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Inspired by Gary Taubes (Good Calories Bad Calories; Why We Get Fat; and The Case Against Sugar; his numerous podcast and online videos, op eds in the NYT, etc), as well as nonstop reading on the endocrine system and a series I first saw advertised on this site, called "Betrayal" about autoimmunity, I have been sugar-free going on five days now (really six, since I fasted on Saturday, but I don't really count that). What does that mean? It means things like, no chai latte, basically no milk, nothing I would eat for that "sweet taste" including yogurt, no jelly/jam, not even any potato chops or salsa chips, I've had a total of about 1.5 GF biscuits. What it has amounted to is practically no snacking between meals. I have carried walnut pieces mixed in with sugar-free carob nibs to work and that's been my only between meal snack. What it further has amounted to is cutting down on the CRAVINGS and this is huge. It's amazing how sugar drives the hunger for EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD, of course including sugar, but just everything else, until our minds can think of nothing but meals/snacks/flavors/cravings - we are driven driven driven for that ultimate...whatever. Nonstop thinking/talking/whining/reading about food.

Is it dull? Well, yeah, a little bit I must say.

The experiment technically ends on Sunday morning. If I feel by then that it has really helped (with a modicum of weight loss, and that's what it's been for me so far and I expect it to continue, slow and steadily; less bloating - this is the HUGE thing), then I will once again give up sugar for Lent.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Plumbago

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I'm glad you posted this. It's good to read accounts of others taking charge of their diet and it's a bit of an inspiration too.

I gave / vastly reduced sugar in my diet maybe 10 years ago, before I learned of my gluten problem. I'd read a book called potatoes not Prozac and followed the diet plan there. It was a revelation, I had more energy, the cravings did diminish and as long as I had enough protein I wasn't hungry between meals etc. It helped with my mood, but it wasn't until I removed gluten that I saw a serious change there. 

Now I eat way too much sugar again. The gluten free snacks are my reward for the price of the Diet... I get proper cravings, think it's even possibly wrapped up with gluten intolerance just as alcohol  may be. There's some interesting things out there about that. Anyway, whatever the truth of it I know I'm going to have to get much tougher as I don't feel great. So I may be following your lead in a little while. I am hopeful I can feel better than I do now.

Good  luck and please tell us the verdict on Sunday.

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Gary Taubes books have inspired us as well.  We cut the carbs as well as the sugar.  AMAZING  health benefits!  My husband is off his prescription meds!  He's 72 and in the best shape of his life!  When you feel so much better, it's not hard to resist at all!  WE are in charge of our health...education goes a long way!
 

Debbie

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This is inspiring! You are right about this obsession with food. I used to 'eat to live' as a child. I was really quite disinterested in food apart from cakes and chocolate, but as adults were controlling my consumption of that I was as thin as a rake. Now I can eat what I want (so long as it is gluten free) and although I'm still technically within my BMI my clothes are a bit on the tight size, and diets always start tomorrow!  Maybe if curbed all the sugar treats it might mean I can go back to my old slim self.  I believe a UK radio presenter has just lost haf a stone in a week just by cutting out sugar so it just goes to show. 

Thank you so much for sharing! If I do manage to cut back on my sugar and lose some weight I shall post an update!

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i cut way back on sugar years ago, when I started having leg cramps on waking.  I think reducing sugar does help reduce or eliminate food cravings, especially if you eat fewer carbs.  I use Pyure sugar free sweetner in my tea.  I get sugar-free jams or jelly sometimes.  I even made sugar free peanut butter fudge a few times,  There are lots of sugar free sweetners in the grocery stores now.  And sugar free foods products too.  So going sugar free doesn't have to mean you give up all sweet things, you can eat sugar free sweetened things instead.

I think cutting down on carbs is very helpful also.

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The problem with artificial sweeteners is that they all affect digestion.  If you google them, the chemicals they are made from are mostly cancer causing.  Many people are sensitive to them as well.  With unexplained health problems, they are best avoided!  The artificial sweeteners also make you crave sweets.

Debbie

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I been off of real sugars for awhile, I just do not digest them well, 1-2 dates, 1/2 oz of fruit seems fine or 1-2 tbsp of carbs like beans, more then this and I bloat, get painful gas, and feel lazy, I will admit that sweet tooth craving issues are extreme with me but I have other issues with internal bleeding etc that lead to cravings. I turned to xylitol, stevia, and monk fruit. Erythritol seems to bug me so I avoid it and stick to the more natural herb and plant based ones sweeteners, I also react bad to sorbitol, asfulame, and aspartame, Hate to say I am still addicted the sweet taste but I eat mostly nuts, egg whites, whole punch of veggies, and vegan protein powders, I have issues with digesting meats -_- they either come back up or come out the back not broken down. Crab, and salmon in small mounts are tolerable.

Found making SF jams with extracts and stevia/xylitol and using helps with cravings, along with using stevia in a few dishes. Pure stevia powder really comes out in tomato dishes, >.> I find a sweet and spicy sauce base withe these helps curb cravings. And 2 companys make a pure stevia based sweetener with very little "Crap" in it for adding to stuff. NuNaturals has a simple syrup and a cocoa syrup I use in beverages and toppings and the powdered pure stevia they have is great in cooking. Another company makes stevia drops that taste like coke, rootbeer, I find adding to mineral water makes for a soda craving buster without all the crud. Zetiva also makes a alternative but I find it way to carbonated and tend to fall back on my own blends. >.> I recently just started adding a few drops of a RUM bakery Emulsion to them, I used to drink a shot of rum in a glass of root beer every evening for a few years back in my college days. Now that I Can not have liquor due to internal bleeding, I find this to be very calming alternative, with a very nostalgic cozy feeling.

