A Whole Bunch of Sugar Myths Just Got Debunked
11.08.17

As an avid reader of research that suggests sugar is the devil, the daughter of a woman whose life changed when she cut it out of her diet and the human embodiment of the Cookie Monster himself, I was intrigued when my favorite contrarian media site, The Outline, published a knock-out piece on sugar last week: “Who’s Afraid of Sugar?”

The byline in particular caught my attention: Yvette d’Entremont.

D’Entremont is an “analytical chemist with a background in forensics and toxicology,” but she’s made a career out of writing about health trends: unpacking them, debunking them and questioning them to a pulp. (She loathes the “egregious abuse” of the word “toxin,” to paint a picture.) According to her site, Scibabe, she’s “long looked at the alternative medicine and pseudoscience movements with a skeptical eye.” She came into viral fame when she wrote “The ‘Food Babe’ Blogger is Full of Shit” for Gawker in 2015, and she’s been writing similar pieces ever since.

Now, she’d like to talk about sugar.

“Apparently sugar is killing us, or is it?” she asks. “Whether it’s cancer, obesity, acne, or whatever is happening on Steve Bannon’s face, there’s someone out there saying it’s sugar’s fault…Let’s look at the science behind all of it to get a little smarter about the sweeter parts of life,” she says.

She goes on to address the many accusations lodged against sugar in recent years, such as it resembling a habit-forming drug, being worse than fat, inciting hyper-activity and causing Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer. She debunks them one by one. Her piece is worth a read in its entirety, but there’s one point she makes that I can’t get out of my head: sugar is sugar, no matter where it comes from.

You know all the talk around added sugar versus natural sugar versus honey versus high-fructose corn syrup versus refined sugar? Bullshit, she says. “It’s a commonly held misconception that sugars from fruit are ‘better for you’ than sugars from, say, jelly beans, but that’s only because an apple has much less sugar than jelly beans,” she says. “The simple sugars in each are metabolized in the exact same way. Your pancreas really doesn’t care where you get those sugars from, just if you’re getting them or not.”

I have to admit, this bowled me over. Not in a bad way — the apple addict in me feels personally attacked, sure, but the Cookie Monster in me feels vindicated. She goes on to explain other material differences between jelly beans and apples (like that apples have fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are therefore the better choice in terms of dietary efficiency), but makes it clear the sugar is the same. She says calories are still the most important dietary measure for concerns like illness and obesity. It’s just that certain foods do a better job at helping you meet your nutritional needs faster. “But hey,” she says, “there’s not a lot of money to be made in writing a diet book that says ‘maybe just eat fewer calories.'”

D’Entremont isn’t the final say on this, of course, but it’s nice to hear someone approach this topic with skepticism rather than extremism. Ironically enough, she’s the first food writer to get me to actually change my behavior in regards to sugar: I’ve stopped thinking of fruit as a free pass, for instance, and I’ve also stopped feeling guilty about having sweets when I’ve had my greens and think I can calorically handle them. It’s been a relief, this looser approach. It took this piece for me to realize how ready I’ve been to let go of the sugar hysteria and re-embrace moderation. Fake ice cream just won’t cut it.

Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi; Creative Direction by Emily Zirimis. 

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  • Adrianna

    I used to add three tablespoons of sugar to one 8oz cup of tea, binge on milk chocolate bars, drink multiple cans of soda, and I even sprinkled sugar to roast vegetables, because Giada de Laurentis did it. You know, caramelization.

    And yet, I had no idea that that’s why I gained almost fifty pounds. Because no one suggested it until recently. Soda can’t be that bad if it’s allowed to be sold, right? I’m one of those people who actually listened to Bloomberg’s anti-soda rhetoric and subway ads. I had a very high tolerance for sugar and intolerance for unsweetened things like tea. Foods like kale tasted extra bitter when I consumed more sugar.

    ps – I lost all of the weight in less than 6 months after I minimized my sugar intake

    pss – everyone is obviously different

    • Kristen J

      Good for you for making a change. Switching over to unsweetened foods is really hard work.

