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How I lost weight by not eating sugar

Updated on July 4, 2015

Sugar: The Bitter Truth: Dr Lustig

In other words, any food produce on a farm is better for you that food produced in a factory.
In other words, any food produce on a farm is better for you that food produced in a factory.

I Learn About The Harmful Effects Of Refined Sugar

From the time I was a young man, I've worried about becoming overweight. Because I did a physical job most of my adult life, exercise kept the problem in check. That changed when I retired and to my horror I began to grow a large stomach

I tried all the things most diet gurus suggest; cutting down on the amount of food I ate, walking, lifting weights and cycling. Although this seemed to help, I was still finding that every year, the size of my stomach increased. As far as I could see, I had a pretty healthy diet, so I couldn't understand why I was still putting on weight.

The situation changed dramatically last year after I saw a video on the Internet called, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth", which was a lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig. In the video he made the point that we now have an obesity epidemic because the public is not being told the truth about the cause of it. Food experts have been telling us for years that the main cause of obesity is eating too much fat. Over the last thirty years, although people have been trying to cut down on the amount of fat they eat, the rate of obesity has continued to rise. It must be obvious by now that this advice is faulty. There must be another reason for modern day obesity. According to Dr Lustig, it's sugar.

This made sense to me, because I had some experience of cutting down on sugar and losing weight. About the age of thirty, I was battling against the flab but still taking three teaspoons of sugar in my tea. Female friends told me that this was unhealthy. I couldn't see the harm in it, but to stop their nagging I reduced the amount of sugar in my hot drinks, until in the end, I drank tea without sugar. To my surprise, I lost a stone in weight! (6.3 Kg, 14 lbs).

More recently, I noticed that some of the people I knew who had diabetes, and had a no-sugar diet, lost weight very easily. One woman I knew wasn't diabetic, but her husband was. She lost a lot of weight simply because she went on the same no-sugar diet as her husband. Although I had learned to take sugar seriously by this point, I still had the attitude that an occasional chocolate bar, biscuit or slice of cake wasn't going to hurt me. And this was the attitude that I had when I saw "Sugar: The Bitter Truth."

As far as I was concerned I wasn't eating a lot of sugar anyway, but as Dr Lustig pointed out, the vast majority of processed food has sugar in it. Food experts had decreed that fat was the main cause of obesity, so the food industry had cut down the amount of fat in processed food. The irony was, that to stop the food from tasting pretty much like cardboard, they had increased the amount of sugar.

As a result, we are now buying food that is low in fat but very high in sugar. Another point that Dr Lusig makes is that the food industry has been having a secret sugar war. When two food manufacturers make the same product, the one who puts the most sugar in it sells more. Naturally, in order to sell their products, firms have been increasing the amount of sugar in their processed food, which has led to a staggering amount of sugar-laden food in our diet.

Dr Lustig also solves the Atkins diet mystery. At the time food experts began saying that eating fat was the main cause of obesity, Dr Atkins brought out a diet that was very high in saturated fat and very low in carbohydrates. Many people successfully lost weight on his diet. The explanation nutritionists gave at the time was that the diet was high in protein, but it still didn't account for the phenomenon of losing substantial amounts of weight on a high-fat diet. What Dr Lustig pointed out, is that the Atkins diet is a no-sugar diet. As he explained, any diet will be successful if it doesn't have processed sugar in it

TV Advertising

Children are indocrinated into eating refined sugar from an early age, through advertising
Children are indocrinated into eating refined sugar from an early age, through advertising

My personal experience with the non-sugar Diet.

So late last year, having seen the video, I decided to apply it to myself. Like I said, I didn't think I was eating much sugar anyway, but I cut out the occasional chocolate bar, biscuit and cake and began to take an interest in exactly what was in the processed food I ate. I upset my wife, as I began to carefully read the labels on food she bought at the supermarket and rejected those with added sugar.

