Need help from the long-time MFP-members, regarding Sugar and Stevia

I'm not on the forums often. But I need some guidance. WARNING: Long Read.

I want to hear from the long term MFP-members, has sugar and stevia ever hampered your weight loss efforts or maintenance? I've accumulated so much nutritional knowledge of different ways of eating and whatnot, that I've lost sense with how I should eat.

Somewhere along the lines, I've also read that sugar is not so great, but now they are saying stevia isn't too great either because of the insulin response it sends out, which could also lead to fat storage. It could also mess with the gut bacteria, apparently. But it seems that the detrimental effects of stevia were only observed when the study participants consumed the maximum safe dosage, which is like 28 tablets a day or something.

Back to me - I'm trying to cut down on sugar. I've had a life-long relationship with it. I'm replacing a lot of it with stevia, though I don't get even halfway to the maximum safe dosage. I even limit Stevia usage.
  • I don't take more than 0.5-1 tablets in my tea (I drink tea more than water).
  • I try to cap my liquid stevia in my oatmeal to the equivalent of 2 teaspoons of sugar.

But my brain also doesn't do well with restriction and banning food. When I was on the forum a long time ago - the general idea was "everything in moderation", including sugar. But what exactly is a moderate amount? Does 2.5 wafer cookies after dinner every day classify as 'moderation'? Or should I have them every second day, balancing the rest of the evenings out with a piece of fruit?

I've lost a lot of my weight with CICO years ago on MFP. Since then I've tried to get away from the number-crunching because I was starting to see food as nothing but a number, nevermind whatever nutrition it had to offer me. But none of the things I've tried were long-lasting solutions, and I couldn't stick with them because they were too restrictive. Now, I'm back to CICO, looking to lose the last few lb's and hoping to find some sort of balance somehow so I can see a banana as something more than 109 calories. Any suggestions on this would also be helpful.

Replies

  • Nevetharine021
    Nevetharine021 Posts: 10 Member
    If you aren't noticing any behavioural pattern changes around sugar and sweet treats, I wouldn't sweat it. Just staying within your calorie goal is enough to worry about. Best of luck.

    That's not me, but I'm looking to change the picture soon. What sort of behavioural changes?
  • goldthistime
    goldthistime Posts: 3,214 Member
    In answer to your question about whether sugar or stevia has hampered my weight loss or maintenance efforts. YES! I've got big time problems with sugar. But that's me, not necessarily you. It's exceedingly difficult for me to eat a little dessert. MUCH easier to have none. You mention bananas though, and I have no problem with them at all. I've had two in a row the odd time, and one memorable time I had three. If only I could say that about cookies.

    In fact I'm in maintenance now, stressed to the max over this virus and varying views within my family, and still haven't gained any weight. This may be the first time in my life that I have been so stressed out and haven't overeaten.

    I can't speak to the stevia part of your question, other than I have it on occasion and haven't noticed any problems whatsoever.
  • Nevetharine021
    Nevetharine021 Posts: 10 Member
    It's exceedingly difficult for me to eat a little dessert. MUCH easier to have none.

    I can have a little and savor it, but it needs to be in some sort of controlled environment. Either in a specific, small bowl, or it should be logged or written down somewhere. In other words, it must be planned ahead of time. Then I can eat it mindfully and savor it. But I have to have something - every day. It can't be taken away completely. Then I just binge and restrict.
  • goldthistime
    goldthistime Posts: 3,214 Member
    It's exceedingly difficult for me to eat a little dessert. MUCH easier to have none.

    I can have a little and savor it, but it needs to be in some sort of controlled environment. Either in a specific, small bowl, or it should be logged or written down somewhere. In other words, it must be planned ahead of time. Then I can eat it mindfully and savor it. But I have to have something - every day. It can't be taken away completely. Then I just binge and restrict.

    Perfect! Sounds like you've got it under control.

  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 3,098 Member
    edited March 2020
    No, as long as I am in calorie deficit, I lose weight. Sometimes water weight masks my progress, but I still lose weight, no matter if I"m using sugar, splenda, stevia, honey, whatever.

    Saity, however, is a whole different animal, and you don't want to waste calories on foods that are not going to fill you up. I've switched from sugar to splenda in baking because I"m trying to lower the calorie count. I use Pyure stevia in my drinks for the same reason (especially since I found out that splenda does actually have calories, thanks to the filler they use :frowning: )

    Everything in moderation, or the 80/20 rule are pretty good rules to go by for sanity, based also on knowing yourself and what you can moderate and what you can't - though it sounds like moderation works pretty well for you.

