Now It’s Sugar, No SH#T



For the last couple of days all I have heard on the radio and TV is how bad sugar is for you.  Is this news?  On All Things Considered on NPR they were talking about the “NEWS” that no grown woman should have more than six teaspoons of sugar a day.

I hardly know any woman who knowingly eats that much raw sugar in a day.  But each teaspoon contains about 4 grams of sugar and if you were to look at any processed food 24 grams of sugar is a very small amount.  So most of us who eat anything processed is probably consuming way more sugar than you think.  Especially if you eat fat free processed foods that use sugar in place of fat to get flavor.


Most people who can read already know that sugar is bad for them, but boy does it taste good.  But the news is not that sugar just makes you fat, but that it is a major factor in heart dieses, something you don’t necessarily see when you look in the mirror.  So you may be fairly thin, but if you live on just a tiny bit too much sugar your heart might not be as happy as you think.


The easiest thing to do is to eat real food that you can recognize in its most natural form.  Now you can cook it and change it, but start with things you can spell, like chicken, oats, apples, and peppers, just not all together.  If you make it you can get a good idea about how much sugar you are eating.


One horrible hideout of sugar is in fat free yoghurts with fruit.  One small serving is more than your whole day’s allotment of sugar.  This is easy to fix.  Buy plain yogurt and add real fruit.  If you add fruit in season that is ripe it will be sweet.


I am a sugaraholic.  Given my choice I used to always pick dessert over anything else.  That was not helping me weight wise, and now I understand heart wise and even apparently skin wise.  Sugar does not contribute to a good complexion.  When I started my weight loss challenge sugar was one of the easiest things to cut out.  Yes I know there are huge groups of people that believe in no forbidden foods, but not me.  Once I got over missing sugar I stopped craving it.  If I slip up and eat something sweet now it does take me a few days to break the addiction again so it is so much easier to just stay away from it.


If you don’t have a weight problem go on and eat things with fat, and cut out the sugar.  Your body needs a little fat to function, but not sugar to work well.  I think back to my Grandparents who ate lard, Crisco, butter, cream, and even some real sugar, but they ate no processed foods since they hardly existed then.  They were fairly healthy in spite of the drinking and smoking.  I am not advocating you take up smoking, but just look at the labels on your foods and tally up your sugar.  Your heart will thank you for sticking to under 24 grams.

No Excuses


True to “Mayhem” form I got way off track last month in my eating, working out and general good health.  I won’t blame all the celebrations, school year end stuff and general over stress of May, but boy am I glad last month is over.  From a half century of weight fluctuations I know better than most that if I am not being vigilant I am going the wrong direction.


During May I made my reacquaintance with all things white, as in sugar and flour.   Too many birthday, anniversary, goodbye cakes – big mistake.  I already know that I need to eat an anti-white diet.  White is my enemy.  But it was not just white that got me off track.  Trail mix lead me down the snacking trail too, so nuts and raisins are troublemakers I need to avoid.


No excuses.  I know better.  I’m back to weaning, detoxing, and divestment of the evil things that weaken my resolve.  It will take three days of hardship to get over the sugar cravings.  There is no way around it; I just have to force myself to stick to the plan because I know it works.  Conversely and more importantly I know that I can’t just have a little sugar.  It is a devil to me.  A little sugar or a small bit of flour, like a tiny biscuit, just open the floodgates to eating more and I am powerless to it.


So the coconut cake and the almond cookies I had in May need to be a mere memory of a bygone-era.  One month a year off the wagon is about all I can allow.  Falling off is easy, but crawling back on that moving wagon is difficult.  And recognizing how fast the wagon is going is really hard when you are blinded by a cupcake.


For the record I gained two and a half pounds.  Does not sound bad unless you multiply it by 12 and get thirty pounds.  I am making the commitment here to lose the two and a half and two and a half more by July.  This public humiliation is the only way I can do it.  If you see me in person keep an eye on me.  Since I don’t have any fundraising diet I need all the outside pressure I can get.

Sugar is Toxic

When I was a kid, back in the dark ages of diet books I remember one book that say on my parents living room shelf entitled “A calorie is just a calorie.”  But that 1960’s way of looking at calories has changed dramatically and the whole premise of that book is wrong.


Today New York Times Food columnist Mark Bittman finally reported the proof exists of what he has been preaching for years; Sugar is toxic.  At last a big overwhelming conclusive study was done that confirms that “increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity.”


Bittman goes on to write that this study published in the journal of PLosOne likens the connection of sugar to diabetes is as big a smoking gun as tobacco is to cancers. “Perhaps most important, as a number of scientists have been insisting in recent years, all calories are not created equal. By definition, all calories give off the same amount of energy when burned, but your body treats sugar calories differently, and that difference is damaging.”


