A LOW CARB NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE
When I was 32 I faithfully executed a low-carb diet. People had been talking about the benefits of low carb, and a nurse practitioner friend who specialized in weight loss promised I would lose weight fast if I followed a specific program of no and low carb dieting. In four days I lost eight pounds. It was pretty exciting. Not only would I be lean again, my boyfriend would probably stop dropping backhanded compliments about my appearance. In retrospect I looked fine, but my health was already like a commuter bus in the Peruvian Andes—much too close to the edge. After those eight pounds the weight loss stopped, and instead of health and leanness I triggered the worst insomnia, physical discomfort, and weight gain of my life, which eventually led to full-blown thyroid cancer and would prove impossible to escape for the next few years of my life.
Today sugar is increasingly demonized. I helped market a show the other day talking about the toxic effects of sugar (I wouldn't have done it if it was my show). From the diabetes epidemic people have come to the conclusion that abnormally elevated blood sugar = high sugar diet = fat. If this were the case you'd be right to avoid sugar. I had often experienced fluctuations in my waist size relative to my observed sugar intake, so I used to believe this too or at least wasn't sure of an opposing viewpoint. Also nothing good comes without sacrifice, or so said every self-righteous person I've met/dated/was born to, and there is no greater sacrifice than giving up creamy mocha frappuccinos on a hot summer day.
OUR CELLS RUN ON SUGAR
Herein lies the problem, that every cell in the human body runs on sugar. To be clear, when I refer to sugar on this blog I am not glibly referring to cakes, cookies, and sweets. Sugar is a broad biological term and dietary forms of sugar are things like Glucose, Fructose and Sucrose. Sugar is the primary driver of the mammalian metabolism. Some cells, like parts of the brain, only run on sugar, so if you are on a low-carb diet and your body doesn't get sugar, what do you think it is going to eat? If starving, the body can generate some of its own sugar from your muscle tissue, by releasing powerful stress hormones which break down the protein of your muscles and internal organs and coverts them to sugar. Going on low-carb diets is quite misleading, because the body will still create sugar only it will come from your muscles and organs, and creates immense pain and suffering which is why low-carb and starvation is difficult to accomplish, and frankly is your body's way of telling you to STOP WHAT YOURE DOING RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. Since we as humans have a tendency to ignore our bodies or misinterpret signals I will tell you WHY sugar is not only necessary for life and health but more importantly your outward youth and good looks. No, I did not just get those priorities mixed up. People will gladly spend thousands and thousands of dollars on beauty treatments, cosmetics, and surgery, but tell them they can look ten years younger with something as simple as giving up gluten and eating copious amounts of sugar and suddenly I am forbidden from coming near their children ever again. But outward health and beauty truly is a reflection of inner health. A properly functioning metabolism creates proper physical structures which are reflected in younger, healthier looking features. But not all foods support health and beauty. Pasta and bread, contrary to what you have been told, is noting but pure sugar. Starch is many many chains of glucose strung together, which is why pasta and bread are so effective at making you fat. But also because grains are high in phytoestrogenic compounds which cause swelling, inflammation, and metabolic illnesses like those dark circles under your puffy, sagging eyes.
Diabetics and diabetics only are who should manage their sugar intake, and even then they should improve their cell's ability to process sugar rather than reduce its intake. How well your body utilizes sugar is a barometer for health as a whole. If sugar is converted into fat it is a sign your health and ability to burn sugar needs improvement and not that you should avoid sugar. Non-diabetics often do a pseudo-diabetic dance, avoiding sugar/carbs but then indulging once the cravings become too strong. This is a very dangerous behavior, eliciting repeated exposure to high stress hormones, unnecessarily too, which over time will develop a host of more serious health conditions specifically related to carbohydrate deficiencies like eczema, insomnia, weight gain, etc.
One of the roles of sugar is to aid the body in the assimilation of protein. When you eat a large dinner but find yourself hungry again soon after, it is because a large amount of protein was consumed without enough sugar to assimilate it, your body ran out and is prompting you to eat more...One of the reasons why desserts are so satisfying after a large meal. Other sugar deficiencies occur with coffee consumption, where weight conscious people forego breakfast yet drink coffee which always increases your metabolism. If your blood sugar is lacking what do you think your revved up metabolism is going to be eating? No, it won't eat your fat. It's gonna eat your muscle.
