How one simple trick can lead to a 10lb fat loss in 14 days.
By Dave Thomas
Certified Nutrition Coach
The following is a modified post from our sister nutrition website, The Dirty Fork. Subscriber Sarah Ellis lost 10 pounds in 14 days as a result of the no sugar challenge.
What’s the easiest way to shed pounds quickly?
Then let’s get rid of a food that has a not-all-that-different addictive effect on our bodies. Sugar. Shit be everywhere, yo. Consider this via The Center for Disease Control and NerdFitness.com.
- 1822: Americans averaged 45g of sugar during the work week.
- 2012: Americans averaged 756g of sugar during the work week.(1)
We need not remind you that since then, all that we have done is placed ourselves consistently on the podium for world’s fattest nation. Coincidence? Maybe? Maybe not.
Full disclosure, we are not recommending a long term approach to diet here today. Anyone that sells you a one-stop shopping way to lose weight, keep it off and perform well is shoveling you a load of bull. We are all different and we metabolize sugars, fats and proteins at different rates and efficiencies. However, most any breathing body will see an immediate reaction by removing processed sugar from the diet. And that goes well beyond cookies and pie. Many foods are ultimately just sugar once they enter the bloodstream.
Removing the majority of processed sugar will likely illustrate this point and show itself via fat loss, depletion of cravings, steady energy and an uptick in all around health.
Today we are taking our Dirty Fork Challenge, expanding the invite and recommending complete removal and observation of that effect for 14 days. Two weeks. 336 hours. No sugar.
You got this.
Since I am sure you are looking at us like we just proposed you go to work naked, we’ll sell you on some real benefits we have directly observed. But first, it’s important that we have a basic understanding of the hormone insulin as it can be a gatekeeper to fat loss and weight management.
What is insulin?
It is a hormone released by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels following a meal. When we eat a meal that is high in sugar (carbs), our blood sugar spikes. When this happens, insulin is sent in to clear the sugar from the blood and send it elsewhere. Too much sugar in the blood is toxic so our body has net things in place to get it the hell outta there.
Now, blood sugar can either be stored in the muscle or liver as glycogen, a helpful form of training energy. Or, if those tanks are full it can be converted into fat. Remember, it does not stay in the blood so it has to go somewhere and our fat cells are often the recipient. The system is too complex to generalize all possible outcomes but the takeaway is that a constant state of spiking your insulin typically leads to humans who hang on to more body fat.
Now that we have a bird’s eye understanding of insulin and fat burning, let’s take a look at why removing sugar can lead to fat loss.
Fat Burning Enzymes Released – By removing sugar from your diet you will regulate insulin levels to a normal metabolic rate. When insulin is normal, we have many helpful hormones and enzymes that promote fat burning as discussed in Gary Taube’s book, Why We Get Fat.
LPL Goes Away: When insulin is spiked, the enzyme LPL is released in high amounts. LPL is bad news for our fat burning as it essentially acts as a Venus fly trap, living outside of cells and collecting floