In the documentary That Sugar Film, Damon Gameau turned himself into a human lab rat and ate the way most other Australian men do: eating 40 teaspoons of sugar a day from perceived ‘healthy’ foods.
During the low fat movement in the 90’s, the food industry took advantage of the latest headlines that ‘fat makes you fat’ by replacing the natural fat in everyday foods with sugar to compensate for the lack of flavour. Sugar is now found in so many products that if you took away everything in the supermarket that contains sugar, you would only be left with 20% of the whole shop to choose from (i.e. the real food).
After just 60 days of the experiment, Damon had gained 8.5 kg even though he did the same amount of exercise and ate the same number of calories as before. Not only was he on the verge of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but his liver cells were physically dying! Damon’s waist circumference increased by 10 cm which means that he gained visceral fat around his abdomen – this is a metabolically active type of fat that’s linked to type 2 diabetes and hormone destruction.
The worst part of these results is that during the whole experiment, Damon only ate foods that are considered to be ‘healthy’ and never went anywhere near junk food or fizzy drinks. He went from eating poached eggs and avocado for breakfast, a salad sandwich and a green smoothie for lunch, and chicken and veges for dinner to eating packaged cereal and low fat yoghurt for breakfast, an apple juice and Subway for lunch, and chicken and veges for dinner that had been drowned in a ready made sauce. His original diet was almost sugar free but his new one had 40 teaspoons in it!
Damon went from lasting for hours between meals and being fully satisfied, to craving another ‘healthy’ fruit and muesli bar after only 45 minutes since his last ‘low fat’ meal.
How to beat sugar:
- Read the labels of everything: remember that 4 g of sugar = 1 teaspoon
- Ingredients are listed in the order of quantity so the first few ingredients are quite important
- Don’t buy low fat products that aren’t naturally low in fat e.g. yoghurt and mayonnaise
- Yoghurt should have 4.7 g/ 100 g of sugar in it from the natural sugar lactose but any more is added sugar
- Cook from scratch! This is key to knowing what you are putting into your body.
- Premade sauces, muesli bars, cereals etc are packed full of sugar
- Drink mostly water and tea
- Fat (from real food) doesn’t make you fat!
- The experiment proved that a calorie is not a calorie. Damon still gained weight on the ‘low fat’ diet even though he never changed the number of calories he ate and still did the same amount of exercise.
- Choose fresh over dried fruit
- A box of raisins contains about 91 raisins but if they were fresh grapes it would be almost impossible to even eat 40 in one go!