We Can Blame Sugar All We Like – But We're Only Creating More Problems For Ourselves

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  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    bisky wrote: »
    Not every person has a sugar problem or addiction or will end up Type 2 Diabetis. Does not mean sugar is not addicting. Not everyone has an alcohol or drug problem. Does not mean is does not exist. Just because you are okay with sugar and it is not a factor or problem in your diet does not mean that is true for others. I have a very thin athletic friend who lives on pasta, carbs and sugar. She has a metabolism that runs on carbs. I do not. I have had glucose tolerance tests so I know what sugar (glucose) does to my blood sugar and how I could be borderline pre diabetes if I don't exercise or watch what I eat.

    You are conflating two separate things. Of course insulin resistance is a real condition, and it may make it harder to keep to a calorie deficit on a higher carb diet, as the body won't respond as normal to high blood sugar (which in a healthy person tends to mean that one feels satisfied after eating) but will continue to think she is hungry. That's something to watch for and, of course, if one is IR (or T2D) one will need to eat in a balanced way that prevents spikes in blood sugar. That's not "addiction," though.

    The best research talks about "addiction" as (if the proper term, which I don't think it is) being related to eating (a behavior), not "food" (which of course we all need to live) or any particular foods. Others argue that the response to highly palatable foods in particular may be susceptible to addictive-like qualities (although significantly the advice even proponents of this idea give is not that similar to the advise normally given to people who struggle with other addictions, like alcohol, and as I explained on the other thread I have an issue with using the term when unlike alcoholic and drug addicts food only very rarely becomes the center of someone's life causing them to break relationships and displacing the things they should care about, which is what I consider the tragedy of addiction--not all addicts are there, but I'd say they are on the road there--and why I think it's so wrong to use the term for loving cookies, even if you feel somewhat uncontrollable with them). Anyway, the point is that the brain response (which seems to me quite a normal response to food, as we need food to live so are evolved to have a strongly positive response to it) is not to "sugar" alone, but also fat and also palatable foods in general. It's misleading to claim this proves "sugar addiction."

    This aside (just because I think facts are important), I don't think the term "addiction" matters that much to how people struggling with sugar deal with their issues (as people seem to use the term to mean all kinds of things I wouldn't). What I do think matters is that to address the problem one can't just say "I can't deal with sugar." One has to realize that there are specific foods, circumstances, and habits that come into play and by better understanding what is going on when you overeat or eat in a way that feels out of control you can change it -- a much better plan than simply saying "if I eat sugar I can't avoid overeating" or "I can't help myself because I crave sugar so."
  • Sabine_Stroehm
    Sabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,270 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Decreasing added sugar (and increasing protein and fiber) certainly makes it easier for me to stay in a calorie deficit.

    Ditto. I'll keep limiting it. I know I'll never be lacking.

    To me this is simply what Hornby said, and of course not overeating added sugar (and looking at how much you are eating if you want to cut calories or improve your diet) is an extremely sensible thing to do. That's different from the claim that eating too much sugar is why people are fat. Sugar wasn't really a major part of how I overate most of the time I was overeating.

    I had missed his comment. Thanks for pointing me toward it.
  • brianpperkins
    brianpperkins Posts: 6,124 Member
    dubird wrote: »
    Ok, just to chime in. This is the only actual scientific report I've been able to find on sugar and possible addiction:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

    The conclusion (TL;DR version):
    "According to the evidence in rats, intermittent access to sugar and chow is capable of producing a “dependency”. This was operationally defined by tests for bingeing, withdrawal, craving and cross-sensitization to amphetamine and alcohol. The correspondence to some people with binge eating disorder or bulimia is striking, but whether or not it is a good idea to call this a “food addiction” in people is both a scientific and societal question that has yet to be answered. What this review demonstrates is that rats with intermittent access to food and a sugar solution can show both a constellation of behaviors and parallel brain changes that are characteristic of rats that voluntarily self-administer addictive drugs. In the aggregrate, this is evidence that sugar can be addictive."

