My initial post on the book I Quit Sugar went up on Friday and I had lots of interesting comments and feedback. I realize that post was a bit general so this post I am going to attempt to dive more into the actual contents of the book.
I think the most important thing about this book, and what appealed to me more than anything, is the program is described as an experiment. It’s not a diet. It’s not a lifestyle change. It’s an 8-week experiment to see how you feel going off of sugar. If after eight weeks you don’t feel much different and miss chocolate too much then you go back to eating chocolate. Anybody can do anything for 8 weeks and I can certainly handle 8 weeks without fruit or chocolate if it’s going to show me a change in my energy levels and how I feel. As an aside, I’m going into week 4 right now and the cravings were pretty intense this weekend, so I’m thinking I’m not quite past the hardest part yet!
I Quit Sugar is broken up into eight sections, one for each week of the experiment. And each section addresses what you may be feeling that week. Another thing I loved about the book is that it recommends you simply cut back on sugar for the first two weeks (I however just went cold turkey from week one) and I think that’s a really realistic way to approach this, especially if you eat a lot of it.
Some things that really resonated with me…
1. Fructose makes us eat more
“This is because back when we were cave people, sugar was both highly valuable (as insta-energy) and extremely rare (a berry here and there). Thus we evolved with no fructose “full switch”.”
I really related to this because I do struggle the most with binge eating around sugar. Why stop at one cookie when there are four in front of me? Eating only one bite of cake? Pleaseeeee, give me the whole slice!
2. Fructose converts directly to fat
“The way fructose is converted in our bodies means it’s not used upfront as energy, but converted directly to fat.”
3. Sugar has been shown to muck with our hormonal systems
“This leads to cravings and deficiencies which adds to the binge cycles. When we’re in balance, and eating no sugar, our bodies find a happy homeostasis. A happy weight. We have few cravings. We get full and genuinely lose interest in food.”
This may not be true for everyone but it has certainly proved true for me. My cravings are way down since I quit eating sugar and I feel less controlled by what I WANT to eat and find it easier to eat foods I SHOULD be eating.
4. General rule of thumb is eat products with less than 3-6 g of sugar per 100g or 100mls and for dairy stay under 8g of sugar per 100g or 100mls.
I like this rule of thumb because it makes it easier for me when reading food labels.
On the whole fruit thing…
I get more negative feedback on this than anything else about this whole quitting sugar program. So rather than even try to summarize this I took some information directly out of the book. I do not intend to give up fruit forever and hope to add back in 1-2 pieces a day as a treat in the next few weeks.
So what am I eating?
For breakfast I’m having steel cut oats made with coconut milk and mixed up with some sliced almonds, shredded coconut and a small scoop of natural peanut butter (I Quit Sugar talks a lot about how awesome coconut milk/oil/cream/shavings etc are for you because they don’t contain fructose). This isn’t much different than what I used to eat other than it doesn’t include banana.
More cheese! The first week I really relied on cheese when I was having sugar cravings which is what Sarah’s book recommends. Week two is all about eating more fat and protein. I’ve since cut back my cheese consumption as I’ve gotten more used to being off sugar!
GREENS! I think it’s pretty well-known that anything green is good for you and I’ve been eating more and more vegetables and greens than ever before the last three weeks; kale, spinach, broccoli, leeks and green beans are some of my favourites!
On long runs I’ve been experimenting with almonds and coconut water. So far it’s working well for me though my longest run has only been 2 hours and 20 minutes so I’m not sure if I would need more as the mileage builds. I have some long distance races on my plate this year so I’ll need to do some research on this.
Real lattes! A non-fat vanilla latte or non-fat pumpkin spice latte used to be my signature drink. Since giving up sugar I’ve been drinking plain, full-fat lattes and dear god they are delicious and satisfying. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to sugary lattes again.
Here is some more (free!) reading on sugar if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and buy the book:
- Is Sugar Toxic - New York Times
- Sugar: The Bitter Truth – YouTube documentary
- Time to Rethink Sugary Drinks – Heart Foundation
- Heart Surgeon speaks out on what really causes heart disease – sott.net
- Teach every child about food – Jamie Oliver’s Ted Talk
Also check out the #iqs hashtag on twitter for lots more interesting articles and knowledge
Some reading on fat:
- Is it really OK to eat fat? – Sarah Wilson
- Big Fat Lies – a short YouTube video that’s really interesting!
- Why women need fat – Salon
I also highly recommend anyone who has Netflix check out the documentary Hungry for Change. I watched it last night. It was fascinating and served as a good reminder as to why I’m doing this whole quitting sugar experiment in the first place.
If you are intrigued by what I’ve been talking about in these last couple of posts the I Quit Sugar book and cookbook (or you can purchase the bundle deal!) are 50% off until tomorrow! I bought the cookbook this weekend and I’m very excited to try some recipes from it.
Hopefully this answered some of the questions from Friday. Let me know if you have any more. Happy Monday!
Full disclosure: I’m a part of the affiliate program for the book so will receive a small amount of compensation if you buy the book using the links above.