Goal/Objective: To eliminate sugar in all its forms from your dietary protocol.
Time Frame: As much or as little time as you need. This can be done in conjunction with drinking more water and eliminating sugary beverages (No. 2). Or it can be combined with eating real food (No. 4).
We are convinced that sugar—especially refined sugar, but “natural” sugars as well—must be totally eliminated from the dietary protocol of all diabetics who are striving to prevent, control, or reverse any form of diabetes.
Dr. Jason Fung’s explanation of insulin resistance makes it undeniably clear! In a person with type 2 diabetes, too much sugar causes insulin resistance, which prevents the cells from using insulin to let the blood glucose into the cells so that they can burn it for energy. So the blood glucose (still in the blood) goes into other parts of the body, especially nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs. A lot of it is turned into fat. That’s why insulin tends to increase body weight.
The standard medical treatment of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) is to prescribe…wait for it…more insulin! So the cycle may repeat, over and over, for many years. Dr. Fung says the body is literally rotting, as eventually evidenced by blindness, neuropathy, amputations, kidney failure, and cardiovascular diseases. Other sources have quipped that adding insulin for hyperinsulinemia would be like putting gasoline on a house fire!
Dr. Fung offers two ways to solve the problem of too much sugar in the blood/body.
- Stop putting sugar into the body. This is nicely accomplished with a low-carb high-fat (LCHF) dietary protocol.
- Burn off the sugar that is in the body. Dr. Fung recommends the practice of intermittent fasting. Fasting means you’re not eating anything, but the body needs energy and so it starts burning off the sugar.
“Insulin resistance does not come about by using small amounts of insulin
to compensate for a deficiency.
Insulin resistance comes about from using large amounts of insulin
to ‘cover’ poor lifestyle choices.”
What is sugar?
In Dr. Eric Westman’s manual for the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) where he treats thousands of obese and diabetic patients, he says:
“Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Avoid these kinds of foods: white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, corn syrup, beer (contains barley malt), milk (contains lactose), flavored yogurts, fruit juice, and fruit.
“Starches are complex carbohydrates. Avoid these kinds of foods: grains (even “whole” grains), rice, cereals, flour, cornstarch, breads, pastas, muffins, bagels, crackers, and “starchy” vegetables such as slow-cooked beans (pinto, lima, black beans, etc.), carrots, parsnips, corn, peas, potatoes, French fries, potato chips, etc.” (Dr. Eric C. Westman, Adapt Program: A Low-carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Manual, p. 11).
Now, the issue is that starches (complex carbohydrates) convert to sugar (simple carbohydrate) in the process of digestion, starting from the moment you put food in your mouth and saliva touches it. One member recently wrote, “Carrots are like sugar bombs to me!”
Learn to recognize sugar in all its forms
Sugar exists in many packaged foods—even table salt! The most common ones I have encountered include dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin, corn syrup (including high-fructose corn syrup), coconut sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, fructose, and others. You can find more complete lists in printed articles (do a Google search on “names for sugar”).
And here we give our standard recommendation to test a specific food by “eating to your meter.”
What about artificial sweeteners?
Christel Oerum of Diabetes Strong reviews natural sugars and popular artificial sweeteners and their effect(s) on blood sugar. Although she lists aspartame (which, for me, triggers horrendous migraines) and monkfruit (which spikes my blood sugar up 30-40 mg/dL), she concludes that the best choice is pure stevia, with no additives. She recommends “buying stevia extract instead because it’s pure stevia. The extract is more intense in the flavor, but you’ll get the sweetness without any calories or blood sugar impact whatsoever. To me, that’s a winner if you want a natural sweetener.”
We recommend, if you feel you absolutely have to have a replacement for sugar, that you test a specific artificial sweetener (see our chapter on “Eat to Your Meter”) to find out how it affects your blood sugar. If it’s in alignment with your blood sugar goals, then use it…until you are ready to replace it with pure stevia. Or no sweetener at all.
Barnwell, Anna, MSW, MPH. “Secret Sugars: The 56 Different Names for Sugar.” Virta Health (December 3, 2018). https://www.virtahealth.com/blog/names-for-sugar (accessed on 7/16/2020).
At the end of the list, the author gave this caveat, “Note: If you spot any of these names listed on a label, keep in mind it’s not automatically a no-go. It’s the amount of sugar that counts! If the total carbohydrate count is 1-2 grams, it’s still fine to have if you’re following a low-carb lifestyle. For example, many keto-friendly salad dressings include a pinch of sugar with 1-2 grams total carbs—these are still suitable to consume.” We don’t agree with this; and we recommend consuming food and beverages, packaged or recipes, with zero sugar!
Fung, Jason, MD. “The Perfect Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes.” YouTube, uploaded by Jason Fung, June 17, 2015. https://youtu.be/oFJ5Sv5ifes [12:11]
Dr. Eenfeldt of Diet Doctor interviews Dr. Jason Fung. This is Dr. Fung’s classic and clear explanation of sugar in the body; how insulin resistance is created; and, more importantly, how we can reverse type 2 diabetes. Watch this video if you don’t watch anything else!
Jacoby, Dr. Richard and Raquel Baldelomar. Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage, and Reclaim Good Health. New York: Harper Wave; Reprint edition (February 16, 2016).
This is a good companion book to Gary Taubes’ The Case Against Sugar (2016)
Oerum, Christel. “How Natural and Artificial Sweeteners Affect Your Blood Sugar,” Diabetes Strong (August 23, 2016). https://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/how-natural-and-artificial-sweeteners-affect-your-blood-sugar-298225/ (accessed on 7/16/2020).
Taubes, Gary. The Case Against Sugar, New York: Anchor; 1 edition (December 27, 2016). https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DRXCPJ0/
Taubes, Gary; Edited by Pam Weintraub. “The Case Against Sugar,” Aeon, Adapted from ‘The Case Against Sugar’ by Gary Taubes. Copyright © 2016 by Penguin Random House. https://aeon.co/essays/sugar-is-a-toxic-agent-that-creates-conditions-for-disease (accessed on 7/16/2020).
Taubes describes sugar as “a potent toxin that alters hormones and metabolism, sugar sets the stage for epidemic levels of obesity and diabetes.”
Westman, Dr. Eric C., MD, MHS. Adapt Program: A Low-carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Manual. Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (February 16, 2015). 28-page booklet is out of print and unavailable. https://www.amazon.com/Adapt-Program-Carbohydrate-Ketogenic-Manual/dp/1508509905/
White, Ellen G. “Sugar,” Ellen White wrote, “when largely used, is more injurious than meat” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. II). “The Seventh-day Adventists and Ellen G. White: Diet, Health & Vegetarianism,” by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s, Copyright 2004 Soyinfo Center, Lafayette, California. https://www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/ellen_white.php (accessed on 7/16/2020).
Think about that one when you go to your next church potluck and see all the decadent desserts, the “healthy” macaroni and cheese, and other pasta and noodle dishes!