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How bad is a little sugar?

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  • How bad is a little sugar?

    I started a thread a few days ago asking for help with going Primal while recovering from an eating disorder (binge/restriction) I read a lot of helpful info and the basic summary of most of the info was as someone who has a disorder relationship with food, I should be careful restricting foods since it can be a slippery slope. I've been eating primal foods for about a year now, I don't do grains, sugar or the bad oils, I eat mostly organic meats, eggs and veggies, no fruit aside from tomatoes, avocados, and lemon in my water. I do however really enjoy coffee, it's part of how I enjoy starting my day. I drink 1 of those canned Starbucks Doubleshot espresso drinks every morning. They have 19 grams of carbs, 18 of it is sugar. The ingredients are not great, but they aren't too terrible they have espresso, cream, milk, sugar (not HFCS, but actual sugar), and asorbic acid. I don't consume any other sugar all day, is this going to impede my weight loss efforts? I've heard cinnamon can help reduce insulin spikes, so would it be beneficial to add cinnamon to the coffee to cause less of a blood sugar impact? Should I just count it as my 20% and quit worrying?
    Last edited by ar0e; 10-14-2012, 01:48 PM.

  • #2
    I personally don't worry about using a little sugar in a dessert treat I make for the family. And it's your body/life, so ultimately it's up to you.

    However, I can think of several reasons why you should skip it:
    1. It sounds like you are trying to lose weight, and 'liquid calories' are probably one of the easiest sources for you to exclude.
    2. If you are completely eliminating fruits, 3.5 teaspoons of sugar in a coffee might be a little hard to rationalise. If you're ok with sugar, why exclude fruit?
    3. Is there a sugar-free alternative? If there isn't (or at least, one that doesn't have a long chemical-ese ingredient list) then perhaps you could put it in the 'processed foods' camp and consider making your own coffee at home and use cream?
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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    • #3
      an entire pint of strawberries has 17 gms of sugar, and 1/2 the calorie of your drink.

      as someone who struggled with anorexia and disordered eating for a very long time, i get the "slippery slope" aspect of feeling deprived. but i would much rather have some fruit with grass-fed cream than a can of sweet coffee. your body, your choice.
      As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

      – Ernest Hemingway

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      • #4
        I don't think anything below 50 grams is all that harmful. But if you're me, 50 becomes 60 becomes 150 and then you wake up a month later covered in haagen dazs and nutella with no recollection of what happened.
        “The whole concept of a macronutrient, like that of a calorie, is determining our language game in such a way that the conversation is not making sense." - Dr. Kurt Harris

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        • #5
          I was bulimic in the distant past and had a long history of carb binges most of my adult life, so I understand the desire to be gentle with yourself. I have made *huge* changes in my diet even though I still drink Diet Pepsi and too much beer, but I don't kid myself that these things are "OK". They are indulgences that I have put off addressing. I can't tell you when I will address them, but it's not my plan to eternally call them part of my 20%. My plan is to use the 20% for stuff that is physically difficult to avoid, not emotionally difficult to avoid.

          I would look at canned coffee yummies the same way. The grams of sugar are not unmanageable. They're just the type that go straight to the blood stream, spike your insulin and may leave you desperately hungry 2 hrs later. I generally eat 75-100g total carb/day and earlier in my weightloss was surely in the 150-200g range. If you feel like that drink does something for you emotionally and isn't pushing you to over consume to even out the blood sugar swings later, then don't beat yourself up while the pounds are dropping.
          50yo, 5'3"
          SW-195
          CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
          GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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          • #6
            Fructose... the deadly sweet - Article

            The two main sources of that sugar are high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and table sugar. As a standard recommendation, it is strongly recommended keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day.

            However, for most people it would actually be wise to limit your fruit fructose to 15 grams or less, as it is virtually guaranteed that you will consume "hidden" sources of fructose from most beverages and just about any processed food you might eat.

            Since 55 percent of HFCS is fructose, one can of soft drink alone would nearly exceed your daily allotment. It is easy to see that anyone who is drinking three, and certainly four will easily exceed 100 grams of fructose per day.

            Fructose consumption clearly causes insulin resistance, whereas straight glucose does not. Insulin resistance can eventually lead to full blown diabetes. Interestingly, glucose actually accelerates fructose absorption. So when you mix glucose and fructose together, you absorb more fructose than if you consumed fructose alone.

            This is an important piece of information for people who want to make a better effort at controlling their weight. With an epidemic of obesity going on in this country - two out of three people are overweight, and one out of three is obese - it has become clear that fructose is the single most important factor in this epidemic.
            Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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            • #7
              After I typed this post I realized I made a mistake by using the word 'bad' to describe a food. I'm trying to get away from associating feelings with foods, but it's really hard. My natural thinking is that if I enjoy a food, it must be 'bad' for me and it must be the reason I'm not losing weight.


              Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
              an entire pint of strawberries has 17 gms of sugar, and 1/2 the calorie of your drink.

              as someone who struggled with anorexia and disordered eating for a very long time, i get the "slippery slope" aspect of feeling deprived. but i would much rather have some fruit with grass-fed cream than a can of sweet coffee. your body, your choice.
              Thanks, for some reason I have this irrational fear that all fruit is off limits, yet I drink sugar in the coffee. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you put it that way.

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              • #8
                sugar = crack cocaine

                Choose your poison....
                ----------------------------------------
                F, 48, 5'10"
                Start Date: 25-06-12 @ 161lbs
                Goal Reached: 30-09-12 @ 143lb. Now bouncing between 145lb - 149lb. I'd like less bounce and more consistency :-)

                Started Cross Fit 20.12.12 ---- Can't wait to submit my success story on the 1st anniversary of starting primal.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ar0e View Post
                  After I typed this post I realized I made a mistake by using the word 'bad' to describe a food. I'm trying to get away from associating feelings with foods, but it's really hard. My natural thinking is that if I enjoy a food, it must be 'bad' for me and it must be the reason I'm not losing weight.

                  Thanks, for some reason I have this irrational fear that all fruit is off limits, yet I drink sugar in the coffee. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you put it that way.
                  is part of your thinking that you may binge on the fruit? i have berries once or twice per week and it's very easy to stick with just that. other than that no other fruit, no sugar. it gets easier. i promise.
                  As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                  – Ernest Hemingway

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A little sugar won't kill you.

                    However, it is important that you remember that sugar, especially cane sugar and agave, ect, typically have little or no nutrient value to them other than the calories.

                    If you want to sweeten your beverage, you could play around with a stevia powered/liquid extract, or consider maple syrup or honey, both of which contain at least small amounts of enzymes and antioxidants that can have somewhat of a beneficial effect. You can also try blackstrap molasses as it's been shown to have several interesting health effects.
                    "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
                      is part of your thinking that you may binge on the fruit? i have berries once or twice per week and it's very easy to stick with just that. other than that no other fruit, no sugar. it gets easier. i promise.
                      Honestly, I don't think I'm afraid I'll binge on fruit, I just feel guilty when I binge on anything that is not 'okay' in my head because of something I've heard/read. I guess my problem isn't so much the binges, its the feelings of guilt and shame that go along with eating at all. Like if I have 12 sweet potato fries, I feel like a failure, so then I feel like 'what's the point?' and eat 30 more. I do the same thing with wine, I'll have a 5oz glass with dinner and then feel like I did something wrong so I'll drink 2 more glasses and eat 6 squares of dark chocolate. I guess it's not that bad because I'm not gaining weight, but I really want to lost about 40 pounds at least.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Louisa655 View Post
                        sugar = crack cocaine
                        fuck me, that's stupid.

                        OP, a little sugar is not that bad. however, if you let yourself eat some damn fruit - fruit! - you might not be craving crappy starbucks cans so often.

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                        • #13
                          It's not tragic, well it is, but not from a health standpoint. From a coffee lover's standpoint.

                          What about this? Get a little stovetop espresso maker. And a coffee grinder if you don't have one. Experiment with the most beautiful organic coffee beans you can find. Experiment with different "milks," i.e., coconut oil, coconut cream, pastured or organic whipping cream, pastured or organic half and half, etc. Experiment with various sweeteners and artificial sweeteners (search Mark's blog for info on the artificial ones). Come up with your perfect coffee drink. Chill it if you like it cold - love iced coffee in summer.

                          If espresso is too rich, try a french press.

                          Your current drink has four teaspoons of sugar in it. It comes in a can. I'm not trying to exacerbate your feelings of good vs bad when it comes to food, just pointing out some stuff. I think once you find your perfect coffee drink, the stuff in the can will become a distant memory. But if it doesn't, don't feel guilty, enjoy it! We only get one shot at this life, so we might as well enjoy as much of it as we can.
                          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

                          B*tch-lite

                          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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                          • #14
                            It's a little sugar, as long as it doesn't turn into a lot of sugar, you're fine. Recovering from an eating disorder, of all things, you should not be sweating the small stuff. Take care of your mental health too and stop with all the guilt.
                            F 28/5'4/100 lbs

                            "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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                            • #15
                              I can't stop on regular sugar. Consumption of chocolate and sugar in my coffee stalled me. However, I find I do fine with fruit. It doesn't cause cravings. Now, I will at times overeat fruit- like really good watermelon or just seasonal, but it isn't a habit. I do fine eating 2-3 servings a day and it helps round out my diet rather nicely.

                              http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
                              Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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