Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cheating?

Most of us have to go through making the decision whether to cheat or not. It actually does not happen unless we do make the decision, regardless of the excuses we may make to justify it.

The only way to succeed is to make friends with the truth. If you want something, say a piece of birthday cake, then plan for it. Fit it into a scheme that allows you to have it without feeling guilty.  Though we know that abstinence is the best policy, it is better to work a plan that says: I can have one small piece of cake for the birthday. I will make sure it fits into my carbohydrate count for the day.  Otherwise, if you give in, that usually starts a binge cycle.  So, while our goal may be  total abstinence, we will do better to acknowledge what we know to be the truth about ourselves than to say we won’t cheat, then give in to a massive sweet binge.  Just the act of thinking it through may be enough to make you decide it isn’t worth it.

Studies have shown that people are actually good at keeping promises, so promise yourself that you will plan and not allow the sugar to rule the way you eat. Make sure to have plenty of protein and fats before eating any sweet, which will mean your are more satisfied and won’t have the big sugar rush to the brain.

If possible, at most events, take something of your own making that allows you to feel a part of the fun without sacrificing your desire to be in control of the sugars. We can make good decisions, we do make all the decisions, the decisions are not being made for us. But we must remember the powerful effects of sugar, and do all in our power to not allow the sugar to run our lives.

Learning how to be,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Glucose vs Fructose: Both are Bad for You

A recent study* showed that fructose is actually worse than plain sugar or glucose. But we know both are bad for us, despite the insistence on the part of many in the medical and nutrition camps that want to tell us to have all the fruit we want.

For people who have become insulin resistant (if you are over weight you are), and even more significant, leptin resistant, then sugar is not just negative, it is bad—regardless of the source.

Natural sugars from fruit, honey, maple syrup, sorghum, yacon syrup are still sugars. They will continue to cause the plague of constant cravings, and ultimately lead to abuse of the natural source. A few pieces of fruit, especially from high sugar varieties like melons, bananas, figs, and the like, are as bad or worse than the person who only puts a teaspoon of sugar in coffee, for the cravings for ever more sugars and starches get worse with time and age and stress to mention the most common.

Fruit, sugars may be controlled for some people, but I doubt they would make their way to this blog or others that decry the dangers of sweets/sweeteners for the population that is growing ever fatter and ever more unhealthy.

So don’t be persuaded by the fruit aka fructose is good for you argument. It is not if you are a sugaraholic.

 

Working towards better health,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

*http://www.drbriffa.com/2011/06/22/fructose-found-to-be-more-harmful-than-glucose/

 

 

 

Leptin: The Power of Fat

Sugar is the enemy of weight loss for most people. That is a given on this webpage, but what makes that true is due to a complex set of factors well detailed by Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories, among others. Further, starchy carbohydrates are sugar in the body, and artificial sweeteners keep the brain on high alert for food coming as promised by the sweet taste, hence cravings that frequently result in binges

There is much yet to be learned about how our evolution designed our nutrition requirements, and much just being discovered about how the processes of hunger, cravings, and the kind of eating the results in obesity. The old calories in-calories-out as a simplistic understanding of weight gain or loss is being disputed right and left, so that as time goes on we can expect a fuller and more accurate understanding of what leads so many of us to gain weight and/or have trouble losing weight.

In 1994 the hormone leptin was discovered, but in a very surprising place, the fat cells. Prior to this discovery, it was generally believed that the fat cells stored, but didn’t create. Then it turned out the leptin is in fact the Master Hormone, directing insulin and ghrelin, and others, since it tells the brain that we do or do not need to eat.

After years of eating too much sugar, starch, and artificial sweeteners, many of us develop not just insulin  resistance, but the concomitant of leptin resistance, so that it is no accident many of us feel like we have no reliable hunger or satiety signals. Until the leptin and insulin get re-sensitized, we will continue this struggle.

