How many diet and nutrition gurus do you know who agree with each other? It seems like everyone has their own theory on what you should, and shouldn’t, eat. Meat or vegetarian? Raw or cooked? 6 meals a day or 3? There are a lot of different opinions.
So when a bunch of big nutrition personalities actually agree with each other, I take notice.
And the nutrition gurus of the day seem to agree on one point – sugar is toxic.
As you know I’m currently at the Integrative Nutrition Mega Conference (and liveblogging it on twitter with #MegaIIN). After Day 1 the anti-sugar message was clear.
At VintageAmanda, I’m all about eating real foods, whole foods, foods that your great-grandmother would recognize.
But unfortunately, great-grandma wouldn’t recognize our refined, white sugar. Or if she did, it was only from fantasies and an occasional taste – because sugar used to be a luxury product, not an everyday part of the diet like today.
If you missed it, the sugar debate kicked off earlier this year when doctor Robert Lustig suggested in the science journal Nature that sugar is toxic, addictive and should be regulated like alcohol. (If you want to learn more, check out his Sugar the Bitter Truth lecture, or this Is Sugar Toxic article.)
What surprised me yesterday was that four different speakers, from very diverse food philosophies, came to the same conclusion.
First up, Mark Sisson from Primal Blueprint. He takes vintage to a whole other level! We’re not talking great-grandma here – we’re talking about our paleolithic ancestors who pre-date modern agriculture! His concept is to focus on the original whole foods: protein, vegetables and fats. Refined sugar didn’t exist, and the only occasional sweets were wild fruits or the brave person who fought off bees for their honey.
Julia Ross, a well-known nutritional psychologist said that diets don’t work because we’re actually dealing with addiction. Sugar addiction. And while we should eat what our body truly craves, we can’t do this while we’re dealing with a sugar addiction. This sounds dramatic – but have you ever tried to quit sugar?
How did that work out for you? Headaches, cravings, low energy, crankiness? Yeah, me too.
Gary Taubes presented tons of scientific evidence that the real reason we’re fat is because of insulin imbalance. And what’s the main cause of this insulin imbalance? Sugar. (And refined carbs, but that’s a topic for another day.) Reducing sugar is the #1 thing he recommends to improve our health, energy, and waistlines.
The day wrapped up with David Wolfe, the iconic raw foodist. We started the day with a meat and fat primal diet, and ended the day with all raw, cacao, superfood loaded green smoothies. His conclusion: if you have any kind of medical condition, infection or immune issues, avoid all sugar because it suppresses the immune system and inhibits your body from healing itself.
I’ve gotten the message loud and clear. Cut back on sugar.
Really, I think great-grandma would agree. Sugar used to be relegated to dessert only. And on special occasions.
So where does this leave an avid baker and lover of sweet things like me? I think I’m overdue for some quality time in the kitchen to test out some new recipes…