It Starts With Food - Breaking Up With Equal - @Ash_and_Diz

Breaking up with Equal

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve read It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig from Whole 9. The chapter on SUGAR was like a slap in the face!

It Starts With Food - Breaking Up With Equal - @Ash_and_Diz

I had always heard about the dangers of sugar substitutes, but it seemed like for every PRO-sugar substitute article there was one proving how dangerous it was. I’ve usually had the “whatever, I don’t care/I’ve gotta die from something” attitude about it. I suppose I was just choosing to be ignorant. Though, last year I did make the decision to give up soda. ((Hi. My name is Ashley and I’m a Diet Coke addict…)) On Halloween last year I decided to give up soda for a month after i was challenged by a coach at my old CrossFit gym. I made it that month, decided I should go for two, and I just haven’t looked back.

But a few weeks ago, I did something crazy. I stopped putting equal in my coffee. I had previously cut back from 4 packets to 3 packets in my 32 oz mug (yup, you read correctly. 3 packets – not a typo, and yes, 32 oz of coffee). But holy shiz, according to It Starts With Food Equal is 200-300 times sweet as sugar. It’s no damn wonder my (self-diagnosed) sugar/carb addiction is so strong. I’ve totally EFF’d my taste buds and brain to expect the super sweet “franken foods” ALL the time.

According to It Starts With Food artificial sweeteners (aka Aspartame (Equal), Sucralose (Splenda), Saccharin (Sweet’n Low)) are “supernormally stimulating” – – –

These artificial sweeteners provide taste and reward sensations the likes of which we (biologically) have never before experienced, burning our taste buds (and pleasure centers) out on stimuli that are simply otherworldly. It thus becomes harder and harder for us to experience the same level of pleasure and reward that we did the last time we ate them – and makes it darn near impossible to appreciate the natural flavors in fresh foods.

Wanna know what I wrote in the margins of the book after that passage? “EXACTLY like a drug addict – WTF?!” Like when a drug addict has to use more and more of his drug to achieve the same high.

It was after reading this chapter that I cut out the Equal. I took the Costco size box to my Mom’s house and let her have. (though I did have her read the chapter in It Starts With Food , she’s just not quite ready to make the change, yet.)

Breaking Up With Equal - @Ash_and_Diz

Now to be honest, I haven’t cut out ALL the sugar substitutes in my life. In the last few weeks I’ve had a few crystal light packets. Maybe 1 every 2-3 days. But once the Whole Life Challenge starts, it’s ALL gone. ALL of it.

Now the one discrepancy I have with the Whole Life Challenge is that they allow Stevia.  In It Starts With Food it explains it like this –

Nutrasweet, Equal, Splenda, Stevia – none is any more “natural” than the shoes you are wearing on your feet right now. Some are derived from nature, but after chemical processing, Splenda has more common with pesticides than table sugar. (And Stevia isn’t any better. We dare you to find a stevia leaf and chew on it for a while. It ain’t that sweet. At least, not until it’s refined into white crystals in a laboratory somewhere.)

Which is why I don’t understand why it’s allowed on the Whole Life Challenge. They don’t allow honey or agave (other “naturally” occurring sugars), so why is Stevia ok?

Sugar = Sugar = Sugar

They all have a sweet taste (aka “supernormally stimulating”) which promotes overconsumption. AKA – why I’m a carb-addict.

Which is exactly why I’m breaking up with Equal.


11 thoughts on “Breaking up with Equal

  1. Kris says:

    I think I have to read this book. I totally love this, I finally quit splenda (had the costco sized box myself, and couldn’t throw it out) My mom used to put 3 splendas in 8oz of tea so its no wonder she couldnt get enough sugar/carb…yikes. I quit my dt dr pepper but was happy to see stevia was apporved on the whole life challenge. Now, you have me thinking why myself. How can I say I’m off sugar if i still need a packet in my tea? Sh!t, one more week to get er done. (on a high note…I did walk right past my old friends, ‘chocolate frosted fudge pop tarts’ on sale 2/$5)


    • Ashley says:

      Kris – I think you’d definitely like It Starts With Food. With everything we talked about yesterday, I think it’d be right up your alley. And good job on passing up the poptarts (those are sundance’s fav too!).


  2. Elizabeth says:

    Nope, I just drink coffee in the black. Initially it was tough and I almost just quit coffee altogether……but i’ve eventually just adapted! I do like to add coconut milk sometimes……it’s about as calorie laden as cream, but it’s better for you, plus it makes my coffee taste like coconut- definite bonus!! 🙂


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  4. Samantha @ 24 to 30 says:

    That is so interesting. I have never thought about it like a drug addict, but that makes complete since. I’ve been thinking about making the switch from Atkins to Paleo, but honestly thinking about giving up Splenda and cream in my coffee has been holding me back…but this makes me want to start right now. Thanks for the info.


    • Ashley says:

      Hey Samantha – I would try cutting back on your Splenda first. I used to use 4 packets of Equal in my coffee (it was a 32oz cup) and I started out just cutting back on that for a week or two, after awhile you won’t notice it gone. Once I did my Paleo challenge at the gym I cut out my creamer and I drank it black for a while. Then I just stopped altogether. Black coffee just doesn’t do much for me. You could use heavy whipping cream, it’s semi-healthy fat and it’s better than the traditional non-dairy creamers (though I still use those from time to time).
      Thanks for stopping by!


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