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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sugar Addiction — Why I Went Off Sugar

Crazy cola ad. Look closely. Mind control.
Tonight, I did a quick presentation at Ignite Salt Lake, entitled "Who's Your Sugar, Fatty?" See, I've been off sugar (and I'm talking about refined sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup and any other processed sugars) for almost two years and plan on staying off for the rest of my life. Why? Let me tell you.

My daughter sorting her loot.
1. Sugar is a drug. You can get addicted to it. In fact, most Americans are addicted to sugar. This addiction starts at a young age, too. Parents feel they need to "reward" their children with candy and goodies. I'm no different with my kids. Halloween is one of the biggest binge-fests of the year (although, most holidays have enough sweets accessible to send anyone into a diabetic coma). I have memories of sorting out the candy, counting it all like a pirate who has just returned from a plunder. It's fun! Candy is bright, colorful and tasty. Plus, you get this rush when you eat it.

2. Disease. There are too many people with diabetes in the world who could have avoided getting the disease. My family is included in that group of people. My paternal grandmother and her sisters all had adult-onset diabetes. I don't want to get it or even get close to getting it. So, I avoid sugar and exercise regularly. Germs actually feed off of sugar. That's why many people get sick around holidays — when people are eating more sweets.

3. Sugar makes me crazy. I literally feel like I can't control myself if I get a taste of it. Maybe you feel that way too? Well, it's not unusual to feel a little wacky when you eat sugar. Both sugar and the taste of sweet activate beta endorphin receptor sites in your brain — the same receptor sites that are activated by heroin, morphine, and cocaine. How else can I explain making and eating a whole pan of brownies by myself and washing everything so my husband wouldn't see it. I was a junkie!

Some people might say that if you eat fruit, you're technically eating sugar. Sure, you can argue that point. My point is that it isn't refined and hasn't been through anything other than the growing process in nature. There's no question that a balance of fruits and veggies (plus a lot of nuts) is great for your health. If you have to substitute sugar, I use agave. I've found that it doesn't make me feel crazy and a little goes a long way.

Watch for my recipe for sugar-free cheesecake in the next few days. Yum!


  1. Amen sista ;) I can't wait to see your cheesecake recipe and compare it to the one I have. YUM!

  2. We totally need to swap recipes, Nisha!

  3. Hey Pam, thought I'd drop in to see what's good in your neighborhood. Thanks for stopping by mines. I totally agree with you on the sugar thing. I eat as less as I can. I don't even really buy it. Want to know why??? My 14 and 11 year olds eat it like it's going out of style. It's crazy. I can buy a pound and within TWO days it's gone. What did they use it for? I have no idea. I've warned them that they're going to get limbs cut off in the future if they don't stop STEALING my sugar. They just don't understand. So in order to protect them from their obvious addiction, I just don't buy it. Oh, and I LOVVVVVEEEEEE cheesecake. Bring on the recipe. : )

  4. Pam, I totally agree with you, as you know! If you're interested in a peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe that uses bananas as the sweetener, here is the recipe.

  5. Mi3centsworth - I have sugar in the house, but I have all my kids eat the healthy smoothies I make and they've learned to like them.

    Heather - I'd love to swap recipes with you...although I'm not certain I can really get into using beans like you do in desserts. I guess that's an acquired taste.

  6. Great post (following a great Ignite presentation). Though I'm not going off sugar any time soon, I do believe in moderation and I'm doing okay in that respect. ;)

  7. Wow, Pam!! I'm so impressed that you're still off of sugar! I needed to read this to get inspired again. You're amazing! Wish I could have seen your Ignite presentation! Bet it was AWESOME!!! xoxo

  8. Pam, yes we should swap recipes. I don't use beans that often in desserts, mainly because I don't really make desserts all too often. You need not fear! :)

  9. I've dabbled on and off treats for the last 6 weeks and one thing I found is that I'm better if i just have none at all. It's not even good for me to just have 1 cookie. I can usually have the will power to not have another, but it's funny how having just one makes me think about them all the time. Don't know if I would be able to go off it for 2 years, but for now, I like my weight loss results and that I don't feel like a crazy person!

    I'm super proud of you!


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