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How to Lose Weight on a Low-Carb or Glycemic-Index Diet


©2006 Publications International, Ltd.SugarBusters! incorporates unprocessed, whole foods.

SugarBusters! is a glycemic-index diet that eliminates sugar and foods high in sugar. Learn more in this section.

SugarBusters!: The Premise


This diet program, described most recently in The New SugarBusters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat, has become a virtual classic among dieters. The message is straightforward and clear: Sugar makes you fat; only by avoiding it, as well as foods that cause blood sugar to rise, can you hope to lose weight and keep it off. The diet doesn't restrict your total carbohydrate intake, but it prohibits or severely restricts certain carbohydrate foods such as refined sugar, honey, white potatoes, white bread, beer, rice, pasta, and corn. SugarBusters! also includes a little bit of food-combining theory in the mix, recommending that you eat fruits by themselves. You don't need to count calories, weigh foods, or calculate grams of carbohydrates on this plan, but you are expected to balance the portions on your plate and "eyeball" your portion sizes. And no going back for seconds or thirds.

The Rationale

What's for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner?The SugarBusters! diet is based on low glycemic-index (GI) carbohydrates (those with the least effect on blood sugar levels), including high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; lean meats; and fats. The book has several charts showing the GI of foods, as well as lists of acceptable foods and foods to avoid. According to the SugarBusters! theory, the lower a food's GI, the less effect it has on blood sugar levels and the better it is for weight loss.Because you'll be eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you'll be taking in lots more vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (disease-preventing compounds found in plant foods). The book provides two weeks of sample menus; about one-fourth of the book is devoted to SugarBusters!-friendly recipes. Although you don't have to count carbohydrate grams on this diet, by avoiding refined sugar and processed grain products, you'll likely eat fewer carbohydrates than you do now. The SugarBusters! Cookbook offers 175 recipes that fit into the SugarBusters! Meal plans and a shopper's guide for easy access to guidelines while shopping.

Fact or Fiction: What the Experts Say This is an area of controversy. Proponents of the insulin theory say that eating a diet full of high glycemic-index foods causes the body to overproduce insulin, prevents the breakdown of fat, and encourages fat storage. Opponents believe that overproduction of insulin is caused by insulin resistance, in which fat, liver, and muscle cells become insensitive to normal levels of insulin. With insulin resistance, larger and larger amounts of insulin are pumped into the blood in an effort to lower blood sugar. This, they say, is caused by obesity. Insulin-theory proponents, on the other hand, say that overproduction of insulin is the cause, rather than the effect, of weight gain.

There's research to back up both points of view. According to Hope Warshaw, M.MSc., R.D., a certified diabetes educator and author of Diabetes and Meal Planning Made Easy, eating too much of any kind of carbohydrate can cause too much insulin to be produced, and it can result in weight gain because of the extra calories. The general recommendation today, even for people with diabetes, is to tightly control the total number of carbohydrate grams you eat each day rather than worry about their source.

Gains and Losses/What's the Damage?

If you set aside some unproven explanations as to why the diet works, SugarBusters! offers up a healthful diet plan that encourages dieters to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding junk foods and sweet desserts. However, physical activity takes a back seat in this diet. The suggestion to exercise for at least 20 minutes four days per week is considerably less than the amount of exercise recommended in current national guidelines. A change in diet combined with an increase in regular physical activity is the best formula for weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. Very little dairy is included in the SugarBusters! diet plan, so it's likely to be low in calcium and vitamin D. But a multivitamin plus a calcium supplement should be more than enough to make up the difference.

We'll talk about the famous South Beach Diet in the next section.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.