    To me, that doesn't suggest the same kind of addiction that hard drugs or alcohol can create. I agree that there are people that crave sugar more than others, some of which is due to familiarity of it. And to be honest, I think it's wrong to suggest sugar is on the same level as hard drugs in terms of dependency or in the same realm of eating disorders, like anorexia.

    However, I'm not saying we shouldn't care about our sugar intake. That intake has increased DRAMATICALLY over the past 50 years or so, in part because of ready to eat meals. Adding sugar or salt is a cheap way of adding flavor, and so people who don't pay attention to that end up eating a LOT more than they think they do. And part of it is that people eat a lot more than they need to, period. What we consider a normal serving size has increased as well, to the point where dishes are bigger to cater to that. Just go to about any restaurant and see that in action! We as a society are eating more food in general, and even if you cut sugar out of that, people still eat more than they really should. I personally think the focus should be on cutting down our intake of food, period, not certain foods. I mean, I totally don't have the healthiest diet as suggested by the FDA or other authorities. I eat a ton of carbs and I'm totally on board with having a slice of cake or a few cookies when I want to. However I've learned to limit what I eat on high calorie/low nutrient foods, which means I do cut down on sweets just because if I get my calorie limit with that, I'm still hungry because it's a lot less food overall. And I'm still getting the nutrition my body needs, so why should I limit types of foods if I have no medical reason to do so?

    That study featured having the rats fast for 12 hours, then get sugar.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    To follow up on what dubird said, I really think the issue with increasing amounts of added sugar has more to do with (a) cultural changes, some driven by marketing; and (b) the fact that your prior diet influences the foods you like.

    Comparing the world I grew up in (1970s and 80s -- yes, highly processed food was already a thing) and now, I see some major differences. For example, culturally, we ate 3 balanced meals a day (yes, some ate sugary cereal for breakfast or skipped it, but for the most part). Protein was the center of our meals, we were told to eat our vegetables (or not have dessert). Desserts weren't every day or huge. We did not eat outside of meals other than perhaps a planned after-school snack for risk of spoiling our appetite. Soda (or koolaid when younger) was a rare treat, not something one guzzled all day. Fast food or pizza was an occasional special treat, not a common dinner. My parents went out to dinner occasionally (and we got TV dinners when they did), but not even weekly. And we played outside all the time, with lots of activity.

    Now, while I see lots of people in my social group raising their children more like we were raised, I think there are huge changes: people eat all day long, including children. Many (and especially children) also seem to drink sugary beverages all day long. There seems to be this attitude that if you don't have food (and drink, if only a bottled water) available always you are being deprived. (I don't blame BigFood for this, we are responsible for our own choices, period, but I do think they helped create the demand for it, and so now we eat all these snacks that had no purpose before.) We also seem to have lost any cultural controls over how much one eats, how indulgently one eats, or what meals should look like. Many people seem to think it's normal to eat fast food or other high cal options for every meal or to regularly replace a meal with sweets or simply to avoid eating meals and to snack all day (which is fine if one can do so while accounting for nutrition and calories -- but that takes work most not on MFP probably don't put in). Even for those of us not into fast food, eating at restaurants or ordering in is likely more common than it used to be (it is for me), and restaurant portions are larger than they used to be. And for many kids it takes a lot more effort by their parents for much outdoor or active play to be available (although that's neighborhood specific).

    Basically, we went from a species where food was costly and scarce to a situation where food was cheap and available but still required work (cooking) and was culturally regulated (traditions about eating) to a situation (in the US and increasingly in other countries too) where all need to put in any effort and all cultural regulations are gone.

    Of course we need to figure out how to control calories.

    This doesn't mean that we now are "addicted" to food.

