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  #1   ^
Old Mon, Aug-05-19, 02:03
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Plan: Low Carb
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Default Does a sugar detox work? I’m on it and have had some surprising results

From The Washington Post
August 4, 2019

Does a sugar detox work? I’m on it and have had some surprising results

Early one Saturday, I headed to a “sugar detox” seminar at my gym. I didn’t expect it to be a hot ticket, but when I opened the classroom door every seat was taken.

One was filled by “Grandma Teresa,” as she introduced herself, who had brought along her two granddaughters, ages 11 and 13, because “sugar is really bad and I want them to learn as much as they can when they are still young.” The other participants, all women from their 30s to 70s, said they wanted to curb their sugar intake for a variety of reasons — to ease a health struggle; to lose weight; or to reduce their risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia.

I was there on doctor’s orders. He had advised a sugar detox for me to lose visceral fat — the internal kind that accumulates around the organs and drives hunger, overeating, weight gain, muscle loss and brain damage.

It can also cause fatty liver disease, increase the cholesterol that causes heart disease and increase inflammation, which Mark Hyman, the medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, said “affects a whole range of diseases from cancer to heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.”

For instance, a recent study found that consuming sugary drinks, including soda and fruit juice, may “significantly” increase your risk of developing cancer, especially of the breast.

Health coach Anna Seethaler opened the detox seminar with three questions: How much sugar are you eating? When are you eating it? And why are you eating it?

My answers mirrored those of my classmates: No clue. All day long, especially in the evening (or any time I felt lonely, angry or deserving of a treat). And because I like it. I learned that the average American consumes nearly 152 pounds of sugar annually, or 22 teaspoons a day. The typical kid in the United States eats a horrifying 34 teaspoons daily. (The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons a day for women and children, nine for men.)

Sugar is everywhere: It’s in cereal and skim milk, bread, salad dressings, wine, white potatoes, pasta and pizza — not to mention desserts.

Seethaler sent us away with homework: Seek out and record the sugars in our diets. I had thought I’d been eating pretty healthfully, but my journal quickly told me otherwise. This surprise was what Seethaler intended.

Some products already show an “added sugar” line item in the Nutrition Facts Panel on their label, and by 2021 all food makers will be required to include it. Until then, Jessica Levinson, a New York City-based nutritionist in private practice, tells her clients to read food labels and “know the various terms for sugar, which include agave nectar, brown rice syrup, and fruit juice concentrate,” in addition to the ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup.

Hyman, who has written “The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet,” says his intent is to “completely obliterate the idea” that all calories are the same, that there’s no difference between 100 calories of Coca-Cola or cauliflower.

“Calories in, calories out,” he says, “is a completely disproven hypothesis.”

All this is to say that cauliflower is better for you than Coke.


Hyman advocates a cold-turkey approach to his patients.

“You want people to experience their hunger, their behavior, their mood, their energy [and] their chronic symptoms if they stop [consuming] sugar and starch for a week or two weeks or three weeks,” he said by phone. (Starch, which is found in potatoes, corn, rice and many grains, converts to sugar when consumed.) Our biochemistry, he says, not will power, drives our cravings and hunger patterns. It’s not a “moral failing that we can’t control our diet.”

As I started my detox, Hyman advised me to add “a lot of fat, because fat makes you feel full [and] speeds your metabolism,” which I didn’t know. Then came a second revelation: “Fat actually helps you burn fat,” he explained, destroying many of the myths I’d grown up with.

I’d been avoiding high-fat foods like the plague because as everyone “knew,” fat makes you fat.

Not so, said Hyman. “Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat.”

Fat, he says, “increases muscle mass and decreases inflammation — if it’s the right fat” — by that he includes coconut butter, MCT oil (or medium-chain triglycerides), extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil, and those found in wild fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, nuts and avocados. (See his complete list at .)

Hyman points to a recent study in Nature that found that those on an unrestricted high-fat (low carb) diet lost more weight, had better control of their blood sugar, lower triglyercides and better HDL (the good cholesterol).

For the first several days, frankly, my detoxing was hell. Making certain foods forbidden made me want them more. Ice cream. Pasta. Chocolate. Even wine, which contains a fair amount of sugar. My cravings were intense and seemed never-ending, and if I cheated I felt like a loser. I was irritable and moody — and, yes, as is often the case, constipated.

But by day five the cravings had subsided. I’d stopped eating bread, because even whole wheat bread, Hyman explained, converts more quickly to glucose, or blood sugar, than table sugar. (The exception — whole grain breads — such as those made from wheat berry, whole barley and whole grain oats.)

But here’s the part that blew my mind: I started to lose weight. Before the detox I weighed 166 pounds. Twelve weeks later, I hit a new low adult weight: 155. I’ve cinched in my belt a notch. My bloodwork looks much better (my triglycerides dropped by half in six weeks). And as my belly fat has reduced, I do feel better and more energetic. Later this month I’ll see what my HDL and LDL numbers look like. Fingers crossed.

Seethaler and Hyman both talk about sugar as addictive, which is why it’s so hard to kick. Sugar, Hyman says, “actually causes us to stimulate the same brain area that causes addiction for heroin and cocaine.” That’s why he advocates a cold-turkey sugar detox.

