Sugar: tasty, tasty poison

This video (h/t Diet Doctor blog) makes a very compelling case that we’ve been misled about the roots of the obesity epidemic:

Sugar and processed carbohydrates are the culprits. Demonizing dietary fat turns out to have been a mistake, though the conventional wisdom doesn’t seem to be catching up with the science quite yet.

I know, I know. Sugar tastes good. But, it has no redeeming qualities otherwise. It’s poison…tasty, tasty poison.

Up until just over four years ago I didn’t give much thought to cutting back on sugar. I drank Cokes and sweet tea and enjoyed the heck out of desserts. Vending machines were my friends.

Then, I changed my diet completely, drastically cutting back on processed foods and carbs and making sugar a rare treat. I switched to unsweetened tea gradually, going from half sweet to just a splash of sweet to all unsweetened. And I got used to it. I completely dropped soft drinks. I quit making dessert a regular expectation. I discovered the delight of super dark chocolate, which is comparatively low in sugar. A little taste of 85 percent dark chocolate became a sensory pleasure each night and satisfied my sweet tooth.

And I lost 20 pounds within a few months of making these changes and have kept the weight off for more than four years, all while actually increasing my consumption of saturated fat. Eggs for breakfast almost every morning. Plenty of butter. Coconut oil as my cooking oil of choice. Bacon. And more bacon…

Sounds delicious, but dangerous, right? At least it does according to conventional wisdom. But I just had my annual physical last week, and my lipid profile put me in the “below average risk” for heart disease. My doctor told me to keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

I’m worried that I’ve already missed the boat with my kids, though. Their sugar love is strong, and they can’t imagine happiness without it. Maybe we can focus on one area at a time, like eliminating sugary drinks for them first before moving on to the harder stuff, like candy and cookies.

It’s worth making the effort to cut the sugar you consume. The obvious sugar is, well, obvious. It’s the sneaky stuff, like the added sugar the food industry puts in almost every food-like substance that comes in a box or jar or can, that is just unfair. I avoid products that have health claims, like “Low Fat”, on the label. It’s likely that sugar was added to make up for how bad it tastes once they removed the fat. Skip that stuff and just get real food.

You’ll miss sugar at first, but your health will be a lot sweeter without it.

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