We’re up to week fifteen of our ongoing series about refined sugar & me in 2017! This week I lost another pound, bringing that total to 12 pounds so far this year. 🙂
My go-to snack this week has been plain Greek yogurt, either by itself or with fruit — strawberries, cantaloupe, and blackberries, and I’m waiting for blueberries to go on sale again. This is another piece of evidence supporting the hypothesis that taste preferences change once you’re not used to eating added sugar in everything, because before this year I was never a huge fan of Greek yogurt (and sweetened it with honey when I did eat it; fruit alone wouldn’t have done it!). Now, I can’t get enough of it.
This big tub from ALDI is my (affordable) favorite, and although I’m not measuring, I think I’m doing about four oz at a time of yogurt in these little bowls since one tub lasts me a while.
A little light reading for you…
This week’s “light” reading material is The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes. I will freely admit that after the first third or so of this book I started skimming, because it is dense. This is partially, however, because it is well-researched — Taubes delves deep into the history of sugar in the U.S., tackling everything from the sugar industry’s role in defining the public discourse about sugar to the tangled relationship between sugar, obesity, and diabetes.
If you don’t want to wade through this entire book, here are a few articles and reviews that sum up Taubes’ position on sugar pretty well:
- Is Sugar Toxic?
- The Sugar Wars
- This Man Knows Why America is Fat
- If Sugar is Harmless, Prove It
- Is Sugar the World’s Most Popular Drug?
Taubes himself describes the evidence against sugar as “suggestive” and “compelling” rather than definitive — partially because the effects he talks about are so long term and partially because it’s hard to disentangle increased sugar consumption from the other diet and lifestyle changes that tend to go along with it. (He’s also a low carb Atkins-ish diet fan, which I’m… not.)
But two of the takeaways here that jibe with my own experiences on this year’s experiment in avoiding refined sugar are:
A calorie is not a calorie
Taub discusses the evolution of the idea that calories are basically equivalent whether they come from broccoli or eggs or sugar or chicken, and that weight loss, for instance, can be reduced to a simple formula of calories in vs. calories out. I told you guys back in February that I’d picked up a Fitbit and was playing with the calorie tracker. That was fun for a while, but I’ve stopped — partially because it’s a big pain, lol, and partially because it seems too simplistic. After doing it for about a month, the total calories consumed and expended didn’t seem to have anything to do with whether I was losing weight; but the types of calories I consumed and expended did.
It seems pretty straightforward that I’m better off eating a medium red delicious apple (about 16g of naturally occurring sugar and 80 calories) than eating four teaspoons of white sugar (about 16g of refined sugar and 64 calories). Even though I’m technically consuming more calories and the same amount of sugar in the apple, I’m also getting vitamins and fiber and other nutrients — and an apple will keep me full and fueled for a while in a way that plain sugar will not. (It also won’t give me a headache the way that four tsp of straight sugar would!)
Reducing your intake of refined sugar inherently reduces your intake of processed foods
Again, how do you separate the benefits of eating less refined sugar from the benefits of eating more “real foods” as opposed to the processed foods that tend to contain added sugars? In the end, I suppose it doesn’t matter, and I’m looking at the other things I’m incidentally giving up by eating fewer processed foods as an added benefit.
So, that’s me this week…
How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan so far — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?
Earlier installments in this series
Here are a few highlights:
- Week One: The Experiment Begins
- Week Three: By Any Other Name (+ a printable list of common names for sugar on ingredient lists)
- Week Twelve: But What About the Children?
- Week Fourteen: Hey! I don’t want dessert!
And you can catch up on the whole Refined Sugar and Me series here.