    What I also see on MFP is that people tend to crave what they eat. If they grew up eating a diet made up largely of cheap, highly palatable, high cal and low nutrient foods, that seems to be what they crave. I suspect that if people broaden their palates and start eating a better (more nutrient rich) diet their tastes and cravings may follow along. So in that sense, absolutely, I'm all in favor of cutting down on added sugar if one is eating too much of it. But I don't think that someone has bad habits re food that means it's because the food is so powerful.
  • JQuinnLife
    JQuinnLife Posts: 102 Member
    Sugar is not addictive, it's delicious! How can it be harmful? /sic

    Carbs turn into glucose, sugar turns in glucose, so sugar and carbs are great for your body! /sic

    Carbs are the enemy, sugar are the footsoldiers.

    That Sugar Film: Where a guy eats "healthy" high carb, low-fat food and destroys his body... because of sugar.

    I can already hear the future... "That's just anti-sugar propaganda!"
  • peter56765
    peter56765 Posts: 352 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Protein was the center of our meals, we were told to eat our vegetables (or not have dessert).

    So you were told that if you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding?

  • blues4miles
    blues4miles Posts: 1,481 Member
    TacheNoir wrote: »
    That's a nice opinion piece, but actual research shows that highly refined white sugar does have addictive properties and affects the mammalian brain's reward system in much the same way as addictive drugs.
    I believe so do high-fat foods and, perhaps not too surprisingly, so does money. Interacting with money or things associated with money trigger the same areas in our brain the food, drugs and sex do.
    TRC64 wrote: »
    You can track the increase in obesity and increased sugar consumption from the 1960s, when women entered the workforce en masse.
    Darn wimminz in the workplace...

  • ki4eld
    ki4eld Posts: 1,215 Member
    auddii wrote: »
    CollieFit wrote: »
    Not wanting to enter into the sugar debate... but an interesting observation in the link was about other changes which have contributed to the rise in obesity, such as the increased size of crockery. I also noticed this when we bought new plates recently. In the UK certainly dinner plates seem to be getting bigger and bigger. You can now buy pasta dishes that are the size that serving bowls used to be. When dishing up people just kind of "fill the plate".

    I am trying to register for dishes for my wedding, and I'm having the hardest problem finding normal sized bowls. Cereal bowls are the size of pasta bowls these days. I ended up getting "tasting bowls" (or something like that) for anything close to a normal serving size of most anything.

    We started buying individual dinnerware pieces and just don't buy the "dinner" plates. They're enormous. We eat dinner off the lunch plates and I often eat from what most would consider a saucer. A serving of oatmeal fits into a coffee mug quite well and gives me a handle for my klutzy days, which is pretty much every day.
  • stevencloser
    stevencloser Posts: 8,917 Member
    Nage3000 wrote: »
    Sugar is not addictive, it's delicious! How can it be harmful? /sic

    Carbs turn into glucose, sugar turns in glucose, so sugar and carbs are great for your body! /sic

    Carbs are the enemy, sugar are the footsoldiers.

    That Sugar Film: Where a guy eats "healthy" high carb, low-fat food and destroys his body... because of sugar.

    I can already hear the future... "That's just anti-sugar propaganda!"

    Do you have any actual science instead of something I wouldn't want to call documentary with a gun at my head because it's a disgrace to the name?
  • robertw486
    robertw486 Posts: 2,342 Member
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    bisky wrote: »
    Agree:
    The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee just released new recommendations to limit added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories. Right now, Americans are eating more sugar than ever before — on average, about 160 pounds a year.

    Everything I've seen has said added sugar consumption is down some. Still too high, but at about 14% of calories (vs. the 10% or less recommended--although one can certainly argue that lower would be better). Even this stat is a little misleading, as apparently about 49% of this is from soda (the lion's share) plus other sweetened drinks. While those who consume sweetened drinks tend to get lots and lots of calories (and sugar) from them, I don't believe they are the majority. Even at my fattest I never consumed sweetened drinks (or crazy amounts of sugar).

    Does your number include non-added sugar (like from fruits and veg)?

