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Positives and Negatives of the Sugar Busters Diet

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Updated January 21, 2007

Sugar Busters Diet Book

Note:

This discussion of the positives and negatives of Sugar Busters is apart from those of low carb diets in general. People whose bodies are suited to reduced carb eating tend to feel better on them, be less hungry, and have positive health responses (lower triglycerides and blood glucose; lower blood pressure, higher HDL, among others).

Positives of the Sugar Busters Diet:



Super-Simplicity: This diet could not be simpler. There are no phases, no counting, no measuring, and very little special knowledge needed. To follow the basic diet, you just need to be able to identify a few ingredients and foods to stay away from (to be sure, those foods are everywhere, so it’s not necessarily easy, but it’s simple).
High in Fiber and Phytonutrients: Getting 40% of your calories from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains makes it easy to eat a nutrient-rich diet that is high in fiber and phytonutrients.
Low in Saturated Fat: Although Sugar Busters doesn’t have the same emphasis on this as a diet such as the Zone or South Beach, the authors of Sugar Busters do talk about eating less saturated fat. Though the jury is still out on some of the ins and outs of saturated fats and low carb diets, this is probably a good thing in a moderate-carb diet.

Negatives of the Sugar Busters Diet:


The Book: The book has a lot of good information in it, but it’s not that easy to zero in on the diet. People will generally go to the food and meal lists first. But the text contains many suggestions that contradict the lists, or at least add vital information. Examples: The lists have butter, cream and cheese in them. Then you read that you should limit saturated fat, but guidelines aren’t given as to how to do this. The lists don’t tell you what fruit to avoid, but it’s in the text.
One Size Fits All: My biggest problem with the program is that there is no way to adjust for individual variation. This is especially an issue when it comes to carbohydrate, where different people have different tolerances to glucose. However low glycemic the carb sources, it all gets broken down to sugar in the end, and some just can’t deal with much of it. It’s kind of ironic to me that a diet called Sugar Busters allows fruit juice, which is has a lot of concentrated sugar and tends to raise blood glucose quite a lot.
Over-Reliance on the Glycemic Index: First of all, the glycemic index itself is fraught with problems. Secondly, there is absolutely no evidence that if you eat a lot of lower glycemic food that it won’t add up to a higher blood sugar. Thirdly, even within the index, Sugar Busters does not use it consistently. There are allowed foods whose GI range is close to or overlaps sucrose, which is the Big No No.
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