Eliminate Sugar    April 8 2014

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Take 15 minutes to find a max weight for the complex:
1 power snatch + 2 overhead squats

Ryan is doing the Food Challenge.  Practicing what you preach is a pretty fantastic thing.

Ryan is doing the Food Challenge. Practicing what you preach is a pretty fantastic thing.

Eliminate the Sugar

On Monday, 38 Roots athletes embarked on a two month challenge to better their health, performance, and longterm wellness.

The challenge was born out of CrossFit’s dietary prescription:

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.  Keep intake to levels that will support exercise and not body fat.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll break down the pieces of that beautiful two sentence statement.  We’ll start with, “and no sugar.”

In short, sugar is the devil and is more addictive than cocaine.  Many people have said to me, “I’m already Paleo, I’m not sure I really need to do a challenge.”  And I reply, “So you don’t eat any sugar?” And they reply, “Well, yea, except for that.” GOTCHA.  If you are still eating sugar – including ice cream, chocolate, cookies, gluten-free cake, salad dressings, and health bars – do not fool yourself, you are NOT Paleo. Your efforts to not eat dairy or to avoid gluten are out of whack and worthless in the longterm if you are still a sugar-binging-monster.

What is sugar?

Wikipedia defines sugar as: an informal term for a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose characterized by a sweet flavor.

Why no sugar?

Sugar depresses the immune system which opens the door to a host of diseases. It does this by disrupting your insulin response which leads to a well-known condition called silent inflammation.

What is inflammation?

When a foreign object invades the body, or the body performs a heavy lift (for example), the immune system releases hormones to either fight the infection or alleviate the stress of the event. Afterward, the body returns to its hormonally balanced state. This is a normal process but the addition of large quantities of sugar (and carbohydrates) to a person’s diet causes this hormonal response to get out of balance. An excess of pro-inflammation hormones create a state of hyperinsulinemia, an ongoing state of inflammation. Inflammation is now also used to describe a type of nonspecific immune response. Hyperinsulinemia leads to a host of diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, and Alzheimers (aka Type III diabetes).

What are the obvious sources of sugar?

Anything with a label that has sugar, cane sugar, organic cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, etc. Examples include whipped cream, ice cream, ClifBars, sugar packets, lemonade, chocolate bars, honey, soda of any kind, and Gatorade

What are the hidden sources of sugar?

Latte flavoring, some bacons and sausages, deli meat (especially ham), white bread, fruit juices, yogurt, beef jerky, dried fruits (most have added sugar), granola, and salad dressings.

And these count as sugars too:

Agave nectar, honey, maple syrup

And don’t discount foods that contain fake sugars, which have been proven to cause a similar, if not worse insulin response than real sugar:

Diet soda, gum, yogurt, Azriona Green Tea, Maxalt Miraine medicine, sour cream, and nut butters

Give this list a once over and see how many items you have eaten in the past week:
- Cane sugar/organic cane sugar
- Evaporated cane juice
- Whipped cream
- A gluten-free coffee shop item
- Corn syrup
- Ice cream
- ClifBars and most any other type of energy bar
- Sugar packets
- Most bottled teas
- Lemonade
- Dessert
- Chocolate bars
- Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses
- Soda of any kind (real or diet)
- Gatorade
- Latte flavoring
- Some cured meats
- Some deli meats (especially ham)
- Many breads 
- Fruit juices
- Yogurt
- Beef jerky
- Dried fruits (most have added sugar)
- Granola
- Salad dressings
- Sauces and marinades

We know there are sugar sources we have not mentioned above. Post to comments if you think of others!

  • Bones

    OK, now you have crossed the line – HONEY IS NOT SUGAR! HONEY IS THE NECTAR OF THE GODS AND IS LIFE-SUSTAINING AND BRAIN-BUILDING GOODNESS THAT MANKIND CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT!!!!!!! Just sayin’

  • Nicole S

    Ketchup! Most people don’t think of it as a sauce or marinade but a condiment. As a side note: I’ve given up added sugar for the year, and have been amazed by how sweet fruits and even some vegetables taste now. They’re like candy! I never noticed before, probably because my palate was so used to added sugars.

  • http://www.crossfitroots.com Nicole Christensen

    Bones, I wonder how many comments you have left over the past five years in defense of honey? And, I agree with you. If you’re not eating processed crap sources of sugar and you occasionally put it in your tea, for example, it’s probably fine:).

  • Bones

    At least 50, but thanks for the concession N – just channeling my inner Beorn.