Leptin has been getting a lot of attention over at marksdailyapple.com, a blog emphasizing a primal, or more natural, way of eating, that reflects the way most people for most of our human history would have eaten. Ergo: meat, vegetables, fruit, no highly processed or manufactured food; food you could expect to find on a farm in the 1700s, though with grains that are now considered undesirable for many people.

I have been experimenting with the leptin protocol as designed by Dr. Jack Kruse, which borrows heavily from the work of Byron Richards, author of the Mastering Leptin. The object is to spend 6-8 weeks resetting leptin. Here is the protocol: 50-70g of protein within 30minutes of waking; three meals spaced 4-5 hours apart; NO snacking; less than 25-50g of carbohydrate daily; last meal within 4 hours of bedtime.  It is important to not eat outside the times set for that interferes with the leptin signaling to the brain. Most of the people on the threads report a significant decrease in hunger, no or few cravings, weight loss, improved sleep, greater energy and alertness. I am experiencing all these as well.

Below are some sites you might want to examine to learn more about how leptin is related to our compulsive desire for sweets and carbs. You can expect that I will report on how my eight weeks develops.

Mastering Leptin,  Byron Richards webpage: http://www.wellnessresources.com/weight/articles/what_is_leptin/

http://jackkruse.com/why-is-oprah-still-obese-leptin-part-3/

Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker: http://www.chronicneurotoxins.com/learnmore/obesityresearch.cfm

Learning the ropes,                                                                                                                               Sugarbaby

Leptin: The Driver of the Hormone Engine

I have been in a continuous process of learning about weight loss since my weight first became a problem following a near-death experience from Toxic Shock Syndrome in the 1980s. This illness destroyed a lot of muscle mass, and I began to put on weight quickly. As I aged, and dieted relentlessly in the conventional wisdom (CW) mode, my weight just increased, and my cravings grew exponentially until I ultimately reached the point of having binges once or twice a month.  I has taken most of the last ten years in particular to get the information I really needed about the how the process of insulin controls weight gain or loss. Dr. Atkins was my first source of good information, but still not quite what I needed, though many people have done very well on the Atkins diet. Gary Taubes is my hero for really putting the science behind the process. And now Dr. Jack Kruse (www.jackkruse.com) and others researching in the field have given us the information about an even more important hormone, leptin, which turns out to be the main driver of this hormonal engine that leads us to gain and/or lose weight. (Kruse is a hot topic over at marksdailyapple.com)

I firmly believe that different things work for different people, and it is our job as individuals to figure out where we are on the sugar-artificial sweeteners-starch spectrum.  At this point in my life I am very insulin resistant, and in consequence very leptin resistant. I won’t bother to try to explain the processes, for Dr. Jack Kruse, Dr. Ron Rosedale, and others can do that far better, so check out their websites. But it made sense to me that I was struggling with leptin resistance, so decided to try Dr. Kruse’s dietary protocol: 50-70g of protein within 30 minutes of waking; less than 50g (I stay less than 25g) of daily carbs; mild or no exercise during the 6-8weeks of resetting the leptin sensitivity; and No snacking.  This last I thought would be hard since I had been a grazer in recent years, and had stopped breakfast in order to control my intake.

I am happy to report that over the last week plus, I have been faithful to this program and have been surprised at how much better I am feeling. My sleep has improved which has been my major challenge of the last ten years. And I feel an inner calm that is new for me; rather like that experienced in a good meditation session.

I believe with Seth Roberts (http://blog.sethroberts.net/) that self-experimentation is good, so I’m never afraid to give something a try if it seems to make sense. In this case, while I was skeptical, it seemed to have a ring of truth that encouraged me, and now I know I will stick with it for the eight weeks to see how things progress.

Leptin was only discovered in 1994, and that it is a hormone made by the fat cells was a huge surprise, and that it turned out to be perhaps the most important hormone in the diet cycle was even a greater surprise to the scientists studying these processes. No doubt there is more yet to discover, but at least we have this knowledge now, and can use it towards dealing with the major challenges of the obesity epidemic our nation now faces.