    And as someone who has eaten a variety of foods with sugar, from carrots to apples to ice cream, the notion that it's similar to cocaine or super addictive in itself (would you even want to eat plain sugar? ugh) or dangerous in itself simply doesn't pass the red face test. Having a terrible diet and being overweight, yes, both can be quite bad for your health. I'd include drinking tons of calories from soda as "having a terrible diet," sure.

    Just curious if anyone ever engages in a thoughtful discussion with you when you pose such logical questions about such an impassioned topic? It certainly doesn't seem so, from the many threads on this topic where I've seen you raise these valid points, but if it ever does happen, can you tag me into the thread? I'd love to see a serious discussion on this that didn't just include a bunch of references to different articles (on both sides).

    @WinoGelato

    I think there are usually people who attempt reasoned discussion, but the extremes of one side or the other tend to drown them out. I'd add you to that list as well as second the comment below that @lemurcat12 is often one of the more reasoned, trying to find middle ground through real discussion, opinions, and considering all data rather than taking the extreme view of discarding what suits the "side" a person is on.
    kshama2001 wrote: »

    @lemurcat12 is one of my favorite posters and I like to think I thoughtfully engage her. She's given me some great book recommendations, like "Salt, Sugar, Fat" and "Mindless Eating." Although we have different takeaways from "Salt, Sugar, Fat" I've enjoyed discussing it with her. We seem to share the same food values, so I find it funny (in the mildly amusing sense of the word) when we take different positions on issues.[/quote]

    I think there are also a number of others in this thread trying to have reasoned discussion as well. Some are always more reasoned and tend to discuss without bias on many subjects IMO, even if I don't always agree with what they say. It seems like at some point these discussions end up in people taking "sides" to one extreme or the other, and then it degrades from there. The people not screaming extremes often just get buried in the mess.

    Often the same types of arguments about how to define things and other semantics play a part in the discussion IMO. Splitting hairs often only makes sense to me when it changes a point of discussion in a big way, or for clarity. Beyond that the "right and wrong" hair splitting often serves no purpose.



    My personal tl/dr version on the matter of sugar.

    I don't think it is either the devil or the greatest carb ever. I don't care if the professional community calls is addictive or not, nor do I really care if food is considered addictive or not. I don't care how any individual labels it or chooses not to. I don't think sugar (or fats combined with sugar) are needed for mental health.

    But that said, I think more people struggle with added sugars and processed sugar/fatty food than they do with sugars and fats in more natural forms. I don't notice many posts about "help, I'm addicted to chicken breast!", or "I can't quit eating fatty hams!", but I see threads on issues cutting (mostly added) sugars over and over, and over again.

    For me personally, I view it in a similar way to what some have stated here. I fit in delicious treats (often sugar and fat heavy) when I want or can within overall balance. But I don't binge on those things, and never felt out of control with them. I can understand that for others there lack of control with the issue makes it more of a trigger type food for them, so they choose to limit it. And at the end of the day, even when I want to indulge, I find that finding foods that combine nutrients is easier to do than to eat foods high in certain things and devoid of other nutrients. It just makes it easier to balance the overall diet that way. And eating that way usually means having less sugar. Not that I think it is evil, just that I won't seek out such a simple carb very often.



    And my guess is that despite some people desiring reasonable discussion, this thread will go the way of most sugar threads and end up being removed. Which is a shame, because reasoned discussions might shred a lot more light on this and many other topics.
  • snikkins
    snikkins Posts: 1,282 Member
    peter56765 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Protein was the center of our meals, we were told to eat our vegetables (or not have dessert).

    So you were told that if you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding?

    How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat? ;)

    Clearly not @lemurcat12, but couldn't let that one go!
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    peter56765 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    Protein was the center of our meals, we were told to eat our vegetables (or not have dessert).

    So you were told that if you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding?

