The flavour of the month

Top this if you can – on exactly the same day that I first heard tell of David Gillespie’s books on the demon sugar, an almost perfect stranger gave me a box of chocolates. I ate the chocolates whilst reading the book. And if David Gillespie has his way, that will be the last sugar I will eat, ever again, in my life.

Gillespie has written two books  on sugar –  Sweet Poison: Why Sugar Makes Us Fat and The Sweet Poison Quit Plan. As if it isn’t enough to be sleepless from aftershocks,  Christchurch citizens – who have taken to Gillespie in a big way – are now both exhausted and dangerously sugar free.  For be warned, following the plan will not be without its little sugar-free highs and lows.

Here’s how it might shape up:

  • The first week you will be very busy trying to work out what you can eat and there are thousands of  shocks to be had here. If you’ve been feeling virtuous tucking into your lunch of yoghurt, a fruit juice and some dried fruit, think again. They are fructose full. They are bad.
  • After about 5 days you could hit a profound sugar low. You could be grumpy, tired, prone to volatile outbursts and have to be restrained from committing library rage whilst pushing a trolley.
  • This is followed by a bad phase where you drink more caffeine and wine than ever before and  seriously consider taking up smoking, segueing  from one addiction (and make no mistake sugar is an addiction) to the next in one smooth action.

But you make it to the end of the first month of the rest of your life. Your complexion is beautiful, your hair shines, you have a waistline and surely your heart is in much better shape. But where is your partner and why are your children hardly speaking to you any more?

So far I have only read the books. They are scary enough to make me want to give up sugar immediately. I’d really like to hear from those of you who have already turned your backs on cupcakes. Forever. Is life still “sweet as”?

42 thoughts on “The flavour of the month

  1. Donna 12 October 2010 / 9:23 am

    Can it be done? I’d love to know!

    For me it is the most addictive substance of all. I can say no to alcohol with ease, don’t smoke & barely a panadol passes my lips … but sugar? Gah!

    • robertafsmith 13 October 2010 / 1:50 pm

      After all that pure living, I say you deserve every grain of sugar you can lay your hands on!

  2. Donna 12 October 2010 / 9:48 am

    And who could resist these literary cakes? mmmmm a slice of Atlas Shrugged for me.

  3. bronnypop 12 October 2010 / 12:41 pm

    Oh! The Very Hungry Caterpillar cake!!!! It made me very hungry.

    • robertafsmith 12 October 2010 / 4:25 pm

      I wish my daughter was still a little girl – this is one birthday cake I think I could have managed. She would have been so proud of me!

  4. Valerie 12 October 2010 / 3:39 pm

    The economy is relying on the staff at Shirley library consuming sugar. Vast quantities of sugar. The local supermarket would go bankrupt if the staff stopped visiting the cake and confectionary aisles. Mr Whippy visits Alma Place every Thursday afternoon and anyday is chocolate day.

    • robertafsmith 12 October 2010 / 4:21 pm

      You are all Sweeties at SH and I have shared some splendid feeds with you, but Bishopdale Library punches way above its weight as a feeder of library staff and I can honestly say I have never been there and not had something to sweeten the day!

      • Valerie 21 October 2010 / 2:02 pm

        It is Thursday afternoon. Mr Whippy will be at the back door of the Shirley Library in five… four…. three…. two… one. He’s late. How rude.

  5. keenan.j 12 October 2010 / 3:46 pm

    I know people who have given up sugar for a month, and you are right – everything seems to be sugar laden. Throughout the process they told me how good they were feeling, full of energy blah blah blah. Didn’t last. I think it’s a bit like going without carbs, ok for a while but then life begins to feel extremely limited and rather sad!

    • robertafsmith 12 October 2010 / 7:20 pm

      I don’t think it is for me, but he is an entertaining writer and the strength of his approach is that it is soooo simple! He says:

      “Most diet books give you lots of complicated rules and procedures to follow. You may eat only an organic grape picked by a gorilla from the north-eastern side of Mt Kiimanjaro between 2.32 p.m. and 3.17 p.m. on a Tuesday in August. It must be eaten whilst balancing on one foot. And you may only eat it in combination with lettuce on Fridays before midday.”

      “Never eat sugar again” is a winner by comparison!

  6. Rich@CW 12 October 2010 / 6:50 pm

    I’m doing it RIGHT NOW and I feel TERRIFIC!!! I feel so good it makes me want to SHOUT it from the ROOFTOPS!!! But the headaches in the first few days really suck. Almost worth giving it up, but if you can battle through… the WORLD is your OYSTER!!! Man I need some chocolate right now.

