Suck out the sugar to slim down

Last updated 05:00 29/08/2013
Gary Hayman

Thanks in no small part to reducing sugar intake Gary Hayman has lost 21kg since June 2012.

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I started out looking for a way to help my wife avoid moving from a diagnosis of insulin resistant to the next stage of type 2 diabetes. I was also weighing in at 96.5kg and not getting any lighter.

I was actively researching and helping her find a suitable diet when I flew with a co-pilot who had lost 10kg after reading Big Fat Lies by David Gillespie.

I bought the book that day and went home, started reading and didn't stop till I got to the end, I skim read bits of it but a light went on in my head and from that moment I resolved to cut out sugar and remove seed oils where possible from my diet.

Maryanne didn't have any say in this process. She, however, had listened to me as I read the book, reading excerpts out loud that I found entertaining or highly informative.

The next morning we, and it was both of us, went through the pantry and refrigerator removing any product that had more than 4 per cent sugar - judged that by using the ingredients list and using 4g or less per 100g of sugar, unless it only had glucose or a variation of glucose in the list. Our kids, who were at university, suddenly found that they had full larders.

We then removed all the seed oils and threw them out or gave them away. I must admit it left the shelves very bare. So next step was off to the supermarket to restock with suitable products.

We spent a lot of time looking at the nutrition information on the back of packets, also trying to decipher the actual ingredients as some state that they have no added sugar - liars.

Many actually have agave syrup or honey, which are both high in fructose. Fortunately we had the sugar free app on the iPhone which allowed us to find the good, the bad and the artificial sweeteners.

Oils take a whole lot more deciphering as they are quite often hidden behind the moniker of "vegetable oil".

Having now also read Toxic Oil by David Gillespie we are finding our way through the process, but need a simple guide. I think the best way will be to find the good products and list them.

So sugar free for a couple of weeks and we started to see some weight loss, and lose the craving for sugar.

A party with all sort of snacks and alcohol put me back for a few days, but quickly sugar free and tracking downwards again.

Sometimes when my weight plateaued I would kick the weight loss off by decreasing one of my meals for a couple of days, then my body got used to a lower intake level and appetite control was also starting to work and I found myself feeling full on much smaller meals.

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I followed David's two week plan quite rigidly at the start whilst we were discovering what we could and couldn't eat.

I found a really nice recipe for chocolate brownie on his website, which we have modified slightly now to give us a moist brownie with a delicious chocolate flavour, even our sugar addicted friends find it tasty and cannot tell it has no white sugar, only dextrose.

Another favourite has become vanilla ice cream made with dextrose. We finally found a reason for the ice cream maker bought in a moment of "gosh that could be good to have" and then left to fill up space in the pantry.

I started researching sugar further and came across two other useful sources of information.

"Pure White and Deadly" by Professor John Yudkin, and a YouTube video of a lecture by Professor Robert Lustig, who has also now written a book "Fat Chance".

I have by now gotten really passionate about being sugar free and freely lecture people about the evils of sugar, my wife says more like evangelical.

I have taken to writing to professors of nutrition in New Zealand universities with some at least having the courtesy to reply even if they are not necessarily convinced of the merits of being sugar free.

I have also written to the health minister and received the usual fob off - that of being directed back to the Ministry of Health website and their standard doctrine of eat less fat, more fruit and vegetables and sugar in moderation.

No one defined what moderate sugar intake levels were. We ate about 2-5kg on average annually at the turn of the century and now consume on average 40kg annually, a large movement in whatever might be called moderate. Imagine that stacked up on your shelves. How much sugar do you buy each year?

Our focus till now was predominately upon getting sugar free, and I would say we have been successful, I no longer crave any chocolate or sweet desserts and Maryanne has lost the urge to buy sweets particularly liquorice.

I put together as much information about getting sugar free into an online box account and set it up so that other people could access the information freely - let's try educating from the bottom up and get as many people as possible onto the sugar free revolution so that businesses will try to reduce the sugar in their products and in turn we will become a healthier, happier nation.

In March we got results from Maryanne's blood tests as well as mine from a few weeks before.

Previously Maryanne had a HbA1c of 42 mmol/mol which was borderline diabetic. New results are HbA1c of 36 mmol/mol, which puts her well out of the diabetes risk. My reading was HbA1c of 33 mmol/mol. So having glucose in our diet instead of sugar (glucose plus fructose) has improved our health.

Also to date I had lost 21kg since starting out in June 2012 about an average of 1.5 kg per month.

I have now set up to make the information even more accessible and I keep posting recipes on to the box link as I find recipes with the right ingredients.

People ask why am I not making money from this website and the answer is simple. Someone got me sugar free and I'm so grateful for the change it has made I want to pay it forward. I also want our children to grow up without having the sugar addiction.

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