Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I know.... I've been neglecting you.....

Hi there.

I’m just checking in because I haven’t been able to post alot lately. What little time I’ve had I’ve used to read my blogroll, though I haven’t always had time to leave you comments.

My grandfather passed away on the first of the month, so last week was crazy. Family coming into town, the wake and funeral, arranging childcare for my 2 year old, being strong and supportive for my mom and sisters, grieving on my own at night…. Needless to say with all of that my diet went to shit.

The fall out wasn’t major, a modest gain of about 2 pounds putting me back to 220. I’ll take it, it definitely could have been worse.

I’m taking this opportunity to try something a little different. I recently read a book called The Sugar Fix by Dr. Richard J Johnson. Dr. Johnson is nationally and internationally renowned for his work on mechanisms of renal injury and progression, including diabetes and hypertension. I originally picked this up at the drugstore because I thought it would mesh nicely with the low-carb thing I was trying to do. I’ve been sitting on this plateau for some time now and thought maybe this book would give me a little nudge or tweak that I needed to get moving again.

Well….I was wrong. It’s not a low carb diet book. It’s a low Fructose diet book. I was a little disappointed, but I decided to read it anyway (after all I did just spend $7.99 for the paperback at Walgreens!) figuring maybe I could learn something from it anyway.

Basic premise of the book is that while researching hypertension, Dr. Johnson found a connection between a rise in Uric Acid in the blood, high sugar diets and insulin resistance. He then realized that it was the fructose component of sugar that was causing the insulin resistance.

Table sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) are both essentially half glucose and half fructose. Glucose is what causes our blood sugar to spike. Normally insulin would be able to then shuttle the glucose to our cells to be used for energy. It’s is only when insulin stops working efficiently that sugar begins to build up in the blood causing our pancreas to churn out more and more insulin and causing “metabolic syndrome” including high blood lipids, high blood pressure, type 2 Diabetes and abdominal obesity.
What Dr. Johnson is proposing from his research is that it is the Fructose component of sugar that causes the cells to stop responding to Insulin. He believes that in the absence of fructose our bodies should be able to tolerant glucose without much problem. If the fructose wasn’t making our cells insulin resistant, we should be able to process the energy from starches (glucose) efficiently and thus avoiding the associated weight gain and diabetes associated with insulin resistance. He says that low-carb diets work because you eliminate Fructose.

Dr. Johnson points to cultures throughout the world that have had high starch staples in their diet for thousands of years- Rice, Potatoes, Taro, Yams, Grains etc. Obesity was not a problem and found only in the very wealthy few who could afford to eat sugar. Once HFCS was invented it suddenly made sugar affordable for the common man and began to infiltrate our diets. We became fatter and heart disease flourished. Enter the low-fat diet revolution. When Fat was removed from food it was replaced with sugar to make it palatable.
Long story short- We now are eating approximately 3 times as much sugar as we did in 1950.

His recommended fix is to eliminate fructose as much as possible for 2 weeks to get the excess fructose enzymes out of our cells. Starch is okay to eat as is lean meat and low-fat dairy. There’s a list of vegetable that are okay. No fruit during this time though and no sugar. One caveat though - you have to watch your calories if you are doing it for weight loss. Once you are beyond that first 2 week period you are encouraged to add in one or two servings of fruit a day. He has charts and lists in the book listing fructose content in certain foods. He wants you to stay at or below 25 grams of fructose a day which is about half of typical consumption.
You have to read labels because HFCS is in everything these days. He recommends avoiding packaged foods as much as possible. Over all it seems to be a very balanced, healthy diet. I’m already used to avoiding sugar and reading labels. So I began to wonder…. Could he be right? Could this diet work for me? Is it possible for me to really be able to eat bread and pasta (in moderation) without gaining weight? I don’t know. I am skeptical, yet intrigued. The science seems to make sense…. And I’ve already been eating off plan….. So I’ve decided to experiment and give it a try. Like I said, he does have calorie recommendations which are the one part I really don’t like, but I suppose they are necessary until you re-learn how to eat right.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!


  1. I'm sorry about your family's loss.

    Interesting book.

    I can't say I entirely agree. This might be so for some people but I have long periods when I eat little fruit and no added sugar. Fructose is not my problem. Starches are. On the other hand I'm not at risk of diabetes any more than average.

    I know there are people who cannot tolerate fructose so I guess it all comes back to what works best for each individual. There are certain general guidelines to weight loss. Eat less, move more, choose your food wisely etc.

    It's fun reading all the different research and learning how to apply it to our own lives.

    Wishing you a fantastic day, week, month. You deserve it after the last few weeks.

  2. My condolences on your loss.

    I am diabetic II and I test my blood regularly throughout the day. This is the only way to know for sure how the different foods effect my system. As you know, I eat low-carb and totally believe in it for lowering your levels. It's the only way to keep my glucose under control without medication. AND, when I say low, I mean low. Sometimes it's extremely frustating (convenience wise) but if it's what I have to do then it's what I have to do. I have no other choice if I want to give myself the best possible chance of being there for my future grandchildren!!

    My fingers are crossed for you!

  3. Oh how you are reading about my life. I have Fructose Malabsorption so I have to limit fructose or fructose high foods (foods that have more fructose than glucose ratio). I'm interested in this book. I'll have to try to find it. I seriously need recipes. Fructose Malabsorption tends to cause Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) so there are many sugar implications.

    What people don't realize is that fructose is naturally occurring so many fruits and veggies have way too much and have to be avoided in this case. And starches (specifically breads and pastas as opposed to corn) break down to fructose. That's why someone who has FM can't have wheat. Wheat is in most breads and pastas. Not because you can't handle the gluten, but because of the fructose. So, just because you don't react to all fruits, doesn't mean you don't have a fructose problem.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    This was an interesting read - lots of info to chew on (pardon the pun). Thank you for sharing!