How sweet it is!” was a catchphrase called out to mesmerized audience by the unforgettable Jackie Gleason. Gleason was at the top of his game as one of the most sought-after comedians with the major networks of the US. I remember how he would puff on his cigarette, would rock side to side and shout out,”how sweet it is.” And life was sweet for Jackie Gleason at that time, all 350 lbs of him. It may have been sweet as he enjoyed the success that other performers sought after and for all intents and purposes, to the poverty stricken performer, that “sweetness” was the carrot on the stick, the epitome of success! And while it seemingly tasted sweet to the impoverished performers of the time…was it truly all that sweet? Appearances are deceiving at the best of times, and one has to look beyond what has been sought highly after and consider the reality behind the whole panacea and not just hover gently above the perceived fantasy.
And the past life along lower-carb lane may appear sweet especially when looking back, but the former things are not usually as sweet as one thinks. They may have left a taste in your gullet and taste buds that you are still craving after, but the memories are never quite as sweet as we think they really were. Many of us remember our childhood with affection as we played in the field, or in the wilds of “first bush” as we called it when growing up in the small northern town of Wawa, Ontario. We would go up to the old ball field and pick wild strawberries and make dandelion stems curl in water on the doorstoop… it is all remembered as idyllic and warm in my childhood interpretation.
For example, you can hear many people reminisce about such things as the World War 2 and these who lived through it remember the war fondly, despite the carnage and loss of loved ones. The music was grand, the Hollywood musicals were singing and dancing up a storm, so much so that as young children, we were all waiting for our time in adulthood when we would just be doing some mundane chore and then break out into song (and dance possibly). My younger brother and I shared a belly laugh over this one as we fully expected to break out into a routine as was suggested by the old movies we watched on our one television channel of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Some people regard their parents’ time as idyllic and from what I have read, it hinges on the phenomenon of selective memory. You hear it said again and again that “the good old days” were the best. A parent will tell stories of their youth, and it becomes romanticized and turned into the good old days. The father might remember simpler and more pleasant times when they were not working night and day to put food on the table for four growing kids, but again it is the selective and the best which is remembered. The good old days of the WW II era encompassed a depression, bread lines, young men enlisting to serve their country against the Nazi invasion of Europe, and slowed supplies of necessary staples needed for survival—the good old days indeed. “Because it is unpleasant to remember the unpleasant, the warm glow of remembered youth taints the past.
Individuals of all political stripes fall prey to the Golden Age Fallacy. Hard green environmentalists and anarcho-primitivists focus on the evils of civilization and the glories of subsistence-level economies, while conservatives — almost by definition — seek to return to the values of the past, which requires glorifying the past.”(Wikipedia post)
And pre-lower-carb, the indulgence into the sweet and the syrupy were the good old days, at least in the memory of one who was a junk food devotee (me). One had the pleasure of eating anything and everything and being comforted by the sugar rush and the high of eating anything made of white “enriched” flour and trans-fat which yelled out More, more, more!
And it was sweet to the tune of family sized chocolate bars, liters of coke and of course large bags of chips. And some will say, just quit it…I seemed to be powerless to do so.
So, you may be wondering how to reprogram thoughts to truly see that “how sweet it was” really was a momentary lust of the palate and a rapid descent into many health issues and complications from said lifestyle. Man craves sugar–it is in our genetics but sweet things were never meant to overtake our food supply and be in everything that touches our lips and gullets. With sugar being ever-present in our daily sustenance, it is tough to become sugar free and the fallacy of how wonderful it was and how depreived we now feel on a lower carb existence taunts and jeers from the past..
I will not lie, getting rid of the sugar overload in my life has not been an easy thing, especially after I got off the metformin. Even this past week as I travelled to Ontario to visit my mother, I failed to prepare the way I normally do with bringing my own baked goods and it was a week of eating everything I had thought I burnt up in my life with the choice of living lower carb. I had ciabatta buns, molasses, butter tarts, blueberry pie, French fries, Lindor chocolates and Snicker’s pie. I had pizza made with a white crust, and now have had a headache that has lasted for a week.
And since my return, I have continued to indulge in the higher carb lifestyle as I hardly gained any weight. Not to make excuses, but we had 7 convocation/graduation ceremonies at my place of work this past week, and I am sorry to say that the marshmallow peanut butter fudge squares enticed me to overindulge. I am feeling sicker than a dog and have continued with the headache. Today (five days later) was my day to say “enough” and I have begun the cleanse of the white flour and the sweet once again as I do not like this feeling. Had I enjoyed my eryththritol baked goods all week, I would have been much healthier in my way of feeling, and I think I have learned my lesson. Here’s to the victory and freedom of wanting to return to the lower carb way of eating and back on the program.
