Host: Hello and welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast where we talk to Wellness professionals from many walks of life who have various expertise from around the world and we get their insights to living healthier, something that you and I are endeavoring to do. I’m your host, Wes Malik, and just like you if there's a new article about living healthier or something about food or exercise or fitness I will read it. And just like you there's a podcast or something on television regarding your health, maybe a documentary on Netflix, I will watch it in the hope that I will learn something and can apply it to myself. Basically, this is what the podcast is all about. And today's guest is very well versed with the advantages and disadvantages and pitfalls around something very common in our lives, in our households and that is sugar. His name is Michael Collins and he is the founder of SugarAddiction.com and he is the co-host of the Kick Sugar Summit and has been completely sugar-free for over 30 years and has worked closely with others to help them regain lives ravaged by various substance-use disorders. He has also raised two children sugar-free from the womb to over six years old when they only had sugar once a month for their entire childhood. His book, which was rated number one in Healthy Living on Amazon is available for free to read. Let's talk to Michael Collins. Mike, welcome to the podcast.
Mike: Well, thank you for having me. Thank you for the work that you do. It’s important to get that health information out there.
Host: And I'm glad that you're here with us to share that information. You're an expert on it, you have written books about it. So let me start off by asking you and you know with the statement. Everyone says and everyone knows this, it's common knowledge that sugar is bad for you but it's in everything we eat and drink. It's in it naturally and more likely it's in there unnaturally in all the, you know, processed food that we eat. But in actuality, how bad is it for us, Mike?
Mike: Wow! That's a loaded question, huh?
Mike: Well, you know, one of the beauties of the science that's now emerging is that we kind of knew that maybe it causes diabetes and a bunch of other things but every single day now some new study comes out about the physical deterioration of the body, the inflammation, they’re calling, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes 3 and it just goes on and on. The studies are huge and voluminous all over the literature. But what I'm excited about is, now that we have better science, we’re understanding what sugar and mostly fructose do to the brain rewards system, the nucleus accumbens, the dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, oxytocin, even the adrenals. It really is pounding the things that evolved to help us feel good and motivate us, the brain chemicals, and the pairings if you will be. MRI’s of drug addicts and drug effects in people's brains match very similar to sugar’s effects in the brains. And this is the part that folks are ignoring. I mean, the obesity crisis, sure. I mean that’s literally a by-product if you eat too much, but there’s so much more to it. Moreover, not so much what they're doing or why they’re eating it but…Well, yeah, it’s why they’re eating it is because it's a pleasure-seeking thing but then why they can't get off it, which is this in the brain reward system. So, it’s decimating the body, it really is. And the obesity crisis is just…I don’t want to say this way but a minor symptom of the abused problem we have with sugar.
Host: You view sugar as bad as a drug and you talked about science. But what does the science and research and the current research tell us about sugar?
Mike: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was quoting and I do think about it, not like a drug but it is a drug, right? And the differences is that the dose-dependency. Now, we take a little bit of heroin, we take a little bit of alcohol, we take a little bit of cocaine, whatever, but we take 17 teaspoons of sugar every day, 150 lbs. on average. In the lexicon of the researcher, the toxin is dose-dependent, okay? So, if we’re pounding our dopamine receptors, which thin out and makes us have less of them, this is the receptor that makes us feel good. It's a motivation to seek sex and food is what it evolved for and is just now we’re just realizing that people think over 300 years of enculturation that sugar into our society that is really perfectly normal. When in reality now, like smoking, we’re starting to discover scientifically that maybe that “what we used to think of as aging” has a lot to do with sugar abuse and misuse.
Host: Okay. Let's break sugar down before our conversation.
Host: What good is sugar for? And how does the body process it? And then what is sugar bad for? I mean, there must be pros and cons to both. What are they?
Mike: Well, it’s an interesting question because fructose or sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, right? Now, in my world, glucose which comes from vegetables and fruits and those kinds of things is necessary for life, right? It’s a necessary component of fuel for life. But in my world, I really genuinely believe that once it’s reduced to a white powder like the cocoa of cocaine, it no longer is the glucose that we’re used to processing. Yes, it process is similar but it's not really the same. And forget about the fructose, I mean, the amount of fructose that the evolving human species had in 10 million years is minute. I mean, those little crab apples out there, the little bananas we won’t even recognize because we don’t be able to eat them because they’re full of seeds, but they’ve been hybridized now for what? For the sweet stuff, for the sugar, right? And so the science is now focusing on the fructose both processed fructose, powdered I call it, processed fructose and the fructose that’s in hybridized fruit. I don’t know if that answers your question?
Host: It does. (laughing) So glucose comes naturally. It’s part of our diet, it's something that, you know, human beings need. We require, you know, we get energy from it.
Host: But it's the fructose that is harmful to us, right? So, you break it down into good and bad, right? And what do you consider good and bad?
Mike: Well, I want to clarify that large amounts of glucose aren’t good for you either because it could increase insulin resistance.
Mike: Yeah. I mean, and it usually comes in the powdered form. It’s very difficult to overuse glucose in natural form. It's not impossible, but it's very difficult. So, you get a lot of it, you know, the glucose, the insulin resistance by pounding the powdered glucose to your system. I’m sorry, I just want to clarify that. Your question again, I’m sorry?
Host: No, that answers the question. That’s perfect.
Mike: Okay, good.
Host: So, what are the effects on the body of sugar and the extra sugar that we’re eating? You mentioned we intake about 17 teaspoons a day? Is that right?
Host: What effect does that have on our bodies?
Mike: Well, I mean the outward appearance is the obesity stuff. I mean, again I don’t want to minimize it because it’s really important, but the metabolic syndrome that the constellation of stuff, that inflammation in the joints and obviously the obesity stuff but it just the West is…I mean, there is a woman who’s kind of the grande dame of all this Nancy Appleton who wrote a…And she talks about there's like 146 maladies that sugar is related to.
Host: A hundred and forty-six. Wow!
Mike: Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Mike: I mean, your listeners might be interested but for the first time in history for American Medical Association, American Pediatric Dental Association, American Heart Association, I always forget the fourth one but, four major American physician organizations came out with the Robert Wood Johnson Association, it’s one of the largest non-profits in the country and said that children between ages zero and five should eat zero sugar, sweets and beverages, okay? Now, this is the first time any group of physicians ever agreed on anything and the zero number is really telling them that we should not give children sugar, sweets, and beverages of any kind until they’re five years old. So, you know, it really is almost like, I don't want to say it this way because there's so many detoxes and so many articles in the New York Times and so much fury about it now, but it is this kind of underground thing for the average person. They’re not looking at the science, you know? There’s like, they’re sloughing it off in a laughing way saying, “Well, well. You know, sugar is not good for us, you know, while they…” (laughing) And that's the dangerous part, you know because the societal norm around us has not changed, I guess is the way to call it.
Host: Sometimes we feel the effects of sugar when it's way too late and we got diabetes and diabetes in many different cultures and some cultures in North America, mostly in Asia, is not even called diabetes. It's called sugar.
Mike: Sugar, right.
Host: Because that's what causes it, you know? You go to the doctor and the doctor says, “Well, you have sugar”. It’s literally a term used so, yeah. And we find out a little bit too late and then what does the doctor tell us to do when we have diabetes? Cut off sugar, right?
Mike: A hundred percent. When I was younger they called it sugar. I mean, the part that’s important is that you know, like if you’re doing Meth or something, right here that’s pretty quick. You feel it in your body, you be stealing stuff, it’ll be crazy, right, like all other drugs.
Mike: But sugar takes, you know, 10, 20, 30, 40 years to manifest the maladies like diabetes and that kind of stuff. So, it’s like slow suicide a little bit, but it is definitely a problem out there that people are, uhm…And they talk about it, “I’m kind of addicted to sugar. You know it’s funny but…” but they really can't quit. I mean, they tried, you know? If people can only spend like five minutes in my inbox, if they could just spend five minutes in my messenger, they would know people 100, 200, 300 lbs. overweight, losing limbs, going blind, having diabetes diagnosis and they still beg me to figure out how they quit because they quit every morning for decades, sometimes, and then by 4 o’clock they’re eating sugar again. They just can't. They’re successful in other parts of their lives, they’re athletes or executives or moms or dads. They’ve been very successful in other parts of their life, but this one thing they can't seem to put down because…I don’t know if you guys know this comedian, Rodney Dangerfield. I’m probably dating myself.
Host: No, no. Not at all. Everybody knows Rodney.
Mike: Rodney had a cold and he’s like, “I get no respect. I get no respect.” (laughing) He would laugh even if he would have to tell a joke.
Mike: Well, sugar gets no respect as a psychoactive drug of addiction that is powerful in its own right and causes all these maladies. And it's that societal shift, the tectonic shifts that we have to have over the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years that we have to kind of focus on and start. And the only way to do it is that, people who used to use sugar and then quit and then their body fell fall to a right-sized body. I mean, there are a lot of peer-reviewed studies that say people can cure diabetes via diet and the number one component is no sugar and no flour, no carbohydrate, no ultra-processed carbohydrates. And there are hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands of studies where people have cured Diabetes 2 by stopping the sugar and other ultra-processed carbs. Oh, I’m sorry I get on myself like I ignored the question and start talking. (laughing) So, yes go ahead, I’m sorry.
Host: No, this is the perfect thing I want to talk about. You’re an expert in advising people and helping people through your writings, through your website and through your coaching and through the work that you do on a daily basis. And you help people, you know, reduce their dependency on sugar. Let's talk about what to do. My first question regarding what to do is, what do you do? Do you totally eliminate it from your diet or do you gradually decrease it to a level? And if you do that, what's a good level? I mean, educate me on this.
Mike: Yeah, you know that’s a sticky, no pun intended, a sticky subject. (laughing) You know, the research says that about 1/3 of people through the food addiction folks that want to stir to people are biochemically unable to process sugar without having these raging cravings and continuing to ingest and having these maladies, right? And then about 1/3 of people are kind of on the fence. They’re like a college drinker who just gives it up after, you know when they get older. They can take it or leave, you know. And they may have a problem now and then they just decided enough sugar and they walk away from it, right? And then there’s that 1/3 of the group that we all, “Hey!” and they can like just take it or leave it.
Host: Right, very easy for them.
Mike: So, we focus on the middle group and the first group where the heavy addicts and the folks are kind on the fence.
Mike: And for those folks, it is possible occasionally to moderate, but many folks find after they heal up a little bit that they can’t even moderate. Definitely, the first third of the folks have to go like that and this scares people to death because of the culture that we live in and the birthdays and celebrations and all the food and it’s just…They think and the first question everyone always asks is, “Do I have to do this for the rest of my life?”, right?
Mike: And they’re afraid and I understand that going in, but no one's afraid on day 90. No one has ever in my experience in doing this with thousands of people ever got to 90 full days of abstinence from flour and sugar and said they wanted to go back. Genuinely their brain has rewired itself and they can't really understand why they were in that loop of quitting every day. They really, it’s hard for them to actually fathom it because they rewire their brain so well in a short time. So it's a touchy subject, but the short version in, the short answer is, some people do have to try abstinence just to see how they feel 60 or 90 days later.
Host: So a lot of people do total abstinence or totally eliminate sugar from their diets.
Host: And some gradually decrease. What do you suggest is better?
Mike: I suggest that we’re all adults here and if I told you not to eat steak for a month or two or three, “But I like steak” but you still do it and you wouldn’t have any drawbacks to it.
Mike: And you might see that your body changes or your digestion changes or something.
Mike: The only thing I'm asking is that, just…You know, if you’re going to go to an allergist, they put a scratch test on your back, right? They scratch with pollen and grass and seed and honey and all this other stuff to see what you're allergic to or what doesn’t treat you well, right? And so, if people would just take, what we call the gift of 90 days, they would give themself this gift of 90 straight days with no flour and no sugar and to just see, okay, just see what happens. As I said, no one who diligently tries this practice, think of it as a meditation practice, think of this as yoga practice, think of this as prayer practice, no one who takes this challenge on ever returns to the life that they had. Now, some may slip and occasionally have sugar, but it affects them so dramatically that they realize the next day they have a little hangover and a little depress and they say, “I’m not doing that again” because they're dealing with that…See, when we at our age, we basically just fighting off withdrawals. We are not like eating it compulsively, we’re just don't want, we don't have time to go through the first 5 or 7 or 10 days of headaches, lethargy, depression, hunger, this ravenous hunger all the time. It’s weird and very calculated and very repetitive that I've seen a thousand times, more than a thousand times, is always the same and it's difficult, it's hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat that, no another pun intended. (laughing) There is no way around getting through the other side of not using sugar if you have any have it at all, even if it’s just a little one without some discomfort in the first 5 to 7 to 10 days. And once you get past that, it becomes a mental game. It becomes a game of, you know, your body’s going to want to draw you back because your dopamine, you're sending out dopamine receptors are not being activated and giving you that feel good so you want to manipulate it like you’ve done since you were a child with the sugar. And you can just reach for it, it’s almost free as everywhere. So, it's easy to do and it's a pattern that if you don't substitute it with yoga or meditation or walking or hugging or making love or get the mani-pedi or some other emotional management system, you’re going to continue managing your emotions with sugar.
