As you might recall, about a month ago I switched to an all organic, non-pesticide treated diet. What you might not know, is at about the same time, I also began to reduce my sugar consumption. I’m slowly weaning myself off one of the most additives compounds known to man. Yes me, Mr. Candy man, is giving up his sweets ( or at least he’s trying).

Don’t believe sugar is bad for you? Neither did I. Actually, I never gave it much thought either way. That is, until someone I really respect (my brother), convinced me that I should educate myself on the subject.

I found that not only is sugar not good for you, it’s downright toxic to your body. Unlike the sugar that you consume when you eat fresh fruit (fructose), refined and/or processed sugars are stripped of any nutrients, making them extremely difficult for the body to break down. And unlike glucose, which can be easily converted into usable energy, the burden of metabolizing high fructose corn syrup falls almost entirely on your liver. Taxing the liver in this fashion creates a ton of waste products and toxins which can reek even more havoc on the body.

Blame it on the steroids I take to stay alive, or on my love for all things sweet, but for the better part of a decade my sugar consumption soared to ridiculous levels. I went from eating the occasional Sunday evening desert, to taking in more than 1,000 sugar calories a day. We’re talking mass quantities of high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar, everyday, 365 days of the year. I was poisoning myself and didn’t even know it.
On a typical day I would eat 2 to 3 candy bars, followed by a dozen or so of those freeze and eat Popsicle thingies. Add in all the sugar I was getting from the the so-called “healthy” foods in my diet, and you start to see why I was having a hard time controlling my weight. Had it not been for all the exercising I was doing, I probably would have developed diabetes and been as big as a house. (Not a good thing when you have severe breathing problems to begin with.)
Funny thing is, I wouldn’t dare eat too much ice cream or cheese, because I considered them too fattening. I fell into that trap of thinking that if something was fat free, that you could eat all you want and never get fat.

Most of us have been conditioned to believe, that other than being bad for your teeth and your waste line, that sugar is a harmless natural food. The fact is, sugar is poisonous to the body. What’s really scary though, is that sugar and high fructose corn syrup have found their way into almost every manufactured food item that you find in the supermarket. The next time you go grocery shopping, read the labels of everything that you put in your shopping basket…I think you’ll be shocked. Even table salt has sugar in it. That’s right, salt has sugar in it. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the label on your Morton’s salt box (dextrose is sugar).

Sprinkle a little sugar on that breakfast cereal, and you’re actually sprinkling poison on top of poison. Most cereals are already pre- loaded with tons of sugar. Some have more sugar than actual cereal! Right now, the average American consumes the equivalent of a half a pound of sugar per day….That’s 48 teaspoons of sugar…everyday! Can you imagine? How on earth can eating half a pound of anything everyday be good for you?

Putting all the politics and science of sugar aside, the bottom line, is that ingesting too much HFCS or refined sugar leads to increased belly fat, insulin resistance and god only knows how many diseases.
Ironically, one of the reasons I got hooked on so much sugar in the first place, was because as my lung disease progressed, I found myself getting really bloated after eating small portions of food. (The last thing you want when you can’t breath, is to feel bloated as well.) I found that by snacking on candy and junk food, that I wouldn’t feel as full or as bloated afterward. Of course that strategy backfires in the long run, because eating all that sugar just makes your belly fatter, which in turn makes it harder to breath.

So, how am I doing with the new organic/ sugarless diet? ( I say sugar-less, because I’m still eating sugar, but much much less of it). Well, about 80% of everything I eat now, is certified organic. As far as my sugar consumption goes, excluding the sugar I consume in the form of fresh fruit and juices, Ive gone from consuming around 80 teaspoon equivalents of table sugar per day, down to less than 2 teaspoons per day and Ive completely eliminated high fructose corn syrup from diet.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a sweet tooth, but now I get my sugar fix by eating mostly fresh fruits in moderate amounts.

It’s one thing to eat something that you know can make you fat, it’s quite another to eat something you know is actually poisoning you. Once that realization hit me, it was a done deal. Knowing what I know now about the health risks associated with eating too much sugar, how could I not take action. I hope other people will do the same.

