Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Blast The Sugar Out

Next up for review is Blast the Sugar Out. The author, Dr. Ian Smith, is a medical doctor who used to be a co-host of the television show, The Doctors. He has written several other bestselling health, fitness and weight loss books.

Introduction
This book presents a 5 week weight loss strategy packed with recipes, meal plans and snack ideas. It has a particular focus on reducing blood sugar levels for those who are diabetic or prediabetic. The author mentions that the book was also written for anyone who wants to lose weight or reduce their sugar consumption. The book is 240 pages long. It is well written and I truly enjoyed reading it.

5 Things I Really Liked About Blast the Sugar Out
1) I like how the primary focus of this book is to reduce refined sugar consumption. After trans fat, I rate sugar as the worst thing that we can eat. The number of problems that refined sugar causes is staggering. I treat it like a drug, because to me that is what it is. 

2) I really like that the book emphasizes cardiovascular exercise as a big part of the program. It needs to be a major focus if weight loss is your goal.

3) I like the recommendation to drink a lot of water. It is essential not only for weight loss, but for overall health and quality of life.

4) The recipes and meal plans are well organized and very well done.

5) I really liked the Sugar Swap in the back of the book (Appendix 1). In this section, the author lists a much healthier alternative for every kind of sugary treat that you may be tempted by. This is a very practical little section.

5 Things I Didn’t Agree With In Blast the Sugar Out
1) A lot of high glycemic load carbs are allowed on this program. All of the following are regulars in the meal plans: cold cereals, dried fruit, smoothies, French toast with maple syrup, French fries, lots of bread (even whole grain bread can spike blood sugar), onion rings, pizza, popcorn, fruit juice, pancakes, crackers, rice cakes, pita bread, animal crackers, vanilla wafers, pretzels, etc.  When it comes to spikes in blood sugar, increased hunger and cravings, many of these foods are as damaging as sugar.

2) This book is very big on snacking. In addition to 3 meals, the plan calls for 2 or even 3 snacks per day. In my experience, this can lead to overeating and really slow down rate of weight loss. If the average woman needs to be close to 1,200 calories/day to effectively lose weight, each meal/snack needs to be around 200 calories. This is not a lot of food! If she goes over by even 50 calories per meal or snack, she is looking at 300 extra calories per day or 9,000 extra calories per month. Further, if you are eating in a way that stabilizes blood sugar, you will not need to eat every 2 or 3 hours. You simply won’t be hungry.

3) Allows late night snacking. In the section on snacking, the book mentions that it is OK to have a snack at 8:30 PM or later. I have found that late night eating is a really bad idea for those trying to lose weight. I have seen it completely prevent weight loss in past clients and I actually use it as a strategy to gain weight for the rare client that works with me in an effort to increase their weight.

4) A lot of the meals are really low in fat. Fat is actually a very good thing in your diet, if you choose it carefully. Vegetable based fats like olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados have a positive impact on risk of chronic disease. They also help to stabilize the blood sugar, decrease insulin spikes and keep you full longer than meals without fat. The research literature has also shown that low fat diets are not effective for long term weight loss.

5) The book could focus a bit more on resistance training. While a good amount of time is spent on cardio, strength training is mentioned only briefly. I believe that weight training is the secret ingredient to lasting weight loss. Sparing lean tissue during the weight loss process is the absolute key to keeping the weight off.

Is Blast the Sugar Out Worth Reading?
Absolutely. This book gets a lot right. As a nation, we all need to be eating a lot less sugar. It is far more damaging to our health than most people realize. This book will help you to do that. I would just make a few additions to this program. I would be a little stricter with the high glycemic carbs, cut down on the snacking (especially at night), add in a bit more healthy vegetable fat and add a whole bunch of strength training.

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