If you regularly read a paper or magazines you will know that there is a rumbling in the diet world, we have long be told that fat was the demon in our diet and that to be slim, a healthy weight and fight off diseases we must cut down how much fat we consume, particularly saturated fat.
But now, there is new argument in town that states actually sugar is the enemy and that all of those low fat products we have been eating to keep us healthy have actually been making us fatter!
Easter has just gone, and maybe you indulged in just a bit too much chocolate? And of course with two bank holidays in May, wedding season and summer holidays will be just around the corner, so now is the time that many of us think about losing a few pounds as we shed a few layers of clothing… But you would be right to be confused about just what advice to follow.
Dr Robert Lustig is an American Doctor; he has spent the past sixteen years treating childhood obesity and studying the effects of sugar on the central nervous system and metabolism. He has written a book called: Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth About Sugar, Obesity and Disease.
Dr Robert Lustig believes that sugar is toxic, addictive and everywhere, he knows it is difficult to consider a life that is sugar free, but the diets of processed foods that developed nations are feeding themselves is chronically expanding our waistlines and is soaring levels of diabetes and other serious obesity related illnesses.
In his book he explores the following:
• Why conventional low-fat weight loss advice won’t work: not every calorie is the same, and skipping lunch doesn’t mean it is okay to eat dessert
• Why too much sugar can cause serious illness even if you are not overweight
• How the food industry is filling our diets with hidden sugars – and which foods you must cut out to avoid them
•How governments are complacent about, and even complicit in, exacerbating our food debacle
The World Health Organisation seems to agree that sugar is a problem, and has just slashed its recommend daily intake of sugar in half to around 6 teaspoon per day. The WHO limits apply to all ‘free’ sugar, which is sugar that is added to foods by the manufacturer, plus that naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices.
Of course it is easy to see this as just one more fad making the rounds, in 2013 variations on fasting diets have proved very popular and is look set to continue in 2014. In many women’s magazines or health publications the virtues of the latest celebrity diet plan are often listed in detail. One such diet is the Paleo diet, sometimes known as the Caveman plan. Our cover star is one such advocate, Jessica Biel (married to Justin Timberlake), obviously needs to keep in shape for her career as an actress, signer and model. She has said that she does all her own cooking at home using fresh fish or lean meat like chicken and vegetables. “Eating Paleo just leans you down and slims you up and takes that little layer of fat and water-weight right off your body”. Essentially Paleo followers eat lean protein, vegetables, seafood, nuts & seeds and healthy fats.
There are plenty of other celebrity followers of a Paleo or similar diet lifestyles, such as Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox, Tom Jones, Jack Osbourne, Uma Thurman, Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Matthew McCaughey to name but a few…
Whilst a Paleo type diet may address many of the problems concerning high sugar consumption, it is perhaps too expensive and extreme for most of us, with Nutritionists concerned about the amount of food groups that are excluded. Which is perhaps why books like ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sarah Wilson are proving so popular.
Sarah is Australian and is a journalist, in 2011 she started a 2 week experiment to quit sugar, her health and wellbeing were impacted so positively in such a short time that she kept going.
The thing is that Sarah did not outwardly look like someone who ate a lot of sugar, she thought she was making good food choices, but even with things like fruit, dried fruit, honey, dark chocolate etc. – the amounts per day soon built up. On working it out a conservative day would see her consume 25 teaspoons of sugar, and that is probably similar for many of us.
Sarah wrote the book ‘I Quit Sugar’ which was published in the UK earlier this year, which is an 8 week detox guide to gradually quitting sugar. The book comes complete with lots of recipes including desserts, snacks, kid’s meals etc.
If you think sugar might be a problem in your diet, why not take Sarah’s test:
Time to quit? You decide!
♥ Do you get an energy slump in the afternoon?
♥ Do you need something sweet after meals?
♥ Does your stomach get bloated after eating?
♥ Are you unable to eat just one piece of cake and walk away?
♥ Are you ‘podgy’ around the middle, perhaps even slim everywhere else?
♥ Do you often feel unclear? That you’re not always sharp and on-form?
Realistically we all know that we have to move more and eat less, but new research is beginning to show that not all calories are created equally, and that the old virtue of cut back by 3500 calories equates to losing a pound of fat may not be so simple for all of us. If you are struggling with weight loss, it might be time to check with your Doctor and look at your sugar intake!