“The foods you are eating are slowly killing you, making you fat and poisoning you.” We have all heard and read this claim in advertisements, on potions, lotions, powders, packaging, television, radio and on the internet. These claims are usually attached to a sales pitch for “low sugar” and “sugar free.” It begs the question, is this accurate?
If you ask the average person what they think about sugar, most answers are:
- Sugar makes you fat
- Sugar is unhealthy
- Sugar will give you diseases
- Sugar will make you feel like crap
Is sugar really as dreadful as everyone seems to be making it out to be these days? Is sugar really killing you? The answer is no. These are the 4 big lies that carb-haters tell you.
The truth is anything in excess can be unhealthy and that includes sugar. If a person eats too many calories from sugar it will cause weight gain that can lead to many health problems. The same goes for any of the macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins). If a person eats too many calories from protein it can cause other negative health ramifications as well as weight gain.
Many purists will tell you that in order to lose weight you need to get rid of almost all the sugar from your diet. This is quite an unhealthy and unrealistic view. You could eat 43% of your calories from table sugar and still lose just as much fat as someone who only consumed 4% of their calories from sugar.(1) One of the reasons we don’t encourage eating this amount of sugar is that you’re missing out on vital micronutrients through real food. That being said, you don’t have to get rid of every food that has sugar in it. There are many whole food sources that are packed with micronutrients that contain sugar and are absolutely vital.
Those in the sugar-free crowd report a boost in their sense of well being as they eliminate sugar from their diets. And many fail to follow up with those same people and see how they feel as time marches on.
A sudden drop in sugar intake will trigger an increase of the hormones adrenaline (feeling good in times of crisis) and cortisol (the stress hormone associated with weight gain). The adrenaline spike may feel good but it is a short ride. When you cut that much sugar out of your diet at once the levels of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol are raised (the same hormones released during the “flight-or-fight” response). This creates a sense of well-being but also causes many other negative health ramifications. The rise in adrenaline initially provides that good feeling but it is short-lived. Eventually you will start to feel tired, run-down, stressed out and your cravings for sweets will increase. And after your willpower is spent resisting sugar from all directions, you’ll be far more likely to give in eventually and binge. And that binging, if allowed to persist it could lead to a damaged metabolism, weakened immune system, accelerated aging and even eating disorders.
That depends on the person. I know nobody wants to hear this answer. We all wish there was a magical one-size fits all formula, but hear me out. If the person is getting the majority of the sugars in their diet from REAL FOOD that person probably doesn’t need to worry about their sugars as long as they are fitting them into a healthy macronutrient spread. If someone is eating the majority of their sugars from processed foods such as candy, and soda, chances are they aren’t going to be abiding by a healthy macronutrient spread in the first place. They will probably end up deficient in many micronutrients and may experience weight gain.
Does that mean that you can’t make a candy bar, a piece of cake or even a soda fit into your macronutrient plan? Absolutely not! Balance and moderation is the key. You can absolutely fit the foods you enjoy into a healthy lifestyle. The sooner people realize that food isn’t all good or bad, black or white, legal or illegal, the sooner they will be on their way to experiencing the ART of Living.
So before you allow anyone to shame you for eating a piece of fruit or even for eating a reasonably sized piece of cake on occasion, simply remember your macronutrient plan.
Tell people it fits into your healthy lifestyle because it fits your macros and watch their amazement as their eyes glaze over. If you are looking for a flexible starting point with nutrition or are ready to embark on a path of personal transformation, check out our coaching programs. And remember, the carb-haters are gonna hate no matter what. It could be their low blood sugar, or poor body image. Don’t let that stop you from eating REAL FOOD, and living well.