An extract from the Sweet Poison Quit Plan
Sugar makes you fat. It is converted directly to fat by your liver and it destroys your appetite control so that you want to eat more of everything. The more sugar you eat, the fatter you will be. If you stop eating sugar, you will stop gaining weight. Even better, you will start to lose weight dramatically You will still eat as much as you want of anything you want as long as it doesn’t contain sugar. And you won’t feel deprived in any way. In fact, you won’t feel like you’re dieting at all – because you aren’t.
I lost 40 kg by simply eliminating sugar from my life. Five years later, the weight is still gone. I didn’t do that with a diet (no sane person could). All I did was eliminate the substance that was mak ing me fat and sick: sugar. There’s just one little catch (you knew there had to be one, didn’t you?). Sugar is as addictive as nicotine, so breaking its grip requires some techniques.
This book sets out a five-step plan for breaking your sugar addiction. None of it is painful or difficult. As long as you follow the rules, before you know it you will have broken your addiction and be on your way to a permanently slimmer and healthier you.
I don’t remember my first taste of sugar and neither do you. Perhaps it was in your first feeder cup of diluted apple juice. Sugar is the only highly addictive drug that we feed to babies. By the time any of us are conscious of sugar, we are already well and truly addicted. Our brains have been hard-wired to seek out sugar as surely as the cocaine addict is wired to seek out stuff to sniff.
We don’t think of sugar as an addictive drug. We don’t have to meet chaps with questionable personal hygiene on street corners to acquire it. There are no warning labels on products containing it. And our health authorities even recommend that we consume it (in moderation, of course). But research tells us that sugar is highly addictive. Not in a smashed-out-of-your-brain, high-as-a-kite kind of way, but in a more subtle, deceiving, I-can-give-up-anytime-I- want kind of way – a bit like nicotine.
Most smokers think they can give up their nicotine addiction easily. That is, until they try to do it. Then they discover there is nothing easy about giving up. But compared to someone addicted to sugar, a smoker has it very easy indeed.
A smoker is addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is found in ciga rettes, cigars, tobacco and insecticide. It’s not the kind of thing you’re likely to come across by accident. Anyone consuming it is doing so very much on purpose. If you decide that you no longer wish to be addicted to nicotine, there is a very short list of things you should do:
- Do not put cigarette in mouth.
- If cigarette is discovered in mouth, do not light.
- Do not drink insecticide.
However, imagine how hard it would be to break an addiction to nicotine if it were in everything you ate and drank – like sugar. Unlike smoking, eating is not optional.
This book is about how to break your addiction to sugar. My first book, Sweet Poison: Why sugar makes us fat, is all about the science of exactly how bad sugar is for us. In it I document my per sonal journey from ignorant fat guy to well-researched healthy guy I’m not a biochemist or a doctor. In fact, I have no medical training at all. I was simply a very overweight lawyer with a desperate need to know why I could never lose weight no matter how hard I tried.
I had to train myself to read medical journals, to understand what they were saying, and to recognise reputable research from unproven statements. I used my legal training to gather the evi dence for and against the theory that sugar was the cause of many (if not most) of the chronic diseases we face today – including my obesity
I took notes so I could remember how it all worked and those notes turned into a book for people who want to know why sugar is killing them. Sweet Poison is also a case study (of one). It not only documents what the science says, but it tells the story of how I used my new knowledge to change my life. I’ve summarised much of what I found in some of the first chapters of this book.
Sweet Poison doesn’t, however, talk about the science of addic tion. This is an area of medical science that has expanded significantly in the last few years. The main reason for this is that we are begin ning to gain a much clearer understanding of the mechanics of the way our brain does its thing. And along with that understanding comes some very clear ideas about how to mess up these mechan ics. I’ll be talking about some of the recent studies on addiction as we get into the book.