    Heh. Right era!
  • Sued0nim
    Sued0nim Posts: 17,456 Member
    Nage3000 wrote: »
    Sugar is not addictive, it's delicious! How can it be harmful? /sic

    Carbs turn into glucose, sugar turns in glucose, so sugar and carbs are great for your body! /sic

    Carbs are the enemy, sugar are the footsoldiers.

    That Sugar Film: Where a guy eats "healthy" high carb, low-fat food and destroys his body... because of sugar.

    I can already hear the future... "That's just anti-sugar propaganda!"

    7uhjcuam246x.jpeg
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,456 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    bisky wrote: »
    Agree:
    The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee just released new recommendations to limit added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories. Right now, Americans are eating more sugar than ever before — on average, about 160 pounds a year.

    Everything I've seen has said added sugar consumption is down some. Still too high, but at about 14% of calories (vs. the 10% or less recommended--although one can certainly argue that lower would be better). Even this stat is a little misleading, as apparently about 49% of this is from soda (the lion's share) plus other sweetened drinks. While those who consume sweetened drinks tend to get lots and lots of calories (and sugar) from them, I don't believe they are the majority. Even at my fattest I never consumed sweetened drinks (or crazy amounts of sugar).

    Does your number include non-added sugar (like from fruits and veg)?

    And as someone who has eaten a variety of foods with sugar, from carrots to apples to ice cream, the notion that it's similar to cocaine or super addictive in itself (would you even want to eat plain sugar? ugh) or dangerous in itself simply doesn't pass the red face test. Having a terrible diet and being overweight, yes, both can be quite bad for your health. I'd include drinking tons of calories from soda as "having a terrible diet," sure.

    Just curious if anyone ever engages in a thoughtful discussion with you when you pose such logical questions about such an impassioned topic? It certainly doesn't seem so, from the many threads on this topic where I've seen you raise these valid points, but if it ever does happen, can you tag me into the thread? I'd love to see a serious discussion on this that didn't just include a bunch of references to different articles (on both sides).

    @lemurcat12 is one of my favorite posters and I like to think I thoughtfully engage her. She's given me some great book recommendations, like "Salt, Sugar, Fat" and "Mindless Eating." Although we have different takeaways from "Salt, Sugar, Fat" I've enjoyed discussing it with her. We seem to share the same food values, so I find it funny (in the mildly amusing sense of the word) when we take different positions on issues.

    I probably should have been more clear with what I was trying to say. I think @lemurcat12 does such an amazing job of patiently pointing out, particularly to OPs and others in these type of threads making statement like, "I'm so addicted to sugar" that if you spend some time thinking about it and really considering what it is that you're craving, is it truly the food or is it brought on by a situation (stress, depression, boredom), is it actually sugar, or a specific yummy thing that comforts you (homemade chocolate chip cookies or something like that), it might enable you to think more about the triggers themselves and address those, rather than just saying, "ack! Sugar is so addictive, how can I cut it out completely!".

    What I meant to say (but it was early so I didn't articulate well) is that I almost never see one of the people that is seeking help for their sugar addiction come back and say, "you know, I never thought about it like that" or "no, I truly am addicted and I do eat sugar by the spoonful" or things like that. The people who could possibly be helped find strategies to address their challenges almost never respond, they never discuss. Who knows, maybe they are run off by the arguments and all the links to studies, articles, etc. I think most of the people who are struggling with their sugar intake, would be helped more by discussion of the type that @lemurcat12 tries time and again to engage in, and less in the discussion of whether a study on rats is viable, discussion about insulin resistance and prediabetes, etc. I really meant it as a compliment to her and her posting style, and not a dig on others.
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,148 Member
    edited January 2016
    robertw486 wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    bisky wrote: »
    Agree:
    The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee just released new recommendations to limit added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories. Right now, Americans are eating more sugar than ever before — on average, about 160 pounds a year.