Host: Okay, that’s a really important point there.
Host: So, let’s say I'm part of the 1/3 or the second group of 1/3 people and I want to start, you know, cutting down sugar. What are the steps? How do I stop because I ask this question because I have enough knowledge and I read enough to know that, okay the first thing I want to eliminate is soda pop, right?
Host: Sugary drinks. Anything, you know, that comes from the store fridge or something like that. Second thing, alright no more cookies, the muffin at the office or the doughnuts, right? That’s pretty obvious, pretty common sense there, but a layman like me might miss stuff. What are the steps to cut down? How do I stop? What are the things I should be aware of?
Mike: This is a very common question and I’m trying to explain it from just experience of what, you know, pattern recognition just seen it so many times is that, no matter how much you taper down when you actually go 100% cold turkey and that does require some diligent, you know, there’s ketchup, there’s sugar in ketchup. There’s literally sugar in salt, they use it as a caking agent, institutional salt. So, sugar is everywhere and if you get just a little, the cravings continue, right? And you're not really doing the experiment that we’ve described. So, when you get to that draw the line in the sand and start the experiment there will be some withdrawals. Now, people that way a lot and have huge habits have a tougher time. Athletes can substitute physical exercise or people have an exercise program, they do better because they can activate dopamine, serotonin, endorphins quicker, naturally. And they have a program and they’re not going to endure themselves, they’re already ready to go.
Mike: But the person who is overweight and not use this, they’re going to have to ease into it, right, and they’re going to have that difficult time. But no matter where you are on the spectrum, even if you have a light habit, there are some withdrawals. People told me I’m too holistic for my own good, but I work with people including Olympic athletes who, the sugar stuff was tied to their caffeine addiction as well. And I don’t want to throw your podcast all off but the bottom line is, some people have to quit caffeine in order to get off the sugar because they’re wired together so like chocolate and cocoa and coffee and tea. You know, when we ingest sugar, we ingested caffeine so our body goes up and down, up and down like a speedball is what they call in the drug world, up and down.
Mike: And so, there's a little bit more to it, but at the end of the day the answer to the question is almost…I’ve never seen it, a couple of times people said it was easy, but very often you have some kind of withdrawals in the first 10 days.
Host: Out of the list of things that I’m going to eliminate from my diet, I didn't know…Well, I know there's some sugar in ketchup, but if I wanted to go like completely off-sugar, I got to stop eating ketchup or are there other things like that I should be aware of?
Mike: Oh my goodness, like 70, I think it’s like 84, but it’s definitely higher than 75% of the food products on the shelf in bags, boxes and can contain sugar at some point or another. Beans, I mean, it’s just crazy really if you read the labels.
Mike: And the sad part is that, so you have to focus on whole foods. You don’t have to shop outside the grocery store to eat seafood, vegetables, that kind of stuff. You have to do the best that you can, cooking from scratch, right? You can’t like to rely, especially stuff from restaurants which is a difficult thing. I mean, it’s possible and there are some tricks to it but it’s hard. I mean, I’m going to be honest with you, it’s difficult to do it.
Mike: Because the sad part is and this is the thing that really sends people sideways and sometimes gets them off-track for a year or more is that, a little bit in something that you didn't expect like a salad dressing or the person swore there’s no sugar and you get the little ingestion, then all of a sudden two hours later you’re craving sugar, you know, like in a weird way and unconscious way because your body has it. But when you can get yourself past 10 or 15 or 20 days with 100% abstinence, then the physical cravings subside and then you’re into the mental kind of game, which is another game in itself.
