Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm cold turkey until I get some hot turkey!

Recently, Jimmy Moore of Livin La Vida Low Carb decided he would go sweet free until Thanksgiving.

He's been having a hard time losing some weight he's put on in the past year and he thinks that eating low-carb sweets, artificial sweeteners, and even fruit may be a part of his problem.

Well, I'm writing to tell you that I'm on board too and I hope you'll join Jimmy and I.

Why on earth would a low-carb nut like me rail against artificial sweeteners? They're great for avoiding the poison more commonly known as sugar, but does that mean that they're any better for you?

The main premise behind eating low-carb is that your body was designed to eat whole, unrefined, natural foods. This means that foods that require processing and refining to be edible are best avoided. I read a book called the Paleo Diet, in which the author, Loren Cordain, said that a good rule of thumb was to only eat foods which could be eaten raw. When I say this to people, they think I'm crazy because they believe you can't eat eggs or meat raw. Of course you can! I'm not saying you should, but obviously our ancestors did and people still do.

By that premise, obviously, our bodies were not meant to consume great amounts of sugar as it was generally unavailable to our ancestors except in the form of some occasional honey or seasonal fruit. Our ancestors may have also gnawed on sugar cane, but they did not consume refined sugar.

If I haven't lost you yet, then allow me to close this argument by saying that our body was not designed to consume artificial sweeteners. I won't say that they're going to give you cancer or that you'll get sick and die from eating them. I have found that they can cause problems with my reactive hypoglycemia and I think they have some of the same addictive properties of refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. I also think that they may tend to encourage low-carbers to loosen their resolve because you may fall back into craving more sweets.

So, if you've improved your health and well-being by consuming foods that your body was made to thrive on, consider kicking the parts of your diet that don't fit that bill. To make a long story short, I'm giving up sweets until at least Thanksgiving. I'll probably indulge that day, but will I go back to sweeteners after that. Only time will tell.

While we're on the subject of what your body was designed to thrive on and the foods for which it was not designed, can you think of any others you should consider getting rid of......?

How do you feel about artificial sweeteners? How much do you normally consume? Do you think that sugar and other refined carbs are addictive? Do you find that artificial sweeteners have the same effect?


PS. Don't fear the fat! Especially if it's from all natural animal sources. No processing required.


Former Donut Junkie said...

Alex, to answer your question about AS [artificial sweeteners], I don't think they are bad for you. I KNOW they are bad for you! Allow me elaborate a bit.

I'm not sure how cancerous they are, but for a former sugar addict, the use of AS can easily lead me back down the road to over-consuming sugar again. Why? Because of the "sweet taste" and its effect on our body as you described it. That's the main reason I have refrained from making LC versions of desserts and other sweet treats. They remind me of the real thing and make me want to give in and eat real sugar. And because they are a LC version, in my mind that gives me the green light to consume more of the LC version cause it's not 'fattening'. It's the old mind playing tricks on us.

I'm not total Anti-AS, as I use some in hot herbal tea and still drink an occasional diet soda. It's a very individual choice, but I am so afraid of being tricked into eating sugar again, I'd rather leave them alone as much as possible. I'm a "Former Donut Junkie"....and I want to stay that way!

Michelle said...

I'll be joining you, even though I have only been low carbing for 3 weeks I too believe artificial sweetners trigger me in a huge way just as if it was sugar.

Alex said...


I'm with on getting tricked into eating sugar again.

I've definitely found that the more AS I have, the more I feel like it blurs the line between what I should be eating and what I shouldn't.

I've found that since I gave up sweeteners again, I have felt less need to break "the rules".

I think I can handle the occasional diet soda, but I think for now, I think I'm better off completely avoiding.


Alex said...


Glad to hear you'll be joining me.

Sorry it took so long to write back. I get wrapped up in stuff really easy and then I forget to fulfill my blogging duties. ;)

I find that when I first give up sweeteners, I tend to eat a little more of everything else which helps me keep my resolve not to eat sweeteners.

I do really think that we have no need of them and I think that their draw is somewhat like an addiction, depending on who you ask.