    • robertafsmith 13 October 2010 / 11:47 am

      To be frank, and you are a sweetie really you are, but you do sound a tad DERANGED right now!

  7. Lisa 12 October 2010 / 7:46 pm

    I am definitely a fructose-free convert since reading David’s first book, and am enjoying the positive comments from others. It is actually incredibly easy to live with once you get past the initial 2 weeks of severe headaches and cravings. As far as I’m concerned, the research makes sense, and I’m going to continue down this road. I have also removed as much sugar as possible from my 11-year-old daughter’s diet, and the improvement in her sleep patterns have been remarkable. Next step is to try some of the recipes in his second book. Thanks David, it’s working for us 🙂

    • robertafsmith 13 October 2010 / 1:52 pm

      I see from the book that women suffer more from the headachy bad phase than men – childbirth and worse withdrawel symptoms, it hardly seems fair! Can’t wait to work with the new improved you at PA.

  8. Allison 12 October 2010 / 8:01 pm

    Turn your back on cupcakes, you say?? Wash your mouth out with soap!

    • robertafsmith 13 October 2010 / 1:59 pm

      Only if it is fructose free soap!

  9. helen 12 October 2010 / 8:25 pm

    OH my gosh, I don’t consider myself a big “sugar eater” but the thought of going without the odd chocolate, or a wonderful slice of cheese cake, homemade elderflower juice, and other treats, well life would be really dull, nothing like walking on the wild side occasionally…I guess I won’t be reading
    any of David Gillespie’s books

    • robertafsmith 13 October 2010 / 1:53 pm

      Not to mention all those fortune cookie chocolates that help me to live a fulfilling life!

    • Lisa 13 October 2010 / 8:09 pm

      I can assure you life is not dull without all that fructose !

  10. Juliet 12 October 2010 / 9:26 pm

    well folks I’m doing sugar free and I like it, I like it, tah dah… Once withdrawal was over I stopped caring about sweet treats, and it’s really rather freeing. David Gillespie pretty much promises you’ll get your appetite control mechanism back to it’s natural balance, and I have to say he is right. 7 weeks so far. There are sweet treats you can make that don’t have fructose… dextrose and glucose can be cleverly used to make party foods. Haven’t tried them yet, but my birthday is looming!

    • robertafsmith 13 October 2010 / 1:54 pm

      Juliet actually understands the chemistry of all of this quite well. I thought I was in Acronym Hell in the chemistry chapter!

    • Lisa 13 October 2010 / 8:10 pm

      Yay ! Another convert. I didn’t think I could do it either, but it is like any addiction, you CAN get over it. Personally, I am fond of lots of other foods, so it’s not a problem – especially as alcohol is also still on the menu; in moderation of course !

      • robertafsmith 14 October 2010 / 9:09 am

        That was my first question – what about my pinot gris?

      • jane 14 October 2010 / 12:03 pm

        How can alcohol be on the menu – it is full of sugar?

      • Lisa 14 October 2010 / 9:44 pm

        Jane, sorry, I should have been more specific about the alcohol being still on the menu. It is rather complex, and if you can get hold of Gillespie’s second book “The Sweet Poison Quit Plan” check out pages 67-70 which outlines the alcohol issue. Basically it boils down to how our body processes ethanol, your choice of alcohol, and making sure you don’t replace the sugar addiction with alcohol addiction. I’m sticking with my dry white wine or vodka and soda water in moderation.

  11. janna 13 October 2010 / 10:05 am

    Its been about 2 or 3 weeks for me without tucking into cakes,sweetened espresso,choccy etc. Mostly I feel so much better although recently I had really sore muscles and felt tired, tired, tired. And craving for choclate! Needless to say I ate some Whittakers Macadamia and the sore muscles went away. I was happy. Next day I realised I must have been having a bit of a ‘turn’due to detox. That was AFTER I relieved at SH for a team meeting and fell prey to the choccy biscuits left out for feasting on. I felt awful after I ate them too. It was like when I was giving up ciggies and would have one after which I would have a taste in my mouth akin to licking an ashtray. (not that i’d ever stooped to licking out an ashtray!) So…back to day one. Im not a religious zealot about sugar free, I dont read labels re sugar yet. I simply dont do the copious amounts I used to do. And i dont add it to anything anymore. Im starting to notice that I crave sugar when Im tired or thirsty.

