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Old 04-28-2007, 11:35 AM   #1  
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Smile Sugar Experiment

Apart from too much dark chocolate and too much cheese, I eat really well. Everything from scratch, I never ever buy packaged processed foods, etc. Lately I've been reading about sugar, and the connection between sugar and (1) chronic pain and inflammation (and serious diseases like heart disease), (2) depresssion, (3) weight gain (everyone has thought that fat was the really bad guy - now it looks like sugar is equally bad), and (4) food cravings (seratonin etc.).

Since I have some chronic joint pain, and a history of depression (was on Welbutrin for years, discontinued it last fall as an experiment but was concerned a couple of weeks ago that it might be coming back), I decided to do an experiment and cut out refined sugar completely. I do have a teaspoon of honey in my coffee in the morning but that's it. (should also mention that I have also almost entirely cut out meat, which could also affect the experiment)

Results:

1. The terrible pain in my hip (which we think is bursitis) has not bothered me for over a week now. There is zero pain. You can't imagine how miraculous this feels to me, because the pain was sometimes terrible.

2. My mood is amazing. I do 1 to 1.5 hours of cardio daily, which obviously helps, but my energy levels are totally steady all day, and I feel great.

3. No food cravings whatsoever. None. I don't feel deprived. I don't have the blood sugar ups & downs that lead to cravings.

I feel so amazingly good that I'm hesitant to reintroduce sugar (in the form of dark chocolate, naturally!! , although I probably should just to verify the results. But when you think about it, there is no good nutritional reason to eat sugar, since it has no nutritents, and you can get good carbs from fruit if you need something sweet - two or three dates or a few raisins & I'm sweetened up. Sugar creates its own need - the more you eat, the more you want. You stop, and your body heaves a sigh of relief and doesn't ask for more.


I should mention that I've been on the journey for four years now and at the beginning this step would have been impossible for me. I mentioned in an earlier post that education is vital - so is PATIENCE! Do what you can right now, and later, when you've adjusted, do something more.

I'd be interested to know of others who've done the same (sugar) thing.

cheerio,
Sue
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Old 04-28-2007, 12:14 PM   #2  
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I agree with cutting out added sugars. Unfortunately for me, even without added sugar, my joint pain (knee) continues I've never heard that cutting out sugar would help with that though.
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Old 04-28-2007, 12:41 PM   #3  
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Hey, suechef! You've made so many good changes--not just the sugar but also the cardio. I take it by cutting out meat you mean beef.

So, it's hard to say what part each of those things individually plays--but the negative effects of refined sugar are well known. The book SUGAR BLUES is arguably the "landmark" book on this topic.

Good for you for making these positive changes!

Jay
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Old 04-28-2007, 01:48 PM   #4  
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I understand what you are saying and I try to follow an eating pattern that is more natural foods and cook from scratch as much as possible. At tax time we bought a grain mill and get org. wheat from the health store and I make my own bread, rolls, ww tortillas, bb muffins, cookies once in a while for the kids. If I do make a cake I use that, etc. I use honey as a sugar substitute whenever possible, especially in my baking. I too had trouble with my left hip some time and for a long time I thought it was all the walking I did. It never bothered me much during the day buit at nite when i went to sleep I couldn't even lay on that side!

I usually make a fruit/plain yogurt or kefir smoothie for breakfast. The last week or so I have been having a cup of frozen strawberries in my smoothie and I have been having no trouble at all. As far as my sugar intake goes sometimes it is up and down. I usually try to make good choices but sometimes make bad.

I also agree about the white sugar/flour stuff making you crave more. I would like to encourage you that some fats are good for you though.
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Old 04-28-2007, 02:04 PM   #5  
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re. meat, actually I meant all meat. I eat yogurt, feta, and egg whites but that's about it for animal protein. I eat a lot of beans!

cheers,
Sue
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Old 04-28-2007, 02:13 PM   #6  
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suechef, you might want to check out the Vegetarian Chicks forum! Scroll down on the main forums page until you see it.

Jay
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Old 04-28-2007, 11:04 PM   #7  
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Wow, those are amazing results!

I cut out refined sugar and white flour about 6 weeks ago, and have been so happy with the results. My cravings are pretty much gone, and in fact were much improved within a couple of weeks.

I do have a problem with inflammation in one hip. It hasn't been too bad lately, but whether that's due to the changes in what I'm eating, the weight I've lost, or my increased activity, I can't tell. I'll take the good results though!
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:06 PM   #8  
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I'm curious--did you cut out processed products that contain any added sweetener? (i.e., Puffins cereal which I think has barley malt in it)

What about "natural" sweeteners like brown rice syrup or blackstrap molasses?
I've thought about using the molasses for iron/calcium.
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Old 05-07-2007, 11:55 AM   #9  
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I sometimes eat things like a little bit of Kashi Go Lean Crunch mixed with plain cereal or yogurt, or a Luna Bar. Things that have some sort of "alternative" sweetener. It's not often that I eat those and I don't worry about it.

I tried brown rice syrup once years ago and I didn't like it, and I don't like molasses too much either, so I haven't felt inspired to use them. The only thing I can think of that I really added sugar to is oatmeal, and now I just add some dried fruit in with the oatmeal when I'm cooking it. It makes it sweet enough for me now. It did take some getting used to, though.
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:30 AM   #10  
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That's interesting. I just started my weight loss on April 27th or so, and in doing so cut out sugar for the most part (I don't doubt there is sugar hiding in healthy-seeming things, so I'll admit the possibility there). I am wondering now if cutting out the sugar is why I have been having such an easy time limiting portions and battling cravings? Before the 27th I would easily go through bags of candy, 2 liters of soda, TONS of food (in a day), but I've transitioned really quickly to cutting out soda altogether, eating lots of salad, trading white chocolate mochas for soy sugar-free lattes, etc. If I want sweet I have fruit, and I have been wondering when I'd burn out and just really want candy, but it hasn't happened yet. I wonder if sugar is the culprit? Then again, perhaps it's too soon to tell. Maybe this is will power

I've heard you can go through sugar withdrawal too, but I haven't felt that sort of effect (affect?) either.
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:41 AM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariposita View Post
I tried brown rice syrup once years ago and I didn't like it, and I don't like molasses too much either, so I haven't felt inspired to use them.
I tried brown rice syrup when I was trying to take on a macrobiotic diet around a year ago. Ohhh how I was disappointed! I put it in my coffee and gasped horrified after trying it, and caught myself glaring at the bottle like "What did you do to my coffee?!?" not pleased.

At the moment I am using (for regular coffee) splenda. I have done some research on it, and I don't know that I intend to continue with it for the long run (I'm not sure I trust it), but in the meantime it's really been helping. I've tried powdered stevia in the past, as well as Xylitol, but found that they were a bit too much for me flavor-wise.
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