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What Is the Purpose of the Sugarbusters Diet?

The main purpose of the Sugarbusters Diet is to help people lose weight while still enabling them to eat foods that are typically avoided in other “fad diets.”   It does not include a schedule of counting calories, measuring waistlines, or getting on the scale.  Rather, it focuses on which foods to eat, when to eat those foods, and the portion-size of a person’s meal.  This diet also encourages the public to engage in something that doctors have been telling us is imperative in the weight-loss process—exercise.  The Sugarbusters Diet concentrates on trimming fat by reducing sugar intake and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle (


How Does the Sugarbusters Diet Supposedly Work?

This diet has a list of the foods one is allowed to eat and the foods that are to be avoided.  The basis of this weight-loss program is to cut the amount of sugar that is in a person’s diet.  “Sugar causes the production of insulin, which, in large amounts, keeps you from losing weight, no matter how strictly you diet or how often you exercise” (  Along with foods that have high sugar content, certain carbohydrates, such as potatoes, white rice, and white bread, which quickly convert to sugar, should be avoided.  During digestion, carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which then enters the blood.  Depending on the carbohydrate that was consumed, the pancreas secretes a certain amount of insulin.  Some carbohydrates are broken down into blood sugar more quickly than others.  Those that are converted at a faster rate are forbidden on this diet.  Such foods cause the body to produce more insulin than needed.  This “extra insulin promotes the storage of fat and slows down the enzyme that helps burn fat” ( 


The Do’s and Don’ts of the Sugarbusters Diet

A person on this diet is recommended to comply with certain eating habits.  Instead of eating processed grain, eating whole grains is much healthier.  Also, lean meats, skinless poultry, fruits, and reduced fat dairy products are allowed with moderation.  In addition, one must be aware of the saturated fat intake for the sake of achieving a desired weight and of reducing the risk of high cholesterol or heart disease ( Vegetables that have high fiber content are highly recommended; however, vegetables, such as carrots, corn, potatoes, and beets should be taken off of one’s diet.  These foods quickly convert into sugar, which eventually results in weight gain (  Aside from the foods that are permitted on this diet, the timing of which one has his or her meal must also be supervised.  It is important to eat three square meals a day, with moderation in mind.  While snacking is allowed if the foods eaten are healthy and small in portion size, the popular idea of having a late night snack is forbidden.  Although this action fulfills the immediate desires for the many Americans who engage in this activity, eating at late hours can be harmful to their health.  “Eating at night before going to bed only raises your insulin level and encourages cholesterol production since most cholesterol is manufactured while you are sleeping” ( 
























Along with following the Sugarbusters Diet for the food recommendations, it is imperative for individuals to exercise regularly.  A suggested goal would be “to exercise at least twenty minutes four days per week” (  Over-exercising can be just as harmful and exhausting to the body as no exercise can be; thus, it is very important to maintain an exercise routine that fulfills one’s own needs.


What Claims Are Made About the Effectiveness of this Diet?

Many people who have brought this diet into their lifestyles have many positive things to say about it.  Judith Weinraub, a staff writer at the Washington Post, tried the diet and said, “the plan had been flexible and very manageable.”  As a result of adhering to this diet, in a period of a week, she “lost three pounds” (  Experts are also raving about the Sugarbusters Diet.  Personal trainers in Hollywood “are spreading the Sugar Busters! gospel among their clientele” ( Testimonials such as these have helped this diet become very popular among the general public.

 What Evidence, if Any, is Offered in Support of the Claim?

The testimonials that are provided on the Sugarbusters Diet are not backed up with concrete evidence.  They are personal success stories that are told by a number of the people who have tried this diet.  Although the website does not go into detail about case studies or scientific research of the Sugarbusters diet, the success stories do provide the public with insight to the effectiveness of it.


Who is Presenting This Information, and Why? 

The information presented on the Sugarbusters Diet is a compilation of ideas that the four authors of this book have formed.  Dr. Samuel S. Andrews is an endocrinologist and a professor at Louisiana State University.  Dr. Luis A. Balart is a gastroenterologist and a hepatologist in New Orleans.  H. Leighton Steward, a CEO of an energy company, has had his own success on the Sugarbusters Diet, and is able to provide personal insight to this program.  Lastly, Dr. Morrison C. Bethea “practices thoracic, cardiac, and vascular surgery in New Orleans” (  These authors present the information and testimonials in order to encourage people to follow the Sugarbusters Diet. 