      • Adrianna

        It was easier when I cut it all out, no “cheat meals.” My palette adjusted and I found some of my favorite snacks to taste disgusting. It was also the only time in my life that I immediately saw weight loss, so that was motivation to commit. I was also single and eating alone, compared to now where I have free snacks at work, and my partner offers to buy me donuts on a regular basis.

        But ironically, given this article, I ate a LOT of oranges. Like 20 a week.

  • Anne Dyer

    Seriously love this piece. I said fuck it to every diet rule I was trying to follow at random, add coconut fat, don’t eat sugar, wheat is the worst etc. I really just got so tired of the confusing messages I started eating what I wanted, in moderation. Guess what?! I didn’t gain any weight, I don’t feel lethargic and/or crazy. In fact I weigh less and have chilled the fuck out.

    • Cristina

      ::hand clap emoji:: you go Glen Coco. I spent most of my adult life fad dieting, and I’m about a year into NGAF but it’s a slow process. I started having major digestion issues, colonoscopy all that and finally just was like “I think I’ve effed my body up”. In college, I used to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast. Did I die? No. I swore by an Activia a day haha. Somewhere along the line, I learned too much (hi social media) and took a wrong turn and here I am trying to un-learn!

      • Alycia

        Lucky Charms ftw! This was my primary food source through college.

      • rachel

        I was all about the grocery store version of Lucky Charms when I lived in the dorms: Hyvee’s Marshmallow Treasures. When I was eating them (in 2009) the logo was a generic wizard but it appears they’ve switched to a neon green octopus pirate which is much better and I probably need to go buy a box now.

    • Haley Nahman

      Actually have had the same exact experience!

    • Katheryn Soto

      Yes!

  • Rachel

    I use the MyFitness Pal app to track my daily calories and it also tracks other things like protein, sugar, fibre, cholesterol, calcium, vitamins, etc. The thing I always go over on is my sugars even if I’m under my daily calorie allowance. I just really love fruit so it’s really hard to not eat too much sugar in a day.
    I also have a problem with indulging on non-natural sugars when I feel like I’ve had a good day of just eating plants and whole grains. As important as it is to treat yourself every once and a while I know it shouldn’t be an everyday thing if I want to live a healthy lifestyle.

    • Kristen J

      I’m a MFP junkie as well! Except how on earth are you supposed to get that much potassium in a day? I have never once hit the daily goal.

    • AbigailatSea

      Me too. I’ve started swearing at the app when it tells me that whatever I just ate has X grams of sugar when my goal is to stay under Y grams of sugar a day. Probably better to just eat half of it.

  • Mareike Borkowski

    Good article! There is just too much hysteria surrounding food these days. People have just forgotton how to eat sensibly. A great blog that scientifically takes apart food-fads is http://angry-chef.com/
    It’s also hilarious!

  • Hayley

    Sugar is sugar is sugar. Your body just processes it better (i.e., not as quickly, so therefore, no sugar rush or crash) when it’s combined with fiber and other nutrients. So technically, no, natural sources of sugar are no different than refined sources, but the natural sources, as she states, provide balance and other important benefits.

    On a side note, I do get annoyed with these overly processed “fiber rich” bars and cereals where the fiber actually does nothing for you though, since it’s not whole… Do NOT fall for the scheme those companies are selling.

    • Totally unrelated — just wanted to virtual high five because I always see you commenting on ITG and here, and those are the two sites I pull up every single day, so what’s up hello great taste!

      • Hayley

        Hey new friend! We do have great taste! High five!

      • megzzz31

        what is ITG?

        • lois

          Into the Gloss!

        • Hayley

          It’s your newest addiction, that’s what it is!

      • Elizabeth

        I read ITG and MR everyday! Is there anything else in your daily mix you like to read?? I like to have a long list of reading material to distract me from my school work and I am always looking for new websites/blogs

        • Besides those two, the only thing I read online religiously is the Girl’s Night In newsletter. They always have lots of great links that I bookmark and read throughout the week!

