Not all sugars are the same as there are both artificial and natural types. However, staying away from either of them is a difficult task as all foods are loaded with them. For the aim of making proper distinction between sugar types and explaining the things more clearly, the nutritionist, fitness trainer and acclaimed author JJ Virgin wrote a new book in regard to this topic. This book provides practical tips on how to avoid this ingredient and protect your health.
The book entitled The Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Sugars to Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks provides detailed descriptions of all sugar types we consume and their effect on our health. It also throws light on the allegedly natural sugars, which are believed to be safe. However, the truth is that agave, raw cane sugar, and natural fruit juice, negatively affect the overall health.
“Sugar is really public enemy number one,” she claims. “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 sugar].
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.”
To end sugar cravings your body needs to burn fat as its primary fuel
JJ also says that regardless of the type of sugar you consume, it doesn’t make any difference to the body. “Food is information” and eating a smoothie, fruit sweetened yogurt, or a piece of cake, sends the same information.
Although it takes time and may be difficult at the beginning, ending the sugar cravings boosts energy and makes you more focused. But, the key to ending sugar cravings lies in teaching the body to burn fat as its primary fuel instead of sugar.
As mentioned above, this process may be quite demanding but the tips provided in JJ`s book are very helpful. The book itself explains the gradual process of getting from burning sugar as primary fuel to burning fat for the purpose of maximizing the chances for productivity.
“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,” she says.
“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.”
The Sugar Impact Scales: A New Way of Looking at Sugar
Prior to starting sugar cleanse, you need to determine the waist-to-hi ratio in order to find the starting point. Then, try making a list of all sugars which are hidden and ingested without being aware of it.
To do so, you need to check the labels on everything you eat! Many foods which are believed to be sugar-free are actually packed with it, such as sauces, marinades, condiments, and pickles. JJ`s book provides a list of all sneaky places which sugars hide.
“It looks at fructose grams, glycemic load, nutrient density, and fiber. Bad are fructose and glycemic load; good are nutrient density and fiber,” she says.
“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.”
Unlike fructose, glucose triggers an insulin response, leptin and ghrelin. So, the food you ingest goes directly into the liver where it gets turned into fat in case the liver is unable to turn it into glycogen.
At this point, you are probably wondering how to tell if you have a high sugar impact. Well, the most common signs include bloating, gas, headache, fatigue, joint pain, weight loss resistance, sugar cravings, and inability to lose weight. Grading these symptoms and measuring your waist-to-hip ratio and weight can help you create a better picture of the way sugar impacts your body.
The Three Cycles of the Sugar Impact Diet
During the first cycle, your body gradually adjusts to the new changes by switching from high sugar impact foods to medium sugar impact foods. So, if you consume plain pasta on a regular basis, you should replace it with quinoa pasta. This cycle usually takes 1-2 weeks.
According to JJ, you should measure the time between meals and keep a longer gap in-between meals instead of eating every two hours. This prevents insulin spikes, she explains. When done with this cycle, measure your sugar impact to see the results and your progress.
If you have followed the rules, your symptoms should get less severe and you will be prepared for the second cycle. During this cycle you will start resetting your taste buds, which allows you to feel how sweet food 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.”
For most people going from burning sugars to burning fats takes about a few weeks. However, insulin/ leptin resistant people may need more time. “The reason it can happen so fast is number one, you’ve got to do that initial one-week [taper] period,” she explains. “Whenever you look at a program, you want to jump right into the most intense part, but you can’t because you’ll fail.”