Once I’ve convinced you that sugar will make you fat, give you diabetes, clog your arteries and give you Alzheimer’s disease (to name just a few of its delights), I will show you exactly how to break your addiction to sugar. Breaking this addiction will not require willpower. And it will not require deprivation. It will, however, require rules that you will need to stick to. Once you break the addiction, you won’t need the rules any more. Most people do not feel deprived of cocaine, nor do they have to exercise willpower to avoid purchasing it. This is because most people are not addicted to cocaine. Similarly, you won’t need to exercise willpower around sugar or feel deprived when you don’t have it once you break the addiction.[blockquote]It makes such a difference not having to say ‘I am trying a new diet’ again and again and yet again. I am sure my friends see me as ‘the boy who cried wolf’ (or should that be ‘the girl who tried diet’?).
I have been sugar-aware for about 10 days, and have lost 2.5kg – fantastic! And it’s so easy. I am walking ‘cos I enjoy it and have found a very low or sugar-free version of most things I like. Except chocolate – there was some at work yesterday and, oddly enough, I wasn’t even interested.
*The case studies in this book are direct quotes from posts to the free Sweet Poison Forum
Because you’re clearly highly intelligent (well, you bought this book, didn’t you?), you may already have noticed my first rule in action: I never refer to what you are about to undertake as ‘giv ing up sugar’. ‘Giving up’ implies deprivation. If you think about this process as depriving yourself of sugar, you will never break the addiction. Having the right attitude is critically important to successfully breaking this (or any) addiction, and the right attitude starts with how you describe what you’re doing. You are not giving up sugar; you are breaking a sugar addiction. Start the process now by telling people that this is (what you are doing. Go on!
Most diet books give you lots of complicated rules and proce dures to follow. You may eat only an organic grape picked by a gorilla from the north-eastern side of Mt Ki!imanjaro between 2.32 p.m. and 3.17 p.m. on a Tuesday in August. It must be eaten whilst balancing on one foot. And you may only eat it in combination with lettuce on Fridays before midday. But along with all the complexity comes a very basic set of presumptions about how the body works. Fat makes you fat. Exercise makes you thin. Your liver needs to be detoxified (with lemons?).
This book is exactly the opposite. The rules are simple and broad. Eat anything you like as long as it doesn’t taste sweet. Eat it when ever you like and eat as much as you like, just stop when you feel full. Simple. But the reasons for these rules are based on detailed and thorough analysis of exactly how our body deals with food: what hormones are involved and what the cascade of disease effects are. In other words, this is not a diet book with simple presumptions and complex rules; it is an anti-diet book with detailed evidence but simple rules.
In law, we refer to ‘bright-line rules’. These occur when, given some objective facts, the outcome is known and predictable every single time, no matter what else is happening. Bright-line rules are to be distinguished from the more touchy-feely case-by-case (or discretionary) rules, in which there is room for interpretation. You experience bright-line rules every day For example, the law says that if you exceed the speed limit, you have committed an offence. There are no special circumstances to take into account. All the enforcer needs to know is the speed limit and your speed.
An example of a rule that is not bright-line is the one you will confront if you exhaust the points on your driving licence. You will be asked to explain why your licence shouldn’t be taken away You may have very good reasons for needing to retain it and you might be allowed to, with certain conditions. The allowable reasons and the possible conditions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Nutritionists are not good at bright-line rules. ‘Eat sugar in moderation’ is not a bright-line rule because everybody’s definition of ‘moderation’ is different. But you can’t have squishy rules when you are breaking an addiction, so you will find only bright-line rules in these pages. These rules will end your sugar addiction, and keep you away from the stuff forever.
In Re-stocking (page 96), I guide you through the sugar-infused minefield known as the local supermarket. The Meal Planner (page 127) gives you a basic plan for eating without sugar. And once you’re ‘on the wagon’, you can use the Recipes (page 191), which include some magnificent treats (like ice-cream and chocolate cake) that you might have thought were simply not possible without sugar. Most importantly, throughout the book you will find the rules you will need (see page 168 for a summary) to get through the with drawal period and live in a society where almost everybody else is addicted.
By the time you get to the end of this book, you will know how to give up sugar forever. Once you implement the bright-line rules, you will never need sugar in your life again, and you will do it all without exercising even the smallest modicum of willpower.