        • Abbey

          Dedicated reader of both ITG and MR and would also like to recommend the “Pop Culture Academic Style” FB group and/or Anne Helen Peterson’s newsletter.

          PS. Just signed up for Girl’s Night In newsletter. Thanks!

        • Betsy Greaves

          the-file.com!

  • heat11her

    I think this touches on a great point. I can’t wait to scour her website. Having a father with a PhD in organic chemistry, I’ve known this truth for a while. Although…..I know I lost weight when I did whole30, but that’s probably because I was cooking my own, healthier food. Can you do an aluminum/deodorant debunk article please!! No more fear mongering!!

    • Cristina

      Oh man. I was in that natural deodorant camp for so long, and from a fear stand point. Which is pretty embarrassing to admit. I tried all the homemade, natural ones that someone is getting really rich off of by marketing to paleo people and that Crossfitters swore didn’t make them stink and at the end of the day, after 3 years, I just really got tired of being stinky. I took a leap of faith and bought some Dove and now, I feel like a whole new woman lol

      • gracesface

        Saaaaame.

        • Cristina

          I SWEAR WE WERE SEPARATED AT BIRTH.

      • Bo

        lol love this comment (Although I have to confess that I am currently using a natural deodorant NOT because I’m frightened of aluminium, just because my armpits just kept smelling terrible no matter that conventional deodorant I was using? Does that happen? Do armpits get sick of the same old deodorant? I have this nice paste now which lets me keep sweating but stop smelling; the dream combo. One day I will return to Dove, I don’t doubt it)

    • Bo

      And then an article tackling anti-vaxxers!

      • Cristina

        When i started following the links from the article, somewhere I ended up reading that you aren’t vaccinating so much to protect yourself, but to protect others that CAN’T get vaccinated (cancer patients, auto immune diseases etc” which I thought was a very interesting perspective!

    • silla

      YES. I have been trying to use natural deodorant but I’m in Australia and we just don’t have that many options. I’ve tried most of the roll on ones (sorry, I’m not scopping deodorant into my armpit – messy and not happening in the morning rush) and I smell. I think I’m going to stop giving a fuck and go back to Dove too!!

  • Fofy

    This article is such a relief!! There are so many things about sugar on the Internet, one says honey is good the other that is bullsh *t, even worse than refined sugar. I had sugar addiction and it was terrible to cut off sugar. I couldn’t totally cut it. I watched a lot of videos and stuff telling me, that eating fruit is better than consum refined sugar. Yeah, but reading this it’s the same, execpt the fact, that fruit has health benefits. I think moderation the way to live healthier. This video also helped me to reduce my sugar intake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E9bnjwQG9s

  • Kristin

    What a great article. This woman is my hero. Having recently had visitors who were, respectively, gluten/dairy free + weird acid reflux rules, vegetarian, and “whole 30-ish” I feel so over toxins, “immunogens” (what?), weight loss, overly mindfulness (prolly your stomach feels weird all the time and you should just ignore it) and really every diet rule other than it tastes good and you’re hungry. I really enjoy their company, but there was no joy in eating like that. (though, to be fair, they are from New York, where it seems like everyone is under some sort of restriction and I am in Georgia, where even vegetarian can feel pretty fringe)

    • Cristina

      Girl yes. I’m from the midwest, land of fried food and casseroles and I can’t imagine. I just can’t even imagine. It’s not even living! (i’m being dramatic but you get it lol)

      • Olivia

        Hahahaha I see it both ways. I am that weird New Yorker when I visit my family and this made me laugh out loud. I got in a legit fight with my dad because I wanted almond milk in my coffee and my mom routinely is irritated with me for wanting to make my own food rather than eat the Little Cesar’s pizza she orders. To be fair, I am lactose intolerant and was even when I lived in Georgia (where my parents just thought I was a really puke-y child… sigh). But you are right in that we seem to have more dietary hang ups in New York than basically everywhere else. Not sure why!

