Cutting sugar trimmed my waistline

Last updated 05:00 20/04/2014
OH SUGAR, SUGAR: For Andrew Troup, sugar was the main driver of over-eating.

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Having been skinny all my adult life, I was surprised to find more than 3.5cm of belly fat accumulating suddenly, in late middle age.

As an experiment, I tried giving up all foods with added sugar.

In my case this was not a great sacrifice. I never used to buy sugar (except for guests to put in their tea), and I cook most of my own food.

I never was into sweetened foods (like most commercial peanut butter!), lollies, soft drink, power bars or processed food... but it did mean no fruit juice, no commercial toasted muesli, which I used to enjo ... but no great loss.

What did take a bit of "won't" power was eliminating biscuits and slices, probably, in retrospect, the reason for my nascent veneer of belly fat.

For many months, my experiment didn't seem to make a difference to my belly, but it made a major difference to my appetite.

I eat as much as I want - I always did - but it wasn't that much before; now it's about 70 per cent of not much. My energy levels are even higher than before, my digestion works a lot better, and I don't wake up with a nasty mouth near as often.

And finally, my belly fat has got back to what I reckon is the amount my body naturally requires, about 2.5cm. This took a long time though, maybe six months, with no perceptible change for most of that time.

So I'm guessing that for someone carrying lots of fat, this has to be seen as a lifelong change, for the sake of better health, not just a quick 'fix-me-up' for the figure.

For me, it seems that even small amounts of added sugar in my fuel were problematic. They provided an unwanted sidetrack for my metabolism, causing it to run roughly and inefficiently.

And it seems that sugar was, for me, the main driver of over-eating, in comparison with what I actually needed.

I can well imagine that sucking back a big bottle of soft drink would be like putting a teaspoon of sugar in a car's petrol tank. It's energy, but it's not energy in a useful form.

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