Host: So, the message I’m getting is, anything that I buy from the store I have to flip it around, look at the ingredients if it’s got sugar in it that's a no-no, including stuff like salad dressing. Like really, really common stuff that we might not assume that there is any sugar in, there might be.
Mike: Yeah, that's the hard part because people just, they’re unconscious with it. I mean, I think actually consciously we know, or like subconsciously we know, and maybe they’re trying to go sugar-free and add just a little bit more salad dressing because we really need to eat healthy salad. (laughing) And all of a sudden you’re like, “I want some sugar.” You know, it’s so weird and I heard so many stories like that. I’m beginning to believe that if they use mechanisms evolved to propagate sex and food hunting that possibly that in a way… I think and this sounds like trade and I don't want to sound woo-woo or soft sciencey, but you know, we all know our own body and our own answers. But sometimes we just need a loving neuron or guide to get us to the other side, you know?
Mike: And because sometimes we can't trust our own intuition right away, you know. And maybe it's blocked like the mice you mentioned in this study, you know, maybe possibly there is something blocking our tuning fort to our intuition if you will.
Host: Quick comment about caffeine and that is children have an amazing sense of questioning and they question pretty much everything and they think about a lot of stuff. I got to ask a question from one of my kids the other day and it was, why do people drink tea or coffee? (laughing)
Mike: I like that kid. I’ll say the same thing. (laughing)
Host: My answer was because it's got caffeine in it and we are addicted to caffeine just like people are addicted to nicotine or some other kind of drug and we require and we need to put it in our body to feel good in a day because we’ll feel withdrawal if we don't have it. The same goes for coffee, the same goes for red bull, which has taurine in it, which is like 12 times the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or anything. And my answer was validated. My kids said, “Alright. Cool!” So…(laughing)
Mike: Well, congrats on being open and transparent with all that because the next generation that we’re focused on, it's important that they know that this is what's going on.
Mike: And not to…
Host: …sugarcoat it.
Mike: No letters from Starbucks lovers but it’s not that hard to grow a dynasty on the addictive substance.
Host: It’s true. It’s true. Alright, I need to ask you some questions about when you're cutting down. Okay, you already mentioned withdrawal. I had a question there that's gone, you've already answered that without even me asking. What can I substitute for sugar in my drink or in my food or if I want to do something? You know, stuff like saccharin or a lot of people say, “Hey, why won’t you just take honey in your tea?” I‘m sorry I’m mentioning tea again. I’m a big tea drinker.
Host: Are substitutes good with should yes? Substitutes yes, no, yes, which one? (laughing) What do we do?
Mike: Well, two things. One again, we’ll go back to the too holistic for my own good, those things are chemical experiments, but the bottom line is that the brain wants satiated or one gets a little taste of sweet doesn't really know the difference. It's like it does seem to draw people back to sugar, real sugar if you will. And as far as honey and agave syrup and this kind of thing, I think it’s honey but I know agave is actually more fructose than glucose. It’s a strange combination. Some agaves are up to 75% fructose which is that high fructose corn syrup comparable. And so that stuff “holistic healthy stuff” is just as bad to the brain because it sets up the same kind of craving. And the liver, by the way, the fructose is what causes fatty liver in children and so the fructose can't be processed in another way. It has to go through the liver unlike glucose. So yeah, I mean, it's just…I hate being the bearer of bad news but I just, I want to get the science out there for folks so that and you’re very open and I really appreciate that.
Host: So, a no on like saccharin or those sachets that you get or whatever they're called total-aller or whatever.
Mike: Splenda and Stevia, you know, this is the stuff that really…And here’s the thing that’s exciting and it kind of parallels or is tangent to this question and that, you know, they ask about the fruit, right? And how much fruit can I eat during this process, right?
Mike: And really the fructose, we've been hybridizing fruits for 300 years for the sweetness and the sweet part is the fructose. So, we as 10 million years of evolution we’re not really accustomed to having this much fructose, so is causing things like fatty liver and the playing with our nucleus accumbens in our brain reward system, right? And so it's like the fructose part is a really big part of the equation. So when people, sometimes they quit sugar and they think they can fruit because everybody says it’s healthy, but that fructose and that fructose, people have different pronunciation, but it leads back to the sugar sometimes. And it’s a tough hit on the liver, especially if you’re drinking fruit juice, which has no fiber in it.
