I bought this book by Queenslander David Gillespie MONTHS ago… and promptly hid it on my bookshelf.

At a basic level, I found the cover offensive! Hello, anyone who knows me know that I’m a nutjob for sugar… especially cupcakes. And Coke.

(When I was in primary school, I used to get globs of butter and dip it in white sugar and shove the buttery sugary goodness in my fat gob – as a snack!)

But at the same time, it rang a bell in my sugar-infested mind.

I picked up the book again the other day and I’m about halfway through it now… and a lot of it makes sense. It’s kinda similar to Atkins in that you can “eat all the fatty food you want” with the theory that sugar impacts on your appetite and that, by reducing sugar to a minimum, your body will learn to know when it’s full.

There’s a history of diabetes and heart disease in my family. There is also a suggestion* that high sugar intake increases the chance of getting Dementia. Which my Grandma had and mum is living with now.

* I say “suggestion” because not all of David’s claims are linked directly to a medical research paper. There isn’t even a bibliography.

Some of it is a little bit bullshit too – suggesting that you can have a packet of chippies after you’ve been to the gym doesn’t resonate with me AT ALL. But at the same time, the book argues that “exercising to lose weight” is useless because exercising makes your hungrier. Yes, us fatties who have joined gyms before (and –  ahem – are joining again next week) know this.

I know that sugar is addictive (I used to drink 3 cans of coke between getting home from school and eating dinner). I know that sugar is bad for me, my teeth, my diabetes risk… but I lovvvve sugar!

The problem is that sugar (sucrose, fructose and the other versions the book has taught me about, but I can’t remember without having the book glued to my eyeballs)   is in almost everything. Did you know that Balsamic Vinegar doesn’t have any actual vinegar in it? So it falls into the same category as fruit juice – you’re better off eating the original fruit (that said, I don’t plan on chugging down a 600ml bottle of the ol’ Balsamic with my Mars Bar).

But now I’m wondering if I can really DO this? I’ve read up on how sugar impacts on appetites, cravings, moods, even PMS… and I’ve read up on what can happen when you go through sugar withdrawal. I’ve learned that you can’t eat chocolate, or retail ice-cream. But with the right ingredients, you can make your own cakes (even cupcakes!) and ice cream and whatnot.

But am I ready to be a social outcast? To be honest, I think I’d rather go without sugar than be gluten-intolerant – imagine not having nice, SR flour or bread! I’ve read that someone got around the social stigma of being anti-sugar by describing themselves as “fructose-intolerant”… doesn’t sound too bad, right?

But considering I used to eat Nutella out of the jar and have lived a sugar-filled life for as long as I can remember (I even used to mix OJ and icing sugar for an after school snack – it’s any wonder that I’m still standing), I’m erring on the side of “get off the sweet stuff already, fatty pants”.

I’ve gone on countless “diets” and “lifestyle changes” and none of it works. I’m reading how all these people give up sugar and within weeks get to a point of sitting in front of a piece of chocolate cake and not even wanting to lick the icing off. And you know what? That sounds kinda liberating.

And yes, there’s sugar in fruit, but apparently limiting your fruit intake to 2 pieces a day (and opting for a low fructose/high fibre option) is pretty okay.

I think my body is telling me to give up on sugar, too. The last couple of weeks I’ve been drinking Coke Zero – willingly – and finding sugar’s putting me off. The other day I even chose a Snickers over a Mars Bar… a minor thing, yes, but I chose nuts over caramel? Woah.

I’ve been wanting to find a reason to really eat better – almost in a get-diagnosed-with-something kind of way. Which is really really stupid. But reading David’s book and having it spelled out to me that this shit that I love so much is doing me major damage… it’s already putting me off eating it.

Has anyone made it this far down the page and have any thoughts?

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13 thoughts on “Can I give up on sugar? The Sweet Poison

  1. I know I’m addicted to sugar, the unbearable cravings when you just cannot think of anything other than something yummy. But..not sure I could give it ALL up. Everything in moderation and all that jazz.

    I think coke zero actually makes the sugar cravings worse, so going to cut back on that a lot.

