This week we dig into the simple science of sugar addiction and the safe scrumptious alternatives.
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor and Carrie Brown back with another Smarter Science of Slim show. What’s up Carrie?
Jonathan: That’s very demure. Carrie and Jonathan are here. It’s like Will Ferrell when he used to do the old skits on Saturday Night Live Inside the Actor’s Studio. We should just have a very distinguished podcast.
Carrie: I’m not sure I could keep this up for very long though. I’m demure in bursts and normally short ones.
Jonathan: Yes, demure is not a word often associated with Ms. Carrie Brown. Carrie can’t believe it, her mouth is agape. Speaking of mouths being agape…
Carrie: I’m drinking green tea lovely people. Green tea.
Jonathan: Now our listeners’ mouths are agape.
Carrie: You won’t believe how much fan mail I get about people trying to help me get over my green tea issues. It’s just lovely.
Jonathan: What do they say?
Carrie: It warms your heart. “Carrie, have you tried this? Have you tried this?” “You could try that. I did this and you can’t taste it.” It’s just lovely. Lovely. People care.
Jonathan: Well, that is nice. Thank you, listeners, for helping —
Carrie: There is a lot of wonderful humanity out there.
Jonathan: There is, there is. Well when you restore people’s SANEity, you really get the best of them and it’s able to shine through. As we talked about recently Carrie, obesity and these metabolic conditions are a disease and just like we’re crabby when we’ve got the flu, we’re crabby when we’ve got the metabolic dysfunction that’s at the heart of all these modern diseases that are plaguing us. Once we get that out and dealt with, we get a whole new version of ourselves that is way, way, way beyond what the scale says. You do things like send mail to people you don’t even know about how they should drink more green tea because you’re just awesome. Anyway, you know what’s not awesome, Carrie?
Carrie: What’s that?
Jonathan: You’re going to have to reel me in on this show because there was recently — This is why I don’t read the news lovely listeners because there are articles like this that come out and then I just have to go do push-ups and wall squats otherwise I can’t focus. There’s a news article that came out on CBC News. The headline is How Toxic Is Sugar?
Carrie: Wait. This is CBC News Health.
Jonathan: Yes. How Toxic Is Sugar? The fact that we have to debate how toxic something is, doesn’t that like…?
Carrie: “Oh, this is only a little bit toxic.”
Jonathan: No but actually to think that is somewhat encouraging is it appears that the media is no longer debating…
Carrie: Whether it is or not.
Jonathan: It’s ‘how toxic?’ So on the one hand this article is good news because there’s no question sugar is toxic. The question is just now ‘how toxic is it?’ One thing I wanted to share with the listeners here was this wonderful quote. So you have our wonderful Dr. Robert Lustig who is just the man, we salute him, he is brilliant, a wonderful researcher, and a crusader against sugar specifically fructose.
Carrie: Go Robert!
Jonathan: But then you have of course this wonderful woman who is an industry representative and her quote in this article is, “I think it’s important that we step back and look for ways to educate and help consumers fit sugar into a healthy dietary pattern.”
Carrie: Okay, she said what?
Jonathan: Why in God’s name would we take time… Carrie I know you’re busy, I’m busy, I’m sure our listeners are busy. This woman legitimately said to a news outlet, “We should step back and look for ways to educate and help consumers fit sugar into a healthy dietary pattern.” Let me swap one word out of that sentence real quick Carrie just to highlight how ridiculous it is. “I think it’s important that we step back and look for ways to educate and help consumers fit cigarettes into a healthy lifestyle pattern.” I swapped ‘sugar’ for ‘cigarettes’ and ‘dietary’ for ‘lifestyle’.
Carrie: I don’t have any words. Use your words Carrie… there are none.
Jonathan: Folks this is not a new — if you read the original Smarter Science of Slim or actually by the time this podcast airs, The Calorie Myth may be out. You’ve seen the statistics around literally the same people who own cigarette companies own these edible product companies. Philip Morris produces “food” just like they produce cigarettes. You know we’re not fans of sugar here obviously but this article may inspire me to take this a level deeper about sugar and its implications in a way we’ve never actually gone on the show. We’ve talked about sugar addiction in brief but I want to blow the roof off in this show.
