I mean processed sugar, not the type found naturally in food sources.
At the beginning of November I saw an invite on Facebook to quit sugar or alcohol for a month and get friends to donate to the Alzheimers society. It was called quit for a bit and as my darling dad has dementia and as I have all these stupid illnesses and im pretty sure if i lose weight, some of my symptoms would improve and i need a massive kick up the behind to do something about it, it felt like I was meant to do this. So I did!
What was surprising was that I found it extremely easy to do. 2 years ago i was preparing to undergo a gastric band operation and i needed to do a liver reduction diet for 2 weeks prior to the surgery. I did a practice run to see if I could handle it and found it horrific. Not only was it a total avoidance of any kind of processed sugars, it also including avoiding any other types of sugars or carbohydrates or fats, in fact it was a 600 calorie a day diet that mainly consisted of eating low calorie soup 4 times a day and 6 low fat yoghurts a day and nothing else (there were 2 other options, drinking protein based shakes only or a food diet of 600 cals per day, which I thought would be to tempting to cheat with.
I had a horrific headache for 2 days, which I expected as my body adjusted to not having shit put into it (for the first time since I can remember). I don’t remember feeling hungry in particular and I enjoyed the yoghurst but how I hated the soup and it even got to the stage where I couldnt even put the spoon to my mouth! After 3 days I changed to the food diet and I think because I had started to adjust to the lack of food and because I really wanted the surgery, I mananged a further 10 days, therefore completing 13 days in total, 1 day short, but i was encouraged that i could do it.
Anyway, I ended up changing my mind about the surgery and started being more careful about what I ate, but as usual for me, I stopped because of something and gradually introduced more and more crap back into my diet. Naturally, I gained weight and by October this year, I was craving and eating a large block of chocolate daily! So, when this post came along, I really thought I would struggle with the complete avoidance of sugar, especially chocolate.
Maybe it was because I was determined to do this for my dad, but I found the whole month easy to do. There were only a couple of days where I really felt like eating chocolate, but I was able to resist and completed the month.
I looked into why the campaign wanted the avoidance of sugar and was horrified to discover that there is a connection between processed sugar consumption and Alzheimers (and also Dementia). Not only does my father have dementia, but his mother also had it, which made me wonder if there is a genetic link to the disease. The Alzheimers society states that the link is rare, but there is a gene connection and obviously there is a lot that they still don’t know but are looking into. This also worried me as I am very similar to both my father and grandmother, although, they both had really sweet teeth, I was more savoury when I was healthy, but now I definitely look towards sweet instead and so I wonder, am I destined to develop dementia, especially if I carry on eating processed sugar products. According to the AARP, you are more likely to develop the disease from your mother than your father, so that reduces my chance, but the sugar still is an issue.
I then looked into what other illnesses are linked to the consumption of sugar and was horrified to discover that processed sugar products are linked to a number of illnesses including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, non fatty liver disease and cognitive decline and even some cancers!
Well, this, along with the genes link, was enough to convince me to significantly reduce my sugar intake, to lose weight and to keep my brain active to reduce the chances of me developing these horrors (although Im already obese, so im focussing on tackling this too).
I didn’t notice a reduction in my pain levels over the month, which i was disappointed with, especially as there is clinical evidance that there is a link between sugar and fibromyalgia pain, but I did notice that my energy levels definitely improved significantly and my levels of focus and concentration also improved a little, which again, is another great reason to stay away from sugar.
Im very aware that Christmas is around the corner and I am human and I am going to just not focus on it during the Christmas period, but apart from this period, I am going to try to eradicate processed sugar from my diet as much as I can.
Do you have any experience with the connection between sugar and energy levels, brain function or pain levels? let me know, Im really interested to see who else has experienced something similar.