In most part of the world, everyday we could hear people suffering from diabetes and obesity. Carbohydrates and starches are accused as the biggest culprits to these problems. But is it the truth? In this interview, we have invited Dr Rob Thompson to share with you on insights on his new book ‘The Sugar Blockers Diet: Lose Weight and Control Diabetes While Eating the Carbs You Love’.
Dr. Thompson is a full-time practicing internist and cardiologist who specializes in treating conditions that cause heart disease, including obesity, diabetes and high blood cholesterol. He is the author of several books about diet and health including The Glycemic Load Diet, The Glycemic Load Diet Cookbook, The Glycemic Load Diabetes Solution and most recently The Sugar Blockers Diet.
1. What encouraged you to write “The Sugar Blockers Diet”?
Back in the nineties, some of my patients started ignoring the usual low fat advice and went on the the Atkins diet. With that diet, you could eat all of the fat and protein you wanted but you had to eliminate virtually all carbohydrates–not just sweets and starches but also fruits, vegetables and milk products. I was amazed at the results. People could eat all they wanted including plenty of what were thought to be fattening foods–meat, cheese, butter–and the weight just poured off of them. It was if they stopped ingesting a toxin that had been poisoning them for years. Their blood tests looked better than ever. I became convinced that when it comes to losing weight the low carb approach is the way to go.
However, there was a problem with the Atkins diet. People couldn’t stay on it for long. The reason was food cravings. You would think that a diet that let you eat all of the rich food you wanted would be easy to stick with, but after a couple of weeks on the Atkins diet, people started craving the foods that were missing–fruits, vegetables, milk products, starches and sweets. They usually gave up and went back to their old ways.
Since then, scientists have learned that many foods contain natural sugar blockers that slow the absorption of carbohydrates and keep the blood sugar from rising too fast. You don’t have to give up carbohydrates altogether to benefit from a low carb diet. You only need to get rid of ones that cause your blood sugar to shoot up. Researchers developed a measurement called the glycemic load that reflects how much a food raises blood sugar. This made low carb dieting much easier. It narrowed the list of foods you have to avoid to just a handful of high glycemic load culprits, mainly flour products, potatoes, rice, and sugar containing beverages.
Although, low-glycemic load eating is the most effective way to lose weight and control diabetes, you still have to give up foods such as bread, potatoes and rice that are a major part of our diet. Some people have a hard time doing that. We encounter those foods at virtually every meal. You might wonder, then, isn’t there a way you can slow the absorption of starchy carbs, so you can eat a some of them and still control blood sugar and lose weight.
As it turns out there are many ways you can slow the absorption of carbs and prevent them from spiking your blood sugar. The fact is that sugar blockers play a major role in how your body handles nutrients but have been largely overlooked by diet experts. The Sugar Blockers Diet takes the low-glycemic-load diet, which is already the easiest and most effective way to lose weight and lower blood sugar, and makes it even easier and more effective by incorporating techniques for counteracting the blood sugar raising effects of whatever carbohydrates you eat.
2. Your book discusses about reversing insulin resistance and defend against diabetes, can you describe how this is done?
If you are overweight or have type 2 diabetes, the reasons are the same–your body makes too much insulin. Overweight people and folks with type 2 diabetes make as much as 6 times the normal amounts of insulin. Insulin is the body’s main calorie-storing hormone. Excessive insulin drives calories into your fat cells and locks them in so your body can’t use them for energy. Your fat starts acting like a giant tumor, robbing you of nutrition as it grows.
Of course, you don’t need insulin to handle fat and protein–only carbohydrates. How much insulin your body has to make depends not just on how much carbohydrate you eat but how fast you absorb carbs. It’s like a soldiers defending a fort from an invading force. If the attackers come on one at a time, you only need a few soldiers to handle them. If they come all at once, you need the whole batallion. Reducing the speed you absorb carbohydrates, reduces the amount of insulin you need which makes diabetes easier to control and promotes easy weight loss.
3. What are the worst trends you currently see in the average American diet that causes obesity or increase in waistline?
The current epidemic of obesity and diabetes is caused by an increase in starch consumption that started in the early nineteen seventies. According to USDA statistics, we are eating 48 percent more flour products, 131 percent more frozen potato products and 186 percent more rice than we did in 1970. That’s astonishing! It’s ironic that we are often told that we eat too much fat. The fact is, we are eating significantly less red meat, eggs and milk fat per capita than we did when the obesity epidemic started.
Sugar consumption has increased, but not in the form of candy or table sugar. We are not eating any more candy or table sugar than we did in the 1960. The increase in sugar consumption has come from kids who drink much more pop than they did then.
4. What makes “The Sugar Blockers Diet” a unique approach from a gaggle of weight loss diets currently in the market?
You will learn something you never knew about, how to turn bad carbs into good carbs–how to keep the carbs you eat from raising your blood sugar.
5. Besides losing weight, what other benefits should a person following “The Sugar Blockers Diet” expect to derive?
Fluctuating blood sugar causes your concentration and energy levels to wax and wain throughout the day and leaves you feeling exhausted. Stabilizing your blood sugar level will improve your concentration and energy levels.
6. Could you share with us on how much average weight your clients usually lose while following the Sugar Blockers Diet?
This is not a crash diet. Crash diets cause your metabolism to slow down, and you end up gaining more weight than you lost. The difference between this eating style–I won’t call it a diet because you don’t diet in the usual sense of the word– and other diets is that however much weight you lose, you know you discovered an eating style you can continue for life. You end up eating better than you were eating before.
Actually, I have seen people lose as much as 18 pounds in 6 weeks following the Sugar Blockers Diet which astounds me. I don’t like to see people lose weight so fast. The truth is that when you lose that much weight, a lot of it is fluid not fat. On this program people feel as if they finally get it, they have found a way of eating they can stick to for life. I like to see folks lose no more than about 8 pounds the first month and about 4 pounds a month after that.
7. And what is the ONE thing that helps them to lose weight with “The Sugar Blockers Diet”?
The easiest way to lose weight is to eliminate sugar containing beverages if you drink them. Sugar containing soft drinks have very high glycemic loads but do absolutely nothing to satisfy hunger. If you eliminate them, you reduce the amount of calories you consume without increasing your hunger a bit. I have seen astonishing weight loss in heavy soda drinkers who simply switch to diet drinks.
9. What should a person expect to experience while following this diet?
You should not feel that you are on a diet. You are simply rearranging your eating patterns and making some minor changes in the amount of a few foods you consume.
9. Could you share some of the experiences that your clients gone through with the diet? (if it’s not confidential)
The consistent comment I get is that people are amazed at how easy this eating style is. As I said, they feel like they finally get it.
10, What other health conditions does this diet help prevent or recover?
One of the most underdiagnosed, undertreated and life altering conditions that affect women is polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. As many as 30 percent of overweight women have it. It causes irregular periods, abnormal hair growth and a marked tendency towards obesity. It is caused by insulin resistance and can be cured with a Sugar Blockers eating style combined with regular moderate exercise such as walking.
11. Do you have anything specific or advice that you want to say to the readers who are struggling to lose weight to help them shed the fat?
Obesity is not caused by lack will power, and losing weight is not a matter of bolstering up your willpower. You will lose weight by diagnosing what caused you to gain weight and correcting that problem. It is becoming increasingly clear that for most overweight individuals and folks with type 2 diabetes the problem is excessive demands for insulin, and The Sugar Blockers Diet is the state of the art in correcting that imbalance.