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Sweet Dreams (are made of these) – Who am I to disagree?

2 Feb

http://www.organicnutrition.co.uk/articles/is-sugar-bad-for-you.htm

I tried to say goodbye, but experiments are just too much fun!  (Well, sometimes.  Thickened liquids = dear God, please never again).  My guinea pig dieting endeavors are not over!  Now that I have toyed with a number of therapeutic diets and been doing research like a mad woman, it’s time for me to make some adjustments to my own standard eating habits.

Regarding some of my previous food fixations, I’m quite surprised by the shift in my preferential eating habits.  Before I was obsessed with hummus (remember how I couldn’t SHUT UP about it? ;-)), addicted to peanut butter, & fairly loyal to tomatoes.  Interestingly, I haven’t eaten a whole lot of these foods lately.  During the month of January, I probably had peanut butter once or twice, hummus two or three times, & tomatoes only a handful of times.  I still find all of these foods tasty, but their necessity in my life has been diminished.  Unfortunately, there is one food fixation that just won’t die…

Do I really even have to say it?  You know what it is!  It’s SUGAR (my drug of choice).

Last February, I underwent a modified candida diet.  I say modified, because I was eating mostly vegan at the time.  Typical candida cleanses involve ample amounts of meat, because it’s free of carbohydrate.  While beans contain protein, they are actually quite starchy too.  Anyway, I was avoiding sweet fruits and sugar, and my energy levels were noticeably improved by the end of the month.  I am aiming to give sugar the cold shoulder again this February.  My approach will be different and not so absolute, however.

Remember my FructMal ally?  (If not, check out the April archives).  She and I have decided to take on the sugar demon together.  We are going to be cheerleaders for each other while each attempting to become more mindful and selective toward our added sugar choices.  For example, today I had 1 tsp of sugar in my coffee & 2 pieces of 86% dark chocolate.  My grand sugar total for the day was 1.5 tsp!  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  After peeking around at various sites, I came up with a daily goal of </=6 tsp (2 Tbsp) of added sugar per day.  I decided to track my consumption during the month of January and planned to aim for half of this amount during February (if it was less than than the 2 Tbsp/day average.  I ended up eating ~3.5 cups (see picture below) which is right on the dot for a reasonable monthly goal.  Since I met that goal without trying (much), my new goal will be </=1.75 cups of sugar for the entire month of February.

I made the jar below to help keep me on track.  Note how my 3 week goal is below the amount most American adults get in a week!  According to a few (probably alarmist but still eye-opening) reports, the Average American adult eats about 22 tsp/day, the average American child eats about 29 tsp/day, and the average American teenager inhales about 34 tsp/day.  The top of the jar lists the weekly amounts that children and teens would get eating these average daily amounts.  Neither quantity would fit in this giant mason jar!  Yikes people!  We’re pouring a bunch of poison into those tiny bodies, because it’s culturally acceptable!  I also added a few other lines  just to see where Derek’s vice (gummy bears) & one of my weaknesses (Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream) fit in to the equation.  A pint of my favorite ice cream contains 1/2 cup of sugar (24 tsp).  In other words, on a daily basis, average Americans are eating almost (or even more in the case of kids & teens!) the equivalent amount of sugar found in a pint of ice cream.  How far we’ve come! ( in a bad way). In 1822, the average WEEKLY consumption of sugar was just 5 Tbsp.

For those who are curious: 

1 tsp sugar = 4 grams of sugar

3 tsp = 1 Tbsp

8 Tbsp = 1/2 cup

January Sugar Jar:

January Sugar Consumption Jar

Recently, I have been thinking more about the logistics of classifying sugar as a drug.  While alcohol can become deadly quite fast, sugar generally takes awhile to really take its toll.  However, the similarities concerning their harsh bodily effects are unsettling.  Both offer empty calories & steal nutrients from your body, but here’s the really scary part: both can cause a fatty liver!  Yes, it’s true folks!  Also, there’s this: http://www.cancer.ucla.edu/index.aspx?recordid=385&page=644

Do you know why I think people don’t take all of this as seriously as they should?  Two reasons: propaganda (it’s legal & they give it to children, so it must be safe, right?!) and the fact that most Americans are so addicted, they will do whatever it takes to keep those guilty associations from their “healthy” granola bars & yogurt cups.  We must stop deluding ourselves!  Sugar feeds cancer cells for cryin’ out loud!

Additional Sources:

http://articles.cnn.com/1999-10-22/health/9910_22_sugar.halloween.wmd_1_sugar-intake-refined-sugar-sweet-foods?_s=PM:HEALTH

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32543288/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/cut-back-way-back-sugar-says-heart-group/#.UQyPV_I3WuI

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18395287

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2 Responses to “Sweet Dreams (are made of these) – Who am I to disagree?”

  1. tessatito February 9, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    Justine! Oh how I admire your dedication! I am getting sugar withdrawals just reading this. 😛 But nonetheless, you have still inspired me. I am about to eat salmon with asparagus for dinner. But yeah also wanted to tell you, I told my friend about your blog who has chronic fibromyalgia and is hoping that some dietary changes will help with his pain. So woot! You’re already helping people more than you know. 🙂

    • thehungryguineapig February 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      Thanks Tessa. 🙂 Your dinner sounds good! I hope your friend finds some answers on this blog, but feel free to give him my email address if he needs any further guidance.

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