If you have recently decided that you either want to, or need to lose weight, what do you want to hear from either a nutritionist, or a weight loss program representative?
Do you want to hear a hard truth that will get you to your desired goal?
Or would you want the nutritionist, or weight loss program representative to tell you that they have a program that will not demand any type of real change to the foods you eat?
Do you want a temporary diet where you are likely at some point to regain your weight?
Or, do you want to make a lifestyle change that will bring you lasting, successful results of a healthy, fit, and trim body?
If you have become sick and tired of being sick and tired of how you might look or feel, I would think it would be obvious you would choose a new lifestyle that is sure to work. Yet, every day of the week, people who eagerly want to lose weight seem to get suckered into paying for weight loss programs that do not bring lasting change to their lives. It ought to be criminal to tell people that they do not need to cut out sugar, sweets and simple carb foods when it should be obvious to a professional the individual has gotten into the shape they are in because of these foods. I was watching a “nutritionist” in a video today talking about not cutting out sweets and having balance in our nutrition. If a major part of your weight problem has been a result of consuming calorically dense and nutritionally poor foods, I truly want to know what “balance” with these foods means. Are we to interpret that balance in our diet is a condition in which different foods are equal in nutrition? Can we balance the nutritional and caloric value of a milk shake with the nutritional and caloric value of a meal consisting of proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats? A large McDonalds milk shake has 520 calories with 67 grams of sugar in it. Maybe you never get the milk shakes, but do get the Quarter Pound Cheeseburger Value Meal a couple of times per week or more for lunch. What kind of balance is there when this meal brings 1050 calories and 66 grams of sugar for a medium size meal? The caloric value of this meal alone comprises 47% of my daily calories that I consume. How much balance is there if I have a couple pieces of pie or cake in a week? How much balance is there if I decide to forgo the McDonalds and eat pasta meals a few times a week that also bring a low nutritional value to the foods I eat?
The point I really want to drive home is the nutritionists and weight loss businesses that tell you that you do not need to cut out any of your favorite foods, that you can eat them as long as your track them, are selling you a bunch of hogwash. It is a less than honest disservice to you that they would tell you this. I am here to tell you, the reason most diet plans fail you is because they do not insist that you make a permanent change to your lifestyle in order to get your body fat down to a healthy level and to then maintain it there. I have been at an unhealthy body fat level and I totally get how hard it is to conceive of giving up certain foods. But from personal experience, I can say that as your taste changes with a change of dietary habits, there comes a point where some of those foods no longer even taste good.
Why do we say to give up sugar?
Giving up sugar is a tough thing to do, but the reward for doing so is entirely worth the effort when it comes to how how sugar affects your health. Research studies have linked a high added sugar intake with various medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as poor dental health. It is an undeniable fact, sugar is simply not good for us! Even if you are not suffering from any of the bad outward effects, sugar can reduce your energy levels, which leads to fatigue and reduced alertness during the day. A diet that includes too much sugar may also be a factor in your depression if you suffer from it. Just think, if you eat that medium value meal from above, you have just consumed right at about 16 teaspoons of sugar in one meal. This is considerably more than recommended daily maximums, which are 6 teaspoons (about 24 grams) for females and 9 teaspoons (about 36 grams) for males
You might believe there is no reason to quit eating sugar. Sugar is a naturally occurring substance that is in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. I want to make it a point that you know that consuming whole foods which contain natural sugar is perfectly fine. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. Because your body digests these foods slowly, the natural sugar in them offers a steady energy supply to your cells. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. What we want you to cut out is added sugars and simple carbohydrates that are calorie dense, low in nutrition and have no fiber component to help regulate the absorption of sugar into your blood and cells.
With far too many foods we can find on our grocers shelves, we have a problem where the manufactures add sugar to improve taste or to extend shelf life. In the Standard American Diet (SAD), the top sources of sugar in our food and drink are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. But added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.
The result: we consume way too much added sugar!
In a study published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Hu and his colleagues found an association between a high-sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease. Over the course of the 15-year study, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar. (1)
Have you ever looked at someone smoking a cigarette and thought about how harmful cigarettes are to our heart health, as you were washing down a few cookies with a soft drink?
Consumption of added sugars has been implicated in increased risk of a variety of chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as well as cognitive decline and even some cancers. (2)
Think for a minute about what the last few paragraphs said. As we age, it is not uncommon that many of us will be afflicted by one or more of these conditions. The sad thing is, these conditions are brought on through poor nutritional habits. They are self inflicted just the same as those conditions that are brought on by smoking. Now, consider what you are doing to your health if you are a smoker who also has a sweet tooth!
Sugar is an addictive substance!
When we consume sugar, it creates a short-term high and a spark of energy in the body. Some studies have suggested sugar is as addictive as cocaine. This is because we enjoy the dopamine release sugar brings. Dopamine makes us feel good. Sugar also releases endorphins in the body which combine with other chemicals in the body that result in a surge of energy. The problem is, once we mentally connect sugar with help providing energy, we very likely may become dependent on it. We may also begin to crave sugar to balance out irritability, emotional lows, and other conditions. Eventually, many of us find that we have little to no control over avoiding sugary foods, and a sugar addiction has developed.
