Fat Chance

Fat Chance

Fruit juice is evil it turns out. I have discovered this having just finished reading Fat Chance by Robert Lustig. I’ve been reading it to check that there was some scientific sense behind the eating regime I’ve been following since 10 February – trying to cut sugar out of my diet. It’s actually been quite easy to do. I find moderation much harder to stick to than cutting things out all together. So, Ive been living by a few simple rules:

  • No fruit juice
  • No fruit
  • No pasta
  • No rice
  • No bread
  • No sugar in tea or coffee
  • No milk (soya milk instead)
  • No alcohol (except red wine)

Instead I’ve been trying to:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat much more protein (breakfast now involves eggs and beans every day)
  • Eat lots of vegetables
  • Snack with nuts (instead of fruit which I normally gorge on, especially sweet tropical fruits)
  • Eat soups and salads
  • Use lentils
  • Eat plenty of cheese

Having these simple rules and not having to follow a ‘diet’ has worked really well for me. I am enjoying doing it, I have lost weight, and my clothes are fitting better. The reason I can stick to it is that once a week I have a ‘cheat day’ when I eat whatever I like. This means anything I really fancy having during the week I save until my weekend cheat day so it doesn’t seem like such a hardship to go without. It supposedly makes sure that your metabolism doesn’t slow down by getting used to a permanently reduced intake too.

Reading Fat Chance has persuaded me to see that there is some sense behind all this. The author is an expert in treating children with obesity and makes a very convincing case for the problem not being fat, but being sugar. It’s packed with medical and scientific explanations and charts the rise of sugar consumption around the world and  its negative effects. It certainly seems very plausible that the low-fat revolution has done more harm than good, as sugar has been added to make low-fat food palatable, in ever more highly processed packages, whilst real food has been squeezed out of our diet.

Fruit juice is a particular problem. Everyone knows that drinking high sugar soft drinks are bad for you (and sweetened ones are not much better), but turning to fruit juice as I have throughout my life is not the answer. Having stripped out all the fibre you’re basically just drinking sugar. So, if you want to make a difference to your own diet – eat the orange, don’t drink it.

Easter Egg anyone?