Carrie: Uh oh.
Jonathan: I want to blow the roof off Carrie. Are you ready?
Carrie: I am going to have to reel you in, I can tell you’re ready. I probably won’t get to be demure for the rest of this show.
Jonathan: No, you’re not. Carrie, we’re just going to have to do a little back and forth here because this is just — I’m going to ask you some questions because this is one of those things we talk about. It’s not debatable that when you eat white bread your blood sugar skyrockets, that’s not a debate. You can just study what happens when you adjust penicillin. That’s science, its science, it’s studyable. There’s also other areas of science that involve the mind. For example, psychology and psychiatry. In those lovely areas of research there is this thing called the DSM 5 or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Carrie: I’m in there somewhere. At least once, maybe multiple times.
Jonathan: No, this is the constitution or dictionary for the diagnosis of mental disorders. It is gospel. It is accepted as truth for defining if someone is schizophrenic or manic depressive or has a personality disorder or has a chemical dependence, is addicted to something.
Carrie: Is it a big book? Because I want to read it.
Jonathan: It is a very big book and it is not a fun read.
Carrie: Well, I think that would be very fun. I’m going to put that on my Christmas list. Wait my cats don’t buy me presents.
Jonathan: In that book, Carrie the reason I’m bringing it up here is because we’re science-based and all about science. The way an addiction is defined – so everyone debate all you want – the definition in the DSM 5, actually this is from the DSM 4 because that’s all that was available when I wrote this, but DSM55 is out now – you are addicted to something if you experience at least three of the following symptoms in a twelve-month time period. Again, this is not Jonathan thinks this, this is not Carrie thinks this, this is what a psychiatrist would use if you went into their office to diagnose whether or not you are addicted to pain pills for example.
First one Carrie, increased tolerance meaning you need to eat more and more of it to get the same effect. Next and remember folks as we’re going through this list maybe see if there’s any that apply to you and we’ll actually maybe give some examples as we go. So increased tolerance for example, have you ever needed for example to increase the amount of sugar or sweetness in something to get the same effect? I think many of us have probably had that experience.
Withdrawal, easy? Have you ever tried to give up sugar? Not easy. Number three, overuse. Consuming more of it that is intended. Drinking one can of soda is over-consuming sugar. So there is overuse. Loss of control a.k.a. having our behavior meaningfully influenced by that substance. For example, maybe I really don’t want to eat one of those cupcakes but I can’t help myself. Exceptional effort to obtain. Maybe waiting in the line twenty minutes when we’re already late for a meeting to get that sugary treat.
Over-prioritization. Again maybe we’re really struggling with some social ostracism but it doesn’t matter we still want to consume those sugary foods. We’re putting consuming sugar above our own happiness. Then ignoring negative consequences. Again, we know to the extent that we consume sugar, we’re going to get cancer, we’re going to get heart disease, and we’re going to get diabetes. It’s just like smoking is to lung cancer. Sometimes we ignore those negative consequences.
That was a list of seven things. If you have experienced three of those, just three in the past twelve months, according to the truth in the psychological arena you have a chemical addiction to sweeteners. No debate, fact. This woman wants to say, “I think it’s important that we step back and look for ways to educate and help consumers fit sugar into a healthy dietary pattern.”
Jonathan: Again I would say, “Oh with moderation, moderation.” Folks do we say ‘smoke in moderation?’ No we don’t because smoking is addictive and it does permanent damage to you. Does that mean if you eat a banana you’re going to die tomorrow? No of course it doesn’t but people aren’t like, “Oh my God, I’m going to eat six bananas” and “Oh I’m just going to go out of my way to eat bananas.” When we eat food in its natural form, none of these things happen. It’s not like you need to eat two bananas to get the same impact one banana had on you yesterday. It does not work that way. Carrie’s like, “I don’t know about you but I’m on a six-banana-a-day habit. I just can’t kick it.”
Carrie: Right now, I have a bacon and Brussels sprout chowder addiction. I had it for breakfast, then I had it for lunch, and the only reason I didn’t have it for dinner was because I had eaten it all.
