Getting Back on Track
By Dan Gleason, DC
The New Year is still young and many are continuing to look for ways to improve health. Some are following the Low Carb Healthy Fat way of eating and others are trying the Fat Fast. Intermittent Fasting can enhance these efforts to lose weight and reduce inflammation.
Another recommended way to eat for weight loss is called the Sugar Fast. The beauty of the Sugar Fast is that the only change needed is to stop eating this one type of food. The problem is that there is added sugar in all processed foods. Besides sugar, all other foods are allowed during the Sugar Fast, and people following this eating program can eat when and how much they like.
It is suggested to try to avoid all added sugar and all foods that are naturally very high in sugar. Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only two pounds of sugar each year. In 1970, we ate 123 pounds of sugar per year. Today the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar per year, which comes to three pounds per week. Most nutritionists recommend no more than 12 teaspoons per day, which is still more than what humans evolved to eat.
For those who can’t go cold turkey off sugar, they can do a withdrawal of cutting sugar consumption by half each day that will get them down near zero after the first week. Benefits are noticed quickly. Most people note reduced hunger and cravings after the first few days. Other benefits reported include better sleep, more energy, better mood, weight loss and lowered inflammation. Those who stick with a Sugar Fast for an entire month sometimes decide to give up sugar for good.
For people who have addictive problems with sugar, the Sugar Fast may bring on withdrawal headaches, fatigue and irritability. But these will be temporary.
There is some disagreement in the scientific community as to whether sugar is addictive or can cause dependence; however, it does include the classic hallmarks including bingeing, sensitization, tolerance and withdrawal. This is supported in a 2008 study published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews called “Evidence for Sugar Addiction.”
Sugar is in many foods. It’s added to make them more palatable and to encourage people to eat more. Sugar comes in many forms with a variety of names, some intended to disguise the truth. Ingredients may list glucose, honey, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, sucrose, brown sugar or corn sweetener—all sugar!
For those who want more information, look up the January 13, 2020, NPR segment on Here and Now entitled “Addicted to Sugar? This Doctor Says It’s the New Tobacco.” It is Robin Young interviewing Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatric endocrinology at UC San Francisco. Lustig says, “Sugar consumption can trigger a number of chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer—even leading some teenage soda drinkers to need liver transplants.”
In addition to weight loss, there are other great reasons to try a sugar fast.
Dr. Dan Gleason is the owner of The Gleason Center located at 19084 North Fruitport Road in Spring Lake. For more info: go to TheGleasonCenter.com or call 616-846-5410.