Margie Bryce

Your leadership coach
and self-care advocate

112: The sweet deception of SUGAR

The Crabby Pastor
112: The sweet deception of SUGAR

This episode explores the bitter truth behind sugar’s sweet facade. My guest, Troy Duell, host of the podcast Frontline Health and CEO of Centurion Labs, joins me, Margie Bryce, to expose sugar’s addictive grip on our brains. Yikes.

The road to a healthier you is paved with sweet alternatives that don’t compromise on taste. Discover the game-changing benefits of natural sweeteners that don’t come packaged with other health concerns.

This is sure to be a sweeet episode.

Here is Troy’s podcast: Frontline Health

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Margie: 0:01

Hey, there it’s Margie Bryce, your host of the Crabby Pastor podcast, where we talk about all things sustainability, whether it’s sustainability in ministry, in your personal life and we acknowledge that the church is in a transitional time, so we hit topics there too that are going to stretch your mind and the way you lead, especially how you lead yourself, so that you don’t become the crabby pastor. So how do the pieces of your life fit together? Do they fit together well and things are humming along just fine, or are there some pieces that are tight or absent or just not fitting the bill? This is your invitation to join me in my glass workshop for a video series, where I am going to do a stained glass project while I talk to you about sustainability and building sustainability into your heart and into your life. So I am going to be doing my art, which is a form of self-care, and I’m going to invite you into that space with me and I’m going to chat. I’m going to chat about self-care and I’m going to show you how I create, and there’s a nifty, nifty analogy Stained glass seems to be a very good metaphor for what I want to talk about, so I’d love for you to join me to do that. To opt in, I’ll need you to email me at crabbypastor at gmailcom. That’s crabbypastor at gmailcom. So you won’t want to miss this. You definitely won’t want to miss this. So make a plan to join me in the glass workshop.Margie: 2:10

Margie Bryce here, your host of the Crabby Pastor podcast, and this is going to be a real sweet episode. So you’re going to have to tell all your friends and family to listen to this sweet episode, because we’re going to be talking about sugar. You know, I grew up and I would have a bowl of Cheerios and milk and then at least one okay, maybe two teaspoons of sugar at least on there, Even when we picked blackberries. I remember also doing the same thing milk and a boatload of sugar. I mean just love, loved, loved that sugar. And that was well. I won’t go into how many years ago that that was, but I think some of our mindset has changed on sugar, and I have here with me Tony Duell and and he is going to enlighten us on what might not be quite so sweet as we thought. So, Tony, can you introduce yourself to us?

Troy: 3:15

Absolutely. Thanks for having me, and I am with Centurion Labs, have been the CEO there since 2005 and have really been diving into the health space since probably the early 90s, where I got an education in sports medicine and exercise physiology and really just wanted to find out what things would really enhance the body’s performance and make us better at what we do, and along the way, have been able to uncover a lot of products and a lot of dietary needs and issues that we may have that will help. If you address those things through your diet or through supplementation can really turn people’s lives around and get that basis of diet and exercise down. And I think once you catch that base and you take ownership of that part, a lot of the other pieces fall in line. And that’s really what we’re about, what I’m about, and ultimately we want to have people take ownership of their health so they can elevate their health and life and have a better life because of it.

Margie: 4:27

Well, I was really interested in talking about sugar because I remember seeing and you can tell me whether this is internet made up or not, but I saw a scan. It was a CT scan of somebody whose brain was on sugar and then it was next to a CT scan of somebody whose brain was on I can’t remember what drug if it was meth or crack or what and and at the moment I wasn’t thinking about, is this real or not? But it was kind of horrifying. Is that? Is there anything to that?

Troy: 5:04

Unfortunately, there is a lot to it. So they have actually done studies to show that people who are on cocaine have the same part of the brain light up as we do when we eat sugar, which is why sugar is so addictive and why we want to eat more and more and more of it. So to the tune of American adults eating about 77 grams of sugar per day, when the American Heart Association recommends us just eating 24 grams a day for a woman and about 36 grams a day for men. So we are doubling that amount of sugar per day and need to really cut back on it per day and need to really cut back on it.