    Good luck if you do decide to, I will be cheering you on :D

    Posted on 17 January 2011 at 5:53 pm
  2. I have SO many thoughts. I am one of those people who have given up sugar and now have no interest in the stuff. None. I was walking to work today (I have SO much more energy) and walked past someone at a cafe eating what looked to be some glorious chocolate concoction, with ice-cream, sauce etc. I honestly felt ill. I just don’t look at it the same anymore. My taste buds have changed, yes, but it’s more than that, it’s my thought process that’s changed. I just don’t care about taste that much anymore because I see past it now. I’ve come to understand that taste, as good as it is, only lasts for a few minutes. But the ramifications of what I’m putting into my body last SO much longer than that. I didn’t see the delicious cake and ice cream I wouldve seen a few months ago – I saw sugar, bad fats, and a portion size that was conpletely ridiculous. I don’t want to put those things in my body. I dont know about this book, I find any kind of “we can make you lose weight by cutting something out” diet are always a bit ridiculous. Anyway I’ve rambled on enough! And I’m at work and should be working. Let’s get together soon and chat cause I’m totally into this shit xx

    Posted on 17 January 2011 at 6:08 pm
  3. Oh and also! Artificial sweeteners can be even worse than sugar in regards to effecting your hunger levels, cravings etc. Amongst other things! Embrace fruit, natures candy!

    Posted on 17 January 2011 at 6:23 pm
  4. I think what all weight-loss plans come down to is eating less and exercising more.

    BUT people assume that weight is the only indication of health and it’s not… I was told once that to eat a balanced diet, we should all be eating about 40 different kinds of food a week. Most people only get to 20-25 (I’m one of them!).

    I know the ‘diet’ I follow (and I hate calling it that) is quite restrictive but the reason I like it, and why I think it works for me, is that I still eat all the major food groups – carbs, protein, veg, dairy etc etc. I think diets that cut out a major part of what you’re used to eating generally lead to you craving that food even more.

    Do you guys have online food shopping? I don’t do it so much now but I had food delivered a lot when I was at uni cos I found it way easier to stick to a budget and not just buy crap loads of snacks. If I was sat in the house and reeeaaallly wanted chocolate or icecream or something I’d have to ask myself if I wanted it enough to walk to the shop to get it… most of the time I didn’t, and on the times when I did, at least I had to do a bit of exercise before I could scoff!

    Also… food for thought… (and assuming costs are about the same in Oz)

    If you drink 2 cans of coke a day and buy them in 6 packs from a supermarket, you’re spending about $585 a year on coke. Just sayin’ ;)

    Posted on 17 January 2011 at 9:07 pm
  5. I started BodyTrim + last week. I am loving it! Basically you et 6 protein based meals a day (3 main, 3 snack), fruit only at breakfast, veggies with lunch and dinner (no spuds, pumpkin, corn or peas) for 5 days a week. One day a week is a free day where you give your metabolism a further boost by doing something out of the ordinary- like a slice of cake or fish and chips or a frozen coke! The following day is protein only. The free day lets you indulge in things you enjoy and don’t have for the rest of the week.

    Go to the website http://www.bodytrim.com.au and do some reading. My sugar cravings are less, but I still have diet coke and the occasional protein bar.

    Posted on 18 January 2011 at 12:05 am
  6. I am starting next week. I am using this week to finish as much as we can from the pantry to save wasting it all, re-stocking pantry, and organising a meal plan for a few weeks.

    We are all excited about starting up.

    Posted on 18 January 2011 at 10:39 am
  7. I was initially attracted to the Sweet Poison Book by the yummy looking cupcake topped with one of my all time favourite jelly sweets. I was of the opinion that Natural Confectionery Snakes were practically a health food! I thought that parts of the book sounded too good to be true and whilst the plan might work for some I thought it most likely wouldn’t for me. I was not only a sugar addict but I was a pusher too. I used to bake the most incredible sugar laden treats and distribute them to those I care most for. I have lost 11kg in 5 months and I am still able to bake treats using dextrose. My mental and physical health has improved and amazingly I am not tempted by the stuff that I used to scoff down. I used to think I was a comfort eater but I was just addicted to sugar. Never going back.

    Posted on 18 January 2011 at 10:42 am
  8. woah! wasn’t expecting 6 of you to reply :)

    it’s been 24hrs without “sugar” so far. apart from some high fructose fruit, I’ve been doing well so far (how long will that last?)

    @leigh i can hardly finish a can of coke zero, and don’t get cravings (I don’t *think*, anyway)

    @ash you crack me up woman! i’m back at work tomorrow (boo) but we should totes gossip about sugar soon xx

    @harriet yeah, we have online shopping here (we aren’t timbucktoo you know ;)) but i’m mostly pretty good when out shopping… and to think i spend all that $ on coke (and v, and everything else) is heartbreaking. no wonder i can’t afford to buy a house

    @fiona i’m so impressed that you’re enjoying bodytrim so far! promise to keep cheering you on over on bloggest loser :)) *shakes pompoms*

    @karen good luck! would love to hear how you go since we’re starting at about the same time (GOOD LUCK!)

    @maree i love that you describe yourself as a pusher – that’s me too! saying your mental health has improved as well gives me hope – that’s one of the biggies I’m hoping happens to me too…

    Thanks girls! :)

    Posted on 18 January 2011 at 1:30 pm
  9. I’m the same as Maree, didn’t believe what I was reading, didn’t think would work for me, etc. I started 5 months ago too and apart from losing 10kg, my pms has DISAPPEARED!!! This is a revelation as I was nearly suicidal for about 10 to 14 days every single month, this is a really bad situation to be in when you have 4 kids and a husband whose an interstate truck driver. I cannot believe how many physical and mental symptoms have just disappeared after giving up sugar. I’d do it just for that, the weight loss is a side benefit, and thats saying something coz I was obese!! cheering you on too :)

    Posted on 18 January 2011 at 2:00 pm
  10. Great post! I gave up sugar in September and can totally hand-on-heart say it’s been worth it. I still want to eat things I probably shouldn’t (as long as they don’t have sugar) but taking away the sugar kind of gave me back my willpower. I don’t feel like my cravings for sugar are ruling my life and eating fruit is something feels like a treat – NEVER thought I would say that! I found that I got quite emotional when I stopped sugar and when I ran out of energy – that was it. But on the plus side, I am sleeping better than I have in years and my skin is absolutely glowing! Good luck with your quest and stick with it – it’s so worth it.

    Posted on 18 January 2011 at 11:18 pm
  11. I say NEVER give up the sugar totally…but yes, say goodbye to Coke and too much sugar and learn to be selective about what treats you eat. [Says me who is a sugar addict too!]

    PLUS I think if you can cut down and only occasionally have something sweet then all the better to really appreciate it.

    Posted on 23 January 2011 at 4:11 pm
  12. I would really like to read the book but it has about 10 reserves on it at our library! So I have just gone cold turkey. Started a week ago, had two week moments when I was out socially (one was a mini pavlova, the other a sundae) but the last of those was Thursday. Today, all I can think about is sugar but I am staying strong. The hardest thing so far has been finding alternatives for snacks so I need to find some foods which I can bake without sugar I think.

    P.S. I am also trying to cut bread too!

    Posted on 23 January 2011 at 10:02 pm
  13. When I was just starting out at uni, I used to eat a whole bag of party mix lollies in one sitting every night. Raw cookie dough? Don’t even *try* to share it with me (Simon learnt that lesson the painful way). I craved sugar like you wouldn’t believe! Fairy bread? Totally reasonable dinner. I feel sick now just thinking about all the sugary goodness I used to wolf down.

    But when Si & I did that crazy diet for 6 months (remember? No gluten, no dairy, no sulphites, no preservatives, no air), my body gradually lost the sugar craving thing & I’m now one of those crazy people you mentioned who turns down desert without a second thought. I don’t ever crave sugar & only eat it if it’s offered to me and I’m hungry.

    I don’t suggest the stupid diet we did, but I promise you it’s not as impossible as it seems to give up the crap. I guess finding the best way to do it is a totally individual thing so I can’t offer many suggestions for getting here, but I have complete faith that you can and WILL do it. And we’ll enjoy sugar-free savoury foods next time we catch up ;)

    Love and luck!! X

    Posted on 25 January 2011 at 1:14 pm