This is an unusually long piece but if you are struggling with your weight it is worth the read….
Working in the field of addiction and relentlessly taking on my own addictive nature I have worked hard on my sugar addiction. I am now nearly 4 years without sugar and in that time have watched how stopping the stuff has vastly changed my personal reality, and at the same time been fascinated by what it takes to be abstinent. Not just in the face of my own nature but around me: temptation 24/7, sugar levels in almost all foods that are astounding, the acceptance and expectation of sugar in all forms as a “treat” all carefully balanced against a monumental obesity crisis.
I do not feel remotely “holier than thou about stopping sugar”. It was making me unhappy, irritable, rage full. I had joint problems and I loathed my body. Please don’t think I love my body now, but it is better behaved and more manageable, as is my mind.
The sugar, the refined carbohydrates and caffeine that have all bitten the dust together were creating my high stress levels by feeding the hormone, cortisol, that generates stress.
So here we have the mad cycle, the endless waltz between sugars, obesity, crowd opiates and stress. Most of us are dancing as though it is a massive treat and yet the rewards are so very negative, it is most odd. But then perhaps not. Before, there was religion for the masses, controlling, and defining life. Now it is huge corporations peddling happiness and sugar as though it is some marvellous elixir that creates a perfect life.
Over the past year, watching the combination of svelte, toned athletes with massive promotions of sugar and junk foods for the Olympics, was too wierd to fully take in. And now, as we build up to Christmas, it will start again: the jolly Coca Cola man, the happy MacDonalds clown, the cute chocolate commercials and the mighty take-away chains all peddling the perfect panacea…. Fat, sugar and salt with a twist of caffeine to smooth the way.
I mentioned a book previously, Fat Chance, which gives a very good overview of the effects of all of the above on our metabolism, and although he does not make a statement about a diet to loose weight, per se, he does make it radiantly clear that the way forward is to avoid sugar in all it’s refined forms. What causes the weight gain is that everything, pretty much, containing sugar, is junk food, processed, refined, and here is the big part of the book that is about to leap into focus: lacking in fibre.
Remember fibre? Those embarrassing adverts in the 70’s for All bran. Aimed at the 60+ generation with constipation! it was something to laugh at. The awful truth is that the epidemic that is affecting all our waistlines is that there is no more fibre in our foods.
There is cellulose in vegetable and fruit, but who honestly chooses whole wheat brown pasta? Not many of us. Who would choose whole wheat brown bread over a soft, warm croissant? Again, very few. And here is the amazing new twist: we are all fascinated by Juices and smoothies. The awful reality is that if you pulverise your fruit and vegetable you destroy the fibre and all that then happens to your delicious healthy combination of vegetables or fruits is that it just becomes high sugars for your liver to absorb and store as more fat.
The only way forward seems to be a whole food diet, no refined sugars, no juices, no smoothies, and lots of fibre from whole grains and whole fruit and vegetable.
If it helps to get the see the madness any more clearly, Coca Cola own Innocent juices, MacDonalds have a lions’ share of Pret a Manger. Slowly and slyly sugar is pushed to us from everywhere. And please do not make the mistake of thinking a diet drink is ok. The new research shows that the brain still acts as though it is sugar….. So it stores the fat for you anyway, it just takes it from another part of your meal. If you eat out, not easy. If you cook for yourself, very easy. Buy whole wheat pasta, whole grain rice, flour, bread, biscuits, oats, oat bran, rye bread, All Bran, Shredded Wheat and so on.