So sugar is not just fattening, but bad for you in a killer type of way.  No kidding.  I wonder if now there is going to be some distinction made between fat people, those who are just fat and those who are fat due to eating sugar.  According to this study, skinny people can also have metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions – increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excessive body fat around the waist or abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  “Metabolic syndrome is a result of insulin resistance, which appears to be a direct result of consumption of added sugars,” writes endocrinologist Rob Lustig, one of the authors of this study.


Since cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) cause 30% of all deaths and sugar consumption is a strong tie to CVDs do yourself a favor and try and cut down on your sugar consumption no matter how skinny you are.  Apparently “Death by Chocolate” could actually be on your death certificate if you are not careful.

The Pain of Re-breaking the Sugar Addiction

I’m an addict.  There, I have said it.  Taken what is supposed to be the hardest step in over coming addiction and admitted that I have a problem and I am powerless to it.  Granted I am a recovering sugar addict, but an addict none-the-less.  I know that I have a weakness in the areas of sugar and white flour, this is not news, and so I have done my best to avoid them since I started my weight loss challenge on May 8th.


Getting off sugar and white flour was hard at first, but once I had not eaten them for about two weeks I lost my cravings.  Though my brain still whispered sweet temptations every once in a while, I was able to withstand the devil and not succumb to the smell of a chocolate chip cookie, or the crust of a pizza.


November first was the end of my money raising challenge and if there was ever a day I might have rewarded myself something forbidden that was the day, but I did not do it.  I knew that it is a slippery slope when you fall off the no sugar wagon.  But after almost eight months I decided that for Christmas Eve I would give myself the gift of getting to eat whatever I wanted for just one day.


And so I did.  Nothing too crazy, but bread was consumed at two meals and dessert at another.  I think I also ate a snack that day and not a healthy one.  It was great.  Like all addicts all the wonderful happy feeling of being high came rushing back.  Oh how I missed those tastes.  I knew it had to be a one-day thing.  I tried.


Christmas day I went back to eating my normal cereal for breakfast, no kringle or stolen for me.  At my parents I had just veal and spinach for lunch, no pasta, rolls or cake.  I was feeling a little triumphant.  But when we got home late at night I ate a piece of toast with my dinner.  I was so close to being back on track, but somehow slipped off at the very last moment.


Yesterday, Carter and I went to see Les Miserables at noon, which was a big mistake because half way through the movie I realized how hungry I was and reached into the popcorn bucket and had a few greasy handfuls of movie popcorn.  Later that night I ate a Christmas caramel.


There is the slope; I am sliding down it headlong.  I got on the scales and sure enough I was up a few pounds.  There is no way I had eaten 7,000 extra calories to really gain two pounds, but once my body got a taste of the sugar and carbs it had missed so much, it said, hold on, we are keeping these calories around for a while.


Before any more damage can be done I must re-brake my addiction.  I was successful today at eating my regimented allotment of veggies, fruits and protein.  But I know that it will take another week of fighting the cravings again to get myself back to loosing real weight.


Unlike an alcoholic or a drug addict who can stay away from their substances all together, a food addict has to eat something.  All I can say is fighting this addiction  is a life’s work.

I’m Going as Superwoman for Halloween

If I were dressing up for Halloween I would go as Superwoman.  Before you even think, “That Damn Dana is so full of herself,” here is my reason.  Halloween is all about sugar, candy corn, mini snickers, resses peanut butter cups, skittles, junior mints, rolos, heath bars, hershey’s chocolates, milky ways, nerds, butterfingers, M & M’s I have gained two pounds just writing these things.

See, sugar is my Kryptonite.  Superman was powerless around the stuff and just like him sugar can bring me to my knees.  When I am away from all things sugar I am fierce.  I have will power and can leap tall bakery counters with a single bound.  But just one bite of a brownie and my resolve is weakened.

Today is the last day of my weight loss challenge.  What was I thinking?  Ending on Halloween – my day of greatest challenge. Tomorrow I will get on the scale and report how much weight I have lost since May.  I will be sending personalized e-mails to all my supporters to let them know how much money to send the food bank.

But tomorrow is not the end of my healthy eating.  With all that candy around I am going to have to double down.  The challenge has been great at doing for me what I needed it to do — break the grip that sugar and white flour had on my life.  I still have about 35 pounds I want to lose so I have to continue doing exactly what I have been doing, just without any money on the line to keep me motivated.

Even though my accountability will change from those who have pledged to just myself I am going to have to resolve to not be weakened by my personal Kryptonite, sugar.  To me, Superman is powerful because he knows his weakness and does everything to stay away from it.  I think for many women sugar is their downfall, so we all need to become Superwomen and do our best to steer clear of what we already know cripples us.

Like that mild manner reporter, Clark Kent, I am going to keep blogging.  I know that this forum has given me strength to be faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive or maybe just a strange visitor from another planet, as long as I am a skinnier visitor.