it.

Steps
You have to take baby steps on this one. Trust me, you can do the drastic diet thing, and it WILL work – if you stick to it. But if you’re pretty addicted to sugars, you’re going to be absolutely miserable as you detox.

You know yourself better than anyone else, what works for you.

For me – I’m taking baby steps.

Step 1 – Stop buying the BIG stuff. Stop buying the stuff I already know is terrible for me. Stop buying ice cream. I know, I know, it’s buy one get one free! I don’t care. No more.

And while we’re on the subject of ice cream…do you REALLY think that Sugar Free means “Health Food”?

I know better, and so do you. Don’t let someone whose livelihood depends on how much ice cream you buy tell you whether or not you should buy ice cream. Listen to yourself.

No more sodas. For me, this isn’t a problem except for the aforementioned Cream Sodas, but for the hubby, the no ice cream and no soda thing is going to be a trial.

It’s a trial we’ll approach together.

Tea and Coffee
Other places I use sugar are tea and coffee.

…I only JUST got to the point where I like tea. And I like a little bit of coffee with my sugar.

It’s entirely possible that I will have to give up coffee for this. I do love me some Starbucks White Chocolate Frappuchino with a tiny shot of mint for good measure. I do NOT want to know the sugar content.

I don’t think I like sugar-free coffee. I need the sweet to kill the bitter.

Unsweetened Tea, I’ve tried a few times. I can drink SOME tea unsweetened, but…well, you know how they say that you should brew green tea with hot (not boiling) water or else it gets bitter? Yeah, I never could taste the difference when I added sugar. Pure, it’s an incredible difference. I notice differences in tea quality a lot more without sugar, too.

My beloved Celestial Seasonings pales in comparison to Yogi teas when drank without sugar.

The Point
There are two points to this. One, you already know and are probably ignoring, for a multitude of possible reasons.

Sugar is Bad For You. It is the LEADER of the Dark Forces of Evil, who seek to fatten you and thrive on laziness and addiction. People will tell you that Carbs are the ringleader, and I swear to you that Sugar is the true mastermind. We’ll cover Lieutenant Carbs at a later date.

The second point is a bit more difficult to handle. Sugar’s everywhere. Sometimes it seems like you have to really go out of your way to avoid it.

It takes a lot of self-control to cut back on sugars. Even though I have not yet started my diet, I’m starting my battle against my sugar addiction early.

I’m cutting out the Really Bad Stuff – the stuff I know I don’t need. The impulse buy at the checkout of the peanut butter cups. The unnecessary trip downstairs to the break room to get a donut or a muffin. The sodas, the cakes.

I’m not yet cutting out coffee, but I know that day too will come. I’m not yet actively avoiding breads with sugar, or all pasta sauce (though I try to pick a reasonable one), or anything like that.

But I’m making the commitment to myself. I will not let sugar win. Every Very Bad food that I eliminate from my diet is an accomplishment, and I intend to celebrate every one.

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2 Responses to “Truth : Sugar”

  1. 1 Lisa

    I totally agree with you. :) I am a sugar sensitive person… or sugar addict. I have gotten a lot of help with Kathleen DesMaisons’ Radiant Recovery program– http://www.radiantrecovery.com

    The whole thing is actually way bigger than just the sugar. I still eat sugar but my life is much better as I work slowly through the steps of Dr. DesMaisons’ plan. I encourage you to check it out. :)

  2. 2 ninjadiet

    @Lisa
    A comment! A comment that’s not spam! *twirls*

    Thanks for the feedback, and a cursory glance over that site has my very intrigued indeed! I think I’ll have to snag some of those books on the sidebar from the library.

    Thank you very much!

    ~Ninja


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