It's the sugar, stupid!
Reprinted with permission from https://www.kamaldshah.com/2023/11/its-sugar-stupid.html. Originally published on November 27, 2023.
One of my friends recently told about David Sinclair and his podcast about reversing ageing . This guy had lost a lot of weight recently and he told me he was following Sinclair's podcast called Lifespan and following a lot of the advice given in it. Intrigued, I heard a few episodes of the podcast.
One thing that Sinclair advises is to cut out sugar completely from the diet. He also mentioned he was big on Stevia. Well, nothing radically new there. We all know sugar is bad for us . However, the thing around Stevia was something that caught my attention. If there was a way I could continue to have my ridiculous and completely unjustified three large cups of tea/coffee every day with some sweetener (having tried and failed to have them without sugar - relapsed after 20 days), that would be something I was willing to seriously consider. I was having 4.5 teaspoons of sugar in just my beverages every day!
I also recently heard or read somewhere that until about two centuries back, there was no sugar used by humans. Imagine that! For most of humanity's existence, we managed without sugar and now we are so hooked that we can hardly manage without it.
I read up on artificial sweeteners. WHO recently put out an advisory saying people should stay away from artificial sweeteners for weight loss. They suggested having tea, coffee and other drinks without any sweetener. Many people talked about a weird aftertaste in most artificial sweetener. I thought I would switch from sugar to Stevia first and then wean myself off that as well. I ordered Stevia from Amazon and one day made the switch to Stevia from sugar.
There was a weird aftertaste. Sure. But it wasn't bad enough to go back to sugar given all the negative effects of sugar. A few days into the trial though, the aftertaste and the WHO advisory started bothering me. I started to have my morning coffee and later cups of tea without Stevia as well. I did not find it too bad.
A few days later though, I started dreading my coffee and tea time! I started skipping my tea first and then my coffee as well. For the last few days, I am almost fully off tea and coffee and I don't miss it.
An unintended good side effect of this has been my dramatically reduced fluid intake between two dialysis sessions. Which is a very good thing! I have been notoriously non-compliant with fluid between treatments. With this, though, I have been having to pull off much less than usual during my sessions. Last night, I had to do only 1.1 litres which is probably a life-time record for me.
I now feel I could reach a balance where I have one cup in the morning with a little sugar, which would be much less than the 4.5 teaspoons earlier, and still keep the fluid weight gain good (while that was never the original intent).
One more good side effect of this experimentation is that I have generally started watching out for other sources of sugar and other unhealthy foods. One video that caught my attention was this one from the Foodpharmer. A can of Pepsi has 8 teaspoons of sugar!
This morning, I came across a tweet on X which made so much sense:
Is it really tea/coffee we like or the sugar?