Troy: 5:49

Boy, okay, I was thinking you were going to tell me that maybe that was made up or something? No, unfortunately I couldn’t tell you that. Okay, it releases the dopamine, just like cocaine does, and that’s what lights up our pleasure center and we get super excited, which is why when you look at a pie, you start to really get excited and go, hmm, that looks really good.

Margie: 6:09

Yeah, yeah, I have a friend and she and I did Weight Watchers, you know, back in the day, and she would, I could eat, I could eat, and I still can’t just eat. Like one Hershey kiss, you know, and and walk away and I keep them stashed in the either the refrigerator or the freezer, you know. I just, I don’t know. It just seems like it’s a bigger treat and it takes longer to melt. Maybe I don’t know, but that’s my drug of choice. And I said something to her about that. I said well, you know, you can just eat. You know, one Hershey kiss, I can’t remember, it’s maybe one or two points or something in the Weight Watcher realm. And she said I can’t do that. She said, because it’s like a drug to me, I will be off to the races if I do that.

Troy: 6:55

And that’s why the other hidden secret is a lot of the foods that we eat whether that’s the breads that we eat or any of the packaged foods they load up with sugar salad dressings. Those are some big ones and because they load it up with sugar, it leaves us wanting more and we want to go back to the, to the table, and keep eating.

Margie: 7:18

Well, what’s creepy? What’s creepy about what you’re saying, though, is there was that whole surge of low fat, and, you know, because I was doing the label reading and stuff like that, and because my family is, you know, has a history with type two diabetes, and I was working at all costs to not go down that aisle, if I could help it I was reading a lot of labels, and I realized that, while they were taking fat out of certain things, they were putting sugar in. I guess you got to make it taste good somehow, but that was pretty horrifying, because then it sets us all up to go in a direction that we probably don’t need to go.

Troy: 8:01

That’s absolutely right, and it’s not just the low-fat craze, but now you see the low-calorie or some of those other crazes that are out there, and really what’s happening there is they may put artificial sweeteners in, or they may put what’s called sugar alcohols in, and sugar alcohols in and of themselves are not terrible for our bodies.

Troy: 8:24

As a matter of fact, they could be found in some fruits from a natural standpoint, but they do have issues on the GI system. So you have a lot of people who, if they eat something that has sugar alcohols, it can really tear up your stomach and cause some serious issues because it doesn’t break down. The stomach can’t break it down with the bacteria that’s there. Then on the other side, you may have some of the artificial sweeteners, and the artificial sweeteners they’ve actually compared and they would say that if you, if I, had to choose between taking a food with an artificial sweetener or a food with sugar, I would go with sugar every day, even though sugar is not good for you, because the artificial sweeteners also light up the same areas and they are 700 times sweeter than sugar, so it almost increases the addiction that much more, with other detrimental side effects along the way as well.

Margie: 9:19

So it lights up your brain. The same as regular sugar, but it sounds like they need way less of it to do that.

Troy: 9:28

You, you don’t need as much, but what they’re trying to do is light up that same pleasure center in order for you to crave that food and come back for it. So, but what they’re finding is especially in diet sodas. We’ll, we’ll take that one, probably a good one, those diet sodas they have found, if they’re consumed I can’t remember what the number is, I think it’s six per week or 12 per week, along those lines they have seen an increased and increased incidence of fatty liver in those patients. So it’s bad for your liver because it’s processing through there and you just have to be careful that you’re not taking something that’s bad for you and substituted, substituting something else that’s even worse for you because you see that it’s low calorie and you just have to be really cognizant of what you’re taking into your body.

Margie: 10:22

So like, at the end of the day, you just got to come to the place where you say I just got to get off this roller coaster, Whether it is imitation sugars. And I remember way back in the day my mom used to sweeten her coffee with saccharin.Troy: 10:40

Oh yeah.

Margie: 10:41

And then that was bad. And then what came after saccharin? Oh yeah, and then that was bad, and then what came after saccharin?

Troy: 10:44

I can’t remember whether saccharin splenda aspartame was, aspartame is like really not helpful at all.

Margie: 10:54

No, but now that it’s like the names keep switching, so so, you know, I look at labels now and then I’ve got my phone and I’m Googling it to see if it really is a sugar. It looks like anything that ends in L-O-S-E lose. Maybe that should be a indicator. That’s a helpful way.

