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Update: Addicted to Sugar (again)

My last week in China I was following pretty close to the intro diet. Lots of soup with well cooked vegetables, eggs, banana, yogurt, honey, butter and boiled meats. Needless to say it worked pretty well at settling my stomach and I haven’t had any digestive issues since. My first week back I was sticking pretty close to the intro but with stews, meatballs, zucchini, mushrooms, and some berries. Even though my digestion was all better, I felt the need to stick to the basics for a little while to ensure my body could recover fully from the traveling, different food and gluten exposure. I grated lots of ginger into soups and stews for some anti-inflammatory effects. Then I started eating a ton of cherries once my cherry tree in the backyard got fruit. I didn’t limit myself on carbs because I didn’t seem to be having any bad effects from them.

I had done low-carb SCD off and on the first 2 years. It certainly helped with digestive symptoms and what are often described as Candida symptoms. I would go back to eating more carbs but always kept it pretty low-moderate never binging on sweets or fruits. I was addicted to carbs before this diet and knew I had to be careful. But for the most part I wasn’t having that much trouble. Every now and then I’d notice I was eating too much honey and I would cut down pretty easily. Since coming back from my trip it has been a whole different story. I’m fully addicted to sugar again.

So initially I thought I would just ride it out and enjoy it, eat lots of berries and random treats made with berries until the season was over. I wasn’t having any digestive problems so maybe it didn’t matter that I was eating lots of fruit. Then I sorta noticed how I was having some discomfort and burping after dinner. I had this feeling before which would go away with taking some Betaine HCL (stomach acid supplement) so I did and it worked. I used to take these stomach acid supplements with every meal but haven’t had to take any in over 6 months. I’m pretty sure this is from all the sweets lately and it probably didn’t help that I had gluten in China. In any case, these symptoms are similar to GERD and I don’t want to let things get to the point where I’m actually in pain.

Now, I’m not necessarily against all carbs. I don’t think I’ll ever follow a very low carb diet for long periods of time. I find in my experience it was not necessary to restrict them once symptoms went away. But, I don’t like how I have been feeling addicted lately. I don’t like the fact that I come home from work and all I want to eat is a bunch of raisins and dates when I have a delicious meal of BBQ pork chops simmering away in the slow-cooker. I want to enjoy and crave good foods, not just sugary sweets.

Lately a lot of people whose blogs I follow have been giving up coffee (Cheeseslave, Health Home Happy, Modern Paleo). Everyone who’s been a coffee drinker knows that’s a tough one. These people have figured out some really good ways of getting over the coffee addiction. I admired all of them for sticking with it and supporting each other. I have never liked coffee and so I just sat back, sent a few words of encouragement and shared articles, and wished everyone the best. But then I kinda realized, I felt about sugar the same they felt about coffee. And yes I was addicted once again to it.

So now I’m convinced I have to break this over indulgence in fruit and honey. Kinda sucks that it’s right during berry season, but I’m going to start by allowing myself a handful of berries in my yogurt and cutting down the honey, baked sweets, and other fruit. I don’t really see the point in eating apples, raisins, dates, and oranges right now when they aren’t in season anyway. I’m planning to freeze a lot of the berries, some jam and maybe some pie-like desserts, so that I’ll have some fun desserts on hand to bring out to BBQs and social gatherings this summer. I’ll definitely be storing as many strawberries as I can this year. Last year’s bundle (pictured here) didn’t even make it to fall.

Kat

I have been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since January 2008 to recover from Celiac disease. As part of the diet, I don't eat grains, sugar or potatoes and prepare all my meals from scratch.

14 Comments

  1. Ok, might be weird replying to my own post, but I just read Mark’s Daily Apple’s post on Carb re-feeding http://www.marksdailyapple.com/carb-refeeding-and-weight-loss/
    He talks about people wanting to lose weight, but this could also serve to increase energy. I might try this to allow myself to overeat carbs (I do fine with carrots, sweet potato, banana, berries, honey) once a week and then stay lower the rest of the week. I’ll have to see if this is something I can do, or if it means I’m just going to feel even more addicted. We’ll see, I’ll go lower carb for the next 5 days then try a carb-loaded day.

  2. Small world, I swear I just saw you running on the wooded paths near the high tech park, vibrams were a give away! Beauty day for a run!

    I have been zero sugar for about two years now, no refined carbs for about 1yr and gluten free for about 1yr. My diet is very high unrefined carb now, and I am slowly starting to and back some fruit and a source of sucrose.

    Been reading lately that lower ‘good’ fat with fruit is best, since you don’t have two competing triglyceride sources (fructose and animal fat). So probably best to eat your fruit alone, and not with a fat source when you do if it is causing issues.

    Most traditional cultures that ate high unrefined starch, did so with lots good fats. Cultures that ate more fruit in their higher carb diets, like Kitavans, ate lower fat (coconut). Interesting…

  3. @UndertowYes that was me! Were you running? Probably running past me.. I haven’t ran since grade 6 so I was going pretty slow. Today I just felt like trying, see what I could do. I was surprised how easy it was with the VFFs once I got a feel for them.

    Interesting to have fruit with lower fat. I tend to eat mine with high fat yogurt. When I do a carb-load day I’d be more likely to do sweet potato, carrots etc with meals. I’ll try to do fruit alone to see if that helps. Normally I would get blood sugar ups/downs but I haven’t noticed that at all lately.

  4. I was walking, just coming off the bridge near the turtle eggs. My vibrams are in the mail, I can’t wait to try them on the trails. I just go walking at lunch, dropped all lifting and sprints, until my metabolism heals up. I Low-carb wrecked my adrenals

  5. oops, hit the wrong key there…

    Was saying low-carbing for a year did a number on my adrenals, and I believe I have been hypothyroid since I was young. Grew up on white sugar, white flour, veggie oils, and lots of processed crap, you know the drill there!

