Sugars are mostly found in processed foods, but they can all decimate our health. Sugars are hidden in numerous food items that we consume daily, and are not even aware of it.
However, the famous nutritionist, fitness trainer, and author JJ Virgin has written a new book that helps us to open our eyes and control the amount of sugar we consume. In addition, her book The Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Sugars to Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks also promotes practical tips on how to wean yourself from this pernicious ingredient that only harms our health.
The book explains the confusion surrounding sugar, claiming that it is a mistake to believe that that as long as the sugar is all-natural, it’s fine to eat, for all kinds of sugar, agave, natural fruit juice, raw cane sugar, and any number of other natural sugars, seriously harm our health.
She writes: “Sugar is really public enemy number one. That’s why I chose to focus on it. I don’t think added sugar is really the problem; I think it’s what’s in a lot of our food that we don’t recognize as suga.
Whether it’s having apple juice (which is worse for you than a soda), or having a yogurt sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, or whether you’re just thinking that fruits are free for all, these are all creating problems.
I wanted to create a structured program that could help someone break free of those sugar cravings, drop the weight forever, and then let them go back and [do a food] challenge… in order to connect the dots between what happens when they drink one of those big fruit smoothies that are supposed to be so healthy.”
Burn Fat To Provide The Primary Fuel To The Body and Stop Craving For Sugar
“Food is information,” she says. This nutritionist claims that in fact, regardless of the source of the sugar, it can be a muffin, a chocolate bar, a smoothie, the sugar that enters the body is the same.
You can try cutting calories while still eating foods like gluten, pasteurized dairy, and processed fructose, and again fail to lose weight, for you were still eating the wrong foods, albeit in smaller amounts. Once you start viewing food as information, you can begin to appreciate how certain foods, fructose in particular, instructs your body to store fat and not let any of it go.
You have probably heard of the fact that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Once you break free from your body’s constant need for yet another sugar fix, you’ll experience great levels of newfound energy and clarity of mind.
However, in order to achieve your goals, you need to retrain your body to burn fat as its primary form of fuel instead of sugar.
This is a special stage, particularly explained in the book, which is quite challenging. It represents the gradual process of getting from burning sugar to burning fat as your body’s primary fuel, in order to maximize your chances for success.
JJ explains that “There’s got to be a transition period, where you go from sugar burner to getting your body to be able to start to burn fat again.”
“You have to taper down from where your starting point is, which is what I call a Sneaky Sugar Inventory, of things you would never think about (like sundried tomatoes and marinara sauce) that we’re just using like crazy not realizing how much sugar this is actually adding into our food.”
Change the way you look at sugar-The Sugar Impact Scales
JJ lists all the sneaky places sugars hide in your diet in her book, and by creating what she calls Sugar Impact Scales, she’s created a new way of looking at sugar.
This is a long and sometimes not at all easy process, which should start with measuring the waist-to-hip ratio, to determine the starting point. While tracking your waist, hip, and weight, you’ll get a clearer picture of how sugar impacts your body, and your progress in terms of retraining your body to burn fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel.
The next step is to do an initial inventory of all the hidden sugars in your diet. You should start reading the labels on all the foods you consume, including items you might never expect to contain sugar, such as condiments, sauces, and marinades, the jar of pickles and so on.
“It looks at fructose grams, glycemic load, nutrient density, and fiber. Bad are fructose and glycemic load; good are nutrient density and fiber,” she explains.
“Depending on where the food falls, it can either be low, medium, or high-sugar impact. The reason this was so important to me is I keep looking at programs out there, and they either focus on fructose… glycemic index, or glycemic load.
That can be very confusing because it makes things like agave sweetener look great. It makes milk look great… People go, ‘We should have fructose because fructose is low on the glycemic index.’
The difference between fructose and glucose is fructose doesn’t trigger the whole insulin response. Because of that, it doesn’t trigger insulin, leptin, or ghrelin, so it doesn’t tell your body you ate anything. Instead, it just goes to the liver. If there’s no room for it to become glycogen… it starts becoming fat.
You look at that and you go, ‘Okay, food is information. What does fructose say?’ It says, ‘Hey, make fat but don’t tell us we ate. Stay hungry.’ What a nightmare!”
The most common symptoms of having high-sugar impact are gas and bloating, as sugar feeds yeast, fungi, and detrimental bacteria in your gut. Other important symptoms include headaches, fatigue, inability to lose weight, joint pain, weight loss resistance, and sugar cravings.
The Three Cycles of the Sugar Impact Diet
JJ divides three stages, or cycles, of her effective Sugar Impact Diet.
The first cycle is a one to two-week long taper cycle, in which you switch from high sugar impact foods to medium sugar impact foods.
The author advises scheduling the meals to where one is not eating every two hours; rather you stretch the time between meals to prevent insulin spikes. This is one form of intermittent fasting. At the end of this taper-down period of one or two weeks, you retest yourself on the sugar impact quiz, to see how you’ve done.
If you have succeeded in the first stage, you should have noticed reduced symptoms and you can move to the second stage.
This is a crucial stage, since you will need to work on resetting your taste buds and reclaiming your sugar sensitivity, meaning your ability to taste how sweet a food really is.
“What I’m doing is I’m getting rid of all of the fructose. We’re getting down to five grams or less [per day], just as low as possible because you don’t want your body to be good at processing fructose. One thing we know is that the more fructose you eat, the better you get at handling fructose, which means the faster it goes to your liver, the faster you start making fat, and the more fat you make.
If someone’s used to eating fruit, they eat more fruit, they eat more fruit, and they can handle it. If you never eat any fruit, and you ate a bunch of fruit, you’d be bloated, you’d be gassy, and it’d be horrible.
I take fruit out altogether except for things like lemons, limes, avocado, tomato, and olives. And we go down to all low-sugar impact foods. But you’re still eating great stuff. You’re eating wild salmon, grass-fed beef, kale, avocado, nuts and seeds, a little quinoa, legumes, and lentils.”
In most cases, the shift from burning sugar to burning fat as primary fuel is made in this second cycle of the program in a couple of weeks, although it may take longer if you’re seriously insulin/leptin resistant. JJ explains that “The reason it can happen so fast is number one, you’ve got to do that initial one-week [taper] period.” “Whenever you look at a program, you want to jump right into the most intense part, but you can’t because you’ll fail.”
The third cycle of the program is actually the biggest test for you. In this cycle, you again start to challenge yourself by reintroducing some of the medium or even high sugar impact foods. Most people will now find that they’re overwhelmed by the sweetness, or they’ll feel bloated or downright ill by the high-sugar food.
Consequently, you simply do not want to go back to feeling horrible once you’re feeling really great.
Interestingly, sour taste, such as that from cultured vegetables, helps to reduce sweet cravings, too. This is a doubly-beneficial thing, as fermented vegetables also promote gut health. “It’s a sweet tooth strategy,” JJ says. “One of the things that I do in these books is I try to keep it simple and give people simple strategies. But I’m always thinking, “How am I healing their gut with this? How am I improving their gut flora? How are we reducing inflammation?”
The article continues on page 2
- Next page »