        • Kristin

          I think it is because New York celebrates dietary restriction. It’s also another super specialist thing. Also a more anxious culture breeding poor digestion and need for dietary restriction (no facts that I am aware of can back up that statement)

        • Cristina

          I would totally drink almond milk if I actually preferred it over regular milk! I definitely don’t think those are hang-ups, just preference. Also, it keeps you from puking lol!
          I think there are more restrictions in New York because that stuff is readily available and easily accessible. Like, we just got our first shop that sells “acai bowls” (which I wouldn’t eat lol) about a year ago. And I live in a major city, it’s just not something that has become available here. Also, we aren’t as health conscious and I think that’s regional and due in part to how we were all raised, and our mothers were raised and our grandmothers were raised! I feel like New York is muuuuch more of a melting pot!

        • Gene Day

          Probably because it’s so easy to navigate alternatives in NY and then when you leave it’s more difficult and seems obnoxious.

      • gracesface

        I make a casserole every week these days, get 5 or 6 servings out of it and love it, LOVE IT.

        • Cristina

          Just decided a tater tot casserole is totes happening this weekend! Yummm.

    • Lauryn P.C

      I am also so over the gluten free thing. My best friend actually was diagnosed and has Celiac and that is a condition. Gluten intolerance is not proven and I mean I have my theories (GM seeds spreading to good wheat crops..hmm maybe?) But nothing is proven and I am not sure I believe if someone can digest one bread and not another. I mean yes, buy the best sprouted bread you can find but I think anytime someone eats something processed it can for sure hurt your stomach.

  • Cristina

    Is this the first time you’ve heard that about sugar? That would be interesting, because it’s been around forever. Sugar is sugar. A carb is a carb. It’s like, science (haha!). It’s only a matter of time before the diet industry comes full circle. She’s right, there’s a lot more money to be made touting the latest miracle cure. ALSO, the placebo effect is a real thing. Your mind can in fact, convince you of things. I literally hate when my friends do some Whole 30 or Tone it Up (ew) plan and then they’re like “I can’t even eat pizza anymore. I don’t even crave it and it doesn’t even taste good”. Hi, bulls**t. And then I slap them with my gooey slice. Just kidding I don’t but I want too. No one ever questions why “adrenal fatigue” is the latest illness trend? I mean cmon. Someone said something, then convinced this something made you feel this way, cause they will that way. Then they created a diet to correct it and now they sleep on a mattress of money and lies.
    Sidenote: I am not a conspiracy theorist, though I just sounded like one lol!!

    • Haley Nahman

      No I loved this

      • Cristina

        Also, thank you for linking that article about Food Babe as I’ve now spent my entire morning veering down the black hole that is anti-Food Babe and I can’t stop. Very productive.

        • Daisy Tinker

          I have literally just done exactly the same thing.

    • Just wanted to clarify (as a Type 1 Diabetic who tracks how carbs and sugar affect my body 24/7 with a continuous glucose monitor) that not all carbs (or sugar) are the same. Just like certain forms of sugar, certain types of carbs are digested more slowly by the body depending on things like its glycemic index and how much fiber is in something. So, for example, 10 carbs of gummy candy would affect anyone’s body way differently than 10 carbs of vegetable carbs. I agree that people shouldn’t deem one better or “cleaner” (I loathe that word) than another though.

      • mlc

        yes, and this is what matters. Sugars are not just sugars and carbs are not just cards. Slow to release and metabolize are different from simple ones

      • laura r

        Thank you!! I’m also a Type 1 diabetic and do wish people would understand the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 as well when referring to the obesity problem in the US.

        • Tell me about it….most people have no idea that they’re (SO) different. 🙁

    • erinsux

      I’m definitely not big on those month diet things but (also as a diabetic) I can vouch that eating less sugar does make you crave it less, whenever I have to carb fast on doctor’s orders or just cut down on my sugar, foods actually do taste sweeter after! (but again, in your case, how much is actually that and how much is humble bragging)

    • Fiona Fire

      Eh, I really can’t eat pizza (allergies) and I don’t crave it. I’m on a strict diet for health reasons digestive woes) and it has put a big damper on craving sweets bc they give me a headache now.

