Shawn Chhabra- Overcoming the Challenges- Eating is a natural way to feel happy.
Eating is a natural way to feel happy. Overeating isn't.
-Dr. Deepak Chopra (Author of WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?)
Among the worst of the issues associated with a sugar detox diet or just cutting all sources of sugar from your diet are the cravings that come with such a decision. Though you may believe that you feel grumpy or irritable because of some sort of chemical change in the body, a great deal of the emotional turmoil is because you are living with an unmet and irresolvable craving.
You know that you cannot eat the candy, cake, pasta, or high and simple carb food that you desire. It just makes you grumpy.
However, once you get past the detox phase, you can consider adding small amounts of sugar back into your life - though we really don't recommend this as a daily option but as a single celebratory treat every once in a great while.
Here's the thing: We can promise most readers that after 21 days without any sort of sugar (even that found in fruits if you decide to cut them out for the entire period too), the palette won't respond the same ways to many of your once favorite foods.
An Encouraging Tale
"Mary" was an avid junk food fanatic. Each day included the consumption of sweetened beverages such as soda and bottles of iced tea. Each meal was full of white breads, pastas, and starches. She rarely ate any whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and her fats of choice came out of a deep fryer.
When she was warned that she was showing signs of developing diabetes, she decided to take action. She learned about sugar detox plans and determined that going "cold turkey" for 21 days was the only way to break her addiction to "ring dings", "Twinkies", and all of the rest.
She did not even put a single cherry or slice of apple in her mouth until that 21 day period had passed. And when it was all over and done, she no longer dreamt of eating sweets and mountains of pasta.
Instead, when she was allowed to have a mouthful of her favorite sugary soda, it made her feel queasy. As she tasted her once favorite commercial pastry, she immediately spit it out. Everything tasted chemically sweetened and totally artificial. Her palate had adjusted to a much more natural and flavorful diet.
This is not science fiction or fantasy. This is what happens when we give the body a chance to work in the way it should. When we reject all of the modern commercial food programming, we are often shocked by the delicious flavors that natural food sources provide.
Things we once thought "bland" such as plain yogurt, roasted chicken, or broccoli are suddenly extremely palatable. The fat in the yogurt is like a heavenly and creamy dream and the strong flavor of the vegetable and meat - especially if splashed with a drizzle of high quality olive oil and a bit of fresh lemon juice - are wonderful and satisfying.
Yes, you will be cutting out the salt and artificial flavorings as you do a sugar detox, but you are also showing your body and brain how good it feels to get the best source of energy into each and every cell. The energy that comes mostly from healthy fat and lean protein and limited carbs will give you the clearest head and the "cleanest" energy you have ever experienced.
The one hurtle, however, is getting past that 21 day detox period. And some people do this by allowing themselves a bit of natural sugar. This is why we have to consider the issue of fructose.
Before you get very excited thinking that we are suggesting you consume a lot of fructose when experiencing a sugar craving - guess again. Most experts indicate that you can ingest some fructose, but only if you understand that glucose is the only sugar that the body recognizes as a natural source of energy.
Glucose is the one type of energy or sugar that all life forms can recognize and use. In the human body it is metabolized by multiple organs, meaning that there is no undo load put upon any single part of the body.
This means that there are not many risks to your health whenever you introduce glucose. At least there are no risks when you introduce only small amounts via natural sources (such as the carbohydrates that come from fruits, vegetables, proteins, some dairy, and complex carbs in moderation).
Fructose Takes the Lead
About 20% of the glucose you consume will be metabolized by the liver - the rest is handled by the remaining organs and cells of the body. When glucose is metabolized by your liver it is turned into "glycogen" which allows it to be stored in the liver until it is needed.
Your liver can actually store an immense amount of glycogen before any harm comes to the body (we don't recommend this on an ongoing basis), and this is one of the main reasons that endurance athletes and marathoners will ingest a high carb-load on the evening before a big event. Their liver is going to store a lot of glycogen and then release it in the form of energy when they start to become fatigued from their athletic performance.
However, we know that there are other types of sugars, and fructose seems to be the commercial sugar of choice. In fact, this processed sugar tends to make up nearly 25% of most modern daily caloric intake, which is a radical change from even 40 years ago.
One of the reasons that this is the case is because of the introduction of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). This was invented in 1966 and by the mid-1970s a vast majority of commercial food makers had switched from "table sugar" which is sucrose to the cheaper and far sweeter fructose.
Today, it appears on the list of ingredients for almost every packaged or processed food produced. As already indicated, it can appear in baby formula (with some products at 43% corn syrup solids) as well as serving as the primary ingredient in soft drinks and colas, juices, and most snack foods.
Knowing this makes it much easier to understand why the world is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, but it actually gets worse. This is because fructose has some fairly shocking traits and capabilities.
For example, it has a negative effect on the hormone we know as "leptin". This is the "satiety" hormone, or the chemical that tells us we are full. Fructose has a way of switching this hormone "off" and preventing us from recognizing when we are full and should stop eating - especially when we are eating sugar.
Unfortunately, the high amounts of fructose in many popular foods indicates that people are "hooked" on fructose and sweetened foods, and that they are locked into a vicious cycle of craving sugar, consuming too much of it, spiking and then crashing their blood sugar, storing a lot of fat, and still being hungry more often than ever.
Around 1900 the average person consumed fructose only in the form of their fresh fruits and vegetables. The result of which was an average daily intake of fructose around 15 grams. Today, it is not unusual for someone to ingest more than 70 grams each day - plus any other sugars that could include glucose and more.
Fructose and the Liver
This means that people are exposing their bodies to enormous doses of fructose every day, and that is very bad news for the liver.
Why? This is because the metabolism of fructose tends to be handled mostly by the liver. And while a few grams of the stuff each day wouldn't necessarily be harmful, it is the fact that we are (on the whole) eating dozens of grams of it on a daily basis.
The problems with fructose are many, but the issues you must be aware of are these:
• Fructose, as just mentioned, is metabolized mostly by the liver. Because of the flood of it entering the liver when it is eaten in foods such as soda or candy, it is impossible for the liver to process it properly and turn it into a usable form of sugar for the body. It converts the fructose into "tryglycerides".
• You may or may not know that triglycerides are the form in which most fat appears in the body. That fat you despise on your thighs or your belly is made up of triglycerides, and they also appear in your bloodstream.
• People with heart disease often have hypertriglyceridemia - or too many triglycerides floating around in their blood.
• Fructose also interrupts leptin production and function, and this leads to people overeating and gaining weight. This is because leptin tells your brain that you are full and that you should stop eating. This is one of the main reasons that fructose consumption leads to weight gain.
• Consuming fructose is also believed to lead to something known as insulin resistance, which means that the cells in the body refuse to open up to insulin and accept sugar from the bloodstream, and this is known as diabetes.
• Fructose is what is known as a "hepatotoxin" which means it is toxic to the liver and yet is metabolized 100% by the liver. It depletes the liver of phosphates and creates uric acid in the process. This prevents the creation of nitric acid, which is in charge of blood pressure regulation. This means that you can develop hypertension by consuming too much fructose, in addition to the fact that it has also probably boosted your bad cholesterol thereby increasing blood pressure.
• We already learned that it converts to pyruvate and causes too much fat to be released and held in the bloodstream.
• Fructose has a tendency to create insulin resistance, and this means that it results in damage to the pancreas.
• Fructose can leave people in a chronic state of inflammation due to the irritant properties it has.
In other words, if you look at all of the things that fructose does to the human body; you can sum them up in a few short words: Fructose ruins the healthy metabolism.
When you eat a lot of fructose you are creating a perpetual cycle of fat production that is almost impossible to break without just eliminating all sources of fructose from the diet.
Fruit Eaters Take Heed
However, we are discussing this issue because we understand that many people struggle desperately with the elimination of all sources of sweetness in their diet. After all, a lifetime of sugar overload is very hard to bring to a sudden halt. And this is why a lot of people doing a sugar detox reassure themselves by saying: "Well, I can eat a lot of fruit instead."
The problem here is that you can't.
Fruit contains fructose, and though it is not a tremendous amount, it is still there. On the "up" side, the fructose you consume in natural fruit sources is accompanied by a lot of fiber and nutrients too. So, we are suggesting that you make an allowance for yourself for a bit of fruit, but to understand how many grams of fructose you are ingesting with each serving.
Earlier in this book we indicated that the WHO put a daily intake of glucose at 10% of the BMR. We would estimate that puts the range from around 12 to 20 grams per day maximum. Now, that is glucose and not just fructose. So, if you are going to rely on a bit of fruit to get you through the 21 day cycle, understand that it will be a very small bit of fruit.