Yep, I can hear the song “Sugar” by the Archies playing in my head as I write this. “Sugar, ah honey, honey – you are my candy girl”, and how about Def Leppard, “Pour some sugar on me”, or maybe Maroon 5’s “Sugar, Yes Please” – You know your voice changed three times right then singing those songs in your head as you read them. No matter the era there is a song about the sweet treat sugar.
Sure we know they are relating sweetness of a different kind here, but that is not the point. The point is SUGAR is sweet-goodness we crave and become addicted to as children, but eventually, we have to learn to do without it for our health.
We love the sweet flavor of sugar and connect it mentally to good times. I mean who among us doesn’t have a least one birthday memory where you are the queen or king of the world for a moment when everyone stops and gathers around you to sing and watch you make a wish and blow out the candles on your favorite cake?
Build that on top of a childhood memory of eating fudge walking down the streets of Gatlinburg, licking and melting cotton candy on our tongue at an amusement park, or walking around the dessert table as a kid at family gatherings with so many choices to feed your sweet tooth and soul you could just burst from excitement. It is all real, and by the age of five, we are addicted to the flavor of sugar.
Now before I continue – please note this article is purely my personal opinion and based on facts I know to be true about me personally (no science here), but I feel we can all relate.
As I was trying to skip a generation of diabetes in my family, I gave up on sugary drinks for the most part by the time I was 25. My mother, her sister (my aunt) and several others in my family are diabetics. Most of them take daily medication and insulin shots to help manage their blood sugar levels and struggle to get through the day.
My thin as a rail sister developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy and it was very hard for her and the baby. As much as I love my family I did not want to be added to that branch on our family tree and become reliant on medication to get through a day.
So I did what I was right at the time and gave up bits and pieces here and there, doing everything by the book. You know, “the book” – the advice you hear on T.V., read in articles and hear what friends are doing to be healthy and lose weight.
Let’s skip ahead a few years and put me in my late thirties. I was doing great. I stayed at a healthy weight for the most part. I am fairly active and work full time, but something was changing inside me. I was doing all the “right things”; eating oatmeal, pasta with light sauces, lots of yogurt, having my fair share of fruit smoothies, eating less meat and cutting down on fats, all of which were where being touted as a healthy lifestyle (and yes, I was feeling so good about myself mentally), so why was I feeling so sluggish, experiencing headaches beyond belief and gaining weight? It was not until I was given a copy of Dr. Adkins book that I started realizing what I was eating was causing all of these negative side effects, especially the headaches (migraines, I had so many and they were so bad they could stop me in my tracks, and I ended up in my bed to recover many times). I read the whole book and told my husband we were going to start The Adkins Diet (yep, just like that we started). In no time I was feeling better and losing some weight, it was my husband that lost the most weight at the time he was melting. It was amazing to see the difference, for the first time I was losing weight in my trouble spot, my thighs. The best news was the complete stop of migraines – no more. That alone was/is enough proof personally to try and get rid of all sugar in my diet.
Again skipping ahead a few more years, now I am in my late-forties. I am really good at Adkins, and cutting back on carbs, eating lots of veggies and protein. I could really cut back and lose a few pounds and thought I was doing everything by the “book”. It was not until about 3 years ago my sister told me she was putting butter in her coffee. She literally said, “It’s all about the Fat – fat, fat, fat.” I thought she had lost her mind. In the meantime, I kept pretty moderate with my Adkins and doing well, no sugars for me, or so I thought. Then a friend tells me about eating even fewer carbs and protein than on Adkins and started eating more fat and lots of it. WHAT? I mean, yes I was eating more fat on Adkins then I had ever dreamed of when I was counting calories and I felt really good, but it was the transformation in her body that made me want to try it. This very heavy, overweight woman on the verge of turning fifty, was now in amazing shape, taking kickboxing classes, zip lining through trees and posting recipes about what she was eating, now half of her past size, and I wanted in.
I started searching and reading everything I could find on a high-fat diet. I looked up articles, watched videos, went through countless testimonials and was amazed by all I read. What was even more eye-opening was the fact was this was and is not new, I am just late to the game on it. Enter the new word Ketogenic Diet, aka The Keto Diet. For the first time in all my life I learned, really learned how glucose affects your body. The relationship between blood sugar, health, hormones, weight, energy, and thinking are all tied together. So why did every article I read in the past tell me to eat oatmeal (carbs and sugar), yogurt (carbs and sugar), and fruit (more carbs, more sugar) to get healthy? As you can imagine at this point I am kind of pissed at the advice given by all the doctors and dietitians to follow the “Standard American Diet -SAD”, truly SAD indeed. Don’t even get me started on Dr. Oz’s advice to over-weight men and women.
So now a year later, totally sugar-free (like “really sugar-free”, not just being lied to anymore) I feel great. Actually better in my late 40’s then in my 30’s. There are several recipes, packaged foods, and snacks now being processed and marketed as “Keto friendly”, let’s face it, we know they are not at all friendly. If they can last on a grocery store shelf for months at a time, there really is no way they are friendly to our bodies. Almost assuredly to contain all sorts of wheat products, gluten, and hidden sugars. We cannot be fooled. Bottom line and to sum this up. Stop listening to others and start listening to your body. I guarantee we all feel better when we remove the sugars from our body, I know I do. Hidden sugars are everywhere, and you can almost guarantee if the label says fat-free, it is full of sugar. It is the lie of the century and we are falling for it one pound, headache, and diabetic test strip at a time.
What does this all mean, how did I go from praising sugar to being mad at magazine articles, and health care professionals? All I am saying is if you are working hard at “eating right”, the way we have been taught the last 30 years and you are still over-weight, unhealthy, suffer from headaches, high blood-pressure, or even diabetic. Stop doing what you have been told to do, and start doing some research for yourself. Take the time and invest in you. Read all you can about the Ketogenic Diet and see if you feel it makes sense to you. Getting rid of all the hidden carbs and sugar have made me a new, healthier person. I did and my only regret is I didn’t do it sooner.
Until next time,