Zach eliminated sugar from his diet. He won the Whole Life Challenge, dropped his body fat by 10%, got his first bar muscle-up and just got a new PR back squat at 275#. Coincidence?
Today's Foodie Friday blog post continues our exploration into foods we eliminate or reduce on our Paleo eating plan. Remember, our version of Paleo is to eat meat, vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar and to eliminate grains, dairy, dried legumes and of course sugar. We eliminate grains, dairy and sugar to control our insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Remember, Insulin is the hormone that regulates fat accumulation at the waist. We eliminate or reduce dried legumes because they can cause inflammation and GI distress. Today I look at why we eliminate sugar.
The folks who created the Whole30 program have a series of manifestos that I have been using as inspiration for these Foodie Friday blogs. Their sugar manifesto is so good that I'm going to use it in its entirety.
"When thinking of foods that provoke an unhealthy psychological response (including cravings), sugar comes to mind first. Because the sweetness of sugar is addictive, eating an excess amount is easy. The more we eat, the more we get acclimated to high levels, and the more we want. Artificial sweeteners are also commonly problematic, as they are hundreds of times sweeter than the sugar found in nature but lack any genuine nutritional qualities.
The American Heart Association recommends women limit sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day and men limit to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day. I challenge you to keep a sugar log for just ONE day. Added sugar is in nearly EVERYTHING that is processed. Start reading your labels and you might be shocked and awed by how much sugar is sneaking into your diet.
There are many names for sugar, and now that you're going to start reading labels you'll want to become familiar with all of sugar's pseudonyms. Here's a handy sheet from the Whole30 program on all of the names of sugar.
A common trend I see with folks who "Go Paleo" is that they start to make Paleo this and Paleo that all the while still allowing their brain to be home to the Sugar Demon. The Sugar Demon is the intense and visceral craving we get for something sweet. Craving something sweet is totally emotionally based. Your cravings don't tell you that you have a nutritional deficiency. If that were true, everyone would be craving broccoli and spinach. No, your cravings are a deeply rooted in your emotions and HABIT. You crave something sweet after dinner or at 3pm? You're habituated to that craving, nothing more, nothing less.
Slaying the sugar demon is one of the most important changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle. Simply swapping white or brown sugar for maple syrup, agave, or stevia is not doing you any favors. You're still appeasing the sugar demon. You're brain does not know the difference between each type of sugar. You're reinforcing the sugar demon habit. Do yourself a favor, slay the sugar dragon by eliminating ALL forms of added sugar for 30 days. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
People can go down the rabbit hole of sugar elimination by lumping fruit into the high sugar food category. Please, let's use some basic nutrition science here. Naturally occurring sugar, like fructose in fruit, can be a great source of energy and it doesn't have the same affects on our bodies because it is bound with fiber to slow its absorption Naturally occurring sugar, like fructose in fruit, can be a great source of energy and it doesn't have the same affects on our bodies because it is bound with fiber to slow its absorption. But, ONLY when you EAT it. Drinking fruit juice is a serving of insulin spiking fructose because there is no fiber in juice.
When all else fails, let's just return to our simple food rules. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
It's finally summer and I'm ready to fire up my new Kamado grill! One of the most yummiest things you can grill is fresh fruit. SERIOUSLY. Slice and grill peaches, pineapple, apples, etc. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon and life is very sweet indeed:-) Need an actual recipe to follow? I like this one from I Thee Cook. Click on the image for the recipe.
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