Is there such a thing as good sugar?


Is there such a thing as good sugar? Agave nectar (syrup) is called “Good Sugar”.

What is agave nectar? It is sugar from the Mexican agave plant. It is particularly rich in fructose, the very sweet substance that separates sugar from starch. The very substance that in larger amounts taxes the liver and gives sugar it’s special ability to cause adverse health effects.

If anything, agave nectar is extra dangerous sugar

Various Types of Sugar

  • Starch (from, for example bread, pasta, rice) consists of long chains of 100% glucose.
  • Plain sugar contains exactly 50% fructose and 50% glucose, purified from sugar beets or sugarcanes.
  • Honey has roughly the same sugar distribution as plain sugar
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup, the cheap sugar from corn that is used in, for example, American sodas and candy, is around 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
  • Agave nectar contains up to 90% fructose and the rest is glucose.

The higher the proportion of fructose is, the less sugar you have to eat before you get fat and diabetic.


More on sugar

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  1. Yep.

    And I'm sure the company pumping this would have come across this knowledge --- that fructose is particularly damaging --- when doing their research so they could come up with the "good sugar" claim.

    True evil to lie thus, causing death and disease.

  2. Sophie
    The people who believe that "natural" sugars are good/better for you are the same people who tell me that despite losing 10kg, my body needs carbs and that fat is bad for me.
  3. Patrick
    Oh, yeah... Agave nectar is far from being the so called Healthy sugar. Agave nectar is nothing but pure process Fructose. Just go to Dr.Mercola website & type in Agave, an you'll see the health problems of Agave. There is nothing healthy about eating sugar, no matter if it's natural or not. Natural fats are the way to go for health.
  4. I just found this apologist website for agave nectar, and an article written by the oh-so-brave "admin" --- a sociopath if ever there was one. I can't embed a link because the spam filter wouldn't allow it through, but the article is titled "3 Lies About Agave Nectar" if anyone wanted to google and see the ironic images and other false claims that accompany the excerpted portion.

    Agave nectar is High in Fructose. Even higher than HFCS. (FALSE)

    Most of the studies saying agave nectar is bad for one’s health has to do with it having high fructose content. Almost all of the studies saying it is bad for one’s health involve the monosachride fructose which is also found in fruits, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, legumes, eggs, even squash and apple cider vinegar.

    First of all agave nectar is NOT high in fructose. Actually, NO AGAVE NECTAR IS HIGHER IN FRUCTOSE THAN 97%.† Xagave as an example has less fructose than refined sugar, and much more, HFCS.‡

    † "admin" has the psychotic audacity to claim that 97% isn't "high"?

    ‡ note that these numbers are pulled out of admin's arse, and are bald-faced lies

    When I said that we are dealing with evil sociopaths, I was not exaggerating. Nor mistaken.

    - - -

    The above was my original comment. I initially deleted it when rereading the Xagave post in question and noticing the slimy deceptive dishonest language, "Xagave as an example has less fructose than refined sugar, and much more, HFCS."

    I thought to myself, "Maybe they've somehow reduced the fructose component less than the 55% of HFCS through additional processing, but left some of the micronutrients in place, resulting in a marginally healthier product than HFCS."

    But there is a PDF on the site entitled "Xagave lab analysis". Note that it gives the following nutrient data:

    0.03% fat
    0.00% protein
    76.8% carbohydrate
    66.9% total sugar
    49.4% fructose
    17.1% glucose
    0.35% sucrose
    0.00% maltose
    0.00% lactose

    So, not counting water and non-calorie containing micronutrients ...

    the Xagave producte is effectively all carbohydrate, with fructose making up 64.3% (76.8 / 49.4 * 100) of the total carbohydrate, and fructose makes up (66.9 / 49.4 * 100) = 73.8% of the total sugars.

    Can you begin to see the deception?

    Or have I made a fundamental error and this is really a low-fructose syrup? I don't think so, because this analysis at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says:

    The 2 most important HFCS products of commerce contain 42% fructose (HFCS-42) and 55% fructose (HFCS-55). The remaining carbohydrates in HFCS are free glucose and minor amounts of bound glucose, predominantly maltose (di-glucose) and maltotriose (tri-glucose). Mention of HFCS with higher fructose content (ie, HFCS-80 or HFCS-90) is occasionally seen in the literature, but these products are highly specialized and are manufactured infrequently and in insignificant amounts.

    It seems to me the claims about Xagave containing less fructose than HFCS is counting the water and is therefore not being straight with consumers. As the analysis at the AJCN goes on to say:

    The glucose-to-fructose ratio in HFCS is nearly 1:1; similar to the ratio in sucrose, invert sugar, and honey. A similar ratio is also found in many fruits and fruit juices.

    Now, is the glucose-to-fructose ratio in Xagave nearly 1:1?

    You can figure it out for yourself. Glucose is the only other significant source of sugar in the product, yet the glucose-to-fructose ratio is 17.1%:49.4%, which is 346:1000.

    Roughly equivalent to 1:3! The product has almost 3 times as much fructose as other sugars.

    Does this equal the claims for the product which you see all around the Internet and on that site in particular? Is this in compliance with regulations about communicating transparently with consumers?

    So much for the magic Xagave agave nectar with less fructose than high-fructose corn syrup.

  5. There is nothing healthy about eating sugar, no matter if it's natural or not.

    I think this is exaggerated, but true for many people with severe metabolic conditions. I had a brief twitter exchange with Professor Tim Noakes, MD, DSc(Med), author of Lore of Running who recently and famously and passionately advised people to tear out the chapter on nutrition in his original book because it is wrong, and replace it with a Paleo/Primal mode of eating.

    He eats LCHF himself since he was gaining weight despite a whole lot of exercise on the so-called "prudent" diet.

    Anyway, despite being a recent and passionate convert to LCHF, he agreed that some people can handle some carbs just fine. But I don't want to leave the impression I persuaded him, far from it --- he's made this point several times in interviews, and I was just adding a layer of depth and nuance to a tweet that he made. He had said that heart attacks were rare once upon a time, and I pointed out that they ate bread and potatoes back then. He didn't disagree with this in the slightest.

