I have been struggling for a week to write a post on why those pursuing fertility, who are pregnant, lactating or feeding a small child (and basically everyone else… so… everyone) should give up sugar. When I say sugar I am referring to the white stuff, the brown stuff and the High Fructose Corn Stuff. Because as best as I can research, they hit you about the same (anyone got anything different? Please share!).
How do they hit you? Well, not good. It just arguable the degree of not good. On one end of the spectrum you have “its just empty calories preventing you from taking in good nutrients, plus it damages your liver leading a large portion of this country into metabolic syndrome (syndrome X, a precursor to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and a major cause of INFERTILITY). That’s the mild end of the scientific research. The other end of the spectrum involves sugar altering every single cell in your bodies function and being responsible for basically every modern disease we have: cancer, diabetes, ADHD, Autism, Irritable bowl syndrome, lack of gut flora, etc. AIDS has not been attributed to sugar, however the immunity hit from sugar would theoretically aggravate it.
So that’s the spectrum of nutritional science I have read. That should make it easy to post about sugar being bad right? But it’s not easy.
Perhaps because I feel like sugar is my heroin. My body CRAVES it and gets angry when I don’t give in. I LOVE all things sweet. I love to bake. I love to eat baked goods. I love candy and chocolate and soda. And Ezekiel bread with strawberry jelly. These are just the things that are obviously sweet. It excludes things like ketchup or barbeque sauce, both of which I am a big fan of.
Also, people get extremely defensive of sugar. I have shared with many people that I am a Christian and got tepid responses. The few people with whom I shared I had given up sugar in order to get pregnant reacted in such strong negative ways I actually stopped telling people for a while. Some of these people included members of the fertility group I went to where my chart read in bold all caps: SYNDROME X. I have a 3 hour glucose tolerance test that proves my blood sugar can’t get it together. Yet, I mentioned giving up sugar and even my dietician looked at me funny.
So I have started and stopped writing on this topic several times. I will try to formulate some real posts of this issue but here’s my bottom line:
If you’re trying to have a baby easy up on the sugar.
Sugar messes with your blood glucose levels, telling your reproductive system if it can or cannot support a pregnancy. Sugar needs to be filtered through the liver along with every other reproductive hormone. Give your liver a break. For now that may just mean passing on a second doughnut. For me it meant riding my shelves of ALL sugar and HFCS containing products (at Christmas people. I deserve a medal. Ok, this baby works too:). But please, have an open mind. Do your research. Don’t pretend the science isn’t out there. Heres some articles to get you started:
Is Sugar Toxic? A great article from the New York Times
Sugar: The Bitter Truth This is the lecture referenced in the NYT article. Long, but informative.
Too Much Sugar Affects Sex Hormones, Causes Health Problems An interesting article on the sugar/hormone relationship.
Sugar is the New S Word A video by Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up who is basically my hero.
Basically this is me: