Saturday, April 09, 2016

That Sugar Film

That Sugar Film is a 2014 Australian documentary about sugar and its effects on our health, even in "normal" doses.  The film's presenter (and director), Damon Gameau, records his experiment to switch from his healthy diet to one that contains the average amount of sugar.  The average Australian consumption was 40 teaspoons per day, so he carefully consumed this for 2 months with the supervision of a team of doctors.

Like his doctors, I was surprised at how fast his health began to deteriorate.

For 60 days he consumed 40 tsp/day of sugar (~167 grams), but only in hidden sugars found in common foods.  No soft drinks, chocolate, candy, or ice cream.  He kept the daily calories constant.  Soon he began experiencing mood swings, sugar cravings, acne, frequent snacking, and lack of satiety.  At the end of the 60 days he had gained 8.5 kg in weight, 7% in body fat, and 10 cm in waist measurement.

After watching that film, I decided to change my diet and reduce the amount of sugar I consumed.  In many ways, this is the same as a low-carb diet, because most of the sugar I was eating came from carbs (and not the carbs found in fresh veggies).  It's been about six months since I started.  I'm glad I did.  I've lost almost 20 lbs without any change in exercise regimen.  I feel better.  I've had to buy new pants with a smaller waist size.  Other than that, the weight loss isn't really noticeable.  I must be a bit TOFI (thin on the outside, fat on the inside).  I hope this means I'm reducing the fat deposits in and around my liver and pancreas and such.  That should help me to stave off metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.

I'm not entirely ignorant on the topic, as I've read several books including Gary Taubes' popular book Why We Get Fat and I've been reading and watching Dr. Robert Lustig for years.  Here's a short article from Lustig explaining how all calories are not equal

I encourage others to reduce the sugar in their diet.  It's not a prison sentence.  You can change your mind at any time.  I won't preach, that'd be hypocritical.  Heck, I like Cool Whip!  Although I stopped eating that because it's bad for me.  But I'll save that for another post.  

It might be due to confirmation bias, but I liked the film.  If you're interested in learning more, then you can rent the movie from Netflix.  That's where I got it.  Here's the NY Times review.

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