So is sugar all that toxic? Perhaps it is not any more toxic than anything else…but with the high fructose corn syrup and all of the other sweeteners added to food, is it more toxic for the likes of people ike me who spin out of control? I think it is… And what of the polyols or artifcial sweeteners such as erithrytol, are they toxic as well? There are “naturalists” who do not want to hear of anyone using erythtritol or polyols of any type. They feel that natural sugars are much more favorable as there are trace minerals and nutrients that contribute to wellness of the human being. But Dr. Mercola, the medical doctor who is a guru upon the internet at http://www.mercola.com writes “Sugar is sugar regardless of whether it is table sugar, honey, beet sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, brown sugar, demerara, sorghum syrup, molasses, it is all sweet and is metabolized the same way by the body. “ And in combination with white flour, large portions and taking it in often, that combination is toxic for the healthy individual.
Possible health benefits of natural sweeteners
Although natural sugar substitutes may seem healthier than processed table sugar, their vitamin and mineral content isn’t significantly different from that of sugar. Honey and sugar, for instance, are nutritionally similar, and both end up in your body as glucose and fructose. Choose a natural sweetener based on how it tastes and its uses, rather than on its health claims.
Possible health concerns with natural sweeteners
So-called natural sweeteners are generally safe. But there’s no health advantage to consuming added sugar of any type. And consuming too much added sugar, even natural sweeteners, can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, poor nutrition, weight gain and increased triglycerides. Also, be aware that honey can contain small amounts of bacterial spores that can produce botulism toxin. Because of that, honey shouldn’t be given to children less than 1 year old.And of course Dr mercola’s study about artificial sweeteners, and scientific findings for Xylitol, erythritol, maltitol, or any “ol” you want seems to suggest that “none-at-all” is the only Poyol that should be used. http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/media/magazine/articles/28-1-the-pursuit-of-sweet.aspx?page=2
I am here to say that as a low-carber, if I do not have the alternatives to some of the sweets I crave occasionally, I am hooped and will resurface as the wife of the Michelin Tire Woman. I will be hooped in the lower carbohydrate continuum. We don’t have much choice but to use the artificial sweeteners in our baking or cooking. So, I am here to debunk or try to debunk, or maybe just give you my super-opinionated reflection of what has been successful for me, and perhaps for you the pilgrim in search of a lower carb experience….
Any of you who have battled weight for most of their lives know that it started with the discovery of sacharrin was the fore-runner and then nutrasweet, Equal, Splenda, and sucralose, and a myriad of others we have not even heard of followed and while some have been repudiated to promote ill health and even strokes in humans, my question is…what does a savvy but sugar-addicted senorita do about sugar cravings when in lower carb lifestyle?
While the basic foods on lower carb are indeed the best choices due to the fact that when you eat higher protein, good fats and vegetables, the cravings become less and less of an issue. But my experience has been that these cravings do not leave us completely in lower carb mode, at least not long term. So how do we deal with the thought of never having a treat again? I am here to say that it is not realistic to even consider this. Perhaps joining a monastery and swearing an allegiance of death to all fleshly desires would work for some. Perhaps just telling yourself that you don’t even like sugar anymore might work for others, but when all of the sweets that look so fine and taste so good call your name, what resolve do you have and what have you armed your low carbing arsenal with?
The natural sweetner camp *who usually do not have a weight problem* will use coconut sugar, or palm sugar in its most natural form and think that this is the best way to go. I am here to make a case for sugar substitutes. But with the scientific findings from the research camps that sugar in any form reacts the same way in the bloodstream, it makes me think that sugar substitutes are just as good for those occasional treats that keep you on the narrower low-carb lane. By no means am I a nutritionist, but just a pilgrim on the low-carb pathway.
The majority of sugar substitutes are artificial sweeteners have been the subject of intense scrutiny for decades. Critics of artificial sweeteners say that they cause a variety of health problems, including cancer. That’s largely because of studies dating to the 1970s that linked saccharin to bladder cancer in laboratory rats. Because of those studies, saccharin once carried a warning label that it may be hazardous to your health. Mom made me hot cocoa when I was a little girl and she began to make it with saccharin when I was 8 years old or thereabouts.
There is some ongoing controversy over whether artificial sweetener usage poses health risks. And the jury is out on the long term effects. Certainly the jury has proven the damage on the overly sweet foods that most people consume today. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates artificial sweeteners as food additives and they also establishes an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for each artificial sweetener. This is the maximum amount considered safe to consume each day over the course of your lifetime. ADIs are intended to be about 100 times less than the smallest amount that might cause health concerns. So that seems to indicate that used in moderation, there is little cause for worry.
I just know that since I started to bake with alternatives to white flour and sugar of any kind, my health has improved, I seldom think of food, and the satiety is there at all times. You the reader are intelligent and informed, so study out the findings and make your own informed decisions. I continue in the lower carb lifestyle, with a few sideways assaults from the old lifestyle, but the mental clarity, the trimmer body and the lack of headache is the choice I choose for wellness.