Mike: So, again, I kind of harken back to this, let's do the experiment and see how you feel and try to cut back on the sugar and heavy fruit, especially dried fruit. Dried fruit is just really crystallized fructose and a lot of waste, no water, you know.
Host: So, what to do if I have a sweet tooth?
Mike: (Laughing) Oh, I was getting into that, I’m sorry. What else I’m going to say is like, if you can just buy into my fantasy a little bit, buy into the fantasy that you'll find berries and little bits of fruit and this kind of things. You’ll find carrots, Brussels sprouts, especially macadamia nuts. These things insanely sweet once your taste buds readjust.
Host: Oh, okay.
Mike: And what you’ll find is that the stuff that you used to eat tastes syrupy sweet, you know. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Bliss point, what the Bliss point is?
Mike: So, the Bliss point is in the book called, I think it’s called Fat, Sugar, and Salt or something by Michael Moss. It’s a book where it describes how the industry, the food industry, creates products like chips and candy some kind of stuff in there looking for something called the Bliss point where it's not too sweet, not too sugary, just sugary enough. Maybe has a nice not-my-mouth feel, they call it, where it's crunchy or they, people have smooth, people have different taste for mouthfeel. It’s called the Bliss point because they do experiment after experiment on people and test and test and test to find this point. And what happens is your understanding of “” sweet tooth”, why you’re doing it, is really not that you have a craving, that you have sweetness in your mouth but it’s for the dopamine hit that you get when you ingest the product if that makes sense.
Host: I see, yeah. So, it’s psychological more than your physical need if you have a sweet tooth.
Mike: A lot, yes. A lot.
Host: Now, that’s some good alternatives, you know, macadamia nuts, berries, we’re talking raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc., right? And carrots, you know, are really sweet, they are. And if I get you right and if you’ve explained it properly to me is that we ingest so much sugar that we’re tolerance levels built so much that those foods taste normal or bland to us. And when we’re off of sugar, the real flavor comes up. So, about 20 minutes ago, you mentioned flour. Okay, I want to touch on that for a couple of minutes. You got to click cut out flour and sugar completely as well. I think you’re talking about all-purpose flour?
Mike: Anything that’s been reduced to white flour, brown powder, it doesn’t matter.
Host: So bread, tortillas, stuff like that.
Host: It’s got to go. So, what do we do? Do we substitute with a different type of flour or just completely stay away from it like it's, you know, an untouchable. What do we do?
Mike: Yeah, there is no flour substitutions sadly like there’s very few, there are not too many sugar substitutions.
Host: So, there’s no whole-wheat or you know…
Mike: No. It just really is that wired together, fired together kind of stuff. It turns out that it creates cravings for the other stuff, you know because pastries and everything there is all combined together.
Mike: Like the caffeine and the sugar instantly, it’s just refined that it creates the cravings. And when you look at your blood sugar, flour turns to sugar in your stomach. A lot of times, yeah the fructose component but it does turn to sugar in a glucose way and it’s a big hit of insulin, you know, requires insulin to process. It's the same kind of swirling mess in your body. And I think the world changes when the continuous glucose monitors come out that are not invasive. Right now you can stick your finger and graph it during the day but Apple and Google are both working on a non-invasive one. You can actually get one now if you have insurance and stuff.
Host: Oh okay.
Mike: You know, you just wear a little patch on your arm and you can literally watch it on your cell phone and it eats something like this. And when people have that kind of biofeedback hacking kind of instant gratification, instant information, they’re going to start really dialing in their diet around these things that you and I are talking about if that makes sense?
Mike: And right now you have to stick your finger after every meal or stick your finger on your fasting, you know, all that kind of stuff.
Mike: And it’s kind of intrusive or invasive and people don't stick to it. But when you can do it just like kind of a Fitbit, like kind of watch, you just look at your watch every time your candy bar goes through the roof. Because people can’t see the inside, you know? They can’t see what’s going on with the information. They can’t see what's going on in their sugar levels, their glucose levels, you know?
