Sugar held me up against a wall for twenty years and I didn’t even know it. I grew up in the lower middle class. My family and friends ate processed cereal, snacks, and candy daily. Even the pasta sauce had extra sugar.
On the mean streets of Upper Darby, eating processed, sugar-laced food was normal. We watched hours and hours of TV. Ads told us to eat these foods. We heard the same messages over and over again telling us to drink soda and eat candy. This brainwashing convinced many of us that eating packaged food was healthy. In that environment why wouldn’t we eat all that sugar? We were blind to sugar’s impacts.
I couldn’t see the wool over my eyes until I tried something different. There are a few good things about diabetes. I get access to advanced technology. My glucose sensor displays my blood sugar automatically every 5 minutes, plotted over a 24-hour period as seen in an example image below. Seeing the impact of sugar-heavy foods on my glucose levels (i.e. like the giant spikes to 200 and 300 in the image) triggered my experiment.
I replaced a large portion of the sugar and refined grains I consumed with more fat and vegetables. This caused even stronger cravings for sugar. Like an addict I was going through withdrawal. I didn’t recognize and label these cravings as “withdrawal” initially. I thought I was weak and undisciplined. I was wrong. I needed to outsmart my body and mind. Once I recognized and labeled my “withdrawal”, I reduced sugar consumption more easily by gradually reducing sugar over time.
After a few months of less sugar, I felt better. My energy levels were more stable. I could think more clearly. My cravings for food went down.
I needed much less sugar to occasionally satisfy my sweet tooth. In fact eating sugar-heavy foods now tasted sharp, severe, and borderline nauseating. Candy would make my teeth hurt. I felt injured from the same sugary foods that previously had no effect on me. I was “re-sensitized” to sugar.
Sugar is the perfect legal drug and I was a blind junkie. Sugar is addicting. Sugar is sneaky. Sugar is everywhere.
Sugar addiction was normal in the environment I grew up in and it might be normal for you too. Only my personal experiment opened my eyes. Watch the documentary Fed Up if you want to learn more. To reduce your sugar consumption read 4 Easy Ways to Battle the Sugar Drug.
Even when you get the rats hooked on IV cocaine, once you introduce sugar, almost all of them switch to the sugar. – James DiNicolantonio, cardiovascular research scientist