I also looked up on the internet all the alternative names for sugar, which food manufacturers use to hide the amount of sugar in their foods. It was hard to find any processed food that didn't have sugar in it. I also quickly learned to steer away from any low fat food label, as this was a sure sign the product was full of sugar. Some people on the internet have claimed they lost weight by simply avoiding low fat foods they find in the supermarket. I can well believe it

I have to admit that changing my diet was quite easy and didn't involve very much effort at all. All I did was to search out breakfast cereals, tinned soups or yoghurt that didn't have sugar in them and I gave up eating things like baked beans and pizzas because of the hidden sugars in them. I did like Hot Chocolate and it was a wrench to give that up, but later on, as my taste buds changed I started to drink cocoa, (without sugar). Yes, it was a bit bitter at first, but I soon got used to it.

I found I couldn't give up cake or biscuits completely because if you visit people and you are offered a piece of cake or a biscuit it would be rude to refuse, but my consumption of those is tiny now. I also found that when I gave up eating sugar, the amount of fat I was eating increased, as I started to eat far more cheese than before. But I was losing weight in spite of eating more fat.

At first there wasn't a dramatic change but over a few weeks I went down a notch in the belt of my trousers. It took a couple of months before other people could see I was losing weight but ever since then, over the last year, there has been a slow decrease in my weight. I have gone down four notches in my belt, my stomach fat has nearly disappeared, and I've lost over two stone, (12,6 kg, 28 lbs). What has helped a lot, is the fact that when I stopped eating sugar my hunger pangs greatly decreased.

Is sugar addictive?

When I talk to other people about how I lost so much weight, they tell me that they can't do what I've done, because they like sugar so much. I try to explain that this is because they have become accustomed to the high levels of sugar in processed foods

At one time I would never have thought that bananas were a sweet fruit; they never tasted sweet to me, but now, since I stopped eating sugar, my taste buds have changed. Bananas now taste sweet. This means, that even if people find it hard to cut out sugar at first, because everything they eat will seem sour or bitter, their taste buds will adapt. Eating food without refined sugar added to it will become easier and easier. Some people claim that sugar is as addictive as drugs and just as hard to kick as heroin or nicotine. I cannot comment on that, because personally I try to keep well away from any drug, but it may be true. (See video below).

Another problem I've found is that when I say I am on a non-sugar diet, some people assume that means a non-carbohydrate diet which excludes any fruit and vegetables. As we all know, many fruits and vegetables contain sugar. Such a diet would be impossible for me, because I am a vegetarian. So I have to explain to them that although fruit and vegetables do have sugar in them, they also have fibre in them as well. It's the fibre in fruit and vegetables that allows us to eat sugar without any harmful effects, so you can eat as many as you like and still lose weight.

Dr Lustig has a complex explanation for this, which I will attempt to simplify. When we eat any carbohydrates, they are used directly by the body as fuel. However, if we eat too much carbohydrate, not all the food is used and the body converts the excess into fat. When we eat complex carbohydrates like fruit and vegetables, the fibre in them slows down the rate of digestion. This allows the body to use these carbohydrates, as fuel, over a long period of time.

This is why endurance athletes now have a very high complex-carbohydrate diet. The problem with simple carbohydrates like refined sugar or white flour is that they don't have any fibre to slow the rate of digestion. As a result, they are very quickly digested, so the body is hit with a great boost of energy. That would be fine if you immediately go for a run or a vigorous work out, but if you are just sitting, watching TV, or in a car or office, then the body cannot use this energy. So it has no choice but to convert nearly all the sugar you have eaten into fat. Simple carbohydrates like refined sugar and white flour are not natural foods. Sugar is derived from plants like cane, beet and corn where the fibre has been completely stripped from them, resulting in a very unnatural food that the bodies of most people do not know how to deal with except to turn into fat..

Processed food is the biggest cause of obesity.
Processed food is the biggest cause of obesity.

