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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 11-16-10, 12:12 AM   #1
irclean
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Sugar Withdrawal?

Is there such a thing? Logic tells me that yes, there is. I do not pretend to have anything more than a rudimentary understanding of anatomy/physiology/chemistry, but I assume that eating sugar, especially in large, concentrated amounts, releases endorphins and/or other feel-good chemicals into my bloodstream. When regular, repeated doses are suddenly stopped, my body reacts in a noticeable way.

That's just my non-researched hypothesis... someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

In any case, after spending two weeks gorging on leftover Halloween candy, mostly in the form of bite-size chocolate bars, I found myself craving something sweet this afternoon in the most godawful way. I also developed a headache that felt identical to the sort of discomfort that I feel later in the day if I don't get my morning coffee.

Has anyone else here experienced this phenomenon? I'm not being flippant... I was truly taken aback by my body's reaction to the sudden withdrawal of what had become a daily fix for two weeks. I would also like to read about coping strategies - what do you do to satisfy your sweet tooth? I'd really like to know because it seems that my jaw is full of them, and sweets have been my downfall since adolescence.

Thanks in advance for any and all replies!

Ride safe.
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Old 11-16-10, 04:53 AM   #2
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Are you now going in the other direction and trying to keep carbs low?

Check out a book titled "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler.

Kessler says that basically our bodies become addicted to sugar, fat and salt, and the food companies know this and scheme to keep us addicted with new concoctions. He's 1,000 percent right, it's fascinating stuff.

Halloween was an awful time for me, I loves my candy. If you're feeling blue, the carbs in the candy raise serotonin levels, which makes you feel better. So you eat more to self-medicate. But usually the candy makes you bigger, which makes you feel bluer, which causes you to (you guessed it) reach for the candy again. Not good.
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Old 11-16-10, 05:37 AM   #3
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it's all in your head
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Old 11-16-10, 06:52 AM   #4
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If I taste a coke now, I would find it unpleasant with a syrupy chemical taste. If I taste it for a few days, I would get seriously hooked on it again... Yes, sugar is addictive, to a large degree because of the insulin whiplash.

I find the low-fat craze hilarious. Every calorie that you consume and do not burn, your body turns into the worst possible saturated fat.

Always keep in mind that if you are not burning it all, there is no such thing as low fat snacking; all of it will turn into artery-clogging fat.
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Old 11-16-10, 07:13 AM   #5
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When I first started taking the diabetes meds I had some scary symptoms when my bloodsugar would get low.I was told to keep candy on me at all times as an antidote.So there is a medical basis in what your saying. Is it withdrawl? All I know is now almost 10 months later I can easily tolerate very low bloodsugar levels. I have no craving for sugar.

Another thing they were concerned about in the beginning was depression. There is a statistical correlation between bloodsugar levels and depression. I don't think the biochemical basis is well understood.

I reread your post and am adding coping. Try to keep bloodsugar on an even level. If you let it get too low then you may choose something to overboost it. I was told by the doc that most people find eating 6 times a day helps. It did for me. Kinda weird eating before you get hungry.

It'll get better. It'll take time. It'll be worth it.

Last edited by jethro56; 11-16-10 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 11-16-10, 07:30 AM   #6
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sugar withdrawal

About 2 1/2 months ago, I switched to a no sugar/no carb, high protein/high fat diet after having been a heavy sugar abuser all my life, and an all around junk food junkie (I'm 58). It took about 3 weeks to adjust, and now I never crave sugar; I crave protein and fat. And I feel a whole lot better. I recently had bloodwork done, and my total cholesterol is 132, blood sugar under 100, bp 110/65, etc. I've so far lost around 14 lbs, (currently 175, at 6')and going strong. The only downside is when I'm out on a 3 hour plus ride and can't put some quick energy into my system. I carry nuts and seeds, and graze steadily, rather than getting the quick burst. I've also been a big fan of Clif bars and Hammer Gel. I'm still refining the best tack to take on the longer ride. I consider taking along some olive oil to swig occasionally, but haven't yet remembered it.
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Old 11-16-10, 08:07 AM   #7
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irclean, Way back when I cut down sugar and salt I did feel it for about a month each. I still use some sugar, but primarily honey for a sweetener. I'm not a big fan of the 'synthetic' sugar substitutes, BTW. On a long ride I've gone really old school, peanut butter and banana sandwich cut into quarters. On really hot rides I'll mix up to a level teaspoon of salt into a pair of 16 ounce waterbottles.

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Old 11-16-10, 08:08 AM   #8
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About 2 1/2 months ago, I switched to a no sugar/no carb, high protein/high fat diet after having been a heavy sugar abuser all my life, and an all around junk food junkie (I'm 58). It took about 3 weeks to adjust, and now I never crave sugar; I crave protein and fat. And I feel a whole lot better. I recently had bloodwork done, and my total cholesterol is 132, blood sugar under 100, bp 110/65, etc. I've so far lost around 14 lbs, (currently 175, at 6')and going strong. The only downside is when I'm out on a 3 hour plus ride and can't put some quick energy into my system. I carry nuts and seeds, and graze steadily, rather than getting the quick burst. I've also been a big fan of Clif bars and Hammer Gel. I'm still refining the best tack to take on the longer ride. I consider taking along some olive oil to swig occasionally, but haven't yet remembered it.
The idea of chugging olive oil on a ride churns my stomach.
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Old 11-16-10, 08:42 AM   #9
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For me cravings are a sign of something missing. My initial reaction is to run to sugar but I've found that if I eat nutrient dense meals the cravings stop.

My magic food is currently brown rice.
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Old 11-16-10, 08:49 AM   #10
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I've experienced sugar withdrawal, though for me the timeframe is shorter. When I eat sugary food or bread during a meal I crave sugary food or bread for the rest of the day, and sometimes the next morning. I can't speak to the physiology, but the effect seems real to me.

To deal with a sweet tooth, I eat bananas. I think the bulk of fresh fruit does something to balance the effect of the sugars.
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Old 11-16-10, 09:42 AM   #11
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I wish I could handle fruit as I really think it tastes good but it sets me off. An hour later I want more. I eat brown rice almost daily.Takes a long while to cook but holds the hunger very well.

I take frozen chicken breasts,canned mushrooms,brown rice,cheap Hunts pasta sauce and extra water put it in a cassorole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 1.75 hours. I get 5 meals out of this that can be reheated in microwave.
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Old 11-16-10, 10:46 AM   #12
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I think sugar is a drug like any other ... just maybe less, you know, terrible than cocaine. But I think most screaming four year olds are probably going through sugar withdrawal.

If you mostly avoid the stuff ( that means drink water or tea, and get your sweet fix from berries ) you'll be amazed at how quickly and fully you get over it. A soda will become sickeningly sweet after a few weeks, and coffee will taste better without any.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:05 PM   #13
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Hfcs

I would have responded to this thread earlier....but I had to run out and get some peanut brittle.

There most definitely "such a thing" as sugar addiction, complete with withdrawal symptoms once stopped. It is not the same for everyone of course, as there are many people who simply do not get hooked and experience the same symptoms as those that do. Most of my friends have "soft addictions" to salts and fats and can't understand how I can just eat a couple of chips; nor can they understand how I can eat a whole cup of dried cranberries and 20 minutes later, want more. (To them they are just a colorful garnish to a salad.)

John423 has got it right (as does Kessler) that the food industry knows of the physiological effects of consuming high amounts of sugar, salt and fats - for [I]many[I] (not all) consumers - and the money that can be made with repeat (and repeat, and repeat) consumers. [I]Fast Food Nation[I] by Eric Schlosser (sp?) is another excellent read on this topic.

High Fructose Corn Syrup has become the sweetener of choice in high volume convenience foods. As insidious as it seems for food manufacturers to lace so many products with HFCS, I can't say that I blame them wholly. We as consumers have choices, and if we did not consume so many products sweetened with HFCS, they wouldn't be making a killing off of us. (I do think it's criminal however to lure children in with free toys, etc. ) I don't think the fact that the history of HFCS manufacturing and the exponential increase in uses for it in food, parallels the rampant obesity epidemic, is purely coincidental.

Personally, I feel so much better when I've limited or eliminated sugar from my daily food choices. But even with avoiding the obvious sugar foods (candy, cookies, etc.) I still have to be wary of other sources of sugar that seem "healthy". I can guzzle 2 servings of tangerine juice, for example - and if I eat nothing else with it, later, I end up paying for it. If I ate 4 tangerines however, I wouldn't have as much of a problem. The "roughage" ... fiber in the actual fruit, slows down the digestion process. The body has to work harder (burns a few calories in the process as well) and distributes the glucose over a longer period of time. This seemingly small change has made a huge difference in my energy levels throughout a day.

Everyone is different. I think education and awareness are necessary to understand how each individual body reacts to different substances, and it seems irclean that you definitely have an awareness of how sugar affects you, and I believe that is more than half the battle! Good luck and thanks for starting this thread.

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Old 11-16-10, 01:28 PM   #14
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In a somewhat related note... I've been depressed and plan on going across the street for a muffin, or bagel, or possibly both.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:34 PM   #15
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I don't plan to chug the olive oil; just sip it; maybe carry a little bit in a water bottle. According to the experts on these things, my body is now burning fat for energy where it used to burn sugar. I have to believe it as I witness the fat disappearing at an almost alarming rate. I'll get back to you after I try it a few times. I like the nut butter idea too.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:54 PM   #16
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I don't plan to chug the olive oil; just sip it; maybe carry a little bit in a water bottle. According to the experts on these things, my body is now burning fat for energy where it used to burn sugar. I have to believe it as I witness the fat disappearing at an almost alarming rate. I'll get back to you after I try it a few times. I like the nut butter idea too.
I believe it is possible to use fats as the primary fuel for your body. I've done it. Maybe I didn't give it enough time, but I felt cold, lethargic, and couldn't ride a bike very far.

My plan now is to get all of my carbs from potatoes and other tubers, but I keep cheating...
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Old 11-16-10, 01:57 PM   #17
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Been doing it since April. Lost 41 lbs and can ride a bike for hours. I can eat far less and still not bonk on long hard rides.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:58 PM   #18
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In a somewhat related note... I've been depressed and plan on going across the street for a muffin, or bagel, or possibly both.
I was unaware that bagels cured depression?
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Old 11-16-10, 02:05 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the replies thus far! This is all good information here... even the stuff that may not be based on scientific fact. That is to say that if it works for you, I'd like to hear about it.

I do like fruit and we make sure to keep a bowl full of apples, bananas, and oranges on the table. There are usually some grapes in the fridge as well. Another snack that I like is a tomato and cucumber sandwich made on Weight Watchers bread with a drizzle of olive oil-based salad dressing. My tendency, however, is to go for the quick fix instead of a healthier alternative. Refusing to keep that stuff in the house helps, but when I'm out and about I have a hard time resisting the lure of chocolate bars, donuts, etc. Not to mention that my wife's family grew up on comfort food and there is an almost constant food exchange program taking place between our respective houses. It's difficult to choose an apple when there is apple-cinnamon pound cake sitting on the counter.
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Old 11-16-10, 02:26 PM   #20
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I was unaware that bagels cured depression?
Cure? No. Temporary easing? Yes.
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Old 11-16-10, 04:11 PM   #21
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The idea of chugging olive oil on a ride churns my stomach.


I don't feel good after reading that....
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Old 11-16-10, 04:26 PM   #22
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I don't get it with sugars, but don't hand me any Oreo or Chips-Ahoy! cookies and say here have one! Because that one will be the bag, and peanut butter has the same effect on me.

I usually get horrible headaches when trying to eliminate caffeine, but that is because I try cold turkey first. I've also tried to eliminate HFCS, but gave up as it was to hard to avoid it (why in the world is it in ketchup). Fats are my downfall though, I just can't seem to give up my Bacon Ultimate Double Cheeseburger from Jack in the Box....and curse him for giving away tacos after 2pm today. I did substitute sea salt and raw taters instead of fries, but that lost interest as I got tired of eating my burger cold. I found having junk on special occasions and riding more helps counter my poor decisions.
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Old 11-16-10, 08:33 PM   #23
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It's difficult to choose an apple when there is apple-cinnamon pound cake sitting on the counter.[/QUOTE](How do you get only part of the quote into that nice blue box?)

It can be done. My wife has sweets in the house all the time. I don't even get to eat fruit----sugars. Vegies, protein, and fat. Salt, of course. That's about it, and I'm not the type to search around for a lot of variety, so I have a very dull diet. But it's doing the job.
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Old 11-16-10, 08:41 PM   #24
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slowandsteady,
I'd be interested in hearing what you eat in preparation for a long ride. Part of my problem here, is that it is hot by 9 AM most of the year, and by 6:30 in the summer, so I go out at first light, and I'm rarely very hungry at that time of day. I still stay out til noon though.
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Old 11-16-10, 08:42 PM   #25
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(How do you get only part of the quote into that nice blue box?)
After clicking on "Reply With Quote", put your cursor in between the QUOTE boxes and delete what you don't want to see in your quote. Just make sure not to delete any part of either QUOTE box, including the square brackets.
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