Sugar Blues

Last year on February 1, 2022, I started The 40-Day Sugar Fast and I wrote a couple of blog posts during the fast on my main blog–A Higher Purpose published on February 4, 2022, which was four days into the sugar fast, and Spiritual Transformation published on February 19, 2022, which was half way through the sugar fast. Both of those blog posts have a lot of information regarding the hazards (physically, mentally, and spiritually, too) of eating too much refined sugar and refined sugar products, so I won’t repeat the information published in those two posts in this post.

Once that sugar fast ended last year, I slowly started putting sugar back into my daily diet. I thought I could handle eating a small amount of it, but before long I was back to being addicted to the stuff again, and as the rest of the year progressed, I realized that I needed to be much more serious about keeping sugar at bay in my life. It can be a pretty mean taskmaster, too.

So, this year I have joined in the annual The 40-Day Sugar Fast that started on January 9, 2023, and I am now on Day #4 with all of the raging sugar “withdrawal symptoms” not quite yet in full swing. I would almost kill for some sugar right now, and my irritability level is probably near 100% at the moment, and I’m normally a sweet–okay, maybe that’s not the right word to use–well mannered, polite, and a “take charge” (respectfully, of course) type woman, although since my retirement years hit me a decade too soon (and not by choice), there isn’t much to “take charge” of anymore. But I do still give it my best shot.

Last year I didn’t really follow along in the book titled, The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation,” by Wendy SpeakeThe book is written in a devotional type format, and it includes 40 days of readings with each day’s reading being several pages long. This year I have decided to read every page, everyday, throughout the 40 days. I can certainly use the help to keep me focused while I’m detoxing, once again, from sugar.

Rene Beaulieu, a Certified Health Coach, has written a short post titled, Sugar Blues,” and she starts her post with a quote by William Dufty (1916-2002), author of the book, Sugar Blues,” that was released in 1975, and it has become a dietary classic. In her post she writes:

“Like heroin, cocaine and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread.” –William Dufty, Sugar Blues

The average person consumes over 100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners per year. In contrast, we consume an average of eight pounds of broccoli. The USDA recommends we get no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar per day, yet most people eat about 30 teaspoons – that’s three times the already liberal recommended daily value.

Refined table sugar lacks vitamins, minerals and fibre. The body must deplete its minerals and enzymes to absorb it properly. It enters swiftly into the bloodstream and wreaks havoc on the blood sugar level, first pushing it sky-high–causing excitability and hyperactivity–and then dropping it extremely low, causing exhaustion.

Sugar qualifies as an addictive substance for two reasons:

1. Eating even a small amount creates a desire for more.
2. Suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, cravings and fatigue.

Sugar is found in many of the usual suspects, like cakes, cookies and candy. But, you’ll also find it in canned vegetables, baby food, cereals, peanut butter, bread and tomato sauce. A lemon poppy seed Clif Bar has five teaspoons of sugar. Compare that to a chocolate-glazed donut from Dunkin’ Donuts, which has three teaspoons. You may think your afternoon cup of coffee only has a little sugar, but a 16-ounce Starbucks Frappuccino has 10 teaspoons – that’s like eating three donuts! Overconsumption of refined sweets and added sugars found in everyday foods has led  to an explosion of hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes. (Quote source here.)

In an article titled, Sugar Addiction–Sugar Blues!” by Dr. Greg Fors, a Board-certified Neurologist (IBCN), certified in Applied Herbal Sciences (NWHSU) and acupuncture, and the clinic director of the Pain and Brain Healing Center, he writes:

Sugar has been declared the most dangerous drug of our time! Research has now established that sugar is far more addictive than cocaine, one of the most addictive and harmful substances known. In studies even rats who were addicted to cocaine will quickly switch their preference to sugar to achieve their high, once offered a choice. Neuroscientists have found that when humans ingest a high dose of sugar we get an intense release of dopamine in an area of the brain, this is exactly how cocaine creates its effect. This area of the brain is involved in reward, focus and pleasure therefore this release of dopamine leads to a sense of pleasure and euphoria. However, just like with cocaine, over stimulation from chronic consumption of sugar causes the dopamine receptors in this area of the brain to slowly become down regulated. In other words there are less of them and they become less responsive to dopamine, causing you to seek out another sugar high. This down regulation of dopamine receptors can lead to lack of focus, ADHD -like symptoms, depression and anxiety. The rates of depression in a country actually rise in lockstep with per capita sugar consumption.

