Monday, June 25, 2012

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

As over 2 million other people have done, I've watched Dr. Lustig's video Sugar: The Bitter Truth.  I found it very interesting and insightful, along with inspiring.  I have watched it twice over, and each time I watch it I have a new found desire to quit eating sugar.  Having said that, you should have inferred that my first attempt was unsuccessful at quitting sugar.  Like probably the majority (if not the super majority) of people who have watched his lecture, I have failed to kick the habit.  The more I reflect upon days in which my sugar consumption is low, the more I realize that I am like a drug addict, seeking every possible spot in the house that might possibly have a single morsel of this white powdery substance.  My point overall is I would like to seriously take the steps towards quitting.

My Philosophy on Dieting

I have spent a lot of time studying about various diets and trying out different ideas I've had.  I've never really been one for fad diets because of my very basic core philosophy on dieting that still hasn't changed.  That is that dieting is about changing your lifelong eating and drinking habits, not about weight loss.  Because of this I have kept from trying or reading much about diets that promise huge results in a short amount of time.  All those types of diets lead to is a false sense of victory over the ever expanding waist line that is temporary at best.
    One of the most influential works on dieting that I have read is "The Hackers Diet" by John Walker.  It opened my eyes and helped me to see that exercise wasn't going to get me thin.  The 20 oz. bottle of Pibb Xtra sitting at my desk has enough calories for me to run for half an hour, and with my busy schedule I couldn't open enough time to burn off the calories needed to lose any meaningful amount of weight.
    I find his book to be more or less correct, but the only thing that should be corrected, in accordance with Dr. Lustig's findings, is that calories from fructose counts far more towards fat creation and weight gain than calories from any other source.

My New Philosophy on Dieting

After having watched Dr. Lustig's video I had to change some of my philosophy on dieting.  I still stick with the number one rule, that dieting is about changing your lifelong eating and drinking habits, not about weight loss, but I had to get rid of the idea that all calories are the same.  I still agree with a lot of what John Walker says in his book, and it still makes sense that a half hour of running equals to one bottle of coke.  If we get rid of the coke for water we'll save 1750 calories each week and lose about half a pound.  But as I look into cutting calories, which is still needed, I am looking into cutting more sugar calories.
    I'll take the glass of milk without the cookie, or some cheese and wheat crackers instead of that ice cream.  While doing this I also have to be careful about the amount of salt that is in things also, as this also leads to increase in blood volume, and therefore blood pressure and hypertension.

The Hard Part - Getting Others to Go Along With You

As anyone who has tried to work against the grain, or go against traditional ideas, or tried to stop smoking, the hardest part may be getting others to hop on the bandwagon.  We all know that eating Big Macs twice a week and having Pizza Friday consist of half a pizza per person isn't the healthiest way to live, and then washing this all down with super double or triple gulp sodas isn't doing yourself any favors, but let's face it, we enjoy eating.  It makes us feel good.
    The hard times comes especially around holiday's and celebrations.  You're going to have Thanksgiving dinner, so a little overeating is okay, have a slice of pie, or two or three.  Maybe it's not a holiday, perhaps a birthday, or a friend invites you out to eat.  To make it easier you should at least notify your friends and family and ask for their support.  Showing them that you are serious and enthusiastic can also help them to support you in doing this.  But I find the biggest thing that helps is to be truly converted to the new lifestyle.  Remember my basic core philosophy, diet is more about a change of eating and drinking habit, if you aren't converted to the diet, a change of lifestyle, then you won't have long term success.

Conclusion

Sugar is a poison, simple as that.  Once it's in our body it can do the same harm as long term alcohol abuse.  The government isn't going to do anything about it anytime soon, and ultimately we are responsible for our own health.  The supply will change naturally with the demand, so if more people start demanding low fructose (including sucrose) alternatives, the market will naturally shift, but we need advocates in our communities to spread the message, and this video.
    If you are going to succeed at a diet, you must be converted to it and willing to make a lifelong change of your eating habits.  This doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the things that you eat, but to not over indulge yourself.  Remember, an exception to the rule, is just that, an exception.  It does not replace or become the rule.  When you "cheat" don't use that as an excuse to cheat for the rest of the day, or the rest of the week, get right back on the diet.  Try to change whatever it was that caused the exception and remember to enjoy life.

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor, dietition or any kind of certified professional in giving health advice.  As with any changes to exercise and diet, please consult your physician.

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