OH and if you can find a actual stevia plant.....they are amazing boiling the leaves makes sweet water, grinding them up into things,you get the sweet without the bitter. And sucking on them is a bit like a candy.

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Maltilol is is one sweeter I avoid.  It does cause GI symptoms for me.  Pyure is stevia so it's a natural sweetner, not artificial.  I agree, some of the artificial sweetners are not so great.

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1 hour ago, deb_rn said:

The problem with artificial sweeteners is that they all affect digestion.  If you google them, the chemicals they are made from are mostly cancer causing.  Many people are sensitive to them as well.  With unexplained health problems, they are best avoided!  The artificial sweeteners also make you crave sweets.

Debbie

I can confirm that any sweeteners will increase my cravings (your mileage may vary).  As a diabetic, I just avoid all sweeteners.  If my meter is happy, I can consume it.    If I do cheat, I prefer natural sources.  

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I find that sweetners increase my cravings too.  It's odd. And sometimes I find certain sweetners (not the natural ones I suspect) leave a horrid aftertaste for up to 24 hours. I can't quite figure out why - sometimes it'll happen, other times not, but that's one reason I'm not so keen on them anymore.

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Hi all,

for a long time I was able to stay away from sugar but once I started eating gf chocolate, it has been hard to stop. I am trying to cut all sweets from my diet again. I do not use regular sugar or sweeteners. I prefer using honey because I feel it is a healthier and safer option (worried about contamination in factories).

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10 hours ago, GFinDC said:

So going sugar free doesn't have to mean you give up all sweet things, you can eat sugar free sweetened things instead.

I would love to see some of those sugar free recipes, so please share. As for the quote above, I thought it was a good idea to cut down too. But I'll just leave you with some thoughts from Taubes who observes that the docs never say to cut down on smoking  do they? Smile. No, they say to give it up altogether. He says cigarettes are to lung cancer as sugar is to diabetes (and beyond). Just thought I'd pass that along....

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12 hours ago, deb_rn said:

Gary Taubes books have inspired us as well.  We cut the carbs as well as the sugar.  AMAZING  health benefits!  My husband is off his prescription meds!  He's 72 and in the best shape of his life!  When you feel so much better, it's not hard to resist at all!  WE are in charge of our health...education goes a long way!
 

Debbie

Update--

I went 7-8 days sugar free, and it was fine. I suspect there was a reason I saw only a modest weight loss (0.5 lb) but I’ll spare the gents the TMI details. As for the benefits I’ve already spelled out those in the OP, above, and I'll add one long-term one - now that I am back to allowing myself to eat whatever I want, I notice that I don’t rush right out and buy sweet things. Well, I did, but I’m not really eating them (desserts are mainly what I'm talking about). But I’m back on the chai lattes in the a.m. and some honey on the biscuits. One thing that is very interesting is that I’m also back to having PVCs, more commonly known as heart palpitations. I had zero when I was off sugar. Zero. This is shaping up to be as huge news as going gluten free, at least to me. I said that above I was gonna spare TMI, but sorry, here goes, so stop reading now! I also had no loose stools on no sugar (and so far, they haven’t returned yet).

That your husband is not on any medications at 72 should be shouted from the rooftops of every doctor’s office neighbor and public health clinics'. What are we doing by not getting this front and center? What idiots we are!

As Gary Taubes says: cigarettes are to lung cancer as sugar is to diabetes (and so much else too). (He says it’s not salt that leads to HTN but insulin!)

Next up, is Lent. That’s 68 days!! I will definitely be going sugar free again, in at least 1 week chunks if not more. I find it’s better to go long stretches without it, as opposed to every other day or something like that.

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5 hours ago, LookingforAnswers15 said:

Hi all,

for a long time I was able to stay away from sugar but once I started eating gluten-free chocolate, it has been hard to stop. I am trying to cut all sweets from my diet again. I do not use regular sugar or sweeteners. I prefer using honey because I feel it is a healthier and safer option (worried about contamination in factories).

In terms of inflammation, weight gain, possibility of insulin resistance, I don't think honey is any different than plain old sugar or HFCS.

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My understanding of honey is the same.  It's all insulin provoking.  Oddly, even thinking about food starts the flow of insulin, which is a fat storage hormone!  That is why the artificial sweeteners don't do diabetics as much good as you would think.  The sensation of sweet starts the production of insulin.  Insulin grabs sugar from the blood stream and immediately stores it as fat.  Sugar/Carb is not easily used as fuel straight from the blood stream.  Whole wheat raises blood sugar more than straight, white sugar does!  So have the cake, it's not as bad as the whole wheat bread, ounce for ounce!!  Oh, such interesting things I have found in my research recently.  There are a lot of doctors talking and writing about these things now.  You just have to read it to understand.  If you don't understand all of the scientific jargon, it's ok.  You get the general idea of what happens after you eat something.  I  AM  shouting my husband's good health to everyone that will listen.  It is just like I've read about!  Immediate improvement just from eliminating the grains/carbs.  Good stuff!

Debbie

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12 hours ago, plumbago said:

I would love to see some of those sugar free recipes, so please share. As for the quote above, I thought it was a good idea to cut down too. But I'll just leave you with some thoughts from Taubes who observes that the docs never say to cut down on smoking  do they? Smile. No, they say to give it up altogether. He says cigarettes are to lung cancer as sugar is to diabetes (and beyond). Just thought I'd pass that along....

There is a video near the bottom of this page that shows how to make the fudge.  It's just peanut butter, coconut oil and sweetner (stevia).  Heat and stir then refrigerate.

http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/3-ingredient-sugar-free-peanut-butter-fudge/

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