Popular Diets Reviewed: Sugar Busters Diet
The Sugar Busters Diet is another plan that came out during the rise of the low carb craze in the mid-1990’s. Released in 1995, right around the time Atkins released his New Diet Revolution, Sugar Busters focuses on elminating sugar and other high glycemic carbohydrates.
High glycemic foods are ones that cause a sudden rise in blood sugar levels and many diets, like Sugar Busters, associate these foods with weight gain. The author asserts that carbohydrates, and specifically starches, are toxic foods that lead to an increase in insulin production, which causes our body to store excess sugar and fat and make cholesterol. This book claims that high glycemic foods create a greater insulin response, which leads to more fat storage.
The Sugar Busters diet eliminates all refined sugar and flours, including all foods made with these products such as cake, cookies, bread, bagels and crackers. It also eliminates potatoes, corn, carrots and white rice. Small amounts of whole wheat bread and pasta are allowed, as are oats.
Foods You Can Eat
People who follow the Sugar Busters diet consume about 30% of their calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 40% from fat. The plan encourages a diet rich in meat, poultry, fish, olive oil, dairy and nuts. Some fruits and vegetables are also allowed. And as I mentioned above, you can also eat small amounts of whole wheat bread and pasta.
Unlike other low carbohydrate diets like Atkins and The South Beach Diet, this plan does not have phases. In fact, there is very little structure in this diet aside from general recommendations for portion size and meal composition. The book does provide a 14-day sample menu and recipes.
The insulin/weight gain discussion, which is basis for this and other low carbohydrate diets, remains controversial and unproven. While one should be weary of any diet that limits fruits and vegetables, which provide valuable vitamins and nutrients, this diet allows fruits and vegetables from the beginning. And only limits certain varieties. It also allows whole grains in moderation.
I cannot argue with the recommendation to avoid refined sugars and flours, which are found in many processed foods and provide little to no nutritional value. Consuming less sugar is always a good thing.
*Grade: A. While the diet limits carbohydrates, it does allow whole grain pasta and bread in moderation and only limits certain kinds of fruits and vegetables. Unlike other low carbohydrate diets, it does not include a beginning phase that excludes specific food groups. This diet also encourages lean meats and healthy monounsaturated fats.
*** Popular Diet Rating Syste:** This diet meets accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It recommends food from all food groups with an emphasis on healthy choices within each food group.
B: This diet meets most accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It emphasizes healthy foods but does not include food from all food groups.
C: This diet only meets some accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It does not differentiate between food choices in each food group and therefore does not emphasize healthy foods.
D: This diet does only meets one or two accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet.
F: This diet does not meet any accepted standards for a healthy well-balanced diet. It does not differentiate between healthy foods and unhealthy foods and/or does not meet caloric needs.
Heather wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Food & Nutrition.