Troy: 11:14

That’s right. That’s a helpful way to get it, but some of the more beneficial ones that you can lean towards that they have shown benefit from would be a stevia. So you can get stevia. What you have to watch for is a lot of those stevias are supplemented with sugar alcohols, like erythritol, which is probably one of the better ones, but you do have to watch to make sure you’re not getting too much of those sugar alcohols. And then you can also have monk fruit not getting too much of those sugar alcohols, and then you can also have monk fruit. So stevia and monk fruit seem to be two of the better ones that are out there that you can bake with and do some sugar substitution with.

Troy: 11:52

So sugar erythritol or sugar alcohols, how much is too much say of sugar alcohol, Because I know that’s got to be big with a lot of people that do keto related stuff right, it is, and typically they recommend about 15, I believe it’s 15 grams a day that they’re saying you don’t want to get over 15 milligrams per day, that you don’t wanna go over, so and it doesn’t take a lot to really sweeten something up with those sugar alcohols which, by the way, it’s neither sugar nor is it alcohol. It’s actually a carbohydrate that they have broken down to bring out the sweetness. And the strange thing with those is they use it in a lot of the processed foods and cookies and other things to help sweeten it. But you can’t buy it over the counter or at a grocery store for us to use in breads or cookies or anything else at home. So I’m not real sure how they use it in that baking realm, but they’re able to use it in the baking realm, whereas we cannot use that on a regular basis.

Margie: 12:56

But you can buy stevia.

Troy: 12:58

You can buy stevia, you can buy monk fruit.

Margie: 13:00

Monk fruit, what is that?

Troy: 13:02

What is?

Margie: 13:03

Monk fruit.

Troy: 13:04

Monk fruit is actually, it’s just a fruit called monk fruit and they take it out and pull out the sugars from it and then dry it up and then you can use it. They actually have coconut sugar that you can use as well. That seems to be. It has a little bit more benefit than regular sugar. It has a little bit more benefit than regular sugar, and the reason some of those have a better turn is if it’s monk fruit you’re getting more than just the sugar. The stevia comes from leaves that they’re grinding up, so you get a little bit more sweetness from that. And regular sugar if you’re doing teaspoons of sugar really has no vitamins. It has no nutritional value at all, whereas stevia actually has some value to it and monk fruit does as well.

Troy: 13:51

And you know, don’t confuse fruits and vegetables with sugar. While they have sugar, they also have the fiber that goes along with it. So if you eat an apple or an orange and you’re eating it because of that fiber, it’s filling up your stomach and you’re able to feel full after you eat it, whereas sugar you don’t get that filling effect. So if you eat something that’s sweet and it doesn’t have the natural pieces that go with it, then that’s what makes you hungry and start to crave more. And it’s still lighting up that pleasure center.

Margie: 14:26

Yeah, yeah, because I know this is probably something I picked up in that and we watch around there is that if you’re hungry, you know you should go for a protein or maybe even some kind of a fat will turn that off. But if you start doing the simple carbs, there you go, you’re off to the races now because you know, like, whether they say one Oreo is not enough. You know you’re just off to the races and you have to know that about yourself to stop. I mean, it’s difficult to stop yourself.

Troy: 15:03

It is very difficult and I think it takes a lot of discipline. And most of that discipline I think you can really step up when you’re in the grocery store, so making sure that you’re shopping correctly, so then when you come home you’re not tempted by those things, or setting yourself up with the discipline of what you said of one a day or maybe even just one day a week where you say, okay, I’m going to cheat and have my sugar this one day a week and kind of build it that way. But you know, we had talked earlier about some of those other substitutes that we see, like agave or honey or molasses.

Margie: 15:42

Yeah, that’s the. So this is where there is, I think, some confusion is because those, some of them, seem to be natural, but you know, at the end of the day, so is sugar, it’s plant plant like sugar cane. Right, that’s right.

