A Rant: Sugar and Carbs

A delayed blog….

We are on our way to Budapest for the weekend. I love travelling, but what I don’t like is airport food, or more to the point, the lack of healthy options at the airport. I would be happy with some carrot sticks and a pack of cooked meat, but no such luck.

This is the first time since I started on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) that I have eaten out, where my food choice is limited and I’ve had to wrestle between spending a fortune on something healthy or just eating something/anything.

I decided on the cheaper option, and after devouring a cheese sarni I already regret saving the money.

I have two issues:

  1. Bread is carbohydrate, and carbohydrate is sugar. Yes, carbohydrate is sugar. Sugar feeds ‘bad’ bacteria in my gut which causes me all sorts of digestive issues. This is why sugar and specific carbohydrates are not allowed on the SCD.
  2. Eating very little carbohydrate means I am loosing weight (yay!), I have loads more energy (yay!), finding it easier to wake up in the morning (yay!) and finding my skin feels softer and smoother (yahoo!). Eating the crappy bread does not support all this.

People think fat in food makes them fat, and that’s where it all goes wrong. Eating more sugar and carbohydrates than you need for energy makes you fat. We need fat in our diet, of course it matters what type of fat, but it’s not fat that makes you fat.  Just in case you missed it …. EATING EXCESS CARBOHYDRATES (Sugar) MAKES YOU FAT (and sick).

Here’s a rough idea how it works….

All your favourite things (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, pastry, wine, beer, cakes, low fat biscuits, flavoured drinks, most types of flour, the list goes on…) CONTAIN SUGAR.

When we eat sugar, AKA carbohydrates, it is converted to glucose in our intestinal tract. The glucose enters our blood stream and travels to our liver, where the liver either farms it out to organs immediately to be used for energy or stores it as glycogen in our liver and muscles for later use. Any excess glucose is stored as fat. This is why if we eat a lot of carbohydrates and sugar we will just GET FAT. If you are exercising and not loosing weight, check your carb intake!

This isn’t just about weight: if we consume carbohydrate (AKA sugar) at a high level consistently, our body has to keep producing more and more insulin to stay on top of our blood sugar level. Eventually the insulin has little or no effect, and this is when you can develop DIABETES (Type 2).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) draft guidelines states that people should consume no more than 25g of sugar a day. A can of Coke has 35g of sugar!

In the UK we have a traffic light system on packaged food that indicates the level of sugar, salt, and fat content, but the maximum allowance for sugar is higher than WHO recommends, so this traffic light system is not doing what it should be doing. People are still consuming far more sugar than they should be. This high sugar intake is not just creating the obesity epidemic, but it’s contributing to the multitude of diseases and issues, such as diabetes, bowel disease and cancer.

Why is this happening? Well, people don’t really know what is good or bad when it comes to food labels.  Kids are not taught about nutrition facts at school; the food pyramid poster is still stuck on the wall of the food science (that’s a joke) room! People still think food marked as Low Fat or Low Calorie will help them loose weight or keep them healthy: this is a myth brought about by marketing companies, funded by food companies and, even more surprisingly, governments. This so called ‘Low Fat’ food is tasteless in its basic form because the fat has been removed, so it’s laced with sugar and salt to add flavour, and as we now know, EXCESS SUGAR/CARBOHYDRATE CAUSES FAT.

Some of this ‘ignorance’ is just plain old denial: people do not want to stop eating the lovely sweet/savoury crappy processed food or admit that this ‘food’ is shortening their life. Sugar is a drug. They are addicted. They are addicts.

The taste buds and brain of an addict are so dependent on getting a sugar fix, that when he tastes ‘real’ food, like green vegetables for example, he is revolted. To stop eating sugar he has a drug like withdrawal and he can’t deal with it. And actually, he doesn’t care.

Over the last few days I have been reading a blog of a lady who started a ‘diet plan’ where all the food is sent to her house in a box.  It’s all muck; sugar, carbs and sauces. The idea is you add more calories to supplement what they have sent you i.e. vegetables and fruit.  However, her supplementary food is bread and smash.  She admits she doesn’t like veg. She is loosing weight, but as soon as she stops paying for the diet plan, she will be back to square one. The only good thing this diet is doing is teaching her portion control.

Some people might argue that people need to find a diet that works for them – but this isn’t just about weight loss. This is about feeding our minds and bodies the nutrients it needs to run efficiently to prevent us getting sick. It strikes me that some people have been feeling like crap for so long, they think it’s normal.  They can’t even imagine what it’s like to feel light and full of energy. They don’t know that a week or so after they start eating nutritious food (veg, protein & good fats) and cutting down their sugar/carbs intake, it would be easier and they would start feeling so amazing. Why are schools not teaching this from the outset?

In summary

The answer to most of our health needs are through a natural diet, not in a packet of pills or packaged diet food. Whilst I’m not into the paleo diet per se, I do recommend you read this article: Better Health: it’s less complicated than you think!

One other thing… have you noticed how all processed food is the same colour? It has a kind of yellow/beige hue.  Look at your plate, packet, box, or bag.  Is it a rainbow of colours? If not, you need to have a think about what you’re eating.

Recipe

Green Smoothie

I struggle to keep time in the mornings before work, so my quick and nutritious breakfast is a green smoothie.  For me the key is to have veg, protein and only a small amount of fruit – it’s too easy to overload on the sugar with fruit. You can do what you like with this recipe and you can find loads more online if you search for ‘green smoothie’, but don’t be tempted to just go for fruit smoothies.

  • 2 handfuls of spinach or kale (I keep mine in the freezer)
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • Half an avocado
  • Handful of frozen berries or fruit (blueberries are my go-to as a superfood)
  • Big dollop or two of full fat natural yoghurt (mine is homemade but Total is a good alternative)

Good additions to this one are peanut butter, flaxseed or egg white.

Want something zingy? Look for recipes with lemon, lime or ginger.

For SCDers, be aware the nuts and seeds may irritate your tum when you are starting out.

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5 thoughts on “A Rant: Sugar and Carbs

  1. Fascinating read ..we’ll done on your blog..I can’t seem to get my head around dieting ..Just gave up cigarette s ..and I can’t stop eating . Any suggestions

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    1. Hi Breda! Thank you 🙂 Mum gave up smoking and snacked her way up a couple of dress sizes back 15 years ago – I don’t think it’s easy. Have you tried using the vapour e-cigarettes instead? It might help. Diets are a waste of time; I think it’s about adjusting what you eat slowly and for the long term. A friend at work has dropped 2.5 stone since September by stopping some of her bad habits e.g. kitkat for breakfast & glasses of wine when working late at home!

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