And right now Americans are eating more sugar than ever before, on average about 160 pounds a year. When I say sugar don’t just look at the sugar bowl on your table. Any food you eat that has an ingredient that ends in –ose is a sugar, sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose. Amazingly 80% of all food items in US grocery stores contain added sugar. This legal white powder is now causing more deaths in our population than the illegal substances we call drugs estimation. Numerous studies have shown that sugar contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, hypertension, type II diabetes, obesity and kidney disease.

Then there is obesity and diabetes and virtually no one will deny the primary role that sugar plays in this epidemic. It is a primary reason that nearly 70% of Americans are now overweight and worse yet one in two Americans have pre-diabetes or type II diabetes. Astonishingly, the CDC announced on June 15, 2003, that one out of every three children born from the year 2000 and on will develop diabetes by middle age. This supports the fact that by the year 2050 one third of all Americans will be diabetic. This is no small matter for diabetes causes all kinds of misery. Sugar addiction and subsequent diabetes takes a toll on every organ in your body including the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and brain…. (Quote source here. Continuing reading his article at this link to learn about the role of artificial sweeteners, depression, chronic muscle and joint pain, and Alzheimer’s–all from eating sugar.)

In an article titled, The Sweet Danger of Sugar,” published in Harvard Health Publishing (author’s name not mentioned), the article provided the following information:

Sugar has a bittersweet reputation when it comes to health. Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium.

Since your body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to your cells. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

However, problems occur when you consume too much added sugar—that is, sugar that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavor or extend shelf life.

In the American diet, the top sources are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. But added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.

The result: we consume way too much added sugar. Adult men take in an average of 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s equal to 384 calories.

“Excess sugar’s impact on obesity and diabetes is well documented, but one area that may surprise many men is how their taste for sugar can have a serious impact on their heart health,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (Quote source here. Continue reading this article at this link to find out more on the impact of sugar on the heart, how much sugar is okay, and subtracting added sugar.)

I would be remiss if I did not mention the spiritual component which is the primary mission of the book, The 40-Day Sugar Fast.” The following is written on the back cover of this book:

Would you give up sugar to experience the sweet presence of God in your life? Many of us think that if our bodies become healthier, then we’ll be healthier. But a healthy body doesn’t do us a lot of good if we are spiritually malnourished. Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a process that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends up with Jesus giving us more of Himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this journey you’ll learn how to:

    • stop fixating on food and fix your eyes on Christ
    • pinpoint the triggers that send you running to sugar
    • lose weight as you gain faith
    • turn to the Most High instead of the next sugar high

If you run to sugar for comfort or reward, eat mindlessly or out of boredom, feel physically and spiritual lethargic, or struggle with self-control, this fast will help you discover not only freedom from your cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for you.

“More than anything, I want to be able to say with Jesus, my food is to do the will of him who sent me’ (John 4:34). And traveling with Wendy and the 40-Day Sugar Fast community was the beginning of that journey for me.”Lisa-Jo Baker, bestselling author of “Meet Me in the Middle,” “Never Unfriended,” and “Surprised by Motherhood.” (Quote source: back cover of “The 40-Day Sugar Fast.”)

I’ll end this post with a couple of quote from “Day 4: Trusting God with the Battle” (pp.42-46) in The 40-Day Sugar Fastsince this is my “Day 4” of the Sugar Fast:

Four days in this fast, your body may feel like it is going through a physical battle. Perhaps you feel like the fast is your enemy or that sugar is your enemy or that your children are your enemy or that I am your enemy. Today I want you to focus on letting go of the fight and embrace praise, trusting that God will go to battle on your behalf. (Quote source pp. 42-43.)

Your Sweetest Nemesis: Speaking of going to battle, sometimes sugar feels like the enemy. Agreed? The average American eats between 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugar every year. While that may seem impossible at first glance, the reality is that it’s not hard to accomplish. Four sodas a day times 365 days a year amounts to nearly 150 pounds of sugar! Oftentimes during our online sugar fasts, I hear from men and women who discovered that sugary treats in general isn’t their problem. Their problem is Dr. Pepper… their problem is sweet tea… their problem is wine…

Take a moment to pinpoint your  “enemy.” What’s your sweetest nemesis? (Quote source, p. 46.)

My sweetest nemesis? I’ll have to give that some thought. In the meantime, I’ll try to get my “sweet side” back without using sugar to do it. Also, I just now ran across another article published in Charisma News that you might want to read titled, Jesus Is Sweeter Than Sugar.” So remember…

Jesus . . .

IS sweeter . . .

Than sugar . . . .

YouTube Video: “Sweeter” by Jesus Co. & WorshipMob by Aaron McClain, Yeka Onka, Bianca Ejiofor & Charity Bandy:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

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