The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Look Years Younger
Nutrition is often a controversial topic, and a vast number of dietary fads have come and gone. But The Sugar Detox diet described by nutritionist Brooke Alpert and dermatologist Patricia Farris promises to be successful.
Drawing upon their expert nutritional knowledge as well as the limitations of other diets, the authors hone in on excess sugar consumption as the major culprit in weight gain and poor health in general. They consider sugar usage an addiction, requiring detoxification from the body. Similar to drugs, sugar releases opioids and dopamine, providing effects of euphoria and pleasure.
Dr. Farris and Ms. Alpert write in common language. They engage the reader by presenting a couple of quizzes: “Are You a Sugar Addict?” and “Test Your Sugar IQ.” They present some “Sweet Success” stories in boxes to help convince the reader that the program is indeed effective.
Interspersed within the text are “Sweet Talk” quotes by either author that provide some interesting aspect about a topic. A typical example is: “Don’t get fooled by seaweed salads at Japanese restaurants—they are loaded with sugar!”
The authors immediately start out describing a three-day sugar fix and a three-day skin fix.
This “fix” is deemed necessary to illustrate to the dieter that sugar detoxification is a serious matter and can be difficult.
In Chapter 3, the authors present a concise case for sugar-as-culprit. They point out that many people do not realize how ubiquitous sugar is in the foods they eat. Dietary sugar consists not only of simple sugars, but also the large amount of sugar released from digestion of complex carbohydrates such as grains and starchy vegetables.
Dr. Farris and Ms. Alpert point out that people should not be lulled into a sense of security about the detrimental effects of sugar. The accumulation of visceral fat is a main danger and can occur even in people who do not appear fat. The natural process of the body is to convert glucose to glycogen in the liver; excess amounts of glucose in the blood are converted to fat.
Excess sugar in the blood can bind with proteins and fats to form detrimental complexes called advanced glycation end products. These AGEs can cause serious chronic diseases and increase the amount of wrinkled skin making a person appear old for his or her chronological age.
In Chapter 7, How to Eat, the authors stress that proteins and fats should be eaten at the same time as carbohydrates to reduce the abrupt spike in glucose levels. This brings to mind the balanced diets encouraged by dietitians.
Dr. Farris and Ms. Alpert purposely made the chapter on “What to Eat” more extensive than the chapter on “What Not to Eat,” so that a person on the program will not feel deprived. Sufficient detail is provided in the description of the foods and beverages so that the reader can appreciate the reasons for their value. Foods to avoid are prominently displayed.
“The plan” consists of four weeks following the three-day crash diet. As the program progresses, there is a gradual reintroduction of healthy natural sugars derived from dairy and wine, fruits, and finally grains that have a low glycemic index (slow release of sugars into the blood following digestion). The fourth week of the program also serves as a maintenance diet.
Dr. Farris and Ms. Alpert wisely sought out the advice of a top personal trainer to describe appropriate exercise programs at three levels of intensity. They point out the great value of exercise in promoting uptake of blood sugar and its conversion to glycogen.
The authors provide good guidelines on foods to choose or avoid when dining out, broken down among various ethnic cuisines.
An extensive listing of recipes is included to make it easy for the dieter to follow the plan. They include seasoning mixes, breakfast, entrées, appetizers and snacks.
Three appendices are included. Appendix A shows detailed meal plans for each of the 31 days of the program. Appendix B lists approved commercial brands of packaged foods, while Appendix C lists suggested dermatological products together with descriptions and skin type applications.