We expand the Fed Up Challenge: No to sugar, No to grains, Yes to low carb diets

As an executive producer of  the new documentary “Fed Up,” Katie Couric is inviting you to join her in the Fed Up Challenge.  When we read about what it involved, we decided that for our health and our battle of the bulge, we wanted to join.  Get the skinny on our journey.

About the film: The co-producers of the film are Katie and Laurie David, who authored “The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That’s Simple, Tasty, and Incredibly Good for You” (click for details) and “The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time.” And when it comes to being literally “fed up,” it’s clear that is precisely how this duo feels about the lack of responsibility taken by the food industry when it comes to feeding America. Given what we now know about the dangers of sugar, it is appalling that companies continue to cram sugar into products and even hide it under names that sound healthy (example: “pure cane juice”).

Moreover, the food pyramid and low-fat diet guidelines have been shown as failures when it comes to promoting healthy weight loss and preventing conditions such as diabetes. “The conventional wisdom [about obesity and health] turns out not to be true,” said Laurie to the Los Angeles Times.

In the film, the message that sugar is toxic comes across loud and clear. Because of all the fat-free propaganda, manufacturers replaced fat with sugar. As a result, between 1977 to 2000, Americans doubled their average daily intake of sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup. Highlighting the dangers of sugar in the film is Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UC San Francisco and author of “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease” (click for details) and “The Fat Chance Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes Ready in Under 30 Minutes to Help You Lose the Sugar and the Weight.”

Other nutrition notables interviewed by the filmmakers include Marion Nestle, author of “Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health” and Gary Taubes, famed for having written two of the most influential low carb diet books: “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health.” 

But the film does more than take off the cellophane wrapping hiding what’s wrong with our food and diet guidelines, reports Time magazine. It helps viewers understand what to avoid, including sugar and starches. “You can eat a bowl of corn flakes with no added sugar, or you can eat a bowl or sugar with no added corn flakes; they might taste different but below the neck, they’re metabolically the same,” comments Dr. David Ludwig, a professor at Harvard Medical School.

So what should you do if you’re “fed up” with nutritional guidelines that aren’t working? Katie’s 10-day challenge that I’m taking involves:

Start by cutting sodas and other sweetened beverages and foods that have ADDED sugars. EAT real, fresh, whole foods and stop consuming all products that contain added sugar including honey, molasses, agave, etc., and all liquid sugars, such as sodas, bottled teas, fruit juices, and sports drinks. This includes all artificial sugars and sugar substitutes.

No exceptions, so don’t ask! Be aware of foods that may have hidden sugars, like yogurts, canned foods, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup. Watch for hidden names of sugar. Also try cutting out flour products like white bread, crackers and pastas that turn to sugar in your body. Just for 10 days.

But let’s talk about that No Sugar AND No Grains emphasis:  For insights into the connection between fitness and the no-sugar, no-flour (NSNG) concept, we recommend NSNG expert Vinnie Tortich’s book “Fitness Confidential” (click for details).

It sounds simple, right? But we’re talking about even those supposedly good for you grains like quinoa. What to eat? We like the Paleo model: Unprocessed, real foods, emphasizing vegetables and protein with fruits such as berries. Add nuts and avocado for healthy fats. You can learn more by clicking here to read my interview with Paleo diet guru Robb Wolf.


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