Troy: 15:58

Yep, so, and they still. If you take molasses or honey or agave, they still spike your sugar levels. So what you’re trying to do is find something that’s not going to spike your sugar levels, which also will spike that dopamine release in your brain. And we know that even though those are natural and they’re still good in small doses, it’s causing that same thing. So you’ve got to be careful. Just because it’s natural, like you say, you still have to be careful and understand that those particular things can cause just as much havoc on our bodies as taking just regular sugar, teaspoons of sugar.

Margie: 16:41

So what kind of havoc does it wreak on our bodies?

Troy: 16:45

Sugar is a menacing piece. So we know that sugar is related to inflammation. So anybody who has inflammation in their joints it is a big precursor to that. We know that it has cardiovascular issues. That can happen and we also they’ve now called memory loss or Alzheimer’s. Some people call that type three diabetes because sugar is part of the process with that as well. So memory loss, Alzheimer’s, all those things is all linked to sugar and they’re seeing more and more of a correlation between somebody’s diet and their sugar intake and the increased incidence of Alzheimer’s later on in life.

Margie: 17:35

Well, that ought to scare a few of us straight right.

Troy: 17:38

It should, it should.

Margie: 17:40

It’s like well, I’m going back to double check my labels and stuff. You know, I know I will tend towards Stevia. They’ve got these lovely little drops at Whole Foods Market. Just one or two drops in your coffee and it’s just a little bit, but it’s all Stevia and it’s all. You know. It doesn’t feel criminal.

Troy: 18:00

Let’s say that you get sweetness without the calories and without the bad side effects, so that’s definitely key.

Margie: 18:11

Well, I remember years ago I used to drink coffee. Well, I still drink coffee, but I would put two teaspoons of sugar. Yeah, it was always at two teaspoons, you know, I don’t even know how many grams or a teaspoon here, but I would put two teaspoons in and then milk, you know, and I decided I was going to try to rear off and I did it very slowly, I think I did the sugar first and so I kept putting creamer in. But I would go okay, today, instead of two teaspoons I’m going to do one and three quarters. I mean, it was a real slow baby step process to wean yourself off and to give yourself time to learn to like the coffee with less sugar in it. I mean, is that how we get ourselves off sugar?

Troy: 19:05

I think that is one of the best ways you can do that, which is just come up with a plan. Don’t go cold Turkey unless you’ve. You’ve got that personality type that can, which few people can do that but certainly start to wean yourself off, because your taste buds will adjust to it and the less sugar you take in, the less you’re going to crave, whether that’s in your salad dressings or your meals or breads or whatever, and you’ll begin to notice the amount of sugar or the sugar levels that are in each of those foods that you eat. So the more you can curb the addition of sugar, then it’s going to help decrease all the other sugars that are there as well.

Margie: 19:46

So what does sugar do to your heart?

Troy: 19:51

Well, they have linked it to high blood pressure, they’ve linked it to stroke and they’ve linked it to just cholesterol. I’m trying to think of the other things that are there. So those are the main ones that you see. So you, you get increases in blood pressure increases and just overall heart disease that you may end up having. So those are the main things that you get.

Margie: 20:17

So the idea of like never having ever a piece of chocolate cake in your entire life is just Well, I can’t even go there, because if I tell myself I am never going to, ever, that’s it. You know that that doesn’t help me out at all. But what are some real practical ways that we can? First steps, let’s say, to reducing our sugar.Troy: 20:42

Yeah, I think first steps are start to really pay attention to the labels that you’re eating with and see if they’re adding more sugar than you need.

Margie: 20:49

So it says that on the label added sugar, doesn’t it?

Troy: 20:53

It does. So if you’re looking for that 24 grams a day, then start. Just just take a survey of all the foods that you’re eating and all the labels and see how close you’re getting. You know, probably the number one thing you can do is cut back on, or most people can do is cut back on their sodas, their diet sodas, cut back on those and then find ways to substitute the sugar. Try monk fruit, try stevia in your if you’re doing homemade cakes or pies or whatever and see if you can change the way that you’re doing your diet. That’s one way to certainly step in and do those things.