Levinson, the nutritionist, prefers starting with small changes. She suggests clients “work on reducing sugars one meal at a time and make sure to have healthier alternatives that will actually satisfy cravings.” Levinson advocates for moderation and reminds me of the adage, “It’s the dose that makes the poison.”

I’m now in my fourth month of a modified detox — I don’t want to live without wine or some sweets (I eat three 1-inch squared pieces of very dark chocolate a day). I know I can’t avoid all added sugars, no matter how vigilant I may be.

Sugar detoxing is not easy, especially when visiting friends. On a recent weekend, my hosts made five delicious pizzas, each with a white-flour crust that when eaten quickly converts to blood sugar. I decided to indulge for that evening, remembering that tomorrow was another day. I wish I’d had a Grandma Teresa to start me earlier, but I’m glad to be on the detox bandwagon now.

The big question: How long will I stay on it? Stay tuned.
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  #2   ^
Old Mon, Aug-05-19, 05:27
thud123's Avatar
thud123 thud123 is online now
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Plan: Eat B4 Noon (2020 Q4)
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...Hyman advised me to add “a lot of fat, because fat makes you feel full [and] speeds your metabolism,” which I didn’t know.

I didn't know that neither - true? speed? why would one want to speed up metabolism? and live shorter, like humming bird?
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  #3   ^
Old Mon, Aug-05-19, 06:19
teaser's Avatar
teaser teaser is offline
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Posts: 14,348
Plan: mostly milkfat
Stats: 190/152.4/154 Male 67inches
Progress: 104%
Location: Ontario

Probably talking about the David Ludwig studies where already reduced weight people had higher metabolic rates on a low carb versus a high carb diet.

I'm not sure about hummingbirds.. but

Metabolism is a defining feature of all living organisms, with the metabolic process resulting in the production of free radicals that can cause permanent damage to DNA and other molecules. Surprisingly, birds, bats and other organisms with high metabolic rates have some of the slowest rates of senescence begging the question whether species with high metabolic rates also have evolved mechanisms to cope with damage induced by metabolism. To test whether species with the highest metabolic rates also lived the longest I determined the relationship between relative longevity (maximum lifespan), after adjusting for annual adult survival rate, body mass and sampling effort, and mass‐specific field metabolic rate (FMR) in 35 species of birds. There was a strongly positive relationship between relative longevity and FMR, consistent with the hypothesis. This conclusion was robust to statistical control for effects of potentially confounding variables such as age at first reproduction, latitude and migration distance, and similarity in phenotype among species because of common phylogenetic descent. Therefore, species of birds with high metabolic rates senesce more slowly than species with low metabolic rates.

With their small size and high metabolism, the hummingbird lifespan is generally only a few years, but the life expectancy of a hummingbird is variable and some have survived for more than a decade. The oldest known wild hummingbird lived to 12 years and 2 months. In captive environments such as zoos, with proper feeding and nutrition, hummingbirds can live up to 14 years. In the wild, they spend their lives in a fast-paced migratory search for food.

I would guess the main problem for wild hummingbird longevity is probably that they're bite-sized.

Only one study on ketogenic diet and longevity, in mice.

A ketogenic diet extends longevity and healthspan in adult mice

Metabolic rate doesn't seem to be addressed directly--but on equal calories, the mice had a lower body weight and lower body fat than control mice--so either a higher metabolic rate, or decreased calorie (fat) absorption or ketone wasting or something. I'd guess they were just burning more fat. They also had higher muscle mass and did better in the gym (hanging time, grip strength, time to complete a run).

Whoops--metabolic rate is addressed in the supplemental material. 2 kJ per hour for ketogenic versus 1.88 per hour for the control mice.

But 'add a lot of fat?' I'd rather say replace a lot of calories (especially carbohydrate) with fat. Instead of, rather than in addition to, is what makes a diet ketogenic.
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  #4   ^
Old Mon, Aug-05-19, 19:29
Ms Arielle's Avatar
Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is offline
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Posts: 14,934
Plan: atkins
Stats: 255/230/200 Female 5'8"
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Location: Massachusetts

And the keto support keeps rolling in.
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  #5   ^
Old Mon, Aug-05-19, 21:53
Verbena Verbena is offline
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Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
Progress: 86%
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I gave up added sugar for lent when I was 12. It was horrible, but a matter of pride to see it through. By Easter I was ready to pour sugar on anything and everything ... and almost vomited the results all over the school dining room floor! I have never felt a need for overly sweetened things since (55 years!). Quitting sweet things entirely 7 years ago wasn't too hard given that history. It's hard, but not really difficult. One just needs to set one's mind to it. Perhaps that is easier when one is 12, and stubborn.
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  #6   ^
Old Tue, Aug-06-19, 04:48
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
Posts: 13,083
Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/123/150 Female 67
Progress: 139%
Location: USA

Wow. A tipping point has started.
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  #7   ^
Old Tue, Aug-06-19, 04:51
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
Posts: 13,083
Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/123/150 Female 67
Progress: 139%
Location: USA

I must admit I did a gradual approach to Atkins. I cut down to 50 and got good results. I had to cut lover to go lower.

And when I did pecans taste sweet. Heavy cream and berries. Plain yogurt!
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