The Regulation of Body Weight

To maintain a certain body weight, it is necessary to balance the calorie intake with the amount of energy used.  Weight gain and an increase in body fat “occur only when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure” (Hill & Prentice, 1995).  In losing weight the goal is to be sure that the amount of calories in an individual’s diet does not surpass the amount of calories the body burns.  Decreasing the amount of foods, high in energy, sugar, and fat, in one’s diet will result in successful weight loss (Stamler & Dolecek, 1997).   

Does Consuming High Glycemic Index Foods Cause Weight Gain?

The glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly carbohydrates and starches convert into sugar.  High-GI foods convert more quickly than low-GI foods; thus, “resulting in a high glycemic load and increased demand for insulin secretion” (Brand-Miller, 2002).  This increased amount of insulin increases the amount of fat stored in the body.  The Sugarbusters Diet stays away from such foods. 

 In addition, a diet with a high glycemic index causes a hormonal transformation that alters the body’s metabolism, increases hunger, and eventually, leads to weight gain (Ebbeling 2001).  In a long-term study conducted on animal models, it was concluded that a high-GI diet caused them to gain weight.  After a five-week period, the group on a low-GI diet maintained their weight, while the “high-GI group gradually gained weight and were 16% heavier at the end of the study” (Brand-Miller, 2002).  This study supports the central idea of the Sugarbusters Diet, because each agree that foods high in sugar or that convert quickly into sugar are causes of weight gain.

  The Benefits of a Low Glycemic Diet

Low-GI foods, on the other hand, aid in weight control.  One way in which they help is by promoting a high rate of satiety.  The quicker an individual reaches the point of fullness, the less he or she likely to eat.  “16 of 17 studies confirmed that low-GI meals increase fullness to a greater extent than do comparable high-GI meals” (Brand-Miller 2002).


Does the Type of Sugar Effect Energy Expenditure?

The amount of energy expended is not related to the type of carbohydrate consumed.  An individual’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) is not directly associated with the kind of sugar found in one’s diet.  In a study performed on rodents, there was not much of a difference in energy expenditure between diets high in sugar and starch during a 4 week period.  There is “no data available to suggest that the type of carbohydrate in the diet would affect the energy expended in physical activity” (Hill & Prentice, 1995).

    The Sugarbusters Diet does not go into detail about energy expenditure, but it does suggest that its followers stay away from certain carbohydrates, which eventually convert to sugar.  Hill and Prentice’s conclusion does not agree with this diet because they formulate that the type of carbohydrate consumed has no effect on the amount of energy used in one’s body.  Again, the only way it is possible to lose weight is to make sure that the calorie intake is less than the energy expenditure.  The Sugarbusters Diet recommends staying away from certain carbohydrates and sugars (ex: white bread and rice), while studies, such as the one shown above, conclude that the types of these foods do not affect the amount of energy expended.  In essence, Hill and Prentice conclude that fat, not sugar, cause weight gain because the type and amount of sugar consumed does not affect the amount of calories an individual burns (Hill & Prentice, 1995).      




Andrews, S., Bethea, M., Balart, L., and Steward, H.  Sugar Busters.  21 Sept.  2002


Brand-Miller, Janette C. et al.  “Glycemic Index and Obesity.”  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 76 (2002):  281S-285S.


Ebbeling, CB, Pawlak, DB, and Ludwig, DS.  “Childhood Obesity:  Public Health Crisis, Common Sense Cure.”  The Lancet 360.9331 (2002):  473-482.


Hill, James O., and Prentice, Andrew M.  “Sugar and Body Weight Regulation.”  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62 (1995):  264S-274S.


Stamler, Jeremiah, and Dolecek, Therese, A.  “Chapter 13.  Relation of Food and Nutrient Intakes to Body Mass in the Special Intervention and Usual Care Groups in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial.”  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 65 (1997):  366S-373S.



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