Troy: 21:35

And then I think, recognizing that if you can satisfy that sweet tooth by picking up more fruits and vegetables and use that as a substitute when you start to crave those sweets, that’s a great way to do it. And what I have seen be most successful is maybe for six days of the week you substitute with those fruits and those vegetables and then you know that on Saturday or Sunday you’re coming up and you can have a slice of cake or you can reward yourself with a bowl of ice cream, whatever it is, but you don’t make it a habit. And if you just cut back that way. Those are easy, practical ways that you can begin to get that under control. And if one day a week is too much or too hard, then say I’m going to reward myself two days a week and just go three days on, and then one day off and three days on again. So find out what works for you and then build up, and as you’re doing that, your cravings for the sugar will start to dissipate and it’ll get easier and easier over time.

Margie: 22:47

So this is just purely an opinion kind of question. Why do you think that sugar is not discussed as in this fashion in many circles?

Troy: 23:02

Well, it’s probably because we all like it so much, and because we like it, we don’t want to really understand why something that tastes so good may be so bad for us.

Troy: 23:16

And we have not done a good job as a society or culture to come in and say you know what moderation is where we need to be with most things. We are not a moderation type culture. We’re either all in or we’re all out in most things in our culture, and I think that falls in line with our diet as well, and we have not done a good job of training young kids on how what you eat really affects you and an understanding that our bodies were designed to operate in a certain way. And just like your car has to operate on certain fuels and certain oils and other things, our bodies were designed the same way. And until we get an understanding and a better understanding of how our body operates the best, I think we’ll continue to kind of fall in that trap. But it’s it truly is just a kind of a change in mindset of I’m not eating to live. Well, I eat to live instead of living to eat.

Margie: 24:26

Yeah, yeah, well I. I have one last question about liver health and how sugar. You mentioned fatty liver. I don’t even know what that is exactly.

Troy: 24:40

What fatty liver is.

Troy: 24:42

Basically, if you have ever heard somebody who was suffering from alcoholism and they you hear about cirrhosis of the liver or something along those lines, that’s what a fatty liver is. It’s just it just becomes a diseased liver, and sugar does the same thing. And it really kind of makes sense that if somebody who’s suffering from alcoholism has a diseased liver, most alcohol turns straight to sugar when it gets into the body. So sugar is doing the same thing it’s going through the liver and it’s causing your liver just to kind of get to be a blob and not function the way it’s supposed to, which is to filter out all the bad things that we intake, whether through our environment or through our diet. And you know, they just continue to do study after study that show where sugar is increasing the risk of that fatty liver piece, which then can increase the risk of liver cancer or other liver diseases that are associated with it.

Margie: 25:47

Okay, okay. Well, is there anything that we have not covered, then, about sugar and the challenges we have with that?Troy: 26:00

I don’t think so, you know. I think the biggest thing for us to understand is that sugar is definitely one of those things that we will crave. The more we eat it, the more you will crave it. It is just like an addiction crave the more we eat it, the more you will crave it. It is just like an addiction. So if you were somebody who did cocaine once and then you do it twice, you just want to keep going and going and going. So the goal is start to wean yourself off, like you said earlier, and really start to take ownership of that piece of your health. And if you can do that, you have a much better chance of reducing obviously obesity, obviously diabetes, but then also understanding that you’re reducing chances of cardiovascular illness and effects, you’re reducing the chance of Alzheimer’s and dementia. So you have a much greater step forward in your health and longevity if you just take this one little piece and begin to take it off of off the table and reduce the amount of sugar that you take in.

Margie: 27:01

Okay, and remind us about what the recommended daily sugar intake is for men and women.

Troy: 27:08

For women it’s about 24 grams per day, and for men it’s about 24 grams per day, and for men it’s about 36 grams per day and, unfortunately, our average is about 77 grams as adults and, believe it or not, it’s about 81 grams for kids. So, yeah, we as parents have a much larger task in front of us because we have to control ourselves, but we also have to control our kids and really teach them what a healthy diet looks like and what discipline looks like when it comes to a diet.

Margie: 27:41

And the better sweeteners would be monk fruit stevia and then, if you’re going to dabble, erythritol.

Troy: 27:48

Yeah, so erythritol would be one of the better sugar alcohols that are out there. It doesn’t seem to have as much issues on the GI side effects. But you’ll see, um, malitol is usually in like chewing gums and things like that, so you may see some of those and you’ll see it in a lot of the sugar-free ice creams. You’ll see the malitol and that’s why a lot of people, after they eat sugar-free ice cream, they complain about being bloated or they just don’t feel right, and that’s because your body’s not able to break down their sugar alcohol. So be careful of that. But coconut sugar, stevia and monk fruit would be the three that I would probably recommend would be the three that I would probably recommend.

