I won’t lie, it was definitely the cover that attracted me to this book. But it was the alarming statistics and wry humour that ensured my completion. This book confirms that we are a world hooked on sugar and rather unwillingly I too seem to be a victim of its deception.
I always thought my diet was a reasonably healthy one. I regularly consume more than the required 5 veggies a day, I drink plenty of water, steer clear from animal products and load up on lentils and legumes. Yes, I indulge in takeaways and cider occasionally, I’m only human afterall, but generally I was pretty happy with the food that fuels my body. This book has made me re-think my eating habits, it has encouraged questions regarding my carb intake and certainly opened my eyes to the role that hidden sugars plays in life.
Now, I’m not a silly person, I understand that if you’re munching on high calorie foods and snacks it’s going to have a negative affect on your system, but the premise of this book, of this experiment, was to establish a link between so called ‘health foods’, hidden sugar and the effect it has on day to day life and the human form. Over a 60 day period, the author, Damon Gameau embarked on a crazy mission to eat 40 teaspoons of sugar per day (no more than 9 teaspoons per day is currently the recommended amount for guys, and 5 for us ladies) not by filling up on doughnuts, chocolate or cakes, but by merely eating foods that the majority of us would regard as healthy and as a good choice.
He had 5 basic rules to follow:
Damon wouldn’t be consuming any extra calories, just sticking to a pretty standard 2,300. Before the experiment his diet was free from all refined sugars and full of chia seeds and kale smoothies. 50% of his calories were coming from good fats, (avocados and nuts) 26% from protein and 24% from carbohydrates. He weighed in at a healthy 76kg and was overall a perfect picture of health.
During the 60 day experiment he would abandon his healthy lifestyle and adopt one that many would assume to be low cal, low fat and low sugar. For example, breakfast on Day 1 consisted of a bowl of Just Right cereal, two scoops of low fat yoghurt and a 400ml glass of apple juice. This, by many, would be considered a healthy start to the day, infact it contains 20 teaspoons of sugar! More than double the recommended daily amount for a guy.
This is what Damon ate during his 60 days of sugar
Other foods that may appear healthy but are actually just sugar in disguise include: museli bars, some contain more sugar than a Kit Kat or Milky Way! Pasta Sauces (and sauces in general), fruit juices, particularly apple and cranberry as these have been known to contain the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke! Low fat mayonnaise and salad dressings, kids lunchbox snacks including fruit bars, fruit rolls and sesame snacks. These are all hidden sugar hotspots and should try to be avoided as much as possible.
Throughout the book there are lots of interesting sugar facts, dietary information and little snippets that will certainly get you thinking about what you’ve been eating recently and how your body is using it to its advantage/disadvantage. There are several interviews with leading scientists and nutritionits that I found very educational and helped to support the ‘war on sugar’. Dentists, doctors and activists all have a say within the covers of this book, but it’s a very easy read and not preachy at all! I finished it in a few hours and immediately felt the need to share my new found wisdom.
I wasn’t particually surprised by the conclusion of the experiment. I knew it would be bad, what surprised me the most (other than the Northern Terrority being the highest consumer of Coca-Cola per captia in the world! What the?!?) was how regularly the food in the ‘No Go Zone’ appears in my pantry and fridge. Dried fruit, baked beans, rice, fruit toast, sesame snacks, are all regular members of Club Maxine. Check my Instagram if you don’t believe me!
Going forward I am going to be very conscience of the food decisions I make. I’m already very aware of hidden animal products in food and drinks, so a few more stats to check shouldn’t be too tricky. And I’m still somewhat desperately trying to shed 5 pounds, so with any luck this new found intelligence will aid my weightloss.
If you’ve read the book I would love to hear what you thought of it and whether you’ll be taking it on board or just filing it with all the other diet and nutrition manuals out there. Share your opinion in the comments below or check out my Instagram and Twitter ✌❤