As I’m on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol I don’t eat sugar, though I do buy raw sugar to make fermented beverages such as Water Kefir or Kombucha. And, increasingly, I seem to want it less and less. I’ve reached the point that I no longer want to eat fruit every day.
Given that I love summer fruit, especially stone fruit, berries and watermelon, it was really surprising to me that I ate so little fruit this summer. Last summer I hadn’t started to tolerate fruit, so that was different. And, now I usually find I only buy fruit when I plan on seeing my boyfriend.
I used to have a really strong, sweet tooth, and even that has gone. I still like sweetness, it just doesn’t rule my world any more. Before I started to change my diet, I used to have extremely strong sugar cravings. The only thing that used to stop me buying lollies (that’s the Australian name for candy) all the time was financial.
The weird thing was while I’ve always had a sweet tooth, there were times in my life when I wasn’t ruled by sugar. I once worked at Cadbury Schweppes, and there were displays full of chocolate bars and colleagues had draws full of lollies, but I didn’t really want them.
My hunch about my former sugar cravings is that then I had a really bad Candida problem. The interesting thing about that is that just by reducing the amount of bread, pasta or rice I ate in the evening, I also reduced those cravings. So, now when I see complementary lollies out and about, I have no desire to eat them. Rather, I feel for the people who have that temptation put in their way.
I know a lot of people think sugar is just harmless, empty calories, but they are wrong. As we’ve been lied to, and fed propaganda emanating from the Sugar Industry telling us that sugar is harmless and fat is bad.
I studied history, and while I don’t work as a historian, I still have an active interest in history. I recently watched a documentary about the Elizabethan era, and was fascinated to discover that it was rich Elizabethans who had bad teeth. That was because they could afford the new commodity: sugar. Another interesting fact from history, is that the Saxons had good teeth. That was because they ate such a unprocessed diet, and had a diet low in natural sugars.
But, let’s get back to sugar, or white death as it’s sometimes called. The problem for modern humans, especially in the west, is that it is everywhere. You can even find it in dog treats! A few years ago I saw a film called That Sugar Film! In it, the Australian actor Damon Gameau decided to eat the average amount of sugar eaten in Australia for 60 days. And, only from sources that weren’t obviously sugar laden. So, he didn’t just eat junk food or things like cakes; instead, he ate things that most people would have perceived as healthy. He had previously been on a Paleo diet, and was one of the healthiest percentiles for his age. By the end of the 60 days eating the 20 teaspoons of sugar daily (that’s less the 30 that Americans consume), he not only had gained weight, but he was at risk of fatty liver disease.
That doesn’t tell us why sugar is bad for us. I can’t even begin to go into the science, but after reading Gary Taubes’ recent book, The Case Against Sugar, I have a better understanding. This excellent book should be required reading for anyone who cares about their own or the health of their family. I think the best way to sum it up is to quote the Author’s Note:
“The purpose of this book is present the case against sugar-both sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup-as the principal cause of the chronic diseases that are most likely to kill us, or lease accelerate our demise, in the twenty-first century. Its goal is to explain why these sugars are the most likely suspects, and how we arrived at the current situation: a third of all adults are obese, two-thirds overweight, almost one in seven is diabetic, and one in four of five will die of cancer; yet the prime suspects for the dietary trigger of these conditions have been, until the last decade, treated as little worse than a source of harmless pleasure.”
Writing about sugar today, has reminded me that I must re-read The Case Against Sugar. I’m still really shocked that sugar is used to make cigarettes more palatable, or that sugar industry’ money funded the “research” that smeared fat. On a personal note, I’m just really pleased that I no longer am ruled by the stuff, and hope that others get the chance to rid themselves of it too.
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