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If sugar is addictive - why try and eat it "moderately"

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Old 01-25-2014, 09:30 PM   #1
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Default If sugar is addictive - why try and eat it "moderately"

Hello,

By sugar, I mean all sugar... white flour, bread, beer, muffins, bagels, donuts, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, etc...

I've been trying to lose weight FORVER. I work out like crazy but to no avail. I've come to believe that my body is completely addicted to sugar. It seeks it in so many forms (listed above). I've recently adopted an eating plan that gets rid of those foods from my diet and the result is .... I am no longer craving sugar. No longer having cravings. No longer have huge swings in blood sugar.

Here's my question? Since most of us folks needing lose weight have some type of addiction / dependancy on sugar (in all forms) WHY WOULD WE EVER EAT IT AGAIN?

The analogy I keep thinking of is an alcoholic. Most people on earth can drink 2 beers and stop. Alcoholics can't - for whatever reason... The solution for alcoholism is complete abstiance (FOREVER). We don't tell them "good job on being clean for 2 weeks, now go out and drink moderately"... We tell them that they can no longer safely drink alcohol ever again.

Back to me... I've lost weight in the past and it always has something to do with limiting sugar (in all forms). I have stuck to it for a bit, lost weight, then stopped being "so fanatical" and start eating "normal" - birthday cake, dessert, breadsticks, etc... the result of that is ALWAYS a slippery slope right back to all of the foods I ate that made me fat. The reslut of that - was gaining weight AGAIN and needing to diet again...

Here's the question. Point blank. If eating sugar makes you fat, why do we ever lie to ourselves and say we can "eat it normally"? It would be like saying "from now on, I am only going to smoke crack at birthday parties or during football games -and I'm always going to limit it to one hit...

Second question: Is not eating sugar (in all forms) sustainable? Meaning, lean meats, cheese's, veggies, non sugary fruit, nuts, and eggs.

Would love to hear feedback.

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Old 01-25-2014, 09:53 PM   #2
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Not eating sugar in all forms may be nearly impossible if you eat fruit especially. There are natural sugars in most fruits and veggies. I think that it's the refined sugar that some people find addicting, but I'm no expert. All I know is once I cut down on the chocolate consumption, I crave it less, I still eat it once in a while, but don't have that overwhelming desire to binge.
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:09 PM   #3
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I think for me, I like to think I have a severe sugar addiction, more so in that I look for the bad sugary stuff like cakes, donuts, anything little-freakin-debbie makes!! ugh! but anyway, for me when I tell myself I can have it once a week, I'm more likely to be diligent and stay on my diet than to avoid it completely.

But I see your point! It would be much easier to avoid the fallback on sugar if you were to avoid it completely, I still have to develop that will power!!
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:30 PM   #4
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The short answer is that not everyone believes in sugar addiction. Or they see it as an addiction in which moderation is preferable to abstainence such as many view shopping and sexual addictions.

The spending addict could hand all their money over to someone else so they never have to deal with money ever again. A sex addict could swear off all sex, even with their spouse... and others will decide that moderation should at least be attempted before aiming for absolute abstinence.

There are cases of many addictions in which absolute abstinence is not feasible, desireable, or practical. A person with an addiction to narcotic pain medication, may still need to be treated periodically with such pain meds. The benefits of pain relief will have to be weighed against the costs and risks.

Sugar certainly isn't a necessity, but many people are able to use moderately (I'm probably not one of them).
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:29 AM   #5
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Good post. Sugar addiction is very real and it very much sucks. It's a huge factor in the obesity epidemic. People didn't used to eat the way we do now. Sugar is an everyday, sometimes every meal thing for most people. My mom used to tell me when she was a kid they would hardly have dessert. It was usually reserved for special occasions like birthdays.

It is definitely easier for me to focus on eating right for weight loss when I seriously reduce my carb intake. And the longer I do it, the easier it gets. You go through sugar withdrawal, little grumpy, headaches, but once you get past that it's easier to just completely pass on sugar because it's not in your system making you crave more of it.

I'm really going to strive to reduce high carb and processed foods from my diet this year, and I'm hoping it will be the year I finally figure this out, get to goal weight, and stay there.

