Call Us: (303) 578-8455

Number 1: Eliminate Refined Sugar


Number 1: Eliminate Refined Sugar


Take the Roots Athlete Survey here

Sign-up for your blood testing slot here

Sign-up for the WTF CHALLENGE here and read yesterday’s post so you are up to date

75 pound Power snatch, 75 reps for time.

For this fall’s WTF Challenge, we have ranked foods in order of those you should eliminate.  The first on our list 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 this 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 the occasional ice cream, chocolate, cookies, gluten-free cake – 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-craving-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 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

Challenge rules for Number 1: Eliminate all Sugar (this does not include real fruit).  This includes but is certainly not limited to: 
– Cane sugar/organic cane sugar
– Evaporated cane juice
– Whipped cream
– Corn syrup
– Ice cream
– ClifBars and any other type of energy bar (except LaraBars)
– Sugar packets
– HonestTeas
– Lemonade
– Chocolate bars
– Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses
– Soda of any kind (real or diet)
– Gatorade
– Mix1
– Latte flavoring
– Some bacons and sausages
– Deli meat (especially ham)
– Bread
– 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!

13 Responses

  1. The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of microwave meals.

    In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. 26 pounds to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year! Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year! Cardiovascular disease and cancer was virtually unknown in the early 1900’s

  2. shane

    READ INGREDIENT LABELS! Pay no attention to the messages on the front of the food items (no sugar, low carb, yada yada yada). The ingredient labels are regulated and so they’re at least closer to the truth of what the food contains….still by no means 100% honest. If there’s an ingredient that you don’t recognize and it ends in “ose” it is more than likely some form of sugar.

    If you don’t know what something is, go home and google it. The more you know about the stuff your putting in your body the better off you are. Start paying attention and you’ll be surprised at what contains sugar.

  3. Jennifer

    How long do you think it takes the body to recover from “too much sugar” or eating sugar in general? Is there a point pass no return (i.e diabetes) or can changes made today reverse or slow the impact of a life-time of eating foods with sugar (sometime w/out your knowledge – I mean, who knew they put sugar in bread)? Do my questions make sense?

  4. Caps

    I don’t know the answer to your question, but here are some facts about diabetes reversal that might give some insight.

    Stomach stapling has been shown to reverse type 2 diabetes, though they don’t know exactly why.
    On stomach stapling:
    “The rapid rate of diabetes remission indicates that the weight loss is not the initial cause of the diabetes reversal. Rather, the change in the intestinal anatomy causes changes to the digestive process and hormonal balance that, combined with the change in food intake, result in diabetes reversal.”

    From that same link, on diet and exercise for reversal:
    “We also know that many people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes have been able to restore normal blood sugar levels by improving their diet and/or exercising more. Unfortunately, such people are the exceptions, and most people do not achieve or sustain sufficient lifestyle changes to avoid progression of diabetes, once diagnosed. There are no published research studies that convincingly demonstrate the value of lifestyle change for achieving durable diabetes remissions in typical patients, at least not yet.”

    Since stomach stapling cures it and some diabetics have been able to reverse the illness with dietary changes, my conclusion (not yet supported by scientific studies) is that it should be possible to reverse the effects of a high sugar diet by switching to a healthier diet, but that it’s very hard for a diabetic or pre-diabetic to make the drastic lifestyle changes necessary.

  5. shane

    That’s a pretty common question Jennifer, and a good one.

    In a sense, there IS a point of no return, BUT for the majority it is not too late. And even for those few individuals it doesn’t mean that eliminating sugar won’t improve their health and life, it just means that it may not help to the point that they are able to completely come off the meds that they’re on because of their condition. So there is a benefit to all to some degree.

    That also raises a great point that we all should consider when making these changes and looking for the results; IT MAY TAKE TIME. If you’ve been eating this way for 30 years, 5 weeks is not going to completely reverse all the damage that you’ve done, but it’s a start. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of factors that can affect how your body reacts to change. Everyone is different which is what makes these challenges so great. They’re an opportunity to learn about yourself.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Bones

    of course, we all know that honey is really the nectar of the gods and there is no food better for us – those bees give their all for our health and psychic benefit. BUT FOR THIS CHALLENGE, I guess we can forego that heavenly nectar for 5 weeks. Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea just won’t be the same without a touch of that amber-colored nirvana

  7. Olivia

    Gonna have to invent some fake gum.. like those “electronic cigarettes” but for gum. maybe a pencil eraser or those old bike tires i never know what to do with.. no fake sugar in that!

  8. Bones – it may be nectar of the Gods but the Gods didn’t give it to Paleo man but once a year:) And at that time, Paleo man would binge on an entire hive – honey’s unrefined sugar state (bee grubs, cocoons embedded in the cells, propolis, and wax).


    Ok folks. What do you say? Who wants to see Bones eat unrefined Paleo honey!? For time? Anyone?

  9. Pingback : Closing Out 2010 – Part 4 | CrossFit Roots - Boulder, Colorado