Sugars which increase health and beauty are ones which digest easily like fruit, cane, and milk sugar, to fuel cells without overwhelming them with glucose as starch does, and helping damaged cells repair DNA in an absence of phytoestrogens. Tubers, as a starch, are a general exception and after cooked are easily digested, as are vegetable fruits like squash and tomatoes.
Some signs of ineffective sugar metabolism are weight gain, erectile dysfunction, insomnia, irritability and fatigue. These are usually due to the inefficient use of sugar in a process called glycolysis, where sugar is converted to pyruvate instead of directly oxidized. This process produces lactic acid as a byproduct. You might be familiar with lactic acid and it's relation to exercising. But when a body loses its ability to oxidize sugar properly, it begins to generate lactic acid even during periods of rest, and especially at night while you are sleeping. The formation of lactic acid lowers the metabolic rate and body temperature, and causes a host of unwanted side effects, including the suppression of proper sugar metabolism.
RESTORING SUGAR METABOLISM
To restore your cells' ability to oxidize sugar properly it is important to first of all avoid foods which suppress sugar oxidation. The first of these are foods which contain lactic acid. Eating foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut is like pouring gasoline on a fire—Your body is already creating too much lactic acid, suppressing metabolism and choking sugar oxidation, so adding more lactic acid from the diet only compounds the problem. Other foods which suppress sugar oxidation and encourage lactic acid production are grains and bad fats. Grains suppress sugar oxidation by elevating stress hormones. Bad fats like soy, corn, canola, and fish oil, which are unstable in high temperatures, suppress sugar oxidation by merely being present in the body. Cutting out these foods is vital to restoring a young and robust metabolism which oxidizes sugar properly.
Secondly, foods and supplements should be used to raise the metabolic rate, which will eliminate lactic acid production and start proper sugar oxidation. Aspirin, coffee, and Vitamin C can be used to direct sugar to oxidation instead of fermentation. Fruits, protein, and whole foods high in vitamin C and minerals (and low in bad fats) will increase the metabolic rate. The inclusion of good fats such as coconut oil, butter (especially grass fed), grass-fed beef tallow, cocoa butter, shea butter, etc. which are stable in high-heat, high-oxygen environments will help stabilize cells and shift sugar metabolism to oxidation as they begin to replace the bad fats stored in the tissues.
Certain behaviors can also suppress proper sugar metabolism. Starvation and excessive exercise both cause elevation of hormones which store sugar as fat or ferment sugar instead of oxidizing it. When restoring proper sugar metabolism it is important not to let the blood sugar drop to the point of being hungry. Eating every two or three hours, even it's as simple as a coca cola or a handful of raisins is essential to prevent the elevation of stress hormones which depress sugar oxidation. Excess physical activity does the same thing but also generates lactic acid, which again supresses normal sugar oxidation. It is important not to strain your physical body. Sweating is an easy sign to detect excess physical strain. If you're sweating very much, you're most likely generating lactic acid and suppressing sugar oxidation. So take it easy.
If you eat sugar and you gain weight, it is not a sign that you need to stop eating sugar but that your body is not oxidizing it properly, and you might not be storing glycogen. If weight gain from sugar is a problem for you, please read my article Permanent Weight Loss, as it explains how sugar relates to weight gain.
Sugar is what your body wants in order to thrive, if you put in the right kind of fuel you get the right kind of benefits, and besides, you know you want to. Consider this your permission. Just don't keep stuffing your face with grains and blame the sugar when you get fat.
SUGAR METABOLISM RESTORATION LIST
VITAMIN C FOODS AND SUPPLEMENT
ASPIRIN (in the morning, and at night if health is very severe)
VITAMIN B7 (BIOTIN, once a day)
GOOD FATS (BUTTER, COCONUT OIL)
AVOID BAD FATS and cut down or eliminate GRAINS
KEEP UP BLOOD SUGAR
AVOID EXCESSIVELY STRENUOUS ACTIVITY
*it is important to avoid supplements which contain allergenic additives, or there isn't any point in using them. Common allergens are: soy lecithin, carrageenan, gums (like guar or arabic), silica, silica dioxide, etc.