Jonathan: Carrie, what really gets me amped up here, in addition to now I’m just super-hungry I can’t focus based on what you just said but what really gets me amped up and this is where I’m going to hand the soap box over to you. Is of the flavors that we crave as people. If you crave a meaty flavor it’s very hard to get a meaty flavor from natural substances that aren’t meat and it’s very hard to get fatty flavor from natural substances that don’t contain fat.
It is ridiculously easy to get the taste of sweet from non-detrimental natural substances. So not only should we avoid sugar because it’s addictive and toxic but you can practice safe sweeteners. You can enjoy all the sweets you freaking want all day long as long as you do it smarter. Carrie, tell us about smart ways to sweeten stuff.
Carrie: Practice safe sweeteners? Did you really say that?
Jonathan: I’ve used that before. I’m going to get T-shirts made and put them on the university campuses that say ‘Practice Safe Sweeteners’.
Carrie: I was apparently not paying attention when you said that.
Jonathan: When you go to your university health clinic I’m going to have sitting out on the counter a bowl of stevia packets and it’ll say ‘Practice Safe Sweeteners’ on them.
Carrie: I love that. What do you want me to talk about?
Jonathan: She’s thinking about her bacon and kale stew or whatever it was.
Carrie: Bacon and Brussels sprout chowder. No I think it’s been a long time since I took my last little blue and white pill you know my brain’s kind of in a bit of a wander.
Jonathan: Well maybe you need to find a way to fit sugar into your healthy dietary pattern.
Carrie: Maybe this is just completely random…
Jonathan: That’s okay you’d be in good company.
Carrie: I was reading years and years and years ago, I think I was probably early 20s.
Jonathan: So this was about three or four years ago.
Carrie: Maybe late teens or five years ago. I was reading a book about sugar addiction because even back then I knew that there was something more to… and bear in mind I was 110 pounds soaking wet back then. It certainly wasn’t obesity or losing weight that was a problem for me but I knew that something was weird going on inside my body. Things weren’t working and I was always looking for what is it that makes my body just not feel quite right, not do quite right? I was reading a book on sugar addiction, I wish I could remember the title but I couldn’t.
Jonathan: Was it called Sugar Blues?
Carrie: No. It had one of those crazy How to know if you’re addicted to sugar? One of those 20-point questionnaires and 3 points for this and anyway I did it. The thing that stuck out to me which made me doubt that’s me, was it said – one of the questions was when you eat frosted flakes or a sugar-crusted cereal… what do we call them? I can’t even remember what we call them in England. Frosties! Frosties or here they’re Frosted Flakes. In England they are just Frosties. The question was, do you when you’re eating a bowl of Frosties or something like that with milk on it, is the best bit drinking the milk at the bottom because it’s so sweet?
Absolutely. I was like ‘ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. That is me. I eat the bowl of Frosties to get the spoonfuls of completely sugar-laden milk at the bottom it was nothing to do with the cornflakes. That was the thing I’ve always thought about when I’ve thought about sugar addiction. It’s amazing to me that I did not have diabetes by the time I was 20 because I just loved sugar. When I was piping cakes there I swear there was more icing going in my mouth than was going on the cake. I went to bakery school, I was surrounded by sugar all day long, there was sweetened cream and sugar paste.
I would eat lumps of sugar. Jonathan’s like, “Oh my God. I have this woman on my podcast.”
Jonathan: Yeah, you’re a perfect case study.
Carrie: I would pull pieces of sugar paste. There was nothing I liked more than just eating sugar paste out of the packet, almond paste and all of those things. I so understand what a sugar addiction is. I know it, I’ve lived it. It can make you crazy.
Jonathan: As always Carrie, you’re just dropping wonderful science bombs and not even realizing it. A great example. Your example of the sugared cereal and the milk at the bottom… sometimes people when they hear about this they’re like, “Babble, babble. That’s not sugar; that’s food. Right? That’s just the way food works. It’s not unique to food.” False. A good example is fat and salt. Nobody likes just fat. Eating butter by itself is not appealing.
Carrie: I like bread with my butter.
