Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to believe that refined sugars are one of the worst things we can put into our bodies. When you investigate the nutritional value of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners, you find that it’s zero, if not negative. These sweeteners are used to enhance food flavor and are highly addictive. They also create resistance to hunger suppressing hormones in the body resulting in the never-ending hunger cycles and insatiable pantry raids almost all of us have experienced. Food companies understand the flavor enhancement and addictive nature of the substance and employ food chemists to optimize the level of added sugars. Their job is to determine the right amount of sweetener to add that enhances flavor but doesn’t make it too sweet for our tastes. If you don’t believe it, just look at the amount of sugar per serving in something as benign as tomato sauce. Then start looking at nearly every processed or packaged food. If you’re eating it from a box or a bag, there’s a very high probability that some sweetener has been added to it.
With this in mind, about 18 months ago I decided it was to take a stand against sugar. I didn’t eliminate all sugar, but I significantly cut back on how much sugar I consumed on a daily basis. I cut out my morning packaged orange juice routine, starting making homemade tomato sauce (which tastes way better than what you get out of a jar), and became aware of the sugar content of everything I was eating. When you start reading labels, you’re floored by how many things have sugar in them. Even things you would never suspect contain sugar, such as a box of whole grain crackers, have some type of sweetener added.
What inspired me to run this experiment? I wanted to see if it would have any affect on my weight. It’s not that I was overweight, but I felt like I could afford to lose 5-10 pounds to get to a more optimal weight for my body type. I also wanted to see how it would affect my blood test results. Luckily, I decided to start having blood tests done annually when I turned 40, so I had six years of results to compare against.
Here are the results from 18 months of limited sugar, and what’s next.