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sugar vs. starch

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    In my present diet, I eat a mixture of starches and sugars, with a slight preference for starches. I figure most people probably eat more starches, so I’m interested in hearing from people who eat a diet primarily composed of sugar. I know that fruitarians and the 30bad people eat a fruit-based sugar diet, but I also wondered if there were sugar-eaters who get most of their calories from refined sugars, like juice, soda, or candy. I’ve heard of all kinds of junk food diets, and I’m curious if anyone hear was actually trying them out.

    So any sugar-eaters out there? If you eat most of your carbs from sugar, what foods do those calories come from?


    I’m still not convinced it is practical/feasible for someone who doesn’t live in the tropics to get most of their calories from fruit.

    Like you, I like a balance for sugar and starch. If a meal doesn’t include starch, I often feel that something is missing. Some starch is good, but too much will make my stomach feel bloated.

    I’ve been trying to take cues from my toddler’s food preferences, since they should be, in theory, untouched by any dietary dogma. He likes both sugar and starch. Not too much of either, and the amount of each varies day to day.


    About eight years ago, I tried a majority fruit diet for a while. I felt pretty good, but like you said, it was very impractical. It was expensive and inconvenient. I didn’t even have a car at that point, so my shopping trips by bike and bus were a lot less pleasant than they could have been. Fruit is heavy!

    I also had the same reaction as you on all starch diets. I just can’t digest that much and I end up feeling sick and fatigued, so now I’ve settled on a mixed diet. Food definitely tastes the best this way.

    I’m still curious whether anyone has gotten the benefits of a fruit diet, without actually eating all that fruit. Is there anyone who’s tried (or know someone who’s tried) a sugar diet based on soda and candy? Fruitarians claim to feel great on their diets (at least for a while) and I wonder if they’d get the same effect just drinking kool-aid (maybe with a little supplemental protein each day).

    There was a study done a long time ago, where the researcher tested himself by excluding all traces of fat from his diet. The experiment was to check the effects of EFA deficiency, and the diet consisted of a sucrose drink through the day and a bit of pure starch and protein for dinner. The guy felt great (and showed no signs of deficiency), and this was on a diet that was mainly sugar water.


    I have been averaging maybe about 80% of my carbohydrates from sugar. I find that it is so much easier to digest. I’ve been experimenting with trying to increase my calories, so I’ve been leaning toward sugars instead of starches. I drink fruit juice or milk with added sugar if and when I’m thirsty. I add sugar to everything I can. Frankly, it would be difficult to eat anywhere near as much sugar as I do if I was getting it all from fruit. I rely mostly on cane sugar and honey (I also sometimes rely on maple syrup, but I’ve not had an appetite for it lately) along with some fruit juice and milk for my sugar sources.

    My experiment in increasing calories is because although I’ve experienced tremendous benefits from refeeding and although my pulse and temperature have increased, my biometrics are still slightly low and my energy levels are not what I would like (I was desperately sick for years, so my current energy levels are a miracle, but I don’t feel as good as I know is possible.) I don’t have a strict agenda, but I am presently loosely aiming for 5000 calories a day, and I’m just shy of that. I don’t think I could do that with mostly starch. For example, a cup of (uncooked) white rice has ~640 calories, but it would be difficult for me to eat that in one sitting since once cooked that is quite a lot of rice. And after eating that I wouldn’t be hungry again for a while. But it’s relatively easy to eat a cup of sugar at ~800 calories. I can mix that with some apple juice and a bit of gelatin and salt, and I’ve got a nearly 1000 calorie snack that I can eat and then be hungry for a meal in half an hour!


    That’s awesome! Do you get sick of the sweet taste at all?