      I still crave chocolate something fierce though.

    • Bek

      Sorry need to address this.
      Why is it weird that your friends don’t want to eat MSG, or other foods that may cause them reactions/inflammation after removing them for 30 days? I don’t see how this is the placebo affect. They probably do feel a lot better.
      And what does pizza have to do w adrenal fatigue? It’s a “trend” bc 1. we are getting overly burnt out in our always on society 2. are more susceptible to messed up cortisol due to increased gut issues bc of round up crops, etc. The technical term is HPA Axis disregulation.
      https://chriskresser.com/myth-of-adrenal-fatigue/
      Also, excess sugar is bad. Especially if you are predisposed to health issues. End of story!

  • theysayshycity

    I’m not quite as keen to give candy a free pass….I think that there’s something to be said for the “weaponizing” of calories. I think there’s something to be said for being somewhat cautious of fruit…but some limited value. I cut most sugar out of my diet for a week, it was when I realized that I shouldn’t eat carrots that I stopped.

    I do hate when recipes talk about how they have “no added sugar” and then use honey in the place of granulated sugar.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    All things in moderation.

  • Autumn

    If you’ve never watched the show (or listened to the podcast) Adam Ruins Everything you should check out the ‘Adam Ruins Wellness’ episode. He debunks the ideas of toxins and “detoxing” and explains why that’s all bullshit. Very interesting.

  • atlas son

    Needed this!

  • nell

    Yep – and hate to say it but your body metabolizes white carbs like white bread, pastas and potatoes (especially in a form where they’re served without the good fiber you get from the skin) almost exactly like sugar. Simple carbs, especially in a processed form stripped of dietary fiber, pretty much spike your blood sugar no matter what. If you are interested in this I really recommend the documentary Fed Up on Netflix, which is a couple of years old now…I haven’t enjoyed a glass of orange juice since 🙁

    • Hayley

      UGH I KNOW I PRETEND TO NOT KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT OJ

    • Adrianna

      People hate me when I tell them that I regard bagels the same way as donuts. (Love and eat both regularly, btw.) Guys, there’s a reason why you’re hungry pretty soon after an english muffin with a smear of peanut butter…

      • erinsux

        bagels are the worst! 2-3x as bad as donuts usually!

  • Abigail Larson

    I’m not against sugar, but I also see and experience what it does to my body when I don’t eat it and when I do. I’m all for enjoying a dessert now and then, but I know that I’m so much healthier for the long term when I eat well.

    • Haley Nahman

      You should check out the whole article — she’s not necessarily saying sugar is fine, she’s saying that what makes us feel bad is empty calories in general which is sugar/fat/etc, and that sugar in particular is unfairly maligned (or rather, it’s the trendy thing to malign right now)

  • As someone who tries to make responsible, adult dietary choices but secretly has the palate of a 4 year old, this is the best thing I’ve read in 2017.

    • Ash

      Same.

  • jen

    The NY Times recently posted an article about “bad food”. It’s based on society’s fear of foods and how eliminating foods is not necessarily the best idea. It’s interesting!

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/opinion/sunday/relax-you-dont-need-to-eat-clean.html?_r=0

    • Lauryn P.C

      Just read this in this Sunday’s paper! Good read. I felt like the first couple paragraphs highlighting neurosis on food resonated with me but it lost me at the end with the pro-GMO stance

  • So, I don’t eat fruit. I hate it, I think it’s gross. The smell of fruit makes me nauseous, let alone eating it. I get SO MUCH flack for not eating fruit, and for saying that fruit is just sugar, vitamins, and fibre. People are like, astounded that I’m not half-dead with scurvy. Anyway, I’m pretty tired of the persistence of the idea of ‘good sugar’ and ‘bad sugar.’ Similarly, I’m tired of the persistence of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats. I think there are larger, systemic reasons to cut out certain types of these foods (ie: not eating factory-farmed beef), but yeah, at the end of the day I’m not going to criticize anyone, including myself, for eating carbs from different ends of the nutritional-density spectrum. Thanks for writing this article!