Now will I never eat sugar again? Yeah right, sugar is yummy, sugar makes us happy, I will eat sugar again. The goal is to make sugar an occasional thing. I have a glass of wine every now and then, I cook a really expensive cut of beef every now and then, it would do everyone a lot of good if they consumed sugar every now and then.
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:58 AM   #6
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Whether or not cutting sugar is sustainable probably depends on the person. I've heard of success stories where people have eaten everything in moderation, where others found success with avoiding their triggering foods altogether. Whichever path you choose, it should be the one you personally know you can stick to better. I could probably give up something for a year or so, but I know that if I ate it again years down the road, I would gain weight back and not be able to control myself around it. So it's better for me to just use moderation, calorie count, and not make any foods off limits.

I don't know if I ever had a sugar addiction, but in the beginning of my journey, I did NOT want to give up white carbs (pasta, bread, etc...). I constantly craved them and even had mini-breakdowns because I wanted them so bad. I eventually switched to whole wheat, and to cutting back on them a little (eating them with one meal a day instead of every meal), and now I can eat sugar, white flour, and processed food in moderation (I ate one little chocolate covered flipz pretzel the other day and was satisfied), whereas a year ago, I couldn't have. Moderation worked for me so far, but for someone with a serious sugar addiction, I can see where cutting it out altogether would be the best way to go. They add sugar in the least suspecting things, and so many foods are loaded with sugar that don't need it. Food is just scary these days.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:28 AM   #7
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For me, sugar was never an addiction. Cheese was an addiction for me and I dropped that like a hot potato at the beginning of my weight loss. Cheese was also something that required transport foods of bread or crackers. Once I dropped cheese, I stopped eating crackers and I ate bread moderately and specific kinds of bread.

Sure, I love chocolate and I still eat chocolate, dark chocolate. I eat bread but now I bake the bread I eat for the most part. I eat fruit. I also eat a lot of veggies, legumes, whole grains (rice, etc) and what not.

I think one important thing for me was having PCOS and learning about glycemic load (and glycemic index). So focusing on foods that helped keep an even blood sugar level helped me tremendously.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:03 AM   #8
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I think there have already been a lot fo great replies. I think it depends on the person. Not everyone needing to lose weight has a surgar addiction, like Nellie pointed out. And some may not have as severe of an addiction and can handle it in moderation.
I have given up sugar over the years and when I do (after withdrawl) I feel so much better, more energetic, less moody, and my craving all but disappear. Then I think "oh I can have this one cookie"..and all come crashing down. My addiction is quite severe unfortunately and I'm seeing that even fruit will cause me to start to have cravings again.

Some perople might be about to handle sugar in moderation, or some might be where I was for all these years...in a place where I needed to give up sugar to succeed but not ready to make the lifestyle changes to do so. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too lol in other words lose weight while still ahving all my sweets in moderation...I wanted to be "normal" at bday parties, but the truth is i'm not, so I'm going to have to pass on the cake.

Here's an intersting thing though. While a sugar addict...I do not get addicted to cigarettes, which are highly addictive. I smoked as a teen because it was "cool" then...on and off (a few day day, maybe 1/2 pack one day then none) from maybe 16 - 19 y/o, then started smoking about 1/2 pack a day then just stopped ...I don't remember details because it was so long ago, but I would just start and stop, never an issue, I never craved a cigarette, I just liked them. I did this until maybe 24 then stopped cold turkey...just one day was like eh, this is not healthy, ned to stop. Then a few years ago, started to have them socially around other smoking friends, maybe once or twice a year tops. I really enjpy smoking! I know it bad but Its relaxing...its like another form of a glass of wine. I am at a point where I dont drink often but I do enoy the treat.

When we went away a few years ago, I smoked for the 2 weeks we were on vacation, then just stopped when we came home. So go figure. I have met a few other people over the years that do not form an addiction to cigarettes, but most people I know, once the quit they cannot start again, it has to be 100% abstenance.

Anyway just intersting how our brains are wired differently. I cannot do that with sugar...one piece of cake and I will be craving it for days (weeks) after and thinking about more sweets and its awful.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:20 AM   #9
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Sugar/carbs were my addiction. It isn't just sugar IMO because carbs break down to glucose right away. Breads can have higher glycemic index than candy bars. Condiments have a ton of 'hidden' sugar and carbs also. People need to be aware of that.