    • Roberta Smith 13 October 2010 / 2:30 pm

      Yeah, those choccie biscuits were the work of the devil – Hang in there Janna!

  12. JD 13 October 2010 / 11:04 am

    This is nothing new surely?! Don’t we all know that refined sugar is pure energy without any nutritional benefit? If our energy output is greater than our energy input then of course we’ll lose weight? But is that really the point, or just an added benefit? Oh and by the way, less energy in doesn’t have to mean less food!
    Before David Gillespie there was William Dufty. His book “Sugar blues” was published in 1975 and and “reviews the history and folklore, medical and otherwise, of refined sucrose and explains the ubiquitous chemical’s threats to health”. It includes recipes as well. For anyone interested in the topic I’d highly recommend it.
    Without being overly pedantic I went sugar free for over a year and felt great. I was surprised how many products have added sugar. It’s not just lollies, cakes, and biscuits you should be worried about. And after reading Dufty’s book you will be worried!

    • Lisa 13 October 2010 / 8:14 pm

      That’s right. All those “low-fat” products are loaded with sugar, otherwise they would be fairly tasteless and no-one would buy them. Not to mention the vast array of cereals and sauces on the market today. It’s actually refreshing not to have so much choice, supermarket shopping is now much simpler since I’ve pretty much eliminated the fructose side of things. Will check out Dufty’s book. Thanks !

  13. robertafsmith 13 October 2010 / 1:55 pm

    I think it was the role of fructose that was an eye-opener for me.

  14. purplerulz 14 October 2010 / 2:35 pm

    I gave it up, cold turkey a few years back, no sugar at all, did for a year, and that and with walking for an hour a day, helped me loose 40kgs! Felt so much better etc etc blah blah. Trouble is, you let a little in, it all goes down hill, like a junkie – I can handle just one square, just one little fix, all will be well, then wham, you right back into the choco-vortex!!
    And OMG Janna – Whittakers Macadamia – could there BE a more perfect food!???!!

    • onederccl 17 October 2010 / 12:17 pm

      Yes, white chocolate and macadamia brownie.

  15. Juliet 14 October 2010 / 4:25 pm

    Sugar: The Bitter Truth

    Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology

    the science is impressive, about the long term chronic toxicity of Fructose. The scientist on this clip (1.5 hrs long) will get you off sugar, he certainly backs up what David Gillespie says. If you can hack a little Bio-chemistry you will like this video. Lustig works with obese children in the States.

  16. Maree 15 October 2010 / 7:45 pm

    I heard David on radio and thought he made lots of sense. Bought the book and it has been the best $20 ever spent. So simple. I can eat anything I like and as much as I like so long as it contains little or no fructose. I feel so much better. Have lost 7kgs in 3 months. What’s more I have loved baking some of the recipes from David’s book. Just finished eating a batch of Anzac biscuits which I highly recommend you try once you have withdrawn from sugar.

  17. onederccl 17 October 2010 / 12:15 pm

    32 comments! Roberta, I think you may be THE most popular blogger at CCL! Either that or sugar is just as addictive to talk about as it is to eat!

    • robertafsmith 17 October 2010 / 6:00 pm

      Bear in mind Oneder that I wrote half the comments myself as replies! That said, I do seem to have tapped in to a deep vein of sweet stuff here. Who’d have thought?

  18. JD 18 October 2010 / 1:13 pm

    Does anyone know which one of his books has the most recipes in it?

  19. JD 18 October 2010 / 1:27 pm

    As far as I’m aware, he has only published two books, and only the second one has recipes in it. I’m still trying to find dextrose to replace sugar for baking purposes, but can’t find it at Countdown. Might have to go to the beer making shop.

  20. Lisa 18 October 2010 / 1:28 pm

    Sorry, forgot to change the details before I left my reply. Previous reply is from me, not JD. So don’t worry, she’s not answering her own questions !

    As far as I’m aware, he has only published two books, and only the second one has recipes in it. I’m still trying to find dextrose to replace sugar for baking purposes, but can’t find it at Countdown. Might have to go to the beer making shop.

    • JD 18 October 2010 / 2:09 pm

      Thanks Lisa.

  21. Juliet 18 October 2010 / 9:24 pm

    Important point for those of you interested in the recipes…the recipes are for sweet treats, for occasional use (Party Foods) if weight loss and heart health is your goal these should be kept to a minimum. The overall new skill needed is still to get used to less sweet stuff in your diet!! (this one has a free part and a pay component)

    also a Facebook “Sweet Poison” page

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