  • Alice Lin

    Interesting opinion article, thank you for sharing. As a person with blood sugar issues, I have found that my body does know the difference between fructose (fruit, honey) and glucose. I can eat honey but not sugar.
    As a scientist, this make sense to me based on the different ways they are metabolized:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructolysis
    Note that fructose metabolism is not reliant on insulin, which is key for diabetes, which is why fruit does not worsen diabetes but other concentrated sugars do. Anyway, there’s so many research articles about this and blah blah blah.
    I am also in the group of people that lose a lot more weight on a high fat diet rather than high sugar diet (mostly in the area of belly fat), but obviously this is not true for everyone.

    I totally agree that variety and moderation is key, and very importantly there is no one diet that is perfect for everyone.

  • Lauryn P.C

    This was amazing Haley. I suffered the end of 2016 and first few months of 2017 in an anxiety ridden state mostly fueled by the idea I had adrenal fatigue and trying to be like ERVERY FOOD BLOGGER on IG. Guess what – I gained weight and felt like shit. Bulletproof coffee (and the brand and CEO of it, as far as I’m concerned and from articles, is a load of BS that made him rich). And it was generally unhealthy comparing everything I ate to these instagrammers.

    I, too had been scared of having refined sugar for years – being a long distance runner and athlete usually on a paleo diet. While I absolutely love and thrive on eating clean, I want to be able to not worry if I have a banana and an apple in one day. I recently looked at photos of myself when I wasn’t so neurotic and working out a ton and eating enough and I actually looked slimmer than when I restricted what I ate and was ultra-marathon training.

    I have so many opinions on these subjects and am very informed on this information but unfortunately, these wellness trends are being spewed out to the masses without a ton of facts to back up the trends. I think it is super detrimental what these instagrammers are showing their followers. When I stopped having salmon based products in lieu of any wheat/cheese/etc I felt like CRAP. it is much better to have real, Whole Foods. I am not celiac and can have wheat so there was no reason to have almond flour everything – surprise, surprise but almond everything isn’t good for you either.

    Anyways, my thoughts might be scattered but had to join the convo because I think right now people are inundated and heavily influence by wellness trends which are marginally backed up by science and fact.

    • Cristina

      Hi, can I hug you? 100% virtual high fives to everything you said! When I was paleo, oh my goodness. I had so many health issues, from skin to gynecological. Which basically excommunicates you from the community because how dare you say this miracle diet doesn’t work for you and you must be the one blame because you are doing something wrong. My body THRIVES on whole grains. I can eat them morning noon and night and be in heaven and everything works like it should. Such a huge issue with the Instafitnessguru’s are they tout these one diet fits all and everyone’s body is SO DIFFERENT. It just makes no literal sense!
      Oh, and I look back on when I didn’t even know about “eating clean” and franky, partied a lot and did the now shamed “slow and steady cardio” and I was much smaller and had zero issues.
      ::sigh::

      • Jamie

        Adding on to “everyone’s body is so different,” most research uses only men as their subjects, so a lot of the information that’s peddled for everyone may actually not be ideal for female physiology. I have a book called ROAR that’s specifically about the nutritional needs of female athletes and one of the first things she talks about is how women often need more carbs than men.

        • Lauryn P.C

          AH YES! *high five* so yes especially research on low carb – I have read several studies that when taking women into consideration, they are (obvs) genetically different and actually require more carbs than men. That is amazing! Going to Amazon right now…

      • Lauryn P.C

        OMG YES! haha hugs welcomed and can I hug you for sharing all of that! Thank you! I agree, as a long distance runner and athlete I can 100% say when I restrict carbs I feel like crap and am unhappy! When I eat carbs, I feel a lot better. While eating clean is the center of how I eat, I am done denying myself the lattes and the pizzas. Moderation is key. EVERY body is so different – you couldn’t be more right!

    • Fiona Fire

      Are people actually selling bullet proof coffee as a remedy to adrenal fatigue? Caffeine is hard on your adrenals. That makes no sense.