    Everything I've seen has said added sugar consumption is down some. Still too high, but at about 14% of calories (vs. the 10% or less recommended--although one can certainly argue that lower would be better). Even this stat is a little misleading, as apparently about 49% of this is from soda (the lion's share) plus other sweetened drinks. While those who consume sweetened drinks tend to get lots and lots of calories (and sugar) from them, I don't believe they are the majority. Even at my fattest I never consumed sweetened drinks (or crazy amounts of sugar).

    Does your number include non-added sugar (like from fruits and veg)?

    And as someone who has eaten a variety of foods with sugar, from carrots to apples to ice cream, the notion that it's similar to cocaine or super addictive in itself (would you even want to eat plain sugar? ugh) or dangerous in itself simply doesn't pass the red face test. Having a terrible diet and being overweight, yes, both can be quite bad for your health. I'd include drinking tons of calories from soda as "having a terrible diet," sure.

    Just curious if anyone ever engages in a thoughtful discussion with you when you pose such logical questions about such an impassioned topic? It certainly doesn't seem so, from the many threads on this topic where I've seen you raise these valid points, but if it ever does happen, can you tag me into the thread? I'd love to see a serious discussion on this that didn't just include a bunch of references to different articles (on both sides).

    @WinoGelato

    I think there are usually people who attempt reasoned discussion, but the extremes of one side or the other tend to drown them out. I'd add you to that list as well as second the comment below that @lemurcat12 is often one of the more reasoned, trying to find middle ground through real discussion, opinions, and considering all data rather than taking the extreme view of discarding what suits the "side" a person is on.
    kshama2001 wrote: »

    @lemurcat12 is one of my favorite posters and I like to think I thoughtfully engage her. She's given me some great book recommendations, like "Salt, Sugar, Fat" and "Mindless Eating." Although we have different takeaways from "Salt, Sugar, Fat" I've enjoyed discussing it with her. We seem to share the same food values, so I find it funny (in the mildly amusing sense of the word) when we take different positions on issues.

    I think there are also a number of others in this thread trying to have reasoned discussion as well. Some are always more reasoned and tend to discuss without bias on many subjects IMO, even if I don't always agree with what they say. It seems like at some point these discussions end up in people taking "sides" to one extreme or the other, and then it degrades from there. The people not screaming extremes often just get buried in the mess.

    Often the same types of arguments about how to define things and other semantics play a part in the discussion IMO. Splitting hairs often only makes sense to me when it changes a point of discussion in a big way, or for clarity. Beyond that the "right and wrong" hair splitting often serves no purpose.



    My personal tl/dr version on the matter of sugar.

    I don't think it is either the devil or the greatest carb ever. I don't care if the professional community calls is addictive or not, nor do I really care if food is considered addictive or not. I don't care how any individual labels it or chooses not to. I don't think sugar (or fats combined with sugar) are needed for mental health.

    But that said, I think more people struggle with added sugars and processed sugar/fatty food than they do with sugars and fats in more natural forms. I don't notice many posts about "help, I'm addicted to chicken breast!", or "I can't quit eating fatty hams!", but I see threads on issues cutting (mostly added) sugars over and over, and over again.

    For me personally, I view it in a similar way to what some have stated here. I fit in delicious treats (often sugar and fat heavy) when I want or can within overall balance. But I don't binge on those things, and never felt out of control with them. I can understand that for others there lack of control with the issue makes it more of a trigger type food for them, so they choose to limit it. And at the end of the day, even when I want to indulge, I find that finding foods that combine nutrients is easier to do than to eat foods high in certain things and devoid of other nutrients. It just makes it easier to balance the overall diet that way. And eating that way usually means having less sugar. Not that I think it is evil, just that I won't seek out such a simple carb very often.