I do agree with you that for me I needed a cold turkey period. But I've found now that I can occasionally have fries, candy bar, ice cream, and I get no cravings or relapses. But except for occasional fries, candy and ice cream almost feels 'gross' to me now. And bread really does. I was having an occasional sandwich but not now.

I do basically agree that going cold turkey was invaluable to me. But perhaps unlike alcohol my body metabolism and brain pathways have seemed to change enough that I am no longer addicted even when I have some now. But I could not have gotten there without the cold turkey period.
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:01 PM   #10
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I eat sugary foods maybe once or twice a week now as a treat. I try to stick to low carb as much as possible. If I eat a high carb food it's a few times a week and it's a potato with my dinner. So far it works for me. It's harder to give up meat and fat for me to be honest.
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:05 PM   #11
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Well, I'm not addicted to sugar. I do try to avoid added sugar because it is basically empty calories. However, if an otherwise healthy food has a gram or two of added sugar it doesn't bother me. And, of course, certain foods that really are good for you (think fruit) have natural sugar in them.

But, the greater point is that I can eat some amount of sugar and I don't feel compelled to eat more. There are certain foods (with sugar as well as others) that I don't buy for my house since I don't want to overeat and they have no real benefits to eating them (other than taste).
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:51 PM   #12
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I was thinking more about this and I am not sure I was ever a 'sugar addict'. More like a carb addict. Potato chips were my carb of choice. I could eat a whole can of Pringles in a sitting or a 5 ounce bag.

And I eat a lot of fast food, bread, and pasta. I could also eat a bunch of ice cream and Reses cups. But potato chips were my 'drug' of choice. Frosting and sweet have always been way too sweet to me. Now candy is too sweet for me. But my carb loading drove everything. It kept me perpetually hungry and lethargic.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:21 PM   #13
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Great replies guys. I really appreciate it! By sugar I meant high GI foods like fries, potato chips, white pasta w/ sugery sauce, and all deserts. It's funny when I look at my eating history I was a "side guy". Sure I loved steak, and the like, but I much preferred the bread, fries, potato's, chips, etc... It's my understanding that those things basically break down into surgar immediately.

So, I'm on day 5 1/2 and have been doing well. It's actually crazy not living with "the carb monkey on my back".

Talk to you all soon - thanks for the support!
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdpgolfer View Post

By sugar, I mean all sugar... white flour, bread, beer, muffins, bagels, donuts, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, etc...

Here's my question? Since most of us folks needing lose weight have some type of addiction / dependancy on sugar (in all forms) WHY WOULD WE EVER EAT IT AGAIN?
Wait a minute wait a minute. White flour is NOT sugar. Bread is NOT sugar. You will have to understand the difference between sugar and carbs before you go throwing everything out the window.

I'm not a scientist, and I've found the right way to lose weight --> now all I have to do is stick to it, stay within my caloric range and watch as the weight comes off. What you're doing is calling all food "bad food" and wondering why you can't stay away from it. You can't stay away from all food, that's impossible. Ok white flour is not as nutritious as whole wheat flour so stay away from that. Too much whole wheat flour aint' good for ya so limit it. But you can't say no to flour because it's a carb and then eat vegetables, because those are carbs too. And if you want to eat fruit, forget about it.

For me it all comes down to making better choices. An apple instead of a slice of cake. Only one carb per meal (can't have a sandwich AND fries, it's only one or the other). Just yesterday I went with a friend to Ruby Tuesday's and I order the grilled shrimp and my two sides were french fries and steamed broccoli. As we were waiting for our food the waiter brings over cheesy biscuits and I promptly said no thank you. He looked at us and said "too many carbs, I get it" and we had a good laugh. But I still got to eat my fries. Moderation is key if I'm going to maintain my sanity.

White flour can be addictive, but it is NOT sugar and calling it sugar is not helping your cause.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
Wait a minute wait a minute. White flour is NOT sugar. Bread is NOT sugar. You will have to understand the difference between sugar and carbs before you go throwing everything out the window.
I understood OP to mean food items that are broken down largely into sugars. Starches are simply long chains of sugar that are broken down by the body into glucose. This makes sense especially given the fact that the glycemic index is being referenced, which shows which foods spike blood sugars more than others.
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