Negative effects of cutting sugar?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 29, 2011 6:52 PM GMT
    I've been cutting sugary foods and upping cardio to lower my bodyfat. I don't feel I'm doing anything drastic. By sugary foods I mean cakes, pastries, ice cream, and other "added sugar" foods, and I've increased my cardio from a 10 minute warmup to an extra 20 minutes at the end of my workout. I still eat fruit throughout the day, oatmeal, starches, whole grain pasta and bread, etc.

    Recently, I find myself twice as hungry and experience what feels like bouts of low blood sugar and hot flashes. A sort of dizzy, fainty wave passes over me that reminds me of an anxiety attack, but also of body acidification. At first I thought I was sick, but when I look back over the years, it seems to be something that happens once I reach a certain level of fitness and control over my diet. The first year it hit me I was tested a few times for blood sugar and showed to be on the low level of normal (i.e. doctor says "looks normal!"), but still I figured out that aloe vera juice (20g of added sugar per serving) made me feel better.

    Again, I don't think I'm lacking sugar in my diet nor working out insanely hard. Does this match any normal process? I just want to decrease my bodyfat...

    Thoughts?
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    Mar 31, 2011 8:51 PM GMT
    kandsk saidI've been cutting sugary foods and upping cardio to lower my bodyfat. I don't feel I'm doing anything drastic. By sugary foods I mean cakes, pastries, ice cream, and other "added sugar" foods, and I've increased my cardio from a 10 minute warmup to an extra 20 minutes at the end of my workout. I still eat fruit throughout the day, oatmeal, starches, whole grain pasta and bread, etc.

    Recently, I find myself twice as hungry and experience what feels like bouts of low blood sugar and hot flashes. A sort of dizzy, fainty wave passes over me that reminds me of an anxiety attack, but also of body acidification. At first I thought I was sick, but when I look back over the years, it seems to be something that happens once I reach a certain level of fitness and control over my diet. The first year it hit me I was tested a few times for blood sugar and showed to be on the low level of normal (i.e. doctor says "looks normal!"), but still I figured out that aloe vera juice (20g of added sugar per serving) made me feel better.

    Again, I don't think I'm lacking sugar in my diet nor working out insanely hard. Does this match any normal process? I just want to decrease my bodyfat...

    Thoughts?


    From the symptoms you describe, it sounds like you are going through what people in the Paleo diet circles call the "carb flu". It is, quite literally, a form of withdrawal from consuming smaller amounts of carbs (in this case, refined sugar) than what your body is normally used to you ingesting. There hasn't been any formal study on this, but from reading various Paleo forums, I gather this...

    Those who stick with the Paleo diet (which is much lower in carbs than the typical American diet) report the symptoms going away after a few weeks up to a few months, depending on the amount of carbs the person normally ingests and the extent to which the person cut back on those carbs. For those going through the carb flu, there seem to be two main options:

    1. Satisfy your body's craving for (read: addiction to) sugar, and return to the previous amount of carb intake as before.

    2. Continue eating consistently and tough it out until the symptoms go away.

    When I first "went Paleo", I chose option #2. Granted, I was cutting out bread, pasta, and rice since I wasn't eating much refined sugar anyway. icon_cool.gif
  • neosyllogy

    Posts: 1714

    Mar 31, 2011 9:03 PM GMT
    Count your calories.
    You may just not be getting enough food for your activity level, especially if you underestimated the amount of calories you were getting from "sugary foods" (all the foods you mentioned were high in fat as well: which means easy to underestimate calories and could also mean that you're not getting enough fat in your diet, personally I wouldn't go under 25% calories from fat, 33% seems like a safer bet).

    Also, you mentioned that you feel this way when you hit a "certain level of fitness" and "control over [your] diet". The fact that those covaried historically makes it hard to determine which (if either or only one) is the causative factor. If you're working out hard your body needs more of different things: complete proteins being one that is commonly lacking.

    So, to summarize: I'd log what you eat, and break down the numbers in terms of calories, calories from fat, calories from carbs, and calories from protein (noting complete vs. incomplete).

    Nutrition is the easiest thing to mess up when trying to get in shape. If you don't feed yourself properly your body essentially starts fighting itself for resources. Logging sounds like a pain (and kind of is at first, you have to look up a lot of numbers), but keeping track of those things was one of the key factors that enabled me to get into really good shape (having tried with limited or little success in the past multiple times). I just didn't realize how easy it was to skimp on nutrition: this is especially true for guys that tend towards being skinnier I'd expect.

    [Yeah, I didn't answer your direct question, I know. I'm not sure of the answer. If you crunch your numbers for a few days and everything but sugar seems in order I'd try putting sugar back in and see how you feel. Outright poisonous things aside there aren't really "bad foods", just bad diets. icon_smile.gif ]
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 31, 2011 9:18 PM GMT
    sugar withdrawal. it's a good thing. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 31, 2011 9:36 PM GMT
    Thanks all. Yeah, it is probably sugar withdrawal. I must say I had previously been consuming quite low sugar for many years, but since my move to Sweden it really spiked. People here eat a cake with their coffee 2-3 times a day! But I have never taken sodas, fruit juices or added sugar to my coffee or tea. I'm really surprised how little added sugar made a big difference. I will have no trouble powering through it.
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    Mar 31, 2011 9:46 PM GMT
    kandsk saidThanks all. Yeah, it is probably sugar withdrawal. I must say I had previously been consuming quite low sugar for many years, but since my move to Sweden it really spiked. People here eat a cake with their coffee 2-3 times a day! But I have never taken sodas, fruit juices or added sugar to my coffee or tea. I'm really surprised how little added sugar made a big difference. I will have no trouble powering through it.



    And yet very few Swedes are obese. Strange.
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    Mar 31, 2011 9:49 PM GMT
    miamimasseur saidAnd yet very few Swedes are obese. Strange.

    Yeah, well it didn't make me gain any weight. I just want to drop bodyfat, but I can't become a long distance runner again due to injury. Actually they eat less meat and get a bit more exercise, walking and taking public transit... but their food is cleaner too.
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    Mar 31, 2011 9:50 PM GMT
    its called a healing crisis. Won't last long. It helps to eat "delicious" apples non- stop to sweep the crap out of your system.
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    Mar 31, 2011 9:52 PM GMT
    Alpha13 saidits called a healing crisis. Won't last long. It helps to eat "delicious" apples non- stop to sweep the crap out of your system.

    Ugh, I hate the non-GMO Swedish apples. Honeycrisp all the way!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 01, 2011 12:05 PM GMT
    I think in the process of recovering from a sugar addiction, it is important to eat frequent small meals to keep your blood sugar stabilized.

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    Apr 01, 2011 12:06 PM GMT
    Mcclark saidI think in the process of recovering from a sugar addiction, it is important to eat frequent small meals to keep your blood sugar stabilized.

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    the best info yet. icon_biggrin.gificon_smile.gif
  • UnluckyTitan

    Posts: 106

    Apr 05, 2011 1:58 AM GMT
    miamimasseur said
    kandsk saidThanks all. Yeah, it is probably sugar withdrawal. I must say I had previously been consuming quite low sugar for many years, but since my move to Sweden it really spiked. People here eat a cake with their coffee 2-3 times a day! But I have never taken sodas, fruit juices or added sugar to my coffee or tea. I'm really surprised how little added sugar made a big difference. I will have no trouble powering through it.



    And yet very few Swedes are obese. Strange.


    I'd like to go on record and say I hate the Swedes for this icon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 05, 2011 2:09 AM GMT
    Oh goodness.... You can still have a piece of cake every now and then and look great..... extremes = bad.