    Basically, if you are eating healthy - getting plenty of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, good fats, etc 80% of the time, then don't worry about the treats. Or look at it this way - make sure that at least 80% of your calories come from good foods, and you can guilt-free indulge the rest. Or make sure you hit your goals for the day, and whatever calories are left use for a treat. That's how I do it - I focus on getting my protein and my fiber in; once I hit those numbers, if I have calories left, I'll have a treat such as a piece of chocolate, fruit, sugar free jello, or even cookies or cake.

    The thing is, there are a lot of studies out there that contradict each other, many that are filled with all kinds of holes and bad controls, and others that show a potential trend in one direction but get blowed all out of proportion by media. So unless you have a mitigating health condition that requires it, I wouldn't worry too much about those things if you have a good, solid, common sense plan with your CICO. Quality of life sometimes gets pushed to the side in importance when one is trying to listen to all the "shoulds" out there, but quality of life is what makes life worth living!
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,870 Member
    Moderate amount: an amount that allows you to eat appropriate cals and meet your nutritional goals.

    Some quantify that as 80/20 or 90/10. For example, if I'm thinking of it as 80/20 and am eating 2000 cals at maintenance, then 1600 of them should be somewhat more nutritious and 400 are for taste and pleasure alone. So I might use roughly 200 so as to have olive oil and cheese or pulled pork instead of a leaner option or the like and also use 200 toward a regular dessert.

    I don't really think if it that way since all foods have some nutritional benefits, but I do think of mostly eating more nutrient dense options without being obsessive about it or ignoring that taste is also a priority, and then if I want to build in something as a dessert or snacky food or going to a restaurant for higher cal fare (in other times), I do.

    I haven't found that sugar makes a whit of difference to my weight loss/maintenance. I ate about 200 cals of ice cream after dinner most nights when I was losing and I lost without problem. Currently I've lost my sweet tooth entirely and rarely eat anything with more than a tiny amount of added sugar (I had popcorn as dessert last night, however, so I can still have my dessert), but am not losing, since I am not mentally in deficit mode (I've been at maintenance for a while but would like to lose about 10# more).
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    Sugar affects weight loss for me in that it packs a lot of calories compared to alternatives and sugary foods tend to be “addictive “ making me want to eat more of them. Both of those things elevate calories and hinder weight loss for me because it is difficult to balance out the calories in other areas.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,027 Member
    edited March 2020
    A moderate amount of any food or ingredient means an amount that doesn't crowd out the other stuff you need while you are at the right calorie level.

    I try to hit my protein and fiber goals while getting enough servings of vegetables and fruit. Outside of that, I eat what I'm in the mood for within my calories.

    Other than rare instances, I'm far more likely to overeat crunchy/salty or cheesy than I am sweet foods. I often have a weighed out portion of ice cream, cookies, or kids cereal as an evening snack. But different people are satiated by and have issues controlling different foods. I don't think I eat anything with Stevia, but I drink a diet soda or water flavor almost every day. I have no blood sugar issues. I'm not aware of peer reviewed, replicatable science that clearly shows the need for those without a medical condition to micro manage insulin response by ingredient.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,623 Member
    Neither sugar no stevia has hampered my long term weight loss/maitenance.

    Stevia because Ive never used it. ;)

    Sugar because I can eat high sugar foods like cake in amounts that fit into my calorie allowance.
    I do not use sugar nor any other sweetener in my coffee - not a weight loss decision, just prefer it plain.

    2.5 wafer cookies after dinner every day sounds a moderate amount to me -but I guess it depends what else you ate that day and whether they fit in to your calorie allowance.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,633 Member
    "I want to hear from the long term MFP-members, has sugar and stevia ever hampered your weight loss efforts or maintenance? "- No. My overall diet is high carb but I don't tend to eat a lot of sugar (I prefer savoury foods as a generalisation) - except when I'm cycling long distances then I eat a whole load of sugary foods.

    "they are saying stevia isn't too great either because of the insulin response it sends out, which could also lead to fat storage" - They (whoever they are....) are talking nonsense. You gain fat in a persistent energy surplus - no surplus, no net gain of energy stores (fat). Think of your car's fuel tank - If you don't put more in than you use the level can't get higher.
  • Nevetharine021
    Nevetharine021 Posts: 10 Member
    Thanks for the replies everyone. Okay, so I'm not going to worry about it any longer.

    I use stevia purely because I like to drink tea instead of water. And adding sugar to all those cups would quickly eat up the calories I have leftover for the wafers, so.

    Thanks again for the insight. :)