Published October 1, 2010

Sugar Is Good for You

by Helen M. Ryan

Really? Sugar is good for you?
Probably not. But for me, anyway, it's good  mentally. I live for sugar.

As humorist Erma Bomback would say, "Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, 'No, thank you,' to dessert that night. And for what?"

I would never had said "no, thank you," and I would have died a happy woman. Sugar is the elixir of life. It makes you happy, warm and fuzzy. Whether it's in the form of dessert or Starburst, it's a lovely and comforting chemical. (Starburst, BTW, are hard to eat while driving. All that unwrapping is probably not safe. Just suggesting.)

With all the deadlines I've been on lately, I've been a bit indiscreet with my sugar consumption. The last week or so it's been sugar morning, noon and night. I've been so happy about it, too. Until yesterday, when I started to feel crappy. I disregarded my work and slept half the day away. I passed out last night and slept in this morning. I've been nauseous, too. Before you think I have the flu or some other illness, the truth is really this: I have a sugar hangover. And my body is rebelling.

So today I cut myself off of refined sugar.

I never advocate going cold turkey on anything. Never. Truthfully, it doesn't work. You end up cutting out foods completely and then starting to miss them, go crazy and binge, then vow to start again fresh tomorrow. Time and time again, I've been there and I won't do it again.

Today, however, I went cold turkey on sugar. And I am cranky.

I keep eying the Fig Newtons. Drooling over the Honey Grahams. Sighing over the chocolate chips. But I have to break the habit and get my body back on track so I feel better. My last lab results were perfect. My blood pressure is admirably low. On paper I could probably eat all the sugar I want. But I don't feel so good doing it.

I will never cut out sugar all together. Chocolate and frozen yogurt are too important to me. I don't care what people say - I lost 80 pounds eating 85% healthy and 15% "fun stuff" that has sugar listed as a primary ingredient, so it's certainly possible to lose weight leading a normal life. Sugar is not poison and it's not the devil. Everything is OK in moderation.

I don't want to be super skinny. I don't want to live forever. I want to be healthy and happy. For me, happiness includes some sugar.
Just not today. Can I go seven days without sugar? I don't know. That's the time it usually takes the body to rid itself of a compound. I am going to try.

Stay tuned to see if I go crazy...

How long have you gone without sugar and how did it make you feel?