Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Eating for Strength and Muscular Development, Part Four - Norman Zale (1977)

Sweet and Deadly

Sugar is common enough in all our lives, and almost everyone believes it is simply an attractive sweet; everyone, that is, except bodybuilders who are looking for more definition. Research has shown the unique effects that white sugar has upon our bodies that is different from those of other carbohydrates such as found in fresh fruit and whole grains. If only a small fraction of what is already known about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive, that material would be banned!

Research has shown, just for starters, that sugar can: increase the risk of obesity, cause the bodies of babies to produce a greater number of fat cells which they are stuck with for life, be a cause of diabetes, irritate the alimentary canal thus causing indigestion, affect growth and maturation, cause low blood sugar. It is also indicated as a factor if some types of coronary thrombosis, gall bladder malfunctioning and in disorders of the eyes, teeth, skin and joints. And, no amount of heavy training or jogging can undo the problems created by the use of white sugar and all of its products such as candy, cake, soft drinks and just about every processed food from frozen string beans to packaged cereals.

Man has always had a large amount of starch in his diet, but it has only been within the last 100 years that sugar has begun to replace in increasing amounts the starch of corn, whole wheat, vegetables and fruit. The average person in the U.S. eats well over 100 lbs of white sugar a year. And yet, there is no physiological requirement for it, either on its own or in any food or drink. Any weight trainer can have a completely healthful, nutritious, muscle-building diet without it. Other so-called 'energy' foods contain at least some other nutrients - protein, vitamins or minerals. Sugar contains carbohydrates and nothing else.

Dessicated liver is an important food among weight trainers because they realize that the liver is a vital organ and ingesting the liver of animals is guaranteed to provide them with essential nutrients. But how many weight men are concerned with their own livers? It has been shown that sugar deposits fat in the liver, impeding the work of this important organ, and causes the liver to enlarge abnormally, conditions which will affect the progress you will make while using weights.

We have all heard the term 'natural' which refers to an outstanding lifter or bodybuilder who seems to have all of the attributes that we envy - strength, size, skill, definition, shape, etc. We are aware that the 'natural' is one step ahead of the rest of us because of his outstanding metabolism, that process by which the body builds strength and muscle and removes waste from the body. These changes occur within the body due to the action of enzymes, and sugar has been shown to contribute to an unbalanced metabolism by altering the activity of a number of enzymes. We all know of 'naturals' who seem to thrive and make gains on a diet of ice cream and cake but we sometimes wonder how much better they would be if they concerned themselves with correct eating. And just because the natural is able to make certain errors in his eating habits that is no guarantee that you can make the same errors and not suffer the consequences, just as following the natural's workout routine is no guarantee that you will develop like he has because he and you are two quite different individuals.

The Department of Agriculture is pretty much in agreement with independent researchers on the harmful side effects of sugar the the Research Service Chief, Dr. Leon Hopkins, has stated that, "People are willing to take certain risks for laziness." For that reason, his staff is investigating substances that might neutralize the harmful effects of sugar . . . the good old American approach: Don't stop taking a poison; just find a drug that will neutralize it.

Almost everyone - with the exception of the Sugar Information Institute - agrees that there is too much sugar in our diets. The most killing diseases of the 20th century stem from sugar poisoning. Overdoses of sugar in the diet are causing an epidemic of cardiovascular diseases much larger than the bubonic plague of the middle ages, yet many lifters and bodybuilders refuse to see the need to cut down on their sugar intake. They are addicted to sugar, and make no mistake, this addiction is just as dangerous over time as addiction to tobacco. People are consuming more sugar now in two weeks than their ancestors did in a year two centuries ago, and with all of those goodies available at the supermarket most people are not as well nourished as their ancestors of two hundred years ago because 60 to 80 per cent of many of today's diets are loaded with carbohydrates, sugar, and nothing else. Everyone who reads this or lifts weights is aware of the fact that protein is necessary for maximum gains, they must now be aware of the fact that sugar will neutralize those gains.

How much sugar is in prepared foods?
Look and learn:

1.5 inch square of chocolate fudge - 4 tsp
1 stick chewing gum - 1/2 tsp
1 marshmallow - 1.5 tsp
1 ice cream bar - 6 tsp
1 cup chocolate milk - 6 tsp
6 oz. soft drink - 4 tsp
1/2 cup canned fruit cocktail - 5 tsp

What do you eat? You say we just eliminated 50% of your daily food intake. How about fresh meat, cheese, eggs, milk, fresh vegetables, raw fruit, whole grain cereals, and nuts. If you can't find something in this list to eat you are in bad shape; very bad shape, and I would suggest that you purchase one of those diet books that are becoming so popular. Many of them have recipes and lists of foods which are not prepared with sugar, and reading one of these books might be the turning point in your training career as it was for a fat man named William Banting who put himself on a high protein, zero sugar diet in 1865 and managed to lose a pound a week for 38 weeks. He also lost most of the symptoms of ill health that had bothered him for years and he joined a circus as a roustabout and strong man. Experimenting with the diet, he discovered that by adding only one ounce of white sugar to his diet every day and making no other changes, he would gain a pound a week regularly. One ounce of sugar is about two tablespoons. One cup of chocolate milk and one small bar of candy, a single piece of cake or pie, a couple of soft drinks, with no other changes in a relatively good diet can burden you with 52 pounds of fat at the end of a year. And as a weight trainer you should represent the highest standard of muscular development attainable, but that standard will never be attained if the muscles and tissues are interlaced with fat. Cross off of your grocery list white sugar and any and all foods made with it. Read the labels on the food packages, they tell you if the product contains sugar, and if so, just how much of it. You might be surprised.        

Next: Detoxification

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