For me to climb on top of a soap-box and begin a discussion on why I feel that sugar should be avoided at all costs would probably cause the reader [you] to click the back button and head back to where you came from. However I want you to understand one thing, this week I learned that for the last thirty some years, my lifestyle and biology have given birth to a new era in my life that which I’d like to call The Fitness Era. Why is this happening now? Well it’s pretty simple. lack of exercise, lack of nutritive eating [former carb-binging vegetarian for almost 10 years of my adult life] have delivered me to an insulin resistance problem that will potentially get worse as I age. This new lifestyle of eating mostly a grain free and light to low carbohydrates from starches has only been in progress for approximately 10 months or so. Is it working? I can only hope so.

Last week as I mentioned, I was sitting in a cardiologist’s office. I was following up for my annual visit and that usually means more blood work and more blood pressure monitoring. I mentioned that I was now considered obese by the BMI chart and I was told to keep losing more weight. I’m ok with that actualy since there is always room for improvement. His delivery was lackluster and I was quite upset about it. I did what he asked me to and wore a 24-hour blood pressure cuff and fasted for 14 hours to get new blood tests.

Yesterday was a follow up from that visit. The results were in. Here they are:

Total Cholesterol: 232
HDL: 69 (should be >=40)
Triglycerides: 104 (should be <150)
LDL: 142 (Should be <130)
VDL: 21 (should be <30)

Now I know what you are thinking; “Dan, your cholesterol is 232! That is high.” Sure I can agree with you it is. Actually I gained some LDL since July of last year. Am I worried? No. Those numbers are just that– numbers. I aligned myself with the help of my MD and he said my Framingham score was 1% so I am happy with that. The Framingham system seems to be real data since the 40s and I love data, not marketing fodder.

Moving on, it was not my cholesterol he was concerned with rather my insulin resistance. Do I have Metabolic Syndrome (Type 2 Diabetes)? Probably not. I exercise way too much and my diet is so void of carbohydrates that I can’t imagine it would be. Again we are talking numbers again here. My Glucose number was 107. It’s been 107 ever since I can remember. They want that number to be at 100 or less. Again, I am not worried about this.

So why don’t I like sugar? Well for starters it’s a pretty useless fuel for your body. When you eat there are 2 scenarios happening in the brain. You are making a decision if you are eating for entertainment or if you are eating to fuel your day. Entertainment should be very selective and less than 10% of your week if that. Remember, if you saw the same play or the same type of movie every day, three times a day, it would no longer be entertainment. It would become habit. So that big slice of chocolate cake or that pint of ale, should be held at bay until you are ready to enjoy it for its entertainment purposes. These pseudo foods will indeed give you energy, but it’s non-nutritive.

A body can’t survive on foods that are simply non-nutritive. Hence why we use drugs and medications to stay alive. Call it what you want, but I don’t believe we should be evolving like this. Are we? Sure. Will we survive as a civilization? Sure. Look at the plagues of the middle ages. We survived that with no medicine. I digress.

So when I am eating something that is for fuel, I try to keep the nutrients high, and the carbohydrates low. My goal is to regulate insulin and keep excess weight off. Fats and proteins along with dense vegetables are great sources of fuel. So are nuts and their butters. These foods will keep you satiated and full for longer periods of time instead of a higher carbohydrate type meal. (Think rice, pasta, grains, and beans.) When we are full, we won’t need to be eating every 2-3 hours to chase after blood sugar. Think about the crash most of us feel when we skip a meal. Dump the excess need for sugars and you will notice you can go without food longer. This also leads to less binging when you are ready to eat.

My point of this is that we seem to think of foods as something we need to entertain us. Our ancestry (I am going way back here) hunted and gathered their foods. If they missed some berries or nuts that afternoon they missed a meal. If the hunt was not successful, then they ate forest greens or other found plants. If we shut our televisions off, and tossed out the coupon section of the news paper, we would not be so forced to have the desire for mass-made non-nutritive foods.

It’s the reason why we are so overweight.

Not overweight are you? Good for you. Some of us have to work twice as hard to keep excess weight off. Others have biology against them. For me, it’s going to be about trying to keep insulin at bay.

I almost forgot, the visit was not all humbling news. I’ve never convinced my MD in 10 years to ever lower me from my blood pressure medication. Well, yesterday was the day. I was asked to reduce my intake of my blood pressure medication with the intention of finally getting off one of them. I had a tear in my eye.

Chalk that up as a point for Dan. Nice work. Now keep going.

— Daniel Merk

POSTED BY Daniel Merk | 10:54pm 19th-Feb, 2010