People who are enduring breakups or other emotionally stressful situations often turn to chocolate or pints of ice cream to comfort themselves during difficult times. It is quite common that those who turn to sugar to deal with emotional issues are more likely to become addicted. Another particularly worrisome aspect of sugar addiction is when we binge eat. Binge eating is when we eat too much, too rapidly, and then we often suffer feelings of guilt, shame, and disgust with ourselves. We often can find ourselves binge eating for emotional regulation and self-medication. It is critical to remember that food, especially sugar, is a short-term fix for emotional conditions.
What to look for on food labels.
Reading food labels is one of the best ways to monitor your intake of added sugar. Look for the following names for added sugar and try to either avoid, or cut back on the amount or frequency of the foods where they are found:
- brown sugar
- corn sweetener
- corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrates
- high-fructose corn syrup
- invert sugar
- malt sugar
- syrup sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).
Total sugar, which includes added sugar, is often listed in grams. Note the number of grams of sugar per serving as well as the total number of servings. “It might only say 5 grams of sugar per serving, but if the normal amount you eat is actually three or four servings, you can easily consume 20 grams of sugar and thus a lot of added sugar.
In closing, I ask again; What do you want to hear from a nutritionist or weight loss business?
Do you want to hear it is perfectly fine to continue eating the same foods as before as long as you keep it in balance?
Or, would you rather hear the straight truth, as I will tell you why this talk of continuing to eat the same foods is a disservice to you and your health?
What kind of results do you really want for yourself?
14 Comments Add yours
GRAND SLAM David!! Thank you for the straight dope on nutrition. These “weight loss” gurus do NOT want anyone getting on track. Then we won’t buy the crap they are peddling. Lose just enough to keep you coming back for more. Big Pharma certainly doesn’t want a healthy population…no more pills to manufacture because of high BP, Diabetes, etc. Doctors would be practically out of business if we had a healthy society. I totally agree with you!! I am on a new journey myself and although sugar wasn’t my trigger, I am totally retraining my brain and taste buds (and attitude). Thanks to you and Brenda Sue for all that you do!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thank you, Linda! Happy New Year to you! 🎉
Thank you Linda. I have studied and researched more than a few weight loss gurus and businesses to have come to the conclusion most would rather string people along as a perpetual income stream. I have said this in quite a few articles. I’m not so sure about the medical community and big pharma, but can see where profits could be more important than cures with some of them. Several years back, my sister’s oncologist busted a pharmacist, Robert Courtney, for diluting chemo drugs she was giving her patients. These things do happen with evil people. What I find perplexing though, is too many people do not seem to believe the key to good health is in their own hands. Thanks again for the great comment.
I’ve heard of pharmacists doing that with Chemo…special place for those folks. I am a people watcher and it is amazing to see what large people have in their grocery carts: sodas, candies, chips, cakes, pies, cookies, frozen TV dinners. They look miserable and pretty sure they suffer for the brief pleasure of a bit of food or drink that does them much more harm than good. True story about a local doctor in Los Angeles. His diet is to hand out water pills, tells the patient to do portion control (eat half of whatever it is you’re eating – like half a pizza instead of a whole pizza?) and come back every Friday to weigh and take BP readings. At $25 a visit, that is costly. Plus it works just enough to keep these people coming back for more. Terrible. No lifestyle change there and God only knows what those water pills are doing. Tsk, tsk.
I also watch people and see what you see when people have carts loaded full with junk foods. We see this in the weight loss/weight management field far too often as well. There is a large number of people who have emotional and or mental health issues that drive a lot of the binge eating of junk foods. It is self medicating to feel better through the release of endorphins and dopamine. Being one myself, who suffers depression and PTSD, I have been there too and understand the battle a little too well. It is a tough one, but it can be overcome.
I believe that the vast majority of people in the medical field are good, honorable people. However, as in any industry, there are bad apples who get through. It is hard to imagine a doctor prescribing water pills and telling people to just practice portion control. But, this would not be the first story of such malfeasance I have ever heard of. I will never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings, but I will always tell them what they need to hear rather than something sugar coated and comfortable. The charlatans out there can make it a little tough to get my message through when tell one who is addicted to sugar and simple carbs that they can continue to eat them and lose weight.
Great post, David. Happy and healthy New Year to you and yours!
Likewise to you dear friend. I hope you find 2021 to be a blessed year.
Our readership has more than doubled this year, and we now also have created a weight loss and healthy living support group on Facebook by the same name as our blog!
I am so glad to hear that your readership has grown that much, dear David!
I am not on Facebook or any other social media, but I certainly benefit greatly from your well-researched posts and darling Brenda Sue’s lovely recipes.
Sending blessings your way for a happy, healthy, and safe 2021!
Happy new year Dolly! I’m so glad to know that you enjoy and benefit from our work. We are now in work on compiling much of it into a book we hope to publish next year.
The best of luck with the book – it is needed!
Thank you Dolly. We are going to use a bunch of our articles and then tie them all together with other commentary in order for it to flow well from topic to topic. Neither of us have ever done this, but neither of us have ever built a blog like we have either.
So far you’ve been doing a great job, so I have no doubt that the book will also be a success.
You can switch to jaggery if quitting sugar is hard.
Jaggery is nothing more than unrefined sugar.