The analogy that came to mind is that struggling with cravings/weight is like having a wonderful car, say a powerful Mercedes, filled with fuel, a trip planned with all arrangements made, but there is no key. If you can’t get anywhere with your weight-loss or weight-gain, it may be the missing key you need is resetting your leptin sensitivity.

Ever learning,                                                                                                                    Sugarbaby

Everywhere You Turn There is Sugar

I went into a popular department store today to pick up a couple of items and not for the first time was shaking my head over the fact that even non-food stores seems determined to make us eat.  No doubt marketing research is behind this product placement, but it boggles the mind to figure out why there needs to be Godiva chocolate bars at the brassiere register. Or, the shoes, or just about any of the many check out in these stores.

Not so many years ago you had to at least go to a chocolate department, aisle, or store to get such sweets, but getting through any store without the assault of sugar everywhere you turn is becoming a challenge.

What about parents trying to get the week’s shopping done when the worst hazard is the checkout aisle, where both sides are lined with candy, soda, and gum, even baked goods nowadays.

So here comes the tired harassed, probably highly stressed customer trying to just get the underwear or shoes or salad greens for dinner, and s/he must run the gauntlet to get out of the store without succumbing to the dozens of sugary/starchy options just in arms reach.

As I experienced for many years, you may do well for days and weeks avoiding the foods that are most addictive, but given the right amount of stresses, a low day or hour, and most people will fall victim to the barrage.

What we who finally recognize our status as sugaraholics must keep in mind is that the addictive quality is what puts these foods in those places to begin with. Researchers know how easily we will give in, and those dollars add up quickly.

What we sugaraholics also have to recognize is that we cannot so much as entertain the idea of having any amount of the sugars-artificial sweeteners-starches without become once again caught up in days of bingeing.

Imagine how this scenario would be for an alcoholic. What if they had to face bottles of gin, whiskey, and wine at every checkout? They would soon become prisoners in their homes if they found it too challenging.

More and more I order as much as I can online to avoid having to traverse the stores and their irritating product placement. Even drug stores will ask at the checkout: Would you like to try our 2-for-1 candy bars?  No! I’m trying to be healthy; wouldn’t one at least expect a drug store to help in that process?  But apparently making profits out strips any other consideration.

The best defense is a good offense, as they say in sports. So look at this array of sweets for what it is, a way to manipulate people into buying something they do not need, or even want. I’ve decided I will not participate in such blatant money grubbing. There is always a better option waiting for me at home, or in a place where I am in control of the outcome.

Always on the defense against sugar,                                                                        Sugarbaby

Self-Indulgence or Self-Delusion or Self-Control?

“I can’t ever have chocolate ice cream or brownies again!”

“You mean, no bread, ever?”

“What, no pasta! I can’t give up pasta.”

“But what about Thanksgiving or holy days?”

“My kids wouldn’t go along.”

“You can have treats, but just not too much. It’s calories in, calories out.”

These are a few of the things I have heard people say about going on a lower carb, no sugar eating plan. I have personally thought several of them myself.  People fear change, period. People fear personal change, that is, changes in how they behave, even more.  No doubt there is a biological basis for this fear, but we can look at our way of thinking and evaluate it for its merits or misconceptions or fears or anything else that might get in the way of our health and happiness.

What strikes me as interesting is that I’ve heard no one say the following when engaging me about my low carb diet:

“What, I wouldn’t be craving all the time?”

“You mean I can lose all this fat and get healthy?”

“I could cure my pre-diabetes/diabetes condition?”

“I could be lean and fit again?”

“My kids won’t struggle with mental and physical conditions brought on by excessive sugars?”

“You mean I will still enjoy holiday meals without all the starch and sugar?”

The great psychologist Albert Ellis who put rational thinking on the boards pointed out in his many books that the rational, logical way of thinking is often the last recourse for most people. We know many things on the rational level, yet emotions will trump them time and again. Think of anything you truly regret having done, and chances are very high that you knew, logically, that you should not do it, but you did anyway for other emotional or self-indulgent reasons.