Host: Bread, flour, you know, the wheat that we've, you know, adapted for our consumption maybe 10,000 years old, but we've had examples from 5000 years, right? You know, the early Egyptians had bread, they brewed beer from, you know, they had yeast. So we have examples from about 5000 years ago and in terms of the, you know, human timeline that's a very short period of time. It may sound like thousands and thousands of years, but it's not. That long ago that we discovered flour and we adopted it for our use if we get rid of sugar like, you know, artificial sugar, everything is artificial. Sugar that we make is artificial, the fructose, and we get rid of flour. It seems like we've gone to, you know, the cavemen era like the Paleo diet or what the people call the Paleo diet, people call it the Keto diet, you know?
Host: I used to maybe it was the Atkins before, just different names and stuff. And you know a lot about this stuff and you know a lot about Keto and, you know, and what problems people have. We’ve talked about in the podcast before. There's something called the Keto flu. What is that?
Mike: (Laughing) Sugar Addiction, sugar addiction withdrawals.
Mike: That's all it is. There’s identical if you look at the symptoms, it’s identical.
Mike: I’ve worked with so many keto people. I worked with a guy who lost a hundred pounds on Keto.
Mike: But he could not put the sugar down and he plateaued. He still had like 60-80 left to lose and he could not put the sugar down. As he got there, he did everything Keto except, you know, once a week or it doesn’t matter whenever he did it, he can’t put the sugar and he plateaued. He could get off it and because the sugar had a little power to it. But one thing about the Keto, folks, and you know the Keto flu is the same as sugar withdrawals or sugar detox, same thing and flour withdrawals because if you’re doing it, the way that…They call it clean Keto, I don’t know whatever, but you’re not eating flour and sugar on your Keto diet then you’re going to have the same kind of withdrawals. It’s going to happen but if you don’t understand the addictive nature and the psychoactive nature what’s going on, you’re just going to be drawn back to it.
Mike: I think more dangerous, on and off is more dangerous in a lot of ways, you know. Yo-yo dieting is what they used to call it and they still do it.
Host: Yeah, they still do. The biggest buzzword right now and I think everyone's Googled this including myself is doing a detox.
Mike: What is it?
Mike: Oh, yeah detox.
Host: And I’ve detoxed as well, you know, I’ve tried it and I’ve seen the benefits and I’ve seen the negatives, too. You know, 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, it doesn’t matter, 20- day, 30-day.
Host: Do detoxes work in your opinion?
Mike: No, I think that’s a setup for Yo-yo dieting. I really do and I think JLo, God love her, who did it for 10 days with A-Rod. They got a lot of people aware but what happens is you reward yourself at the end of 10 days with sugar and you just kind of right fall back right into it. You lose a little bit of weight, you feel a little bit better, but basically you just threw the physical withdrawals and this needs to be understood at a 40,000 metal view and that this you want to make into a lifestyle. You want to be able to change your behavior around your relationship with sugar. You don’t want to just keep like every 3 months or something quit sugar for 10 days and then use it for the other rest of the quarter, you know. That's just not why and I don’t think it's healthy, to be honest with you. I’m not a fan of the challenges, the detoxes out there, the sugar detoxes. And other detoxes, too, and use them differently…What they got the lemonade one, the master cleanse.
Host: Okay, yeah, where they put paprika and honey and lemonade. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mike: Includes honey and I really genuinely believe they added the honey in there.
Mike: Because people were going into withdrawal and stay the withdrawals.
Host: Right. (laughing)
Mike: Honest to God I really believe that.
Mike: And it’s like, “And it works!” because you feel pretty good, Otherwise…
Mike: And you definitely poop a lot of stuff. (laughing) I did that about 20 years ago, I think.
Host: You’ve been sugar-free for a very long time, over 30 years and that's quite an accomplishment and I'm glad you're helping people through Kick Sugar Summit, you’re co-host there and you’re the founder of sugaraddiction.com, that's your website. You mentioned you know, children about 40 minutes ago or about 35 minutes ago and you've raised two children sugar-free like completely sugar-free. Now for people with families and who want to do this, it's a daunting task. It's hard.
Mike: Oh, yeah.
Host: And how did you do it?
