Two weeks without sugar, and it will be many months before I eat processed foods again. When we look at the sugar content of processed foods, the realisation is: Almost every processed food has added sugar. And this is the area I’ll be considering in this article. Of course there is sugar to be found in fruit and other foods. An astute reader will correctly say all refined sugars are plant-derived and therefore safe.
Safe to eat and non-toxic is correct. Difficulties arise with excess sugar, and when almost ninety per cent of processed products contain sugar, the problem is accumulative. This accumulation is the trigger to insulin production, and insulin is directly related to fat storage. Think of the process this way: If you eat refined sugar, the body uses this sugar first and stores the excess as fat, and it does this very fast.
When we eat complex sugars, the body releases the sugar slowly, and less insulin is needed. The body does not need to store the excess as fat and burns it for our energy source. I do not eat food containing sugar for my breakfast. The food enters the stomach, and the body thinks: “Well that’s all fine and dandy, no sugar! I’ll have to burn some excess fat while I’m converting this complex carbohydrate in usable fuel.” And this is how fasting diets work! The bonus is the body does not produce an excess of insulin.
The body produces insulin to help its cells absorb converted to sugar. If the sugar is in simple carbohydrate form, more insulin is produced. Eventually, consistently high volumes of blood insulin leads to resistance to insulin. It is ultimately leading to diabetes and its numerous issues.
These carbohydrates are composed of sugars (such as fructose and glucose). Which have simple chemical structures consisting of only one sugar (monosaccharides) – or two sugars (disaccharides). Simple carbohydrates are easily and quickly utilised for energy by the body. Because of their simple chemical structure, simple carbs often lead to a faster rise in blood sugar and therefore, insulin secretion from the pancreas – which can have adverse health effects.
Simple Carb Examples:
Sugary drinks: Coca-cola, flavoured water, etc. Sugary drinks are the unhealthiest things you can put into your body.
Fruit juices: Unfortunately, fruit juices may have similar metabolic effects as sugar-sweetened beverages.
White bread: These are refined carbohydrates that are low in essential nutrients and bad for metabolic health. This applies to most commercially available bread.
Pastries and cakes: These tend to be very high in sugar and refined wheat.
Ice cream: Most types of ice cream are high in sugar, although there are exceptions.
Sweets and chocolates: If you’re going to eat chocolate, choose quality dark chocolate.
French fries and potato chips
Whole potatoes are healthy, but french fries and potato chips are not.
When you eat or drink simple carbohydrate, the sugar is immediately accessible. Two things happen: One the pancreas pumps out insulin, and secondly the body thinks: ‘Hey! There’s a load of easy sugar here. I’ll burn this and store the excess to fat’ and to use the easy sugar, the body demands extra insulin to open the cells receptors. You see without the insulin; the cells cannot use the sugar. When diabetes sets in, the body becomes resistant to insulin. So it pumps more out, and eventually, the pancreas gives up! Bang you have type one diabetes: for life.
These carbohydrates have more complex chemical structures: with three or more sugars linked together (known as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides). Many complex carbohydrate foods contain fibre, vitamins and minerals, and they take longer to digest – which means they have less of an immediate impact on blood sugar. But other so-called complex carbohydrate foods such as white bread and white potatoes contain mostly starch but little fibre or other beneficial nutrients.
Complex Carb Examples:
Vegetables: All of them. It is best to eat a variety of vegetables every day.
Whole fruits: Apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.
Legumes: Lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
Seeds: Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.
Whole grains: Choose grains that are truly whole, as in pure oats, quinoa, brown rice
Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes.
When eating complex carbs, the food enforces slow digestion times. Therefore the sugar produced is released slowly. Two things happen. One there is less insulin produced, and secondly, the body thinks: ‘Hey! There is no easy sugar in this: I’ll use some stored fat’.
Dividing carbohydrates into simple and complex, however, does not account for the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar and chronic diseases. To explain how different kinds of carbohydrate-rich foods directly affect blood sugar, the glycemic index was developed and is considered a better way of categorising carbohydrates, especially starchy foods.
Foods with a low glycemic index, like whole oats, are digested more slowly, prompting a more gradual rise in blood sugar and less production of insulin. From the various books and internet research made, the conclusion is: Following 5:2 for between three and six months pre-diabetic status can be expected to be eliminated. If the diet is worked with for two to three years, the body will return to its natural weight. More importantly, the weight will be stable. And there are many other advantages which I’ll explore in future articles.
Of course, there will be people who say: “Well, I’d sooner eat what I like and die young!” I have said this myself! However, I only needed to experience two toxic blood sessions to reverse this opinion: permanently. Die that way if you like, this body is not going to die after years of illness, possible amputations and insulin dependence. From my perspective, considering the possibilities is the best way to follow the objective.
“Do you want to live like a fifty-year-old at eighty or be an eighty year old at fifty?’ The choice is for all of us to make. And it is not a case of going out for a walk and mediating. One has to work hard to understand the reasons why you are making life changes. And if you think this statement is idiotic, let’s have a look-see at the well respected BMI scales now used for reference: They calculate my body weight and health (body age) at seventy-five years! Incidentally, there is speculation that insurance companies will eventually use body age, not date age, for life insurance premiums in the future.
Being without processed sugars is difficult if you are lazy. Easy if there is a reason to make the changes and choose to live a long and healthy life. I’ll be writing about this in the next article. One the last three weeks the only product eaten from a tin has been tomato and kidney beans. In future, the only processed food used will be the tinned tomato.
What about the consumption of chocolate, ice cream, sweets etc.? My answer is zero! And I know most of you will baulk at this idea. Fair enough, I understand your resistance to this limitation. On the 5:2 diet, you can eat processed food and sweets within reason for five days. Sugar-free is my choice and made for the reason already stated, which is to lower the insulin levels and encourage lowering visceral fat.
How do I feel? The answer is very well, indeed. My sleep is around nine hours each night. The critical realisation is when walking. Nine weeks ago, the five thousand steps into town and back were a real struggle, and the eight flights of stairs up to the market were a breathless nightmare. Today, the walk is a breeze, and I ran up the flight this week. Agreed the speedy assent left me breathless, nine weeks ago it would have floored me!
It is a long post and will not appeal to everyone. Fact is everything here on LEN is about wellbeing, and weight excess is one of the most life-threatening problems. These articles are written to be easy to understand. I do not expect everyone to try the 5:2 or zero sugar diet. Those who read the books, and give the lifestyle a fair chance will benefit from the trial. Some people may end up like me! Very interested in the whole concept and test it for a very long period. In the end, the test becomes a way of life. A lifestyle change and the entire world opens to new dimensions.
Readers should not doubt my intention and objectives. The weight target is eighty-five kilos to be attained in a two-year window. And writing about weight and goals what was the weight today?
Time taken so far:
5:2 diet started 2nd April – Todays date 23 May – 51 days or one month three weeks.
Todays weight is one-hundred and twenty-two kilos or nineteen stones and four pounds in old money. So from the beginning of the lifestyle change, I have lost thirteen point five kilos. Or two stones. A little too fast but a reasonable achievement.
Start weight: 135.5
Todays weight: 122.00
Target: 85 Kilos, only 37 likes to go (sorry lose)!
See You Soon