Hi Eric and everyone -
Last year at this time Eric had us quit sugar. I lasted three days. So I'm trying again. This is the third day, and so far, so good. I met with a nutritionist this time, who told me to eat more protein and leafy greens. Wish me luck. Anyone else trying this?
The carbs aren't just safe, they're essential. You can't "burn" fat in the absence of carbohydrate, so if you completely cut out starches then your body has to start breaking down protein - not a great idea. I can't imagine running without lots of pasta/rice/potatoes!
Hi Paul, thanks for your input. I'm just trying to quit the cookies, cake, ice cream, and dark chocolate habit. I still eat all my normal foods. This is an interesting discussion, though!
The craving for sugar is often the result of an imbalance in the rest of the diet, or in the body's being stuck in an insulin/sugar cycle rather than burning primarily fat (with carbs acting as the "kindling" for fat burning).
Simply stopping sugar does not address the underlying cause in cases like that. However, shifting to a diet that addresses those issues, like paleo or the Perfect Health Diet, does. Doing so has left our whole family of five much better off.
That's what I'm doing. My nutritionist said two things -
1. add leafy greens and more veggies in general
2. add protein
So far it's been over a week, and I feel better. We'll see. Thank you for your input!
Cutting down on simple sugars is definitely a good idea (though shame to miss out on chocolate/icecream altogether!) for lots of good reasons. But different parts of the body burn different things. The brain only uses glucose and oxygen, for example, while your heart runs on fat. Like all these things, it's about balance.
Your primary point about needing balance is spot on. To clarify, though, much of the brain can also use ketons, which come from burning fat. A few sections of the brain do best on lactate (which is a fuel rather than a toxin, as it turns out), others glucose.
Ah, that's interesting. I didn't know the brain could use ketones. But the ketones are made in the liver - fats can't cross the bloodbrain barrier - from fragments of metabolised fat, and transported in the blood. And ketones are made in response to a shortage of glucose. That's OK in moderation, but too many ketones and you risk ketoacidosis, and that's one of the problems with cutting out carbohydrates too severely (it's also why people on the Atkins diet have bad breath - they excrete some of the excess ketones from their lungs).
That's one of my main reasons for this diet - is to try and stop the sugar cravings. I find before and during most lunches and dinners these days I get some pretty powerful cravings for sugar or chocolate, so I'm interested to see what happens to those cravings when I go off sugar (starting today!).
Well, Chris, as my nutritionist says, you'll do fine. I do find the cravings are mostly gone, but the habits - stopping at the ice cream store, or having chocolate at certain times - are harder to change. Let me know how it goes!
"Safe" carbs refers specifically to potatoes and yams (pealed), and white rice, along with a few others, because they do not have the plant protective toxins that other grains and legumes have. My brain does phenomenally better, as well as my body, without eating grains and legumes. Read the Perfect Health Diet to learn more. Well researched and fantastic stuff.
Does brown rice make the cut re "safe" carbs as far as the Perfect Health folks look at it?
No. The toxins reside in all the bits removed in making it white.