So if sugar is the main cause of obesity, why doesn't the food industry do something about it?

The biggest problem in selling food is spoilage. Most food has to be eaten within a short period of time, or it will decompose. The food industry overcomes this by refrigeration, canning or the use of preservatives, the main ones being salt and sugar. What is not so well known, is that both salt and sugar are anti-bacterial; they kill any bacteria in the food and this gives it a very long shelf-life at room temperature.

The big advantage of salt and sugar as preservatives is that they both taste nice. So it seems to be a win-win situation for food manufacturers. Adding salt and sugar preserves food and makes it taste better than natural foods. The downside is that too much sugar and salt is bad for our health. Sugar is the worst, as it causes you to put on weight and causes diabetes, cancers, strokes and heart disease.

It's ironic that in recent years food manufacturers have reduced the amount of salt in their food because too much causes high blood pressure and cancer. As a result, they have increased the amount of sugar in their foods to compensate for this, but sugar is far more damaging to our health than salt. The food industry is willing to reduce fat and salt in their food but not sugar, because they recognise that people are unlikely to buy their products without it

Sugar in baby foods

Food manufacturers sometimes substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar where they can, yet the introduction of these hasn't stopped the obesity epidemic. The reason for this might be the fact that these artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar. In theory this should be a good thing as less can be used, but unfortunately, what they do is educate our taste buds to like even sweeter foods.

So people get hooked on eating only processed foods, because they're sweeter than natural ones. Another problem with artificial sweeteners is that they are not preservatives, like sugar or salt. This is why you don't see much of them in biscuits or confectionery.

The food industry is a multi-billion dollar one and it cannot be easily pushed around. Any TV company or newspaper writing articles on the dangers of sugar will probably find their advertising revenue cut, as food companies will refuse to advertise with them. We cannot expect any help from politicians as they are too corrupt. And we cannot even expect help from scientists, because, as the tobacco industry showed, it was easy to pay scientists to give them research results favourable to smoking. It's just as easy to pay scientists to give favourable research results about sugar.

We should be shocked that food manufacturers put sugar in formula milk for newborn babies and in baby food, to get babies used to the taste of sugar very early in life. They spend billions on advertising high sugar- food, targeted at children. It's no wonder children prefer to eat junk food and not natural food. It's a big concern for mothers who want to look after the health of their children

In the end, it's down to the individual. If you care about your own health and the health of people you know, then it's best to educate yourself about the harmful effects of sugar, then give it up. Your body will thank you.

© 2013 William Bond

Comments

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    • wabond profile imageAUTHOR

      William Bond 

      5 years ago from England

      Thank You Thelma

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      This is a great hub. Thanks for sharing this and I have to share it in fb for my friends to read. Voted up, useful and shared .

    • wabond profile imageAUTHOR

      William Bond 

      5 years ago from England

      Thank you Georgialgal1984. Yes, it is hard to find any processed food without sugar in it. I'm glad to hear it is working for you as well.

    • georgialgal1984 profile image

      Mrs Clark 

      5 years ago from United States

      Great hub! I've also started checking labels. I was amazed at how many items they put sugar in! I also have lost weight by not eating sugar and eating fruit with veggies. Hope you have a wonderful day!

    • wabond profile imageAUTHOR

      William Bond 

      5 years ago from England

      I know I found it very difficult to find any food in the supermarket that didn't have a lot of sugar in it. It is best to buy food grown on a farm and not made in a factory.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      5 years ago from New Jersey

      A lot of people have success with reducing their sugar intake. Like salt, sugar can hide in foods and/or products you would not expect.

    • wabond profile imageAUTHOR

      William Bond 

      5 years ago from England

      Thank you Talev80 for your feedback. Yes, more people need to know that refined sugar is the main cause of weight gain.

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 

      5 years ago

      Thank you so much for this great Hub.

      I voted Up, useful, Awesome & shared with followers.

      You encouraged me to reduce my sugar consumption.

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