One of the perils of sharing any diet journey or any personal experience for that matter…
If it worked for me, will it work for you?
We all share a lot in common as humans, but evolution has made us variable too.
Penicillin saves lives, but can also take it away too if you’re allergic.
Duh, most of you get that. That is why it is so important to talk with doc or functional medicine person before you change course in a significant way (moving breakfast back two yours isn’t probably that big a deal, but you get my drift).
But what has made the fasting/no sugar journey so powerful is that my experience tracked nearly exactly what Dr. Fung and the Fastic app told me to expect in terms of losing weight, feeling better, and getting much healthier.
Fast, remove sugar, lose weight, and get healthy.
It really is that simple.
Yep, it probably will work for you, but if doesn’t, you’d be the exception to the rule.
Am I drinking the Fung/Taubes Kool Aid? Have I become a Fungian obsessed follower? Infatuated by new mancrush on Taubes ?
Actually no (well maybe just a little), it is more mundane than that. Fung is no guru. He does have a medical degree. His work does contained extensive citation of peer reviewed medical literature. And he does have 20 years of clinical experience in fasting and its benefits. And for Taubes, see my previous post. He is a Harvard/Stanford educated science journalist and largely have been proven right more than 20 years after his attack on high carb/low fat diet recommendations. Not a doctor yes, but he lectures at medical schools throughout the country. He is no dummy!
Fung outlines the insulin/obesity connection. Taubes provided the sugar like a drug analogy, comparing sugar to cocaine.
If you don’t want to read the books, here’s a distillation here of their work, which matches my own personal experience well.
You might think that cocaine/sugar comparison is just too much.
But look closer and it’s a better analogy than you think.
This cocaine connection is just an analogy, of course. I am not comparing you to a coke dealer if you hand out sugar treats on Halloween. So don’t get all worked up about telling me how sugar is not really as bad as cocaine. It is not as dangerous, but it is still dangerous over the long term and it’ll make you fat.
Here’s why it is important to think about this sugar as a kind of fat inducing drug that you should avoid.
Though not nearly as bad, processed sugar has a lot of similarities to cocaine. It is like a distant, but still related cousin.
The hardest part of any diet is hunger. Hunger, of course, is good. It is your body’s natural response to tell you that nourishment is needed. If you ignore for too long, things won’t end up well for you.
But hunger is not always real. Sometimes it is fake hunger, just an artificial response to a certain hormone release.
Some of you may have experienced this if you had a few glasses of wine or beer and salty snacks. The more chips you eat, the hungrier you get.
From what I’ve heard from drugs like marijuana ;), it will stimulate hunger too.
Our sight and smell make us hungry too. Ever walked by someone grilling out? Just the smell of barbeque makes you feel hungry. Watching Anthony Bourdain always made me hungry.
So on any diet journey, you want to search out foods that actually address your physical hunger, i.e. naturally nourish you and remove any foods that create artificial hunger while serving very little nutritional purpose.
Simple processed sugar (simple carbs) is particularly insidious as a food.
First, your brain loves the stuff! It releases an instant sugar high, making you feel good and clear, temporarily.
But what goes up must come down, the crash follows the high.
And, your body really can’t use the calories in sugar very well, so it stores it as fat, making you fat. Your body can’t process sugar’s evil twin, high fructose corn syrup, at all, meaning it goes pretty much straight to stored fat. If you must eat sugar, at least avoid high fructose corn syrup!
Double worse yet, after the sugar crash, you don’t feel good, making you want to at least get back to normal or to return to the high you felt. You get the quick fix by eating more.
Triple worse, you are now on a sugar treadmill, eating not to satisfy real physical need, but to address the illusory hunger you think is real. Your brain thinks it’s hungry, but your body really is just fine without it. It’s a hunger illusion.
Quadruple worse, your constant consumption of food is now spiking your insulin throughout the day, meaning you can’t tap your fat stores for nutrients, which is the evolutionary reason for fat. It’s like you have to ask for money even though you have a pot of gold locked in a fault. The insulin blocks you from tapping your truth source of wealth, your fat.
Quintuple worse, you’re only not tapping your body’s energy source, fat, you’re adding to that stored energy in the form of more fat.
Sextuple worse, you’re now gaining weight, making you feel less energy and lowering your desire to exercise because it is harder to work out when you’re heavy.
Septuple worse, when you’re overweight, you likely won’t exercise as much, depriving your brain of naturally occurring endorphins, your brain’s feel good chemicals.
Octuple worse, now you feel like crap so to escape so you start pounding shots, taking you out of the unhappiness
Ninetuple worse, you now have a another non-nutritious bad habit, alcohol, that makes you artificially hungry.
Decatuple worse, you likely will cross the obesity threshold, you are now at risk from all sorts of health related consequences, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature death.
Is all of this worth it for that extra sugar in your coffee or that liquid sugar in the form of pop or orange juice?
Oh c’mon Rock, it is just too much. Just a little in moderation is ok!
Yep, it is… if you are one of the few people have just one. Ever had just one potato chip?
Sugar, especially the processed, highly refined stuff, really does have a lot of similarities to a drug: it is addictive, serves very little purpose, and causes a lot of bad things to happen in your life.
Simple sugar is much worse than complex sugar, ie bread, starchy foods, or any other sugar containing food that includes fiber, which slows the digestion process down and allows more time for your body to actually use the nutrients.
Yep, sugar is just like coca leaf. It keeps getting worse and worse the more you process it. The coca leaf is not much worse than coffee, a mild stimulant. Cocaine is well cocaine. And once you rock up the powder, you get crack.
Although complex carbs are much better for you and in some circles, considered very good for you, you still suffer a lot of the perils of sugar, the fake hunger, the highs, the crash, the cycles, and the obesity.
That’s why keto people are so against sugar, especially the simple carbs.
The complex carbs, are, of course, where the arguments are between low carb/high carb camps. Whole grain breads, sweet potatoes, potatoes contain a lot of really good things for you. The “pro” refined sugar camp is not saying it is great for you, it just “empty calories” safely consumed in moderation or if you’re exercising all of the time
I remain Keto (“ish”). Still going to consume natural sugars in apples, the carbs in starchy potatoes, and the small amount of carbs in the good veggies like broccoli. And just as a personal choice, I am not going to give up IPA’s following a nice bike ride.
Even Keto people are not as opposed to sugar when it is found in blueberries and other berries that you would see out in the woods. They just don’t like the refined sugar and also the sugars occurring in fruits adapted to humans like apples (I agree with you on apples), hence the “ish.”
The fasting gives you margin for error in the excessive insulin front and hence you don’t need to freak out as much about the whole carbs versus no carbs front. That might be why the Fastic app tells you not to be too concerned about natural sugars in apples or certain carby foods.
Without fasting, the only way to get to true ketosis, burning fat for energy, is through foods. There are a lot of critics to keto, but one of the strongest is that we simply cannot eat eggs, meat, spinach, cheese and broccoli the rest of our lives. We just live in too carby a culture for that to be viable for the long haul.
While there is more room for error on carbs on the fasting front, it is just easier to do when you are eating calorie dense, nutritious foods like avocado, eggs, and bacon rather than bread.
If you’re still not convinced, your best rebuttal would be to try it if you want to lose weight. Read the books, talk to your doctor, and get busy fasting.
Tomorrow, I am going to address one of the common bs arguments against fasting, that you will be hungry, miserable and isolated as you long for food. I’ll write about that more tomorrow about why that’s just not true.
For now I’m just going to tell you this: It’s ok to fast from fasting! “Cheating” is not only welcomed, but encouraged to live a healthy life. It’s all about the balance baby!