Jonathan: You understand my point, right? When it comes to sugar think about it. In that sugary cereal there is the cereal at the very beginning and then it gets progressively sweeter and the reward in your brain, basically the closer you get to one hundred percent sweetness the more you like it. That’s not how any other flavor works. It’s not that the closer you get to one hundred percent fat the more appealing that steak is. It’s the ratio of the steak to the fat and that needs to be proper. If you just eat a piece of fat off of a steak it’s not like that –
Carrie: That would actually make me nauseous.
Jonathan: See that’s the huge difference. That’s a great analogy actually. So, bowl of sweetened cereal you’ve got the milk at the bottom versus a well-marbled steak, eating a bite of just the fat. Sweet sugar… that whole sensory experience is unique and again that doesn’t mean we have to give it up it just means we need to be sensitive to it and we need to be conscious. You’ve got Carrie here who can outline any number of ways to not have to give up that flavor and to also not have to become diabetic or struggle with your weight. Give us some of your top sweetener recommendations. We know you like Xylitol.
Carrie: My favorite – I don’t even want to use the word substitute because substitute to me means something fake, something instead of something better. For me it’s not. It’s how I get the sweetness without the diabetes. It’s how I get the sweetness without the addiction because I do not crave the same level of sweetness that I did when I was eating sugar, I just don’t. I still like sweet but now and I made SANE marshmallows which sounds like an oxymoron because how can you have sugar-free marshmallows, right?
What are marshmallows? They’re sugar. But I’ve made SANE marshmallows. I’ve made sugar-free marshmallows and they are fantastic but I have to say I can eat an entire bag of jet-puffed mini marshmallows from the store the ones with sugar. I could sit, watch a movie, and eat the entire packet. With my SANE marshmallows that I make using xylitol, I would eat four… I was done. Your craving for sweetness does not keep growing like it does with sugar. It’s actually when you have it, it’s really sweet, you’re done and you move on.
Jonathan: Again this eating more but smarter – sometimes it’s hard for Carrie and myself to sleep because literally we just want to shout this from the rooftops because once you eat more but smarter like what Carrie just said is so profound. Just like when you eat other foods, like you might be like, “Man, I really want some eggs for breakfast. It really sounds good to me.” But then you eat eggs and you’re satisfied, you’re good. When you go SANE you’re still going to be like, “Oh, man, I want something sweet.” But then you’re going to practice safe sweeteners, you’re going to use Xylitol, Erythritol, Stevia, or Luo Han Guo and then you’ll enjoy the sweetness and then you’ll feel good.
Carrie: And you’ll move on.
Jonathan: You’ll move on.
Carrie: While I enjoy the sweet, it doesn’t make me crave more.
Jonathan: SANE sweeteners do not make you insane in both senses of the word.
Carrie: Right, they don’t. The other very natural thing is fruit. Strawberries spring immediately to mind. Oranges there’s a lot of sweetness going on there. While we don’t encourage you to eat three pounds of strawberries in one sitting, you can get your sweet fix from fruit. That’s another way to get it.
Jonathan: Absolutely. Especially if you Vitamix it up with some ice and some egg whites or some yogurt or something like that because then the sweetness distributes across a mass of goodness and you can use your giant bowl during the movie and it is good inside.
Carrie: And this was a Jonathan thing, even one single strawberry blended into a glass of water transforms that glass of water from something which I frankly find quite unpalatable into something really yummy. You don’t need a lot to get that little sweet fix I have found and this is the girl that literally used to eat pounds of sugar paste, just sugar paste.
Jonathan: Folks in conclusion, I do not nor does Carrie, agree with this woman and we do not think it is important that we step back and look for ways to educate and help consumers fit sugar into a healthy dietary pattern. Rather we would say forget about all that. Eat more, but smarter, and practice safe sweeteners. Sound good, Carrie?
Carrie: It makes me laugh but yes sounds good to me.
Jonathan: I love it. Well listeners, this week and every week after eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. We’ll chat with you soon.
Carrie: See ya.
[Audio Ends 24:09]
Jonathan: Wait, wait! Don’t stop listening yet.
Carrie: You can get fabulous free SANE recipes over at CarrieBrown.com.
Jonathan: And don’t forget, your 100% free Eating and Exercise Quick Start Program as well as free fun daily tips delivered right into your inbox at BailorGroup.com.