      • Lauryn P.C

        No, no not that I know of! Sorry if that point in my comment was convoluted. I just meant that I was suffering through potential A.F but these bloggers tout these strange things such as bullet proof coffee as a way to hack your health, get better energy, it is better than dairy, etc.

    • Jeanie

      Yah! Bullet proof is sooo bs! I take in a lot of wellness trend information, but that CEO always seemed way too sales pitchy to me. Then at some point I saw somewhere that it was all debunked and how he’s kinda sleazy with pushing his products. He’s just one guy selling something rather specific though.

      • Lauryn P.C

        It is! I am so glad other people see through it. He was a Silicon Valley millionaire (maybe billionaire even?) who spent his money and got fat and then found another way to sell something to people and make money off of people’s insecurities by ‘hacking their health’. Every time I have had this coffee concoction it has made me feel terrible! I am so not on the bandwagon

  • Amelie

    This really is a relief to read. I feel like this whole wellness syndrome is such a “women’s trap”, it saddens me that me and most of my female friends spend so much time thinking about this instead of putting that time doing something more constructive.

    • nelgracev

      YES!!!!!!!! And as a non-conformist- I detest a wellness trend. Haha

    • AbigailatSea

      There was a great article on The Cut yesterday about Aidy Bryant. She said essentially what you just said; when she stopped obsessing about her diet and weight suddenly her life got so much bigger because she had time to think about things that mattered. I like that women are talking about this exact thing a lot more often and a lot more loudly.

  • Emily M

    Yeah I’ve fallen into this trap. As someone who has recovered from an eating disorder, I had to be on a meal plan in treatment that included everything (ice cream, bread, pasta, all the foods we’re brainwashed to believe are “bad”) in moderation and I was struggling to gain weight. Of course after treatment I fell down the rabbit hole of eating enough calories but explicitly banning certain foods (i.e. I went Paleo) and it was joyless and I didn’t feel any better and it kept me in the eating disorder mindset for longer than I probably would’ve been if I continued with the “everything in moderation” approach. Recently, though, I did fall for the whole “adaptogen” craze – freakin bought a jar of Ashwaghanda for $35 and SURPRISE it does nothing!!!

    • silla

      Hahahah thank you – I was so close to getting some ahwaganda. WHAT THE FUCK IS AN ADAPTOGEN

      • Whatwould Slashdo

        Adaptogens are plants that have to adapt in their natural harsh environments and are said to help us adapt to our harsh (stressful etc) circumstances.Or at least this is my understanding, I was recommended Rhodiola Rosa for exam stress a few years ago, and I still take the tincture form, as I feel it just takes the edge off things. Plus it’s cheap so why not;-)

        • silla

          Thanks! I appreciate that. And I agree, whatever works for you 🙂

  • nelgracev

    I just have to insert this interesting bit: in the early 2000s my sister was hospitalized in a “partial program” for anorexia (not feeding tube starved, but halfway there) .. As part of her recovery, she met with a diatitan on the reg. She was required to eat 1 dessert a day, X amount of fruits a day, all the specific portion sizes. Including-
    a resounding “Candy corn counts as a fruit.” Yup- because the sugar doesn’t make a difference. Now- in this context, these patients were on a gaining/maintaining diet (and maybe this advice would be outdated in 2017) – but i still think of it from time to time.

    • 808kate

      We still do this! I maybe wouldn’t say candy corn is a fruit but I would definitely include it in a meal plan. I’m a pediatric dietitian in a hospital where one of our roles is to do medical stabilization for patients with eating disorders. In our practice we include what are sometimes called “fear foods” (which are different for different patients!) on meal plans, on a daily basis. I’m also personally recovered from an eating disorder, and making myself eat foods I was scared of, which made me feel like I was losing control, was a huge part of my recovery.

