Is Sugar Busters yet another trendy fad diet to approach with doubt and skepticism? Or, does this popular diet approach hold merit in the world of weight loss and nutrition? As with many diets, there are positives and negatives. Here is an outline of what you can expect from Sugar Busters.
The Conception of Sugar Busters
The Sugar Busters diet plan originally identified itself as a best-selling book nearly five years ago when in hit the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List. Its newest edition, Sugar Busters: Cut Sugar to Trim Fat, remains a top-selling diet book. This newest version features 18 chapters outlining the basic nuts and bolts of its approach to weight loss and new information on medical studies, clinical trials, methods of averting child obesity, and appetizing recipes. Written by a team of four authors, three of whom are medical doctors, Sugar Busters bases its foundation on the physiological interaction of glucose and insulin, and how these two compounds encourage and discourage changes in a person's weight.
Principles of the Plan
The primary concept of Sugar Busters lies within the glycemic index (GI) philosophy. This theory involves the reaction of blood sugar levels, both quantity and rapidity, to the carbohydrates that were eaten within a two hour period. In other words, it is the responsiveness of the body as the carbohydrates hit the bloodstream in the form of glucose. All glycemic indexes of food are compared to the time it takes for pure glucose to affect blood sugar, a standard measure of 100. Thus, the more simple or refined a carbohydrate is, the higher the GI. Foods that test out lower on the 0-100 scale are better choices. Sugar Busters clearly points out that the key to weight loss is to manage insulin secretion via the foods you eat.
There are a few reasons lower GI foods are conducive for weight loss efforts. First, lower GI foods do not spike insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas with a poor shut-off switch. Hence, when there is an overabundance of insulin, there is a greater chance of fat being stored because insulin does just that. Secondly, when insulin is lurking in the bloodstream, it is begging for some glucose so it can do its job. You, in the end, are craving that second slice of Italian bread or the extra helping of sorbet. In most cases, these are the extra calories that are causing the weight loss challenge. The fiber and starch content of carbohydrates are directly associated with the GI of a given food.
So, rule number one in the Sugar Busters guidebook: when you are looking for beneficial carbs, think fiber-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, and some fruits.
Foods to Avoid
Now that Sugar Busters has convinced you that refined, processed, simple sugars are off-limits, it dives deeper into the weight loss pool by providing a list of foods to shun. Besides the villainous white bread and white sugar, these include:
- red and white potatoes
- white rice
- corn and corn products
- too many carrots
- high fructose corn syrup
- brown sugar
- fruit juice
Further recommendations include:
- eating three meals a day
- not eating after 8pm
- drinking fluids only between meals (sips can be taken during meals)
- reducing portions
- reducing or eliminating caffeine (from coffee, black and green tea, soda, chocolate)
- exercising daily
- choosing low fat dairy including milk, cheese, yogurt
- limiting amount of saturated fat in the diet
- choosing small amounts of butter over margarine due to trans fat in margarine
- enjoying a glass of wine for its positive effect on arterial and heart health
- choosing an aspirin a day and a cup of red or green grapes instead of wine
The "Good" Foods
Substituting the taboo foods is not difficult according to Sugar Busters. By eliminating the white stuff, basically the sugar, flour, rice, and potatoes, and all the products made with these culprits, what is left is a multitude of healthy, whole food choices that fits into a nutritious eating plan effortlessly. Foods such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, lentils, legumes, lean protein, low fat dairy, most vegetables and fruits, and healthy fats in limited quantities guarantee a better glucose-insulin relationship, and therefore a path to weight loss. As far as sweeteners, the guidelines give a thumbs-up to the artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, fructose (which is only one third the GI of table sugar), sucrolose, and stevia. However, for individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU), aspartame must be avoided. The Sugar Busters brand of food is now available as well. Their food products include:
- 100% whole wheat breads
- 100% whole wheat pastas
- sugar-free salad dressings, including a mayonnaise variety
- no sugar added drinks known as Refresher
- no sugar added ice creams
- sugar-free frozen pops
- no sugar added flavored yogurts
There are also dozens of recipes from top-rated restaurants in the country. You will find dishes such as Cauliflower Leek Potage, Crabmeat Barley Salad, and Mango and Jicama Salad, among others.
Does It Work?
The Sugar Busters authors claim that there are innumerable success stories as a result of adopting their diet approach. They also make it perfectly clear that the program is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle change in eating habits. Without doubt, their formula for success in regards to avoiding simple carbohydrates and adding more fiber is a healthy habit to follow for weight loss and overall health. However, it is important to note that the GI system , although scientifically correct, has been met with some controversy due to the fact that meals are traditionally a blend of macronutrients. Thus, the slice of white bread does not have the same effect when eaten with a bowl of lentil soup.