Say Goodbye to Sly Sugar, Hello to a Fitter You
Sugar is everywhere, even in the food items you would least expect to find them in. When you’re on a diet and or seeking to improve overall health, sugar is one of the first food groups you should axe.
While substitutes for sugar are now all the rage, sometimes it also pays to examine the labels of the food you eat, because even “healthy” items may be laden with sugar.
JJ Virgin, a nutritionist and fitness trainer, came up with the Sugar Impact Scales in her book “The Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Sugars to Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks.”
This is a new way of looking at the sugar hiding in your food, whether in natural sugars like agave, natural fruit juice, and raw cane sugar, or processed foods. One major emphasis of this diet is on checking the labels of food products you eat or drink for “hidden” sugars that can wreak havoc on your health.
Understanding the Sugar Impact Diet’s Cycles
Getting rid of the sugar in your system and your own sugar cravings is the main goal of the Sugar Impact Diet. Virgin’s book discusses this method, which addresses the gradual process of burning sugar to burning fat as your body’s main fuel. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because the Sugar Impact Diet involves the same process as intermittent fasting, with the only slight difference being an emphasis on sugar.
The Sugar Impact Diet is composed of three cycles, but before you start, there are two initial steps that you need to take. The first is to weigh yourself and measure your waist-to-hip ratio, since this will serve as a starting point, while the second one involves doing an initial inventory of hidden sugars in your diet. That means checking the labels carefully and keenly.
A “taper cycle” is the highlight of the first cycle, which usually lasts for one to two weeks. For this, a switch has to be made from high-sugar impact food to medium-impact ones. Virgin also recommends scheduling meals in such a way that you’re not eating every two hours.
After completing this cycle you’ll notice a reduction in sugar impact symptoms, such as gas and bloating, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, weight loss resistance, and sugar cravings. Retest yourself on the sugar impact quiz at the end of the cycle to track your progress.
Resetting your taste buds and reclaiming sugar sensitivityis the main premise of the second cycle.It’s at this point that you regain the ability to taste how sweet a certain food really is. Virgin says:
“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.”
It’s also at this stage when most people can make the shift from burning to sugar to burning fat as primary fuel. If you’re seriously insulin or leptin resistant, it would take longer.
The main challenge of the third and final cycle is reintroducing your taste buds to medium- or even high-sugar impact food. By now, most people will feel overwhelmed, or even feel bloated or sick, upon tasting extremely sweet food. Because of this, the “psychological grip” on sweet foods decreases, since you don’t want to feel ill from consuming too much sugar.
Striking Sugar Down and Making Your Body Burn More Fat
The Sugar Impact Diet can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding when you finish it. The challenge, however, lies in maintaining your health and weight. Post-Sugar Impact Diet, you can do it by making better food choices and working out consistently.
If you’re craving sugar, try snacking on nuts. These are also great at satisfying hunger pangs. Macadamias and pecans (occasionally) are some of your best bets because they are high in healthy fat (oleic acid) and low in protein. Just remember to eat these in moderation since they can be high in calories. Virgin also warns to watch out for foods that can trigger cravings.
Moreover, since the Sugar Impact Diet involves fasting intermittently, your best food choices would include:
- Healthy fats like avocadoes, coconut oil, eggs, and raw, grass-fed butter
- Protein like grass-fed beef and chicken
- Unlimited amounts of fresh, GMO-free, and organic vegetables (even better if they are fermented or cultured, as they can help reduce sugar cravings)
Apart from a healthy diet, you’ve got to keep moving right? My main workout of choice is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and Virgin echoes this sentiment. HIIT workouts promote health and muscle growth, and at the same time burn your fat. You can also expect higher energy levels, improved cardiovascular health, boost in production of human growth hormone (HGH), and greater endurance, speed, and performance.
HIIT workouts are best done in a fasted state, such as when you’re doing intermittent fasting. Doing so would help repair, restore, and rejuvenate your muscle tissues. Plus, since your body has no “immediate” energy source that can be taken when you eat, fat is burned instead.
When it comes to sugar intake, it pays to know the fine line between what is needed and what is excessive. Yes, your body needs sugar, but in very moderate amounts. With all the dangers you can get from excessive sugar, you have to make sure to monitor your sugar intake so that it will do no harm to your body.
For more information about burning fat for fuel and how hidden sugars in food can affect you, read my latest book, Fat For Fuel, andthe article “How to Lose Weight by Identifying Hidden Sugars in Your Diet.”