Mike: Well, I break it into two groups and the folks we work with now are the folks who have yet to get pregnant or who want to do this and that's a lot easier because we have complete control to your form, that's the way we did it.
Mike: They didn’t have sugar in the womb until they are six years old, and then only once a month until they get out of the house and we didn’t have it at the house or anything so they didn’t really have an attraction to it. It’s those first thousand days that really lays the groundwork for the attraction to the product, right?
Mike: But after like if you, and this is most folks, if they’ve already experienced sugar and it's been part of your lifestyle and that kind of stuff, in their birthdays and whatever and Halloween, everything, Easter, it’s crazy, isn’t it? But whatever is a much, much harder but here's the key and here is the big take away from it is that, if they’re under nine, approximately in that range, if they’re under nine they’re just kind of want to do what you do. And I’m not a baller or a bellow or whatever it is, I’m manipulative enough to get the parents off the stuff first. Because of look, you know it and I know it, a mother would give her life for a child. Somebody was substance-used disorder, someone with a drinking problem or a drug problem, they will quit not the next day but the minute they find out that they are pregnant.
Mike: They will quit sugar, they will quit drugs, right? And here’s someone who couldn't quit their drinking habit until they got pregnant.
Mike: But what we have to get is the awareness with the sugar, right? We have to get them to understand that this could be harming, that they could be setting their children up for…Hey, do you know that the largest section, the largest growth in the obesity crisis is children between 2 and 5?
Mike: Yeah. And so we have complete 110% control. They're not even in school yet. We have complete control of their food products and, you know, this set up I think happens in the womb. So, I don't think I know but science is not deep enough. It’s there but it's not deep enough to say conclusively that this is the reality yet but, you know, we’ve got to start somewhere, I think.
Host: You know, if I want my kid to get off sugar, I'm just going through, you know, all the stuff I have in my cabinets and my fridge and all the Cheerios and the Shreddies and Kellogg's…
Mike: I know. It’s overwhelming.
Host: …then, you know, we packed him a healthy lunch, you know, we give him strawberries, he loves strawberries…
Host: …but, you know, and then but there are flour-based products, there are cookies in there as well. Yeah, we get rid of that. I mean, we’re talking about it and it's easy to talk about this. It’s really easy to talk to you about this in but in going it over in my mind and it's causing a meltdown. (laughing) I mean, I would have to clear out 80% of my kitchen. I just have to throw stuff away from my cabinets, honestly, if I want to pursue this for my children. I, myself, you know, it's a different story. For the kids, it might be a little bit different.
Mike: I can empathize, my friend, I really can. I know and yeah, I mean it's really hard but I would suggest if you want a suggestion, is that you just do it yourself first and start with you if you believe it’s something that you want to do that 90-day experiment.
Mike: And, you know, don’t even bother your spouse if she is not available or whatever, but just do it. The kids, how old is your kid or sons?
Host: Various ages. Many.
Mike: Okay. So, I mean, the younger ones are just going to be wanted like mom and dad. You know, they’re just going to want to be…
Mike: And if they see that you’re not eating dessert, they see that you’re changing your breakfast habits and what have you, then they’ll ask. And then you can start to bring them just like you did last. I thought that was great transparency about the caffeine stuff, you know.
Mike: I cannot…have an empathy for this struggle, you know. And it makes me really sad. I just can’t abide by it anymore. It’s really kind of why I got into all this. You know, I had a life, a career. I mean, yeah I was sugar-free but I wasn’t in this field. It’s was always really about the kids. You know, anything about the next generation, training them to be healthier and to look at it in a different way. And I think as I said in those first thousand days is to make sure that they get the best start that they can. And if there's a science that says maybe, just maybe, maybe it's good enough for me right now, you know? Maybe that we could change their course, the history course of their life, then maybe it’s good enough for me right now.
Host: Fantastic. Mike Collins, thank you so much for breaking down and talking to us about this very important subject. And I wish you luck with you, this is your life’s work and I wish you luck with that and your clients. And thank you for helping people listening to our podcast today, I appreciate it.
Mike: Well, thank you for your openness. You know, a lot of folks are come from the health world and do a health podcast, they’re not quite as open as you are. So, I thank you for that. (laughing) And your willingness to embrace this what seems a little radical yet. Anyway, thanks.