Sometimes people don’t want to change at such a deep level they delude themselves that what they are doing is right, or acceptable, or that eventually it will lead them to some mythical promised land. These are people so attached or devoted to their behaviors that any change is unthinkable.

Never underestimate the mind’s capacity for rationalization.  Here are some classics:

This one won’t hurt.

I’ll start tomorrow.

A little will be okay.

I deserve it.

It will make me/him/her happy.

When it comes to addressing the truth of our relationship to food, especially sugars, artificial sweeteners, starchy carbs, we are in one state or another, and a sensible person—that is a person with the ability to see reality as it is—will recognize that state. Generally we are either being self-indulgent, self-deluded, or self-controlled.

Once you recognize that being self-indulgent or self-deluded is what is causing you to continue in self-destructive behaviors with food, the sooner you can get on the way to being a person who is self-controlled. To be in control of oneself is a great asset to all kinds of achievement in life. To be out of control is to be at the whim of any passing cookie or donut, and hardly a person who can say s/he is happy with their condition in life.

Yours in the pursuit of self-control,                                                                                      Sugarbaby

 

Why it Matters

When you are young there are many good things going for you not the least of which is this wonderful thing called Growth Hormone (GH). The advantage of growth hormone is hard to overstate. Because a human child has a lot of growing and developing to do from fetus to fully fledged adult the body encourages this effort via several processes, but growth hormone can be thought of as a work horse in the body making sure the all the hormonal processes are working well, helping to build muscles, bones, organs, keeping the liver from holding on to too much glucose, and much more. The long and short of it is that people with lots of GH have a sturdy metabolism, a faster metabolism, which is why a young man of 18 years can eat from dawn to dusk, lots of less than ideal food, and still stay lean. I remember most of the boys in my family, my brothers and cousins, who would drink a half-gallon of milk a day, eat enormous meals, and complain constantly of being hungry. None of them were over weight.  Girls lose this advantage sooner than boys, and often notice a tendency to put on a few pounds as they get into their twenties, while the guys often have no real weight concerns until their thirties.  But that is changing in these days of gross amounts of overly refined sugars and starches. For the first time in history  we are seeing many overweight children, teens, and young adults.

Males continue to enjoy the muscle mass advantage until late middle age, but again, that is beginning to change as our nation becomes ever more obese. Indeed, as you have no doubt read and heard, we have an obesity epidemic.

Why it matters, is that any struggle with weight will be directly related to how much you ingest of sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs. There may be a one-in-a-million person who is genetically overweight, but even in such a case, the last thing they would want to eat is the Threatening Three: sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs.

There were no children in my classes in elementary school who would have qualified as fat. We had a few kids we called “stocky” or “husky”; kids who nine times out of ten grew out of their baby fat by high school or college. Look at a school class now and the numbers of obese children is significant, and this is very scary.

Obesity means not only the misery of being fat, not being able to run, play, have social relationships of the quality you might want, but it means serious health issues in the making. The best known is diabetes, a disease that causes a list of horrors, and slow descent to ever worse health and eventually death. But most of what is being called diseases of the west, or modernity, is a product of a diet we did not evolve to eat, and are ill equipped to handle. Sugars/carbs cause obesity which causes heart disease, this is well known; sugar is implicated in autoimmune diseases like arthritis and lupus; and is increasingly being linked to cancer.  Cancer cells live on glucose/sugars, so even if the cancer was not caused directly by sugar, it literally feeds the cancer.

For me it mattered that I felt owned and controlled by the cravings beast I have only half-jokingly called the Kraken, since the Threatening Three released this monster in my mind and kept me constantly thinking about food and eating, even when I had just had a huge meal. I hated how I felt so out of control.

You undoubtedly have your own list of reasons you would like to be free of the weight and the cravings, whatever they are, we can all be in possession of the one thing that can save us years of declining health, and daily misery, and that is abstinence. Get sugar sober and be free.

More to come,                                                                                                                            Sugarbaby