    And my guess is that despite some people desiring reasonable discussion, this thread will go the way of most sugar threads and end up being removed. Which is a shame, because reasoned discussions might shred a lot more light on this and many other topics.[/quote]

    to the bolded part, nope. When I was overweight my problem was fatty foods like philly cheesesteaks, fried chicken, mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, and lots of beer ….

    and from speaking with @lemurcat12 she had the same problem as I did….

    so your premise is not correct.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,056 Member
    I say this with the utmost respect and am not having a go at all, but lemurcat's posts are often very, very long and perhaps a lot of posters skip or skim through her posts. I'm guilty of doing this (TL;DR) :flushed:
  • tomteboda
    tomteboda Posts: 2,171 Member
    edited January 2016
    "ndj1979 wrote: »
    But that said, I think more people struggle with added sugars and processed sugar/fatty food than they do with sugars and fats in more natural forms. I don't notice many posts about "help, I'm addicted to chicken breast!", or "I can't quit eating fatty hams!", but I see threads on issues cutting (mostly added) sugars over and over, and over again.

    I think I understand why these threads pop up (repeatedly).

    1. Low-carb sells books and air time. It has for about 20 years now
    3. There are several celebrity "doctors" and "health experts" actively promoting this (see 1)
    4. And following the low-carb advice above, people wind up having to give up almost all carbs (particularly in the early stages... I remember even milk was off-limits during phase 1 atkins). This is an elimination diet, and elimination diets are rough.
    5. Trying to give so much up creates a lot of despair.
    6. The foods they're giving up are not just sugary/fatty, they're also EASY. You buy a box of oreos, there's nothing to opening the box and eating a dozen of them. Odds are you're going to have to cook that chicken breast, or at the very least reheat it. And meat alone is something we're not culturally attenuated to consume, so that means preparing a carbohydrate and possibly a side with it. You've eaten half a dozen oreos in the time it took to assemble a ham sandwich.
    7. People are lazy. This is no insult. I'm lazy, too. This is why so many people (myself included) grab a can of soda instead of carefully prepping fresh fruit and placing it into a freshly cleaned water infuser that we'll have to wash out afterwards. Its why most people will eat an apple or a banana, but not cut up melon for a mid-morning snack. Its also why people open new threads on topics which are already on the front page. Because they're lazy. They want to say something, and they don't want to read through what's already been there. MFP has a pretty basic sorting/search function, so some of the fault lies with them.

    Once you understand that high-fat, high-carb snacks are tasty, satiating, and easy, the phenomenon of overindulgence on them becomes much easier to understand from a psychological standpoint. It has nothing to do with addiction and everything to do with utilizing the fewest resources to meet a desire.
  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,360 Member
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    ...My personal tl/dr version on the matter of sugar.

    I don't think it is either the devil or the greatest carb ever. I don't care if the professional community calls is addictive or not, nor do I really care if food is considered addictive or not. I don't care how any individual labels it or chooses not to. I don't think sugar (or fats combined with sugar) are needed for mental health.

    But that said, I think more people struggle with added sugars and processed sugar/fatty food than they do with sugars and fats in more natural forms. I don't notice many posts about "help, I'm addicted to chicken breast!", or "I can't quit eating fatty hams!", but I see threads on issues cutting (mostly added) sugars over and over, and over again.

    For me personally, I view it in a similar way to what some have stated here. I fit in delicious treats (often sugar and fat heavy) when I want or can within overall balance. But I don't binge on those things, and never felt out of control with them. I can understand that for others there lack of control with the issue makes it more of a trigger type food for them, so they choose to limit it. And at the end of the day, even when I want to indulge, I find that finding foods that combine nutrients is easier to do than to eat foods high in certain things and devoid of other nutrients. It just makes it easier to balance the overall diet that way. And eating that way usually means having less sugar. Not that I think it is evil, just that I won't seek out such a simple carb very often...

    I pretty much agree with all the above. I don't advocate for the point of view that unlimited added sugar is perfectly okay and won't cause any issues, but I strongly disagree with Lustig, Taubes, Mercola et al's extremist views that sugar is "poison", the root of all obesity and health problems, and should be avoided at all costs. Especially when their points of view are backed only with pseudoscience and cherry-picked facts, and they disregard all studies which have findings to the contrary.