    Anyway once my basal temps are back up to nominal levels, averaging a stable 98.6 during day, I will start with lifting and sprints, but not the amounts I use to do.

  6. I think fruit can provide stable BG, as you get glucose and fat in the blood from the glucose/fructose combo. But like many I believe eating way to much fructose(refined white sugar, HFCS), can affect leptin, and then cause all sorts of issues leading up to metabolic syndrome. Fruits also offers, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and some anti-oxidants, which tend to offsite the fructose load.

    By cutting all refined carbs, I have dropped my 1hr postprandial BG’s from 130 (6.5) to 97 (5.4), in 8months. This while eating meals that have over 500grams of potatoes for example.

  7. I actually found low-carb helped a lot but maybe I was coming from a different health background than you. I seemed to have all the markers of adrenal fatigue, but eating carbs made it worse. I stuck to low carb, but lots of good fats, beef liver, high nutrient food. Now I have pretty good energy. I wasn’t really looking into leptin, body temperatures, or metabolic syndrome since my first goal was digestive health. Now that digestive health is better, everything seems better so I’m just continuing what I’m doing, with a few tweaks here and there.

    Definitely refined sugars are just the worst. Haven’t had any in 2.5 years except for honey, which has some benefits and doesn’t seem quite as bad.

  8. This post has some good info along with the MDA post today, re lowcarb and re-feeds:

    http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2010/06/catecholamine-honeymoon.html

    Yep you gotta do what works for you!

    I had major digestion issues going from low-carb back to unrefined gluten-free carbs, took about 3months of overeating to get back to normal. I think most will experience this, mixed meals of good fats, unrefined carbs and protein can really throw you digestion for a loop! I was zero carb for close to a year before that, so those 3 months were rough, but now I can eat 3 to 4 meals per day that are the largest I have eaten in my life and digestion is excellent. Another nice thing is that my weight is stable at 195 for 6 month, even though I have constantly been overfeeding for 9 months… I am guessing this points to leptin responding and body weight setpoint.

  9. Kat,
    Good luck! After the first week (or two) it really isn’t that bad. If you get cravings, try the electrolyte drink (with lemon and no honey) or just get away and do something.

    Hope things get better,
    Shel

    • @Shel Thanks for the encouragement! Yep definitely the first week is the hardest, after that I’m usually ok. I have been drinking lemon water before meals to encourage stomach acid production and it seems to be helping. Just need to cook lots of delicious meals to keep myself full on.

      @Cara @ Health Home and Happiness I have been wondering the same thing. I have the Mood Cure on hold at the library and hope I get it soon. This weekend I was going to do a bit more research trying to see if it has helped anyone with sugar addiction. I do think there’s a link with seratonin.

  10. I wonder if some amino acids like Ann Marie talked about would help with your sugar cravings? I really don’t crave sugar like I did before. I’m taking GABA and sometimes DLPA right now. Thanks for the link 🙂

  11. In this boat. I’m crazy addicted to sugar again. Between being plant based & all my PWO recovery sugar, I’m fully hooked. I’ve had at least 1,000 net carbs today.

    Not sure how I can escape it the sugar. I’m doing non-stop glycogen depleting exercise, and if I start moving back towards meat/fat for energy, my joints & body PH throw fits. There’s no doubt I’m recovering faster. I’ve moved to mostly low fat vegetarian to reduce damaging effects. Huge carbs + fat = Not Good!

  12. I think avoiding sugar in fruit is the hardest. We STILL haven’t mastered that. Especially with my girls- it’s hard to deny them fruit (even though I know they are addicted to the sugar) because that is the one thing that I always appreciated in our “old” way of eating- that they craved “healthy” fruit. I am trying to reconfigure my brain around that one, and I’m just not there yet! Ugh!!! I still would rather them reach for fruit than a potato though since at least it seems that is giving them more vitamins, but still- I know, I know. And the honey- I never even LIKED honey before but since that is the only sweetener we allow ourselves now, I can put away some honey. There is definitely something to be said for balance.

    Also, this is totally off-topic but I have been wondering, especially since I go nuts trying to cook and come up with meal plans… do you have a post or COULD you post about what you eat when there is “nothing planned” or what your typical go-to foods in the form of snacks and meals are? I would love more structure for us and am still learning so so much about how to incorporate “regulars” into our diet, especially when trying to get more organ meats and good fats. We are eating FAR too many nuts!

    Thanks!!
    Chickiepea 🙂

  13. @Grok The joints issue is a difficult one. I’m the opposite though. My joints get worse if I eat more carbs. When I was experimenting with eating rice in April, my joints were more stiff/sore than usual.

    Just wondering, what kinds of meat do you get? Have you thought of only trying game meats, or seafood, or something other than chicken/beef? And are you getting mostly pastured? I used to notice digestive symptoms from regular beef, but can eat as much grass-fed beef as I want.

    @Chickiepea Definitely avoiding sugar in fruit is hard. I really think it’s natural for humans to eat tons of fruit when it’s in season. Problem is we get fruit in abundance all year round so over eating fruit can be a daily event. I’m trying to stick to berries. I love bananas but I just don’t think I should be eating such high sugar fruit all the time.

    I’ll definitely share some last-minute meal ideas. I generally don’t keep leftovers too long and I don’t do a lot of freezer meals. I tried menu-planning but actually found it more stressful and it really didn’t suit my lifestyle. We get a basket of random veggies mid-week, I can’t really plan ahead of time what I’m going to make. We recently figured out a system that works for us though, and it’s pretty flexible. I’ll do a post (or maybe a few) on that soon.

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