  • This is really a great article that I desperately needed this week. After eating ridiculous amounts of Halloween candy, I kept thinking how I’m poisoning myself, I’m going to have an auto-immune flair up, or get diabetes. So now I feel a little better.

    http://www.shessobright.com

  • erinsux

    my takeaway from this article is that I apparently once ate a pound and a half of carrots in one sitting bc my blood sugar went through the damn roof after
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45bf3c803697d50177d83ca6a145f10135885593b250ac81553b110b75057a2e.png

  • silla

    YEP. Sugar is sugar. I suggest going to iquitsugar.com, which is by one of our best Aussie exports – Sarah Wilson. It lays down the law. I’ve done the IQS program a number of times, and it doesn’t focus on weight loss but just on seeing how you FEEL when you quit sugar (for example). I thought I was really healthy, but it took cutting out ALL sugar to make me realise that I may have been relatively healthy but I certainly felt way, way better when cutting out all sugar. I’m an apple addict, but now I know that eating an apple makes me feel bloated, grumpy afterwards, and hungry almost instantly. Kinda sucks to know! But now I can choose whether eating the apple (or the cake, or the pastry, or the honey) is worth that feeling. Sometimes it is – but usually it’s not.

  • YEEEEEEES!!!!!!!! Sugar is sugar! Now put the $1000 per pound coconut sugar DOWN. Also can MR adopt this approach of not loosely throwing around the term ‘toxin’ now? I remember a very scientifically questionable article about white coffee beans or some madness?
    La Femme | Unofficially the best lifestyle blog ever

  • Rosie

    “The apple addict in me feels personally attacked, sure, but the Cookie Monster in me feels vindicated” — WOW SAME THANK YOUUU HALEY

  • Jeanie

    It’s not that I disagree with her completely, but she’s got something wrong. A lot of us can’t seem to handle counting calories just because we’re “responsible” adults. All these scientists never consider the mental aspect. I consider my health to be high priority, and I try to keep sugar consumption low, but I still often over eat. That’s on me, but I’m not alone. Lots of people fail to eat the right amount of calories even though they have the best of intentions to. Even though eating less calories and exercising is the best way to lose weight, different diets can have different impact on people because some are easier to do than others. I think we get on the trend of demonizing sugar or fat or carbs because trying to eat none of it often just means we actually eat it in moderation. Let’s be honest here, a lot of us want to eat that cake every day. And if the health professionals say sugar in moderation, we’ll eat way too much of it. If they say no sugar, we’ll eat it in moderation. I agree with putting out factual information, but if you don’t also add to it and consider human behavior, it’s not going to help the obesity epidemic. So, yes, that’s great for people to know. But we also need more than “just eat less calories.”

  • laura r

    i am a HUGE manrepeller fan, but when writing about sugar and diabetes, can you please clarify that it is type 2 diabetes and not type 1? they are two very different diseases and not clarifying the different perpetuates misunderstandings about type 1, which is a chronic illness. thank you!

  • Lindsay D

    SO my theory that skittles are fruit salad maybe be valid ?!!!!!

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    What I take from this, as with most diet crazes that are later debunked, is moderation and balance being key. Although seems like a diet book about moderation also doesn’t project the revenue that a fad book might.

  • Caroline

    Researchers get funded for providing innovative research and/or advancements. That means they need to come up with innovative or new results to remain relevant. That causes these researchers to come up with findings about evil gluten, cocaine sugar, and cancer-causing broccoli. Just remember that research is a business now, and look at everything with skepticism.

  • Serena

    Anything that ends in -ose is a sugar and the body doesn’t discriminate! Always my favourite drug…

    • Serena

      I did a 30 day no-sugar experiment and cut out ALL forms of sugar including carbs, grains, pulses, dairy (lactose!), fruit, alcohol… and it was fascinating. The cravings were intense and hit 24-36 hours in. The interesting thing is as the days went on I didn’t find myself missing carbs, etc, which I thought I would but I craved a spoonful of Nutella and bar(ssss) of chocolate every damn hour. Sugar addiction is a real thing! But alas it was unsustainable and in the end, I decided it brought me more happiness to have sugar than not to! (I did lose 15 lbs in 1 month but as soon as I went back to my normal eating I sprung back to my usual size and have hung out there since).