    Along the same line, I had a quick a discussion with Paul Jaminet (who believes in a higher carb, fat and protein rich diet, for the vast majority of people) when he replied to a critique Dr. John Briffa (recommends a usually low-carb Paleoesque low carb diet, but not low carb for everybody necessarily) made in a podcast about Stephan Guyenet's food-reward hypothesis (the results of which tend to allow some high-carb foods) aand similar approaches like the Mr. and Mrs. Jaminets' Perfect Health Diet when applied to people who have badly damaged metabolisms, for example, many cases of diabetes.

    You might find it interesting. Jaminet has made his counterpoints, and I'm going to try to find the Briffa podcast episode in question for him to listen to, because I think he might be interested in Briffa's experience and perspective on it. It was obvious from listening to it that Briffa generally respects a natural food diet, even if not low-carb, and that "food reward" is a factor.

    Note that not one of these three experts believe everyone should eschew all sugar. Even Dr. Eenfeldt allows sugar from berries and low-starch veggies, and the odd bit of refined sugar from dark chocolate.

    One problem with absolutely eliminating carbohydrate long term is it can suppress thyroid function. I'd be extremely interested in Dr. Eenfeldt's thoughts on that, if he cared to share. As a practising MD, he has a perspective that many lack. Now Dr. Eenfeldt may not feel it's a problem, but judging from Mr. Jaminet's comment in response to mine, the Jaminets sees that and other metabolic problems from the total elimination of carbohydrates. Certainly thyroid hormone suppression is a common objection one sees to long-term very-low-carbohydrate diets, including from former adherents, not just doctors. Many of these objections come from people who are otherwise in agreement with general evolutionary-based diet principles.


    Here's my discussion with Paul Jaminet and others (it's in the comments) if you wanted to hear his take, which I thought was detailed and well thought out.

    Might as well also include a link to the Dr. John Briffa Good Look at Good Health podcast episode in question, since I found it: September 23rd 2011: "Why I'm letting the big debate in nutrition wash over me ...."

    (it's right at the beginning)

    Reply: #8
  6. Mark.
    If you're planting vast areas of agave and killing it just before it tries to bloom, at least it should die for the making of tequila.
  7. Chuck Currie
    What do you make of this...

    No one can argue that sugar of any sort doesn't rot your teeth, and that's good enough to keep it out of my mouth...although a bit of raw honey makes the medicine go down.


  8. Patrick
    @Christoph Dollis, fair enough, on the word exaggerated. Perhaps I should've been bit clearer on this. People who are overweight & want to lose the weight. They should restrict forms of all carbs (exception of low carb vegetables.) When people successfully lose the weight, they'd can add back the carbs (fruit or starchy vegetables,) an see if it causes them to gain weight quickly ( the metabolic conditions.) If they don't gain the weight, then they're fine eating little bit of fruit or starchy vegetables.
  9. In my opinion there is no such thing as a good/bad sugar. The devil is in the dose, and that goes for anything!
    Reply: #10
  10. Sophie

    I agree, in theory. Of course having the occasional bit of sugar will not have necessarily a large impact on your weight/health.

    However, in practice, sugar is rarely consumed in moderation, and what most would consider moderate amounts of sugar can have negative impacts on weight/health.

    I think the idea on this website is to make people understand that consuming sugar is much less inocuous than the food industry would have us believe.

    Of course I will suffer no harm if I consume minute amounts of cigarettes, alcohol or even heroin. But most people who consume these products, and who consume sugar, consume too much for the product not to be considered as deletrious for their health.

    The problem is that there is a general awareness of the dangers of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. and people who consume it do so after, hopefully, weighing the pros and cons of consuming them. Unfortunately sugar, in this case a specific case of sugar, is being touted as a product that is not only harmless but possibly healthy.

  11. JAUS
    I recommend yacon syrup. It's sugar free and doesn't raise blood sugar. It is an excellent replacement for liquid sugars like: honey, maple syrup and agave nectar.

    Yacon syrup is expensive though so only use it when a liquid sweetener is necessary (on low carb pancakes, in glazes and sauces etc).

  12. Hi Jaus

    “It's sugar free and doesn't raise blood sugar” Tell me you were having a laugh or it was a late April fools joke please. It would have my BG into the danger zone in no time at all. Rarely have I seen such a toxic product.76.8% carbohydrate, 66.9% total sugar, 49.4% fructose and 17.1% glucose, if the above numbers are correct.

    Reply: #34
  13. Sophie
    Well, what I recommend is to get over the taste of sugar and read up about the dangers of sugar replacements.
  14. JAUS, Eddie, Yacon enthusiasts/critics:

    I was tempted to do a similar takedown of yacon syrup as I did for the deceptively marketed "Xagave" product above, but a cursory look showed a plausible difference between agave and yacon, and I found this abstract of a study in Clinical Nutrition (European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism), an Elsevier journal (so it as at least a genuine scientific journal and not a marketing-company front).

    Yacon syrup: Beneficial effects on obesity and insulin resistance in humans

    Daily intake of yacon syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index. Additionally, decrease in fasting serum insulin and Homeostasis Model Assessment index was observed. The consumption of yacon syrup increased defecation frequency and satiety sensation. Fasting glucose and serum lipids were not affected by syrup treatment and the only positive effect was found in serum LDL-cholesterol levels.

    Now how could this possibly work? The product does have a lot of carbs after all, and quite a bit of fructose.

    Well, most of that is in the form of FOS --- fructooligosaccharides, which provide nutrition for many species of beneficial flora in the human gastrointestinal tract.

    It is not inconceivable that the positive effects of increasing beneficial human gut flora outweigh the negative effects of the amount of fructose in FOS needed to be sweet. I'd be leery of this for diabetics because of course fructose itself doesn't raise insulin requirements much ... this yacon root could be smoke and mirrors, possibly.

    But, contra my initial reaction to dismiss it as a high-fructose nightmare, I am open to the possibility that minimally processed yaco syrup might, conceivably, be better than other forms of sugar. Maybe.

    Consider this food for thought and discussion, no pun related to gut flora intended. ;)

    Reply: #35
  15. Eddie,

    Hi Jaus

    “It's sugar free and doesn't raise blood sugar” Tell me you were having a laugh or it was a late April fools joke please. It would have my BG into the danger zone in no time at all. Rarely have I seen such a toxic product.76.8% carbohydrate, 66.9% total sugar, 49.4% fructose and 17.1% glucose, if the above numbers are correct.

    While yacon could be just as bad at the end of the day, those numbers you quoted were from the "Xagave lab analysis". Xagave is a brand of agave syrup, not yacon. I hope that clarifies.

    JAUS is definitely wrong that yacon is "sugar free" however. Yacon doesn't have hardly any glucose, though, and could end up being worse than agave for all I know.

  16. This is a very interesting post about prebiotics and it cites scientific studies throughout. It's concise and really well written and I recommend giving it a glance.

    The gist of it is that the types of carbohydrates that are predominantly prebiotic in nature are lapped up by our beneficial gut flora, and that these flora have a whole host of healthful effects downstream in the human metabolism, including possibly reducing leaky gut, but also reducing appetite, increasing insulin sensitivity, and tipping the system to favour lower body fat.

    Is this true? Well, there are scientific studies on both humans and animals in reputable journals that lend support to the concept. So I wouldn't automatically assume, "It's a carbohydrate, it must be bad."

    I'm going to say something which may not be popular here, but I'm not totally ignorant on the subject.

    As a teenager, I spent some time living outdoors in the spring and summer armed with a food guide of traditional (pre-colonization) foods used by the coastal natives of British Columbia, Canada. I lived off the land for 3 months.

    Guess what? They --- and I --- ate tubers. And rhizomes. And sure, berries. And greens, yep. Cambium (tree bark). Some creepy crawlies even. Fish, lots of. Deer, yep. Etc.

    Note the part about tubers. It was far from a zero carb diet, although it would have tipped more that direction during the winter.

    Closer to the equator, you'd probably have seen even more plant starch and eat less fat, if only because the animals don't store quite as much fat due to the warmer weather. Anyway, it's still relatively high in saturated fat, of course. I'm just saying, this "one size fits all and it happens to be really low carb" diet isn't for everyone and, to be fair, I don't think Andreas Eenfeldt is claiming that it is. Just that it's effective for weight loss, and others can do with more starchy plants, as his instructions clearly state.

    But I keep on using the word "starchy". That's such an oversimplification. The human body and the organisms we use to live (food, beneficial bacteria, etc.) are so much more than just this or that macronutrient: "a carbohydrate is a carbohydrate" may be just as wrong as "a Calorie is a Calorie".

    Some of the carbohydrate in tubers, for example, will be prebiotic and help our gut flora. This may well help us more than refraining from all ingestion of "starchy" carbohydrates.

    Unless, possibly, we're severely metabolically damaged. I talked about this a little with Paul Jaminet of the "Perfect Health Diet" yesterday (as noted above, but he added another comment) and I thought what Jaminet had to say was thought-provoking and possibly right. You may want to check it out.

    And ... our hunter-fisher-gatherer ancestral humans ate starches (with contained prebiotics). Really.

  17. FrankG
    Fructose is not really a free ride for those of us with Diabetes: despite not having an high Glycemic Index nor a tendency to raise the BG (initially at least)...

    in this case the issue comes in that it is readily converted to glycogen (animal starch) and stored in the muscles and liver, and as such can then be used LATER as Glucose.

    Your overall glucose body load has potentially been increased -- especially if an LCHF way of eating has left you with reduced glycogen stores.

    So an intake of fructose may not raise your immediate post-prandial BG but you might see an higher fasting BG the next morning (for example).

  18. Norman4Law
    If '[t]he higher the proportion of fructose is, the less sugar you have to eat before you get fat and diabetic," and starch "consists of long chains of 100% glucose," then why is starch bad for us?
  19. yuma
    Since tequila is made from agave, and just about all liquor is made from a carbohydrate, shouldn't we treat them all as a carbohydrate to be avoided?
    Reply: #21
  20. If '[t]he higher the proportion of fructose is, the less sugar you have to eat before you get fat and diabetic," and starch "consists of long chains of 100% glucose," then why is starch bad for us?

    Put simply, I believe Dr. Eenfeldt is making the case that fructose is bad because, in addition to disregulating appetite by not registering very well as ingested food to the body's appetite-control mechanisms, it is shown to both lower insulin and leptin sensitivity as well as put a great strain on the liver by requiring significant processing there, and leading to inflammation and fatty-liver disease. This you may well agree with.

    Dr. Eenfeldt's also saying that large consumption of carbohydrate from any source will eventually give many people diabetes and obesity, albeit slower than fructose would. He believes our genes are not particularly well adapted to a large carbohydrate intake, in all seasons, over a lifetime.

    I'm not entirely convinced because I think high fructose, high-omega-6 fatty acid, and trans-fat intake damage our metabolisms, which might otherwise be able to handle a long-term higher-intake of starches, but I believe that's Dr. Eenfeldt's take.

    I suspect that at least for non-metabolically damaged people, there is an advantage to starchy vegetable intake, if only to receive more FOS carbohydrate that serve as food for bifidobacteria and other beneficial gut flora, which are protective against many things including insulin and leptin resistance.

    In short, you could be right and so could he, and I'm not sure who is. That's quite the debate at the moment.

  21. Since tequila is made from agave, and just about all liquor is made from a carbohydrate, shouldn't we treat them all as a carbohydrate to be avoided?

    I don't see the connection. Agave syrup has a significantly different chemical make-up than tequila. Fructose ≠ Alcohol.

    But sure, you won't harm your health by avoiding tequila! And Dr. Eenfeldt, and pretty much everyone else in the medical community, advise alcohol in moderation and only optionally.

    Alcohol taken with others can have some social benefits, and socialising itself is very healthful and important for humans, so it may be that that outweighs the small amount of alcohol/carbs in a shot of alcohol once in a blue moon. Your mileage may vary.

    Reply: #33
  22. Samantha
    I can't stick to this way of eating. I fail every single time I try. How do you stick to LCHF? I upped my fat last time I tried but still couldn't stop myself from stuffing my self with biscuits and chocolate; it is a drive inside of me that becomes unstoppable.
    Reply: #30
  23. Hi Samantha,

    It's late here and I can't give your wonderful question the attention it deserves at this hour. However it's something I've been thinking a lot about lately and even trying to communicate with some of the leading figures in the LCHF and Paleo movements about because I think it's important.

    Will you make a point of coming back here sometime in the next 14-24 hours or so (coming back again if I haven't yet posted), giving me time to sleep and prepare what I want to say?

    I intend to put some thought into it because I'm hoping it can help many people, patients and health-practitioners both.

  24. katya
    I will be coming back to look for your thoughts Christoph.
    Meantime, a few rather more vapid thoughts from me! I am a doctor who has researched this way of eating very thoroughly before shelving the orthodoxy I was taught and adopting it, having spent years wondering why i was gaining weight on a 'healthy diet'.
    What has been hardest for me to give up is large servings of chocolate etc, and 2-3 glasses of wine several times a week. What I have found is that when my diet is optimised the cravings become weak urges rather than roaring demands, and I start losing weight again which gives me positive reinforcement to resist temptation when it calls. I have about 5-10grams of chocolate a day and boy do I savour it! I have an extra small wine glass and that is my 'allowance' for each day. I also use distraction with reading, walking etc. if I think I am about to 'give in'. I am now 12kg lighter than a year ago which in itself is motivating (As many other women in their 40's have noted, our weight doesn't seem to fall off quite like some of you!).
    Keep at it Samantha, you can do it and it is worth it :-)
  25. There is nothing like bad sugar or good sugar. Thing is that you have to choose your option which one you prefer most. Sugar can't fully exclude from the eating habits but you need to control them.
  26. Sophie

    I think this is strictly a mental thing. To me, cutting out sugar was relatively easy. I live alone, so all I had to do was not buy anything containing carbs.

    Also, I think it is much easier to cut out all carbs rather than just reduce sugar. To me, the difficulty lies in being in a constant state of dilemma: "can I have this?" "should I indulge in this?". This can be a constant struggle that I understand can be draining.

    People always tell me I am self-disciplined, and there is probably some truth to it. To me it is only natural, but for others, it is not. To me it's just a matter of not giving myself the choice.

    Another trick is to find LCHF acceptable foods that you really love and only have them when you have a craving. You have to think outside the box for this. I realized I loved snacking on frozen cauliflower and that I prefer that to ice cream.

    You should experiment and open your food horizons. Try things you have never eaten, it will keep you excited, and you will find things you will want to eat more often, and that will replace sugar.

    I think your question is really a matter of drive, and possibly habit and addiction. The only way to conquer your cravings is to eliminate all sugars and sugar replacements from your diet and really really be committed. It's like stopping cigarettes or alcohol. You need to take it one day at a time and be fully committed to your decision.

    Sugar is a powerful habit. If you put your mind to it you will succeed.

    You have to believe in this being good for you. And remember that the more you have sugar, the more you want it. The less sugar you have, the easier it will be to erase it from your mind.

  27. Samantha
    Thanks everyone; I am waiting with graditude :)
  28. Wouldn't it be better to view any component of the diet contextually. Sugars don't have to viewed through such fear-tinted spectacles. Sure if you are trying to maintain ketosis anything that will raise insulin is going to derail your ketogenic efforts and enzymatic momentum. But the fears surrounding fructation, insulin sensitivity, and metabolic syndrome need to be taken in context.... Dose? Individual variability and tolerance? HUFA consumption and tissue composition? habitual diet? ... and on and on....
  29. Caitlin C

    I hesitate to comment here when there are so many hugely eloquent and well informed writers, and I have only been following LCHF for 6 months or so.... but here goes anyway!

    Personally, I've tried on previous occasions to "cut out most sugar"; "cut down on starchy food" or similar strategies only to be completely felled by cravings for sugar that lead to some frankly horrific binging behaviour. I genuinely DON'T think it is mainly a "mental thing" because I am no more committed now than on the occasions I fell off more traditional diet wagons and scoffed vast heaps of pies. What I am doing now is managing the hormones better, so I never get the cravings I am so clearly apalling at resisting. I would suggest, at the risk of starting a fight, that people embued with "heroic willpower" may yet turn out just to have better balanced metabolisms and less desperate cravings...but I digress.

    My approach this time was to take 2 days when I knew I would be on my own (husband away with the children) and for that 48 hours I only ate absolutely minimal carb food - basically meat and fish at every meal time, and drinking as much water as I could cope with. Fighting cravings by going to bed, or out for a walk, or kicking the furniture... and to be fair by day two I was pretty much over it I think, even if most of my furniture was matchsticks.

    After this rather brutal introduction I have gone back to a gentler and very simple regime - I eat as much non starchy salad and veggies as I like (I do not count carbs) and some form of fatty protein at every meal. I try not to snack, but if I need to I do, fatty protein again with veggies, just smaller amounts..... it's not a technical approach compared to almost everyone who seems to comment here, but it seems to work with my life. What I don't do is eat ANY sugar other than those in the veggies (that I know about) because even a small taste of the darn stuff has me craving carbs like fury and that just leads to pies and misery. I'm hoping that this will get better eventually, but I feel so much healthier this way, and have lost so much weight, that I can cope with the concept of never eating another grape if I have to. Just about.

    I suppose my suggestion would be to try being horribly, horribly strict about it for a short amount of time that seems doable to you, and just see if the cravings subside. Whatever you decide, don't give up, because when you find a way to make LCHF work you will never look back!

    Good luck! xx

  30. Kris
    I gave up sugar some 19 months ago. I followed David Gillespie's (author of Sweet Poison) suggestion of nothing over 3% sugars, read lot of information from Christine Cronau and Sarah Wilson (Sarah has an 8 week program called IQS on how to give up sugar which is interesting, though I didn't do it as I was already off sugar before I heard about it) and whatever other articles I could find. For myself it was a journey that began going cold turkey on sugar, and then gradually removing processed foods, most grains, increasing fats, removing seed oils etc. I lost 20 kg in around 12 months and then the weight loss really started to really slow down, then at 25 kg it stalled. I've been looking at this particular website for quite a while now, and after wanting to get the weight moving, I decided to commit to more LCHF, so now I've moved away from potatoes and other higher carb vegetables, and over 3 months, I have lost around 2 more kg, so my body is obviously quite resistant to weight loss at this point, so I try to focus on all the positives, of which there are many. All up, my weight loss at this point is between 27 and 28 kg, but I'm only halfway to where I need to be, which is the honest truth.

    I know a few people who have told me they want to give up sugar, especially after seeing the changes in myself, but none of the people I know who tell me they want to give up sugar have managed to give it up completely, so they just tell me that I'm really strong. These are the things that I've noticed in this time:

    1. Most people I know just reduce their sugar, and when it comes to family and social gatherings, they will still have some. Sometimes they'll go a long time on very reduced sugar, but then the wheels come off and it comes back in a big way, so they decide it's too hard. Sugar is very addictive, you can't just give it up part time. It's like a heroin addict thinking, "just one time won't hurt".

    2. For some it's quite easy to give up sugar. I admit going cold turkey wasn't too bad for me. For others, they start to get extreme headaches on the first day and give up. If you're one of these people, you need to be committed to going through the pain which could take up to a month, but it does get better and it is worth it.

    3. When you start to experience positive changes, use these to strengthen your resolve when faced with temptations. For me, I think about how my right foot used to swell on top so I couldn't wear some shoes, how I once dozed off at the lights on the way to work because I was tired all the time, how my skin used to look sallow and tired, times when I woke up at 2 am with vomit in my throat if I ate yoghurt or creamy food at night, and so many more. I do not want to experience these things again.

    I hope something in here helps.

  31. Samantha
    Thanks everyone. xxx

    I've come up with a plan; I am going to buy some Greek yogurt, berries and nuts and eat this combination at the most trying time which is after dinner for me. I've worked out that if I indulge in LCHF foods in abundance I may be able to get over the cravings quicker and easier. Once I am happy with my diet I will cut down on these things to hopefully lose the weight I want to lose.

    Your thoughts would be very helpful.

    S x

  32. Sophie

    I don't think I am unique in having had to trim my diet several times. It's probably very good to start with the goal of adapting along the way.

    The sad part is the more you lose weight, the less you can eat! I am at a point where I eat much less than I ever had in my life, but I became committed to low carb over 7 months ago. As I went, I have had to give up so many of the foods I used to love. I have also erased "moderation" from my vocabulary.

    I used to also indulge in an abundance of LCHF foods, but now that I am smaller, I can't do that anymore. My last goal was to stop snacking altogether, and I can say it has been easier than I thought, provided I eat a very solid lunch in the afternoon with plenty of fat. I don't think this would have worked before now: I would have had a giant llunch and snacked all day.

    As has been said, erase the sugar drive first. Once you realize you don't need these foods, your taste and habits will change. Slowly you will shed more habits. First cut off sugar and carbs, with the help of fats. Then eat less.

    I would also highly recommend eating the same thing everyday to get your body used to a certain amount of food.

    But I think all LCHFers will reassure you that it gets tremendously easy if you just cut the carbs out. If night time is tough for you, you can stretch out your dinner all night. Eat it very slowly in small instalments. I am the same.

  33. yuma
    Christoph Dollis, I researched LCHF diets with drinks and found:

    1. The Drinking Man's Diet ;

    Low carb with 4-6 pops per day. Notice how young the diet's author - 93 in the picture - looks for his age. He doesn't even look 80. This should put to rest all foolish presages over eating LCHF long term.

    2. William Banting's diet:

    He also had 4-6 pops a day.

    Frankly, all this research has made me thirsty. I'm having for dinner 12 oz filet mignon, mixed vegetables with zero sugar/carbs Roquefort dressing and a glass of champagne.


  34. JAUS
    Since you acted like an asshole, will humiliate you for being the retard you are. You can obviously not read. Yacon syrup was suggested by me as an replacement instead of agave nectar.

    Get your facts straight next time you try be a smartass.

  35. JAUS
    Fructooligosaccharides is NOT fructose, just like watersoulable fiber is not the same as glucose.

    I get so tired of the assumptions of ignorant people.

  36. Frankly, all this research has made me thirsty. I'm having for dinner 12 oz filet mignon, mixed vegetables with zero sugar/carbs Roquefort dressing and a glass of champagne.


    yuma, enjoy! I wish I could join you, but champagne yuck. Give me a Canadian whiskey and I'm game.

    Since you acted like an asshole, will humiliate you for being the retard you are.


    Eddie Mitchell made a mistake and mixed up the numbers I posted for Xagave brand agave syrup with yacon syrup. It was an honest mistake.

    He even used the word "please" when asking for clarification of your info (which he was incredulous about based on his misunderstanding), then talked with concern about the effects he felt it would have on his blood sugar. I do not believe he was intentionally rude to you.

    Fructooligosaccharides is NOT fructose, just like watersoulable fiber is not the same as glucose.

    I get so tired of the assumptions of ignorant people.

    Who are you arguing with, out of curiosity?

    I have asked if anyone here knows just how much fructose is in the product. I don't know.

    amount of fructose in FOS needed to be sweet

    Ah yes, I see what you mean now. I should have written how much fructose is in yacon syrup itself.

    Since you posted your information, I've speculated in online conversations with Paul Jaminet (co-founder of Perfect Health Diet), Ann Childers, MD (paleo psychiatrist), here to Andreas Eenfeldt and all of you, and to Professor Tim Noakes on Twitter, that high FOS may have benefits to human gut flora and, say, annual, seasonal ingestion of starchy vegetables could have helped humans in numerous ways.

    You prompted me to thought, and I made clear that I checked my initial impulse to dismiss your comment when I looked at the chemical makeup of yacon syrup and saw that you might have a point. I even posted on this thread a link to a study of yacon syrup that found a benefit in weight reduction.

    So perhaps when you make quick progress persuading people to consider your point of view, you could lay off the attacks a smidgeon. Just a thought.

    If you do have a detailed breakdown of all the carbohydrates in yacon syrup, that would be interesting. I haven't found one, but am working on writing something else, so haven't had time to look extensively.

    Let's both step back, push the reset button, and lower the aggro. I'll go first if it helps.

    I hope you're having a good day over there. I am here and I'd hate to be the only one!

  37. The goal of this comment, which will be broken down into more than one comment because of the number of links, is twofold:

    1. to make it easier for people to stick with a healthy diet long term, and

    2. for medical practitioners to help their patients do likewise and thus succeed more themselves.

    "I will be coming back to look for your thoughts Christoph."

    Thanks, Katya. I'm glad at least one doctor is willing to take a look at this. I promise to try to make it worth your while.

    Before I do that though, I really want you to consider one thing. As a medical doctor, you had to go through years of following instructions and directions well enough to get your degree, get your advanced training, complete residency, keep your license, and so on. This will be important and I'll explain why.

    The ability to accomplish the above is NOT primarily to do with diet, healthy living, or biochemistry. It's psychology and emotional stability that allowed you to both follow instructions (and yes, think creatively at times when required) and to complete this ambitious goal which would be beyond the capability of many people, including people as intelligent as you are.

    Doctors have a recurring problem with giving patients instructions and having them not followed. Doctors probably innocently delude themselves (or are just not informed and are unaware) just how often their instructions are not followed, even for such relatively simple things as, "Take this pill four times a day for ten days; take all of them."

    A doctor, because of their proven stability in following through on more arduous tasks, will often find following such simple instructions not a big deal. Yet many patients have a problem with it — and following dietary guidelines is much harder or at least more complicated. I think doctors can find it hard to relate to their patients' difficulties in following instructions over time.

    "I think this is strictly a mental thing."

    Bingo, Sophie. And the solution has to be more than just better dietary instructions.

    In a moment, I'll tie this to one of the most famous, long-running studies in psychology, that was started by accident by a top obesity researcher at Kaiser Permanente, and has been ignored far too much in medical diet circles — to the detriment of both patients' and doctors' success.

    OK, that's my intro, now let me talk to Samantha and people, like me, in her shoes for a moment.

    Hi Samantha,

    It's a great question, and it's something I wish diet doctors and others interested in the physiology of nutrition would give more attention to. In fact, I've been trying to draw Dr. Eenfeldt, Professor Timothy Noakes, "Paleo 2.0"-nutrition advocate and adult and child psychiatrist Ann Childers, nutritionist Paul Jaminet, and others' attention to this issue over the last week or two — to no success thus far that I'm aware of! :P

    If you would take it on faith that this comment just might have some real value for you, I'd like you to kindly read this in detail and give real thought to it. After reading it, you can drop the faith and think about this from a rational point of view and decide if it might have some merit for you to try.

    In case it does, I will also link to some specific resources that may help you achieve the goal you just laid out. I need to break this comment into more than one, but consider it together if you're open to exploring this potential solution to your problem.

    It's OK if you don't read it. That's up to you.

    Now for your mission should you choose to accept it, please read and ponder this article (the excerpt is fine, but I recommend reading the whole brief article) about one of the most famous studies in psychology that was actually started by a top obesity researcher by accident, working for a major health organisation. From here, it turned into the most long-running and oft-cited psychological study into this area of the human experience: childhood trauma.

    How Childhood Trauma Can Cause Adult Obesity

    Dr. Vincent Felitti, founder of Kaiser Permanente's Department of Preventive Medicine and director of its obesity-treatment program, was seeing some good results. His patients were losing 50, 80, even hundreds of pounds. He might have considered the program a success, if not for the fact that the participants who were doing the best — those who were both the most obese and losing the most weight — kept dropping out.

    Felitti was baffled. Why, invariably, did so many patients quit just as they approached their healthy goal weight? Ella, for instance, a middle-aged woman who entered the program in the mid-1980s morbidly obese at 295 lb., had managed to whittle her frame by 150 lb. over six months. "Instead of being happy, she was having anxiety attacks and was terrified," Felitti says.

    It is my contention that — while the above example may be extreme — for many people anxiety or depression results in "emotional eating", and that this is often a remnant of our childhood experiences (or adult experiences for that matter), perhaps barely remembered.

    This ACE Study began by studying obesity and recognised those with more childhood trauma were both (1) more likely to be obese and have myriad other physical problems over their lifetime, and significantly: (2) found it harder to stick to diet instructions, despite initial successes.

    I suspect that doctors, self-selected from a group of people with the emotional stability to routinely follow-through on tasks, find it hard to grasp just how much of a problem this is.

    Now everyone is so busy debating macronutrient ratios, etc., that they don't look at other relevant factors for the many patients who find it hard to follow instructions long term, particularly in regards to diet because as Dr. Felitti points out, being overweight is psychologically protective for many people, subconsciously.

    My interest in this came about because I became emotionally traumatised, yes as a result of childhood experiences, but it really manifested most in adulthood after I suffered a great loss that sent me into profound grief and dysfunction. (For anyone who is interested, such as Dr. Katya, the new DSM-5 coming out next month will classify this as "Prolonged Grief Disorder"; it's awful — grief to the point of disabling emotional trauma.)

    The story doesn't end there.

    At some point, I got it into my head that the effects of childhood trauma; including not only the routine hitting and yelling/insulting that most children are subjected to, but also neglect and abandonment that undermined my resilience leaving me open to yet more trauma as an adult; would not be the end of me. I'd blamed myself too much, decided to put responsibility where it truly lay, and looked for solutions to my difficulties.

    To my surprise, there were really good solutions. And they made logical, scientific sense. And they work.

    I'll outline them in a moment, including some very specific to adhering to a low-carb Paleo diet, but first let me draw your attention to two things.

    For everyone, this is a short video from Michele Rosenthal, a survivor (and eventual thriver) of disabling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD and PGD and many anxiety disorders are far more related together both in cause and effective treatment, than they are to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), for example.

    On the importance of combining trauma/stress-reduction strategies

    I found her video after I learned this through my own recovery experience, but note this very well: Michele correctly

  38. states that most trauma survivors who get over it and thrive use several different treatment modalities.

    There's something I've found about combining different, complimentary therapies — which I do on my own — that is vastly more effective than just one even if that one is done "a lot". Plus it's more interesting.

    A lot of these "therapies" (for lack of a better word) dramatically lower cortisol, which is a critical adrenal stress hormone, and just so happens to break down insulin and leptin sensitivity by damaging pancreatic Beta-cells. Is long-term, frequent elevated cortisol as it relates to emotional trauma, developing obesity, and having problems with dietary-instruction adherence a coincidence?

    For those such as Dr. Katya who may be interesting in a scientific model of emotional trauma and its treatment that is logical, rational, and subsequently testable, Dr. Ronald Ruden, MD, PhD (biochemistry), developer of a psychosensual therapy mode known as "Havening", has some excellent white papers about it on his site here:

    Dr. Ruden began his research career at Northwestern where he obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the age of 24. He then went to Harvard in 1971 where he trained with Noble laureate E.J. Corey. After an assistant professorship at Rutgers he attended medical school and graduated from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Following internship and residency in internal medicine Dr. Ruden obtained training in clinical nutrition at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. During his tenure there, the American Cancer Society honored him for organizing the symposium, Nutrition and Cancer, What We Know So Far. In 1983 he began a private practice in medicine but never lost his love for research. He continues to explore ways to use neuroscience to treat illness.

    Blah blah blah: point being, he's credible in terms of education at least. They're all good schools.

    His model relates to how traumatic memories are encoded in the amygdala within the brain, and are recreated when triggered by the environment with protein cascades in the brain, which has been at least partially verified through animal studies.

    I don't think Havening is the end all and be all (nor does he claim it is). The following are the other approaches that helped me lower my stress dramatically, quickly (notice that the study I'll cite next shows that cortisol is lowered as much in the first session as in subsequent!), and make it easier to take effective action again in the world, including diet and exercise:

    • Yoga Nidra (link to PDF summary of a study showing just how effective this is at lowering cortisol — most effective meditation technique I am aware of) — a very easy, laying down type of meditation and relaxation; many excellent free and paid audios available to search for — iRest is one great choice (paid), and YouTube has a bunch (free), plus many websites online (both free and paid — but you only need one to start; some use one good one for a lifetime).

    Note that psychologist Doctor Richard C. Miller has been successful in implementing "iRest" into the US Military PTSD treatment

  39. programs, and it's very popular among veterans. He was forced to rebrand it "iRest" to make it easier for military folks to accept, but was later allowed to add the "Yoga Nidra" into the name following iRest once it had proved its worth.

    Richard Miller, PhD is a clinical psychologist, author, researcher, yogic scholar and spiritual teacher. For over 40 years, Richard Miller has devoted his life and work to integrating the nondual wisdom teachings of Yoga, Tantra, Advaita, Taoism and Buddhism with Western psychology. Among his mentors were Jean Klein, T.K.V. Desikachar and Stephen Chang.

    You'll might already be aware that the above are quickly entering the western consciousness, in and out of medicine.

    This is more informational than therapeutic, but this is a great interview of Dr. Miller about yoga nidra.

    • Mindfulness Meditation — mentioned in the above study as also being effective at reducing cortisol, but not quite so much ... excellent, though, for making routine tasks seem easy because of the increased peaceful awareness meditation brings; increasingly used at universities and medical schools worldwide ... you can find many great free mindfulness meditation audios online, including from major university wellness/mindfulness departments; recommend you use more than one as different meditations keep things interesting.

    • Havening. Discussed above.

    • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) with a licensed therapist. Worth considering. Similar in some ways to the Havening protocol, and Dr. Ruden refers to it in his papers as an example of an effective trauma therapy. N.B.: initial science claims of EMDR's founder may be mistaken — Ruden's model is far, far more convincing to my mind, but he also had the requisite background and training to understand the neuroscience at a deep level.

    TRE: Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises by Dr. David Berceli, PhD. I see few scientific studies on this, but the proposed mechanism is plausible. The method of treatment is spreading worldwide. Berceli noticed that all mammals have a trembling response following life or death trauma (escape) and this seems to help them recovery from a trauma (an analogy would be a cat's purrs help it recover from bone-damaging trauma) neurologically. Humans, however, suppress this response for cultural reasons. Berceli noticed those who suppress this response to traumatic stresses more likely to become traumatised. Worth considering as an option. Can be done as standalone exercises or after a normal exercise session. It's relaxing and very low-impact, if nothing else.

    Now I promised I would mention a therapy that may help with low-carb Paleo diet adherence specifically. Here goes.

    Increasingly, hypnotherapy is being recognised as an effective treatment method. I have only one problem with it.

    Providing people with cognitive instructions, including suggestions (or diet advice), only works well if a person is NOT overly anxious/emotional/traumatised. I think this is a reason why many patients sort of stare at cognitive-behavioural therapists in something resembling disbelief when they're recommended to do this, that, or the other while their heart is routinely being ripped apart by emotion. But I digress.

    So if a person IS still in a heightened limbic-system state, full of the subconscious fear and stress that Kaiser Permanente obesity researcher cum Adverse Childhood Experiences study co-founder alluded to, it may be difficult taking hypnotic suggestions on board.

    At the same time, hypnosis combines relaxation with suggestions, so it may be sufficient for many people. If not, it would be ideal to integrate yoga nidra, mindfulness meditation (progressive muscle relaxation is also good and there are a few free online resources for this), and/or the more specialised forms of psychosensual trauma therapy described above to relieve trauma and anxiety, and integrate some hypnosis into the mix as well.

    I believe if you'd actually try doing that, you'd discover that your ability to implement a low-carb diet / other habits would improve. That is, after all, the whole point of the hypnosis.

    But it needn't be expensive. If you wanted to just spend a tiny amount of money to give this a try (I am not at all financially associated with any of these companies, just an occasional customer), these are some that are in line with Paleo/ low-carb eating, so you don't waste time looking:

    Low Carb Diet Mindset by — probably the oldest and most established hypnosis downloads site on the Internet (you can tell the person reading it really believes in, and probably follows, a low-carb Paleo diet, and has most likely been influenced by Mark Sisson's

  40. Primal Blueprint in particular). Full money back guarantee for first order. Discount if you buy a few at once so you might want to search for their other diet/exercise/relaxation related titles, such as Diabetic Diet, Gluten Free Diet, Stop Drinking Soda, Take Care of You, Boredom Eating, Stop Binge Eating, Overcome Sugar Addiction, Stop Emotional Eating, and Chocolate Addiction — you can do a search on the site for keyword "diet" for example.

    You are allowed to order up to 5 at once, so you may want to try the 1 or 5 most applicable to you. If they don't work out, you can return them. They're a reputable company and will honour their guarantee (for the first order only as per their terms).

    So this might be a very helpful tool in helping you achieve your goal, as well as adding a respite and some relaxation into your life: remember, anything that helps you lower cortisol improves your blood sugar control long term, and lowering stress / excess negative emotion naturally also improves your ability to follow through on plans with less willpower and inner-conflict.

    The link I included to Low Carb Diet Mindset is not an affiliate link and I don't care whether you click it directly or find the site via Google. I'm not trying to profit, just help.