    Anti-sugar zealots often point to the "Standard American Diet" and pretend that it means sitting on your couch while shoveling pounds of pure sugar down your throat all day to the exclusion of all other foods/nutrients. It's very binary thinking and completely ignores context and dosage within the diet. Added sugar, in moderation and within the context of an overall well-balanced diet, is not the devil they're making it out to be.

    I understand why some people exclude sugary treats from their diets when they have problems with moderation and it creates bingeing issues. In those cases, it probably is best to not have it available to you at all and to avoid it whenever possible. But let's address the true problem: It's a self-control issue, not the fact that "sugar is the devil". People want rationalizations that take the person out of the equation because it's easier to feel it's not their fault if they believe sugar is "bad" or "addictive" (how many times have we seen that particular contention on MFP?). But the fact is, sugar is just sugar. It's a simple carb, part of a macronutrient class - not some villain wearing a black hat and lurking in the alleys trying to draw you in to a life of obesity and diabetes. Just like every other macronutrient, it's harmless in moderation but can be unhealthy if taken to extremes and to the exclusion of other nutrients.
  • vivmom2014
    vivmom2014 Posts: 1,542 Member
    tomteboda wrote: »
    I think I understand why these threads pop up (repeatedly).

    1. Low-carb sells books and air time. It has for about 20 years now
    3. There are several celebrity "doctors" and "health experts" actively promoting this (see 1)
    4. And following the low-carb advice above, people wind up having to give up almost all carbs (particularly in the early stages... I remember even milk was off-limits during phase 1 atkins). This is an elimination diet, and elimination diets are rough.
    5. Trying to give so much up creates a lot of despair.
    6. The foods they're giving up are not just sugary/fatty, they're also EASY. You buy a box of oreos, there's nothing to opening the box and eating a dozen of them. Odds are you're going to have to cook that chicken breast, or at the very least reheat it. And meat alone is something we're not culturally attenuated to consume, so that means preparing a carbohydrate and possibly a side with it. You've eaten half a dozen oreos in the time it took to assemble a ham sandwich.
    7. People are lazy. This is no insult. I'm lazy, too. This is why so many people (myself included) grab a can of soda instead of carefully prepping fresh fruit and placing it into a freshly cleaned water infuser that we'll have to wash out afterwards. Its why most people will eat an apple or a banana, but not cut up melon for a mid-morning snack. Its also why people open new threads on topics which are already on the front page. Because they're lazy. They want to say something, and they don't want to read through what's already been there. MFP has a pretty basic sorting/search function, so some of the fault lies with them.

    Once you understand that high-fat, high-carb snacks are tasty, satiating, and easy, the phenomenon of overindulgence on them becomes much easier to understand from a psychological standpoint. It has nothing to do with addiction and everything to do with utilizing the fewest resources to meet a desire.

    Bravo!!

  • cafeaulait7
    cafeaulait7 Posts: 2,459 Member
    There are so many studies that show so many conflicting things that I think I'd probably want to watch my added sugar a little even before I got hyperglycemia... or flip that coin and do the opposite if I felt like it. It's just not settled science. Most of life is not settled science, so that's no big deal, but I just can't come to one side 100%.

    The reason pre-diabetes and worse are mentioned is of course because that's what usually comes to mind in knowing that some carbs can be objectively called 'bad' for many folks. But actually there are all kinds of coronary risks that are shown in various studies related to sugar/carbs (and other studies with different findings). The discussion of whether sugar is 'bad' kind of has to go there, imho.

    But that's like the old days of arguing about butter and coronary risks. It's natural to go there, and it may be true or untrue because the science isn't good enough yet to tell. What that means we each do isn't etched in stone, because how could it be?

    Meh, actually my plan's pretty etched in stone now. Hyperglycemia settles it pretty well for an individual, lol. And I loooove sugar, dammit.