Margie: 28:35

And what about? You know, just the? You see that on tables in the restaurant sugar in the raw. You know it’s just a little brown packet. That’s still sugar, right.

Troy: 28:41

It is still sugar and still something you need to be careful of and wary of, because anytime you’re adding it that’s a bad thing. But the biggest issue is again like we talked about earlier, which is looking at your salad dressings, looking at your ketchup, looking at your different tomato sauces, your pasta dishes and that’s where most of those sugars add up, and then, especially in the sodas and diet drinks.

Margie: 29:07

So do you know how many grams are in a teaspoon? I’d have to maybe go Google that. How many grams of grams are in a teaspoon I’d have to maybe go Google that.

Troy: 29:13

How many grams of sugar are in a teaspoon?

Margie: 29:15

In a teaspoon of sugar.Troy: 29:17

I just went totally blank, but I think it’s nine milligrams of there are nine calories per teaspoon and I just went totally blank, so I’m sorry.

Margie: 29:29

Well, that’s okay, that’s okay, I’m sure we can Google it and I’ll put it in the show notes. How many it’s just so I know because, as I’m thinking back to my bowl of Cheerios with two teaspoons of sugar and just being a kid and there’s probably some sugar in the milk as well there is. That’s why I’ve shifted to like unsweetened almond milk instead, you know, just to try to make a better choice. I don’t always make. Please, audience, do not get the idea that I always make the best choice. I’m working, it’s a work in progress. You know, you can’t, you can’t, I don’t know. I couldn’t have stopped cold turkey with the coffee and the sugar in the coffee. I have to kind of wean myself off and, you know, make friends with the new taste before I proceed. So I definitely don’t do it all right. But it really is something I think we need to consider, we need to look at and certainly, you know, alzheimer’s is now being plopped in the mix. You know, jeepers.

Margie: 30:32

And that is something we should think about. So thank you so much, Troy, for having this conversation, for giving us that education on sugar. Thank you.

Troy: 30:45

Thanks, Margie, I appreciate it.

Margie: 30:49

Are you wondering whether your fatigue, your lack of motivation, your lack of interest is burnout Maybe? I just wanted to let you know that I have a resource on the website Margie Bryce dot com that’s B-R-Y-C-E Margie Bryce dot com, and it is a burnout questionnaire, free for you to download, and kind of self-assess and get a sense of where you’re at. There are questions that not only ask about what you’re going through but maybe how often you’re experiencing it and that’s kind of a key to where you might be, because you have to know where you are in order to chart a course forward. And most pastors who experience pastors and ministry leaders who experience burnout rarely know that that’s where they’re at until they’re well into it. And if you’re unsure about that little statistic, so far, everybody that I’ve interviewed on this podcast who has experienced burnout, when I asked that kind of question, they’re like, yeah, I didn’t know, that’s where I was at. So again, go to margiebricecom it’s on the home page of the website and you can get your burnout questionnaire and kind of see where you’re at.

Margie: 32:27

Hey friends, the Crabby Pastor podcast is sponsored by Bryce Art Glass and you can find that on Facebook I make stained glass as part of my self-care and also by Bryce Coaching, where I generate from coaching and from making stained glass is what is supporting this podcast and I will have opportunities for you to be a part of sponsoring me and, as always, you can do the buy me a cup of coffee thing in the in the show notes cup of coffee thing in the show notes.

Margie: 33:15

But I will have some other ways that you can be a part of getting the word out about the importance of healthy self-care for ministry leaders. Hey, thanks for listening. It is my deep desire and passion to champion issues of sustainability in ministry and for your life, so I’m here to help. I stepped back from pastoral ministry and I feel called to help ministry leaders create and cultivate sustainability in their lives so that they can go the distance with God and whatever plans that God has for you. I would love to help, I would consider it an honor and, in all things, make sure you connect to these sustainability practices you know so that you don’t become the Crabby pastor.

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