    Another good low-carb title (that doesn't recommend objectionable foods like grains like some of them do) is Weight Loss Hypnosis: Relax Your Way to Thin! — it is extremely expensive from the Beverley Hills Hypnosis website ... and it is extremely inexpensive from as an MP3, so that's where I would buy it if you choose to try it. $8.99 , no money back guarantee that I'm aware of unless Amazon policies are different. I don't know. I liked it, so never checked on a guarantee.

    Pillow Power Weight Loss by Tom Nicoli is pretty good too. It's designed to be used at night as you fall asleep, so if you fall asleep alone from time to time, you may want to add it too. Money back guarantee for the first order, not too expensive. His Pillow Power Stress one is pretty good too if you wanted to try it.

    Now, back to improving your stress/anxiety/cortisol so emotional anxiety and/or depression-based eating becomes a creature of the past.

    An entirely free program by psychologist Neil Fiore, PhD, is

  41. Relax and Center (easy to find online) — highly recommended! It's the first hypnosis program I tried, the first self-therapy program of any type I tried, and the free program is awesome.

    By the way — to doctors helping patients dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief trauma, etc. — these approaches will probably help your patients and can't hurt (safer than benzodiazepines as an initial go-to). You could have a member of your staff type up a 1-page A4/letter-size info sheet with some Internet URLs to a few of these "stress reduction" resources to try, and possibly change a life for the better, maybe even save one. It could be an extremely easy value-added service you provide in your practice, and entirely in keeping with a growing trend in medicine, psychology, and our culture to better stress-control awareness.

    Stress is beneficial, provided there's enough downtime from it. Here's some great downtime!

    Why not consider this?

    Triage: In what order would I try them?

    1. Yoga Nidra.

    2. Hypnosis.

    3. Mindfulness Meditation.

    4. Any of the psychosensual therapies such as Havening, TRE, and EMDR.

    OK, I hope some of these resources and ideas are helpful to patients and practitioners. Kindly let me summarise my thoughts:

    1. Emotional factors vary significantly between people based on childhood and adult experiences plus genetics. Some may be unable to follow diet directions long-term due to anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, etc.

    2. By integrating a combination of different scientifically-proven and in some cases ancient practices into your life, you can get much better results than if focusing on just one technique, will keeping it interesting.

    3. These results include reduced cortisol levels, which will improve insulin and leptin sensitivity per se, thus resulting in greater physical health and less physiological cravings over time.

    4. They, done on a fairly regular basis, should improve mental wellbeing significantly resulting in more happiness and making it less necessary to use food as a crutch to deal with anxiety, depression, and boredom.

    5. By adding "low carb" and similar hypnosis suggestions to the above, one can, either gradually over time or in many cases relatively quickly, make choosing low-carb foods more automatic and less of a struggle.

    6. This is safe to try and if it doesn't work, well, most of the guidance MP3/YouTube downloads are free ( is a website that will allow you to save long YouTube videos to your computer and therefore mobile device/audio player — remember, these are videos that the creators have intentionally uploaded to share with the world and help people so downloading them is ethical), and most of those that aren't free are both inexpensive and have money back guarantees.

    7. So potential benefits? Improved happiness, greater peace, improved physical health, lower body fat, better blood sugar control, lower insulin, more leptin sensitivity therefore gradually lower appetite. Risks? A little lost time if it doesn't work; maybe out of pocket 10 bucks or so.

    I hope this is helpful to someone here, and that the medical practitioners take a good look at the ACE Study: and how obesity and childhood trauma are linked, and help more of their patients by directing their patients to good stress-reduction resources that they can implement largely on their own (or with a therapist if both necessary and financial resources for it are available).

    Here are two excellent interviews of Dr. Vincent Felitti, ACE study co-author, the important psychological (childhood trauma) study began by obesity researchers that shows

  42. a high ACE score correlates with greater obesity and other physical problems:

    Video Interview #1 with ACE Study Co-Founder

    Video Interview #2 with ACE Study Co-Founder

    Finally, let me point out that Dr. Eenfeldt is from Sweden. Sweden was the first of many countries in the world to ban all corporal punishment of children. Parents in Sweden as a result learned to reason with rather than physically discipline their children. Dr. Eenfeldt — who as near as I can tell is a wonderful man — does not (fortunately for him and his fellow country-people!) have as much experience with the negative effects of his patients being hit as children, at least with younger patients in his practice and in his nation writ large — and so being traumatised and finding it harder to follow long-term instructions later in life without unnecessary anxiety.

    I don't think it's an accident that the people of Sweden and the other Nordic countries are leading the world in the adopting of a rational eating pattern.

    Do you?

  43. Ondrej
    I drink aloe vera very often. I am 80kg/179 cm, weight training as well. Low carbers are just people who don't like exercise and try to find out ways to be less. Less food, less sugar, less joy, less toliet visits. More guilt, that's the only exeption. If it's for you, why not. I need carbs to fuel my workouts. Shaky theory by Dr.Volek won't change that.
    Replies: #44, #68
  44. Low carbers are just people who don't like exercise

    You are ignorant.

  45. Sophie
    Thank you for sharing that meaningful comment Ondrej.

    Well I don't like to exercise. I am still loing weight and I look great. I don't see where the problem is. I don't feel guilty and my bowels are doing great, thanks for caring. I have a very joyful life.

    I will raise my glass to you for that wonderful contribution!

    Enjoy the aloe vera.

  46. Ondrej

    The Paleo Diet: Claims versus Evidence.

    Includes part about "toxic" sugar as well.

    Very convincing.

  47. Sophie

    In the name of all the LCHFers here, I would like to

    a) apologize for everyone forcing you to eat low carb. It must be very hard for you and I am very sorry you have to eat low carb despite not believing in it.

    b) thank you, again, for all the useful information and the precious contribution to the discussion. You are trying to save us from the evils of low carb and it is too bad everyone is not listening to you. That must be hard going on low carb web sites when you don't like to eat low carb!

    c) wish you the best success in whatever diet and exercise regimen you have chosen.

  48. Norman4Law
    Thanks for that link to the Personal Trainers' Conference Program. It was very interesting, entertaining and informative.

    And to stay on point: another common factor in all the world's long life diets (and maybe one of the most important) was low sugar consumption.

  49. Samantha
    Thanks Christoph and everyone else. I am reading and digesting all the info.


    S x

  50. The most important study in medicine*:

    Short Version

    Long Version
    * Also in human civilisation.

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