PS….Don’t be fooled by some of these pro-sugar websites that claim to be unbias on their views toward HFCS. Most of these organizations are funded by the sugar and corn industries (both of which receive subsidies from the US government.)

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7 thoughts on “Recovering Sugar-holic

  1. kerri says:

    Dude, you rock. Thanks for the lesson–you and my nutrition textbook are cornering me ;-). (And you're cornering me before I even reach 20, epic!)

    Sounds like your journey's going pretty good so far–keep it up Epic Steve!

    1. Stephen says:

      I wish I would have started these lifestyle changes earlier in life, but I guess better late than never…eh. I m glad I can set a good example.

  2. kitkat07 says:

    It's so true. I admit that I'm not as good as you are but I got put on the heart healthy diet at 14. High frutose corn syrup was pretty much off limits to me at which point I was told to eat cane sugar sweetened things on occassion and mostly rely on artificial sweeteners. Tummy and artifical sweeteners don't agree with each other. I've more or less eliminated HFCS. I still have 2 squares of dark chocolate each day as desert. It's amazing how much better you feel when you cut the sugar and the high fat foods out of your diet. (I don't know about eliminating just the sugar since I did both at the same time… wasn't easy). Good job!!!

    1. SO glad to hear that so many young people are doing this. Kudos to you and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  3. MC says:

    Wow, I didn't know that, but it doesn't surprise me. Thanks for the lesson!
    Lol, yes, I'm still shocked at all the stuff they put in foods now days. I guess that in this view, food allergies aren't the worst things as because of them there's a lot of stuff I don't/can't eat, so even though it seems like I can't eat that many things, I think I probably eat healthier than most people.

    If you want a cold healthy treat, I suggest making watermelon popsicles: take a slice of watermelon and cut it into wedges, stick a popsicle stick in it, wrap in something (to keep it from sticking to stuff in the freezer) and freeze. It makes for healthy popsicles that are super easy to make, no additives, and taste awesome (don't just take my word for it).

  4. Sarah says:

    I eat as healthy as I can afford to (when you live in Canada, "buy local" is just not possible half of the year, and a single head of normal broccoli can at times cost as much as $5.50+tax, and don't even get me started on fresh fruit at that time of year…). I live on a student's budget and have about $300/mo in medication costs (after copay), so every cent I take in is accounted for before it even hits my bank account. Frozen veggies are pretty much my best friends during the winter here, and I never buy canned, dried, or otherwise preserved fruits or veggies (except for a certain brand of jam that is both cheap and doesn't use any additives since, as Kerri would say, I am four and can't stand anything other than PB&J for lunch since as far as I'm concerned, lunchmeats are made of evil, and cold leftovers aren't much better – spotty mouth-boilingly-hot-and-still-refridgerator-cold leftovers from a bad microwave are worst of all, as far as leftovers go). I also don't buy a lot of storebought snacks or treats… Put simply, the treats I make are better, and healthier too! Plus, a lot of it is personal taste: I can't stand pop (it has made my mouth sting every time I drink it ever since I was five and got my tongue stuck to a metal pole at -30 degrees Celcius), I don't like most sweet candies, I've never been huge on chips or other fatty snacks (they quite literally make me ill), and I've always preferred fresh fruit and yohgurt over a huge helping of steak. I'm one of those weird people that gets salad cravings if I haven't had anything green to eat recently.

    Buuut, that said, I have a huge chocolate weakness, and I indulge in it roughly one to two times a week. I'm a big believer in moderation: If all you eat is fast food and candy bars, of course you're going to get sick. Heck, even if you made them yourself from scratch and cut out all the preservatives and so on, you'd still get sick from it! But, I don't think there's anything wrong with, say, banana double chocolate chip cake made for a boyfriend's birthday party, or the occasional chocolate chip cookie. Just as long as that's not all you eat, and you have a balanced, low-calorie diet with it. But that's what I get for being brought up in a doctor's household, I guess. 🙂

  5. kathy says:

    HI If you want to kick the sugar. You need to eat plenty of healthy proteins. Good fats. Stay away from fruits, fruit juices are any sweet veggies. They convert into sugar. Take good multi supplements. I work with someone that specialzies in this stuff. I also go to school in holistic nutrition.

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