I was wondering if you have ever tried doing a high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) free diet. I recently saw a youtube video called " Sugar: The Bitter Truth ". It's really long and kind of boring, but it scared me away from HFCS. I've been thinking about trying to do a HFCS free diet, but I've noticed it's in just about everything we have. Have you tried this? Have any tips?
My Views on Sugar
I limit the amount of sugar that I consume for many reasons. Sugar consumption leads to obesity, heart attacks, artery disease, tooth decay, diabetes, metabolic issues, concentration issues, fertility problems, and upsets the balance of the endocrine and nervous systems.
Our ancestors did not consume sugar in the same ways we do and our bodies were not designed to consume it in large quantities. In the past, natural sweeteners were used sparingly to sweeten foods and desserts were viewed as a treat reserved only for special occasions. But now, the average American consumes more than 22 teaspoons of sugar per DAY (mainly from beverages like soft drinks) and many children and teenagers consume almost double that amount.
If you shop in the grocery store and consume mostly processed foods, you can pretty much guarantee that everything you eat has some type of sweetener in it. Our taste buds have grown so accustomed to tasting it, that we hardly recognize exactly how sweet our foods are.
And here is the problem with the way we consume sugar in our society - most of our sugary foods (like soft drinks and candy) do not contain fat. Fat slows the sugar from entering our blood stream in a rush and stimulating insulin and hormone production. Our "high carb/low fat" diets are literally killing us. In fact, we should be doing the opposite - consuming higher levels of healthy fats and less carbohydrates.
As a rule for myself, I avoid refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, and even some "natural" sweeteners. The only sugars I consume are fruits, raw honey, and unrefined maple syrup. Occasionally I will crave a soft drink or a cookie with sugar, but I reserve those foods for special occasions and do not keep them in the house for myself.
This year for Lent I gave up sugar (except fruit) - honey and maple syrup included - and have not intentionally consumed it for over a month now. For the first four days my body crashed. I was irritable, tired, and hungry all of the time. We forget that sugar is actually a drug (an addictive one) that affects not only your blood sugar, but also your brain chemistry.
But once I made it past those first four days, I noticed that my energy levels started to increase and my mind felt clearer than normal. After a few weeks more, my appetite started to decrease and I now don't feel the need to snack as much. My body no longer craves those foods throughout the day.
So, you're probably wondering - what can a person eat if they avoid sugar completely? Here was my food intake yesterday
Breakfast - 2 slices of raisin toast with butter and 2 scrambled free-range eggs mixed with chopped spinach.My beverages most days consist of unsweetened hot and iced teas, water, and fruit smoothies.
The hardest part about going sugar-free is not having condiments with your foods. Most store-bought condiments contain HFCS - ketchup, barbecue sauce, taco sauce, salad dressings, mayo, salsa, etc. In order to have condiments with your food if you are going to go sugar-free, you have to make your own. If you are just trying to eliminate HFCS from your diet, most organic brands of condiments contain organic sugar or other sweeteners. They are a little more expensive, but worth it in my opinion - just use a little less to make up for the cost.
Other ways to avoid HFCS and sugars
The following are natural sweeteners. This means they are the least processed and they contain more vitamins and minerals. Use these if you have a sweet tooth!
Avoiding sugar is easy to do if you are willing to put in a little hard work first. Your body is going to have to detox and it is going to be uncomfortable for a few days or even weeks. But, once you get past the initial withdrawal, you will start to feel so good that you'll realize a soda isn't worth it. Your taste buds will also change and most of the foods you once thought tasted good will become too sweet for you.
Make your own food and read your labels. And as always - everything in moderation. You're not going to die if you eat a cookie or drink a soda every now and then, but when you eat them day after day your body and brain become addicted and the sugar begins to get every system in your body out of whack. Stick to natural sweeteners and use them in moderation.
"Exactly What Is Splenda? .: Ask Dr. Hull." Dr. Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN - Website. Web. 11 Sept. 2009.
"Substitute Natural Sweeteners for Artificial Sweeteners." Body Cleansing / Detox Plan and Natural Cures. Web. 11 Sept. 2009.
"Top 10 Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners." Nutrition Supplements News. Web. 11 Sept. 2009.