Image sourced from www.coachingforadhdsuccess.com
Recently I saw a documentary called Fed Up. Katy Couric was the narrator and one of the Producers of the film, so I give the content much more weight than other films of this type. Of course I saw other such films like Super Size Me; Fathead; Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead as well as Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead 2, but this particular film struck a chord in me.
I am 42 years old. I am 5 foot, 10.5 inches tall. I weigh, for the last several year, right around 215 pounds. Most of the weight is in my belly area. I have tried a few other dieting techniques; low carb (but I love bread too damn much), smaller portion sizes (but I have no willpower), and I tried exercising extensively to try and burn calories so I could eat the same. To no avail. Not a single pound really lost. My cholesterol improved. My blood pressure was better, but the weight was the same. Since I am married I never really thought it was too big of a deal, but over the last year or so my sex life with the ‘ol lady has gone from so so to no no. The both of us have put on 40 or more pounds since our marriage. Enough was enough!
In Fed Up the premise of the story is that the food industry as a whole has manipulated regulation and bullied legislators into supporting (or tanking) laws that keep the American people in the dark about the shit that’s in the food we buy from the store. No I do not mean ‘pink slime’, however if you think the golden arches can give you a .99 hamburger and all that is in it is 100% beef than you really are dumb as a box of rocks! Sugar. That’s what I’m talking about. However you want to say it: sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, molasses, and a dozen other chemical sounding names- the shit is sugar. It’s in everything.
According to Katy the way this happened is through subsidies. Farmers were given money to just grow corn or sugar. Excess corn was made in to corn syrup. At the same time medical guidelines came about that condemned fat. The food industry responded with low and reduced fat products. Americans hated them. To make us like the new low fat goodies Big Food started adding these cheap subsidized sweeteners to the low fat foods. American taste-buds were tricked into accepting them. It worked so well that Big Food decided to start adding sugars to everything! To mitigate the massive blow-back from the public over the sheer quantities of sweets in our everyday foods, the food industry lobby bullied our law-makers into supporting laws that looked out for Big Food and not the constituents. Look at your food label- any label. See all those juicy pieces of info clearly lined out for you to track your healthy daily percentage of each food group? Why is there no DPV (daily percentage value) after sugar?
If you knew that the 3 servings of ranch dressing you dump on your garden salad has 250% of your daily sugar value you wouldn’t eat the shit, that’s why!
Sugar is not bad. By itself, yes, it’s terrible. With fiber its acceptable and even necessary for quick energy. Foods with fiber along with sugars allow the body to break down the fiber while utilizing the sugar. The pancreas creates insulin that pumps through the liver and converts sugars to fat for future storage. No fiber with the sugar, the insulin is mass produced and more fat is created. This is, of course, a super-simplified version of what really goes on with sugars in the digestive system. The point is, you want foods that are low in sugar to no sugar with good fiber content (or bran) and no more than 20 times the fiber content in carbohydrates. Carbs are cool as long as they are not from sugars. A good example of this is a Triscuit. 2 grams of protein, 0 grams of sugar (however there is maltodextrin in the ingredients so that could possibly be a point of contention over how healthy the food is), 1 gram of fiber, and 22 grams of carbs. No sugar, some fiber, and just a smidgen over 20 times the fiber in carbs. This is an acceptable food. 6 crackers is a serving so don’t overeat and destroy was small gains you got by eating a decent food. I eat them at work around 2 or 3 to keep the hunger away.
At no point on any food in the USA will you see any DPV for sugar on any label. However, on the pack of Digestives (cookies) I bought from England there IS a DPV of sugar. This shows it is an American problem, not worldwide.
My current diet blends as many good things I have learned as I can. I hate working out but I like swimming so now I swim 3 days a week for at least 10 laps or more. I limit my sugar intake to 4 tablespoons a day (this is much harder than you think since sugar is in every damn food on the shelves!) and I work with a new food rule: 70% vegetable matter, 20% meat, and 10% processed and I adhere STRICTLY to all food portion sizes. My stomach will eventually shrink to the point where hunger is not an issue any longer. I reserve Friday nights as my “eat out” meal and try to not over-eat the rich foods I will, inevitably, eat while there. As in Fed Up, my mantra has become, “if it’s not real food, I’m not eating it”.