    I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth. But I find that I have grown to appreciate the taste, and I enjoy it. Salt balances out the sweet taste somewhat. I can eat honey or maple syrup or fruit alone, but I only eat cane sugar added to other things such as fruit juice since the taste of fruit juice is appealing to me. And then, yes, certainly, throughout the day my desires for tastes vary. Sometimes I want a starchy taste or a meaty taste or a fatty taste or whatever. So I follow that. But I find that the sweet taste is pretty neutral for me in most cases. The exception is strong cane flavors such as molasses or molasses-heavy sugar – flavors that I have to be in the mood for. But otherwise, I can drink some heavily-sugared fruit juice or eat some honey just about any time.


    This is really interesting, j-lo. As much as I’ve experimented with diets, I’ve never really maxed out my sugar intake, besides when I was eating tons of fruit. I mean, I eat more sugar than the average person, mainly in sodas and juices, but I’ve never tried really added extra sugar in the way that you’re describing. I suppose there’s always been an emotional part of me that was afraid of too much sugar, even though intellectually I had gotten past that point.

    Since I’ve always noticed boosts in energy when I increase my sugar, I’m going to try eating a ton of the stuff. For lunch I just made a simple syrup from a cup of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. I poured the syrup over two diced chicken breasts and two diced apples, and baked them with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. It tastes amazing!


    Yeah, I had a major terror of sugar in any form other than whole fruit for a very long time. I was obsessive about it, and I avoided even being around sugar! But the truth is that I have noticed no downsides to eating fairly massive amounts of sugar. And it is the one thing that has helped my health and digestion more than anything else so far. I can’t even tell you what a terrible state I was in for years – really desperately sick. Eating a lot of sugar has helped me to regain strength and improve my metabolic biometrics more than anything else. In fact, lots of sugar has improved my ability to eat everything else!


    I doubt a fruitarian would feel the same on kool aid with protein supplement,bc fruits contain various minerals&vitamines wich koolaid lacks and i doubt supplementing will do the trick. I believe the body knows what to do with nutrition from food but not so much from synthetic unnatural sources.
    Just as i still dont believe anything good can come from regular white tablesugar&salt,like so many peatarians like to believe imho to justify drinking coke,eating haribo gummycandy etc.
    I think theres a world of difference between living on natural&unrefined sugars&salt vs. refined sugar&salt. Sure they may both boost metabolism equally in a person,but at what cost in the long run…..
    Anyway,thats just my opinion.

    you mentioned having been in a fruitstage in your life&feeling great. Were you a Fruitarian or more Peatish(with animal protein and/or dairy) back then? May i ask what you ate on an average day then(not calorically perse,but more meal and maybe macrowise) and did you exercise or were active,have a physical job?

    To chime in on the ‘sweettooth’ question,in the past when i lived on the standard western foods,i loved everything sweet but it basically was sweet to me and i just shoved it in. Now h!ving no starch,especially grains,for a while and living on simple unrefined sugars,it doesnt taste *just sweet* anymore. I seem to have develloped a very distinct flavor pattern where i can even taste&enjoy the subtlest change in taste in individual dates for instance and also a sligth difference between various brands of raw cane sugar,maple syrup. It seems that somehow my senses have heigthened this way bc i sometimes crave specific brands or when in the store i sometimes only have to smell or look at a certain fruit or sugarsource in order to instinctively tell which one i need.
    Ive never had this in my life before.
    Btw, you’re meal with the chicken,syrup&apple sounded delicious…next time make sure to post a picture!:p
    How is your experiment going btw,you were doing highcarb&highproteine with lifting rigth?


    I think I agree with you, Dutchie. As much as I wanted to thrive on only refined foods, I just wasn’t making the progress that I wanted. For me, I think the lack of fiber was probably the biggest problem, so I’ve decided to add some bananas in place of some of the sugar and potatoes in place of some of the white flour. I chose these foods because their fiber is more on the soluble side than most high-fiber foods, not to mention they’re cheap, easy, and taste good. After just a couple of days with this change, I’m already seeing improvements in my digestion.

