Sugar is not your enemy - added sugar is
In setting your long-term health and fitness objectives, it is a good idea to avoid extremes.
Extremes are not only almost impossible to keep up in the long-term, but they may also harm rather than help you.
Dietary extremes include keto diets (of course) packed with second rate fats and protein, no water diets, and "eat whatever carbs you want as long as you burn it off" diets.
Fitness extremes include cross-fit, which is not going to be your answer to living longer better, and gym machines, which dumb your brain and body down to just looking good in a t-shirt.
One way I think about exercise and food plans is to think ahead - 10 or 15 years ahead. I ask myself, will I be able to apply these same food and exercise principles then, and will they benefit me then?
I may not be able to do precisely the same exercises, at the same intensity. But could I do the same type of training in terms of its health and fitness benefits?
If what I am doing is not going to be sustainable, then I modify it to be sustainable.
I'm in this for the long-term - the goal being to live longer better.
For example, dietary advice is full of extremes, but the "sensible" middle ground is consistent - eat real food, with the right balance of macronutrients, and not too much of it.
Sugar research was covertly funded to point the finger at fat
Sugar has long been at the centre of extreme views about healthy eating.
Before the 1980s the sugar industry covertly funded hundreds of "independent research" projects which "proved" that sugar was harmless.
The researchers not only agreed to keep the source of their funding secret. They also agreed to the sugar industry reviewing the draft findings of their projects - just to make sure the results were "correct".
The outcome was consistent, over decades. These studies universally singled out fat and cholesterol as the key dietary risk factors and downplayed the hazards of sugar.
We know now about that wide-spread fraud carried out by the sugar industry.
But unfortunately the simple truth - that we need to cut out added sugar - has been lost in - again - dietary extremes.
Cut out fruit and eat more vegetables - seriously?
There are raging arguments along the lines that "sugar is sugar" and therefore we need to cut out all fruit, and also vegetables high in "sugar".
I'm diabetic, and I take a lot of care about the food I eat - especially when it comes to sugar.
I gave up added sugar more than 50 years ago. Unfortunately, I still developed diabetes.
I eat all forms of "embedded" naturally occurring sugar, e.g. in fruit. I just don't add sugar myself, and I avoid most things that have added sugar.
If there is a celebration, I eat some cake. I just don't normally ever eat cake or sweet floury food. I have an occasional beer. But in the main the sugar I eat comes from fruit.
The sugar social justice warriors demand that we eat no sugar - no fruit, no nothing that has this terrible substance.
So let's just assume that all sugar is bad - as the Sugar SJWs assert.
We still need those carbs.
I've got it, we'll tell people to eat lots more vegetables! That's sure to work.
Kids - you can't eat any more fruit, and you can't have any more fruit juice. Take these carrots and celery sticks, and tomatoes and put them in your lunch box. And here is your V8 vegetable juice.
No one is going to eat more vegetables, and they are getting neurotic about eating fruit. What's left?
Oh, there's pasta, candy, croissants, take-out, pizza, cakes, scones, biscuits and bread. These can't be as bad as fruit - there's only a little it of sugar - right?
Fruit isn't the problem, it's the rest of the diet
Here's the truth. For most people eating fruit is one of the healthiest parts of their diets. We don't eat enough fruit.
It's the whole rest of their nutrition habits that they need to improve. Let's forget the fruit and fix the rest.
If reducing your sugary food intake is making you hungry, then stop avoiding good fats. The calories from a handful of nuts are far better for you than the same number from a packet of crisps.
Drink full-cream milk again and add full-cream yoghurt. They'll taste better.
I'll admit that I found it challenging to drink tea or coffee after I gave up added sugar. Gradually, over the years, I became used to it.
And you know what? Everything tasted better - because you can taste the real flavour and not just sugar.
When you have your new "no added sugar" food plan working for you, I doubt you'll see any reason to give up fruit.
Fruit is nutrient-rich. Many fruits contain essential nutrients that many of us don’t get enough of, like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).
The reality is there's no reason to remove foods from your diet just because they naturally contain sugar. After all, these foods are more than only sugars. They contain vital nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other healthful components like antioxidants and probiotics.
Now, I'm off to enjoy some mango and yoghurt (full cream Greek).
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter