Jed Diamond is taking the next month off of sugar, and here’s why you should too.
Like most people I usually overindulge over the holidays (beginning with Halloween and going through New Year’s) then make my resolutions to be healthier, lose weight, eat better, and exercise more. But this year I’ve decided to get a head start and begin in December. Sometimes the “wake up call” for a new direction comes when we least expect it.
Let me say at the outset that I consider myself a pretty healthy guy. I’m not a “health-nut,” but I’m a leader in the “men’s health movement” and I try and practice what I preach. I’m usually ahead of my doctor in finding early warning signs of problems and correcting them before they cause any damage. But I was blindsided by my recent lab results:
“Of most concern,” my doctor wrote, “is that your hemoglobin A1c which is a long term marker for elevated blood sugars indicates that you are early prediabetic.” Me, prediabetic, how could that be? I don’t eat that much sugar. Well, the more I looked into what I actually eat, the more I had to conclude that “I probably eat more sugar than I think I do.”
I stay away from putting sugar in my tea, don’t drink soft drinks or other sugary beverages, and I don’t eat much candy. I know I have to watch out for baked goods, which I love and are high in sugar and fat. But I often forget that sugar is hidden in many of our common foods where we least expect them, including the following:
- Salad dressing
- Catsup and barbeque sauce
- Soups and sauces
- Breakfast cereal
- Chinese food (think, sweet and sour anything, Yum!)
- Dried fruit (lots of natural sugar, but often more is added)
- Yogurt (Yeah, I love that blueberry yogurt)
- Bread (bread? Many supermarket and restaurant sandwiches have added sugar to sweeten the bitter taste and research has shown that in some brands, a slice of white or whole wheat bread can contain up to half a teaspoon of sugar.)
- Cocktails (Anything with an umbrella in it.)
What’s so bad about sugar? According to Seth Martin, M.D., a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Too much sugar can disrupt metabolism and fuel maladies ranging from heart disease to cancer.” Dr. Martin also warns about the connection between diabetes and heart disease. “When it comes to heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure have claimed much of the public attention, but sugar is, without doubt, a central character in fueling cardiovascular damage. In fact, two out of three heart attack patients in the United States have either diabetes or prediabetes.”
That got my attention and when my colleague Barry Friedman told me about his program, “30 Days Sugar Free,” I asked him to tell me more. I knew Barry as a successful business man and world-class entertainer. “I could easily have been voted ‘Least Likely Person to Ever Go Off Sugar for a Single Day’ before this whole crazy idea came to me on Feb 28th, 2012,” says Barry. He tried it. It worked. He wrote a book: I Love Me More Than Sugar: The Why and How of 30 Days Sugar Free and he developed the one month program that I’m excited to be starting.
When I signed up I got a message from Barry and his staff that resonated for me:
Take Control of Something That’s Been Making You Sick and Tired Your Entire Life
“Achy joints. Afternoon crash. High blood pressure. Over weight or obese. Skin problems. Anxieties. Taxed immune system. Rotting teeth. Insatiable hunger. Insulin resistance. Heart disease. Gout.
This is a small list of the ways human beings pay a high price for their addiction to processed sugar.
You’re here because you are considering another way of being in the world.
Welcome… we’ve been waiting.”
I’m ready to begin. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Drop me a note if you have questions or suggestions. If you’d like to learn more about my health-promoting activities come visit me at www.MenAlive.com.
Originally posted on MenAlive. Reprinted with permission.
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