    I still don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with refined foods, as long they aren’t the only thing in the diet. As j-lo pointed out above, it can be hard to eat all one’s calories in whole foods, especially if on a high-calorie diet because of exercise or recovery. I see whole foods as being really useful for micronutrients–fiber, vitamins, minerals–while refined foods provide more immediately available macronutrients.

    On my old fruit-based diet (from almost ten years ago), I usually ate all fruit for the first half of the day, including lots of fruit smoothies and high calorie fruits like dates and bananas, and then I ate paleo-style foods in the evening, with lots of meat, salads, and veggies. I ate very little starch and no refined foods except some orange juice and olive oil. For exercise, I lifted heavy weights three times a week and did longish runs the rest of the week. Since I didn’t have a car then, I also rode my bike around town a lot. Unsurprisingly, I became strong, fast, and lean. My sleep was also much improved.

    However, the diet was expensive and a huge pain in the ass, and I could only maintain it because I was working a job with very little real responsibility. I basically devoted my life to diet and exercise. The other problem was that I couldn’t stray from my very strict regimen without bad side-effects, because I had become sensitive to eating “normally.” There’s no way I could go back to that strict of a diet at this point in my life.

    Like you, I also notice that my taste preferences change when I change my diet. I find it amazing how much our bodies adjust to whatever environment we provide for them.

    I’m still feeling optimistic about my present diet. Although I’ve had some ups and downs, I seem to be making gradual improvements. I’ve made adjustments–like adding the bananas and potatoes–but it still seems like high-carb, low-fat works best for me, with lean protein foods added to support exercise. I’ll probably continue to tweak the types of foods that I eat, but I’ve basically settled on the macros.


    “For me, I think the lack of fiber was probably the biggest problem, so I’ve decided to add some bananas in place of some of the sugar and potatoes in place of some of the white flour. I chose these foods because their fiber is more on the soluble side than most high-fiber foods”

    It seems like I need fiber(both?) too,to properly digest/keep gutmotility going. I thougth most fruits contain good amounts of soluble and insoluble fibers?(Insoluble fiber is mostly in the peel,from what I’ve read).
    Well,for me refined foods were more troubling than helping,especially starch from all grains(apart from experiencing a blissful mental feeling for a brief moment while eating it).
    I sometimes wonder if the best ‘diet/eatstyle’ for a person is being determined already in the womb. I’ve switched,kind of,to a “Peatish/Eat4Heat style” without the S of the starch and now when I think back,my mom while pregnant of me has been practically living off milk&tangerines(simple sugars,some protein&fat&salt) the first 5 to 6months bc those were basically the only fruits she could keep inside.
    Then when I was born,I basically grew up on fresh different croissants,bread etc. bc my father was a baker,but after age 5 I became more shy,less energetic,slowly getting chubbier etc. So I wonder if the starch/grains already had it’s effect on my gut&metabolism back then….
    To be honest though the meal you described with the syrup and the apples sounded tastier to me,than eating donuts,fries or such.(Too bad there’s no picture,bc it’s a bit vague to me to imagine what that meal would look like;))

    “On my old fruit-based diet (from almost ten years ago), I usually ate all fruit for the first half of the day, including lots of fruit smoothies and high calorie fruits like dates and bananas, and then I ate paleo-style foods in the evening, with lots of meat, salads, and veggies. I ate very little starch and no refined foods except some orange juice and olive oil. For exercise, I lifted heavy weights three times a week and did longish runs the rest of the week.”

    So,you were kind of Peato’ing;) Did Paleo then already ‘exist’,I thougth it was a dietary hype that only started about a couple of years ago?
    Wow,log runs 4 days a week on top of the bicycling&Lifting….that’s a lot of exercise hours,as I imagine the running would at least be an hour long? Did you do it,bc you had/felt excess energy or for weigthloss or other reasons/kinda pushing yourself? (I’ve never done or enjoyed running,let alone,for quite a distance so it’s kinda hard for me to imagine people not having to push themselves to go running&enjoying it;))
    Was it expensive bc you were eating only or mostly organic fruits?….maybe you should’ve become a personal trainer or some sort,if you were that into diet&exercise back then:p

    I wasn’t necessarily talking about taste preference,but more an increased/heigthened tastebud sense experience.

    What are the lean protein sources you eat,apart from chickenbreast? And what exercise do you do? I assume lifting,is there a Lifting program you’re doing?

    Btw,totally unrelated but yu have such a radiant smile:)


    Most plant foods do have a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber, but it’s possible to favor one or the other if that’s a goal. Like you said, the insoluble is often located mainly in the peel or husk, which is why I usually peel my apples and potatoes and also avoid whole grains. In reality, I probably eat the two fibers in a 1:1 ratio, but I still consider that to be relatively high on the soluble side because insoluble fiber is usually much easier to get. For example, Fiber One bran cereal has 13 grams of insoluble fiber, but only 1 gram of soluble.

    I know what you mean about the refined starch. I love it, and I would love to base my diet off of it, but it doesn’t always return that affection. I’ve resisted replacing my starches with more fruit, but I seem to be pulled in that direction right now–and talking with you providing motivation. I currently have about 20 bananas and 20 apples in my kitchen, which should last a couple days!

    I did my fruit-based diet before paleo got big (back then it was sometimes called “the caveman diet”) and long before I ever heard of Ray Peat. I based it on a program called the Spartan Health Regimen, which I doubt is even around any more. It was basically just an amalgamation of a bunch of different diet and exercise ideas (combined under a silly gimmick about the ancient Spartans), but it did work for me. At the time, I was trying to fix some health problems (fatigue, poor digestion, and facial pain), as well as get fit. The diet provided the energy for all the exercise, but I also had plenty of time for naps because of my easy work schedule. It was probably the best I’ve felt since I was a kid.

    I bought organic fruits and veggies when possible, as well as grass fed meat, but even conventional produce gets expensive when it provides the bulk of your calories. I think I could it cheaper now, though, since I’ve learned to shop more efficiently and don’t care as much about the organic label.

    I like to eat a variety of different meats, but my stand-byes are steak, chicken breast, lean hamburger, shrimp, deli turkey, and tuna. I also like non-meat sources of protein, likes eggs and cheese, but I don’t have too much because I’ve been trying to limit my dietary fat. I’ve also thought about adding powdered gelatin to soups, but I haven’t tried it yet.

    My current exercise program is nothing special. I’ve been relatively sedentary the last few years–too much work and the wrong priorities–and so I can make gains doing just about whatever. A little running here, some weight lifting there, etc. I tend to prefer barbell exercises, but probably just because that’s what I’m used to.

    Probably the easiest way to approximate my chicken dish would be to dice some apples and chicken in a casserole dish, pour some maple syrup on top, sprinkle with salt and cinnamon, and then bake until it starts to brown. I never actually follow recipes, though. I just grab whatever sounds good and see what happens!

    Thanks for compliment. :) I was in a great mood that day–one of those days when my poor health wasn’t bothering me. My wife and I and a few friends had just hiked up a small mountain in the Adirondacks, and the weather was perfect. The metal bar behind me is from a fire tower on the mountain’s peak. The view from the top was amazing.


    Do you want to eat more soluble fiber bc they convert to Butyric Acid,which they say should stimulate fatburning/brown adipose tissue?

    I actually find,the longer I haven’t eaten it the less I miss it in general.I don’t even care for vegetables anymore. Though I’m still kinda wary/carefull/scared for various reasons to fully commit myself/stop the bullshitting…..I kinda am like looking forward to enjoying eating baked apples,grilled peaches,dried fruits,ripe mango,grapes,honeydew melon,discovering new to me fruits such as fresh Medjool dates etc.bc I haven’t eaten fruit in years.
    It’s just that certain fruits still contain a significant amount of starch (I only know of watermelon when not fully ripe and ofcourse banana),which I really want to avoid it’s just that I don’t know which ones are starchy except for banana&watermelon when not ripe enough.

    If you can get horsemeat,I can give you a local old recipe from here for a stew with apples;) I never really liked tuna,so I’d probably substitute it for Cod or something.
    You can also make jello or gummies from the gelatin powder.:)

    Seeing that picture,I wouldn’t guess that you’re in poor health as you say yourself…or even think you’re the kind of person that gets bothered/worried about stuff.:) Does your wife also kinda eat along your dietary regimen or does she eat&prepare whatever she wants?


    I’ve never really looked sick, but I’ve had problems with debilitating pain and fatigue most of my adult life, the worst part being a persistent pain through the middle of my face. I try to live as though I’m not sick, but it’s been very difficult sometimes. Doctors haven’t been able to help me–except with drugs that bring unacceptable side effects–which is why I hope I can fix myself through diet.

    Like you, I’m enjoying eating more fruits and sugar right now–and fewer starches. The reason I’m favoring soluble fiber is because of how it affects my digestion. Without getting too descriptive, it just seems to provide the right consistency for healthy bowel movements. If it also helps boost my butyric acid, that’s a nice side benefit.

    I’ve got a new theory I’m thinking about right now, which could provide an alternate explanation for why a fruit-based diet sometimes treats me better than a starch-based diet. I’m looking at the amino acid components of different foods, and it seems that grains are a rich source of methionine, which sometimes has toxic effects. So it might not be the starch itself that’s the problem, but the amino acid profile that accompanies it.

    With that in mind, I’m thinking about other ways to reduce my methionine intake, while maintaining a decent protein intake. Gelatin seems to be one of the best ways to do that–maybe I am becoming a Peatarian–but also certain beans. Since my mail order of gelatin powder just arrived today, I’m going to start experimenting with it, while cutting out some of the meat.

    My wife and I rarely eat the same thing. She likes to pick a set of foods that she likes and eat it all the time for a few weeks, while I often make changes to my diet to try to fix my health. We discovered that it was better if we did our own thing, because otherwise it was too frustrating when we had different goals. Do you have a similar experience?

    Thanks for the offer of the horse meat recipe, but I think I’ll pass. :)


    I’m so sorry to hear that,i can relate with the fatigue and pains,sluggishness in my case also allergies,mood&hormonal disorders. Everytime i went to the GP i basically always got the answer ‘everythings. Normal,learn to live with it,go in therapy blah blah’ and some things were normal for me that actually functioning really normal&feeling strong now,scares the sh*t out of me bc ive been used to all kinds of sh*t for so long now that im sometimes like ‘this is too good to. be true…something bad is gonna happen’.
    By accident i discovered id been suffering for years of Lymes disease.

    About the fiber in fruits and grains,read the answer by DeWitt about fiber,endotoxins,inflammation in this topic. I think he makes some true points. Especially after i. was told by a health practitioner that grains have little nutritional value in comparison with natural sugar sources and that grains posses some substances that can bind to minerals. (maybe that amino that you were talking about?) For long i didnt (want) believe it,but after experiencing it myself i have to agree.

    For me it seems like pain really had to do with inflammation,which usually happens bc of permrable gut,gutdisbalances and not having correct minerals. Now when living on simple sugars,himalayan salt,gelatin powder and goatdairy and coconut oil,i experience no aching joints anymore and i have a stable 7to8houors of uninterrupted sleep every nigth…and i also seem to notice some personality changes oddly.
    I ‘think’ ive lowered inflammation,bc gelatin is anti-inflammation as is said about goatdairy;the both help seal gutlining and ive read that soluble fibers feed good gut bacteria. If thats true than theres no need to consume all kinds of fermented stuff to repopulate gut like so many WAPFers claim.
    Lately,im making this kinda jello from fresh OJ with a bit of pulp,with salt,gelatin and lots of raw cane sugar.

    Its nice that you both can find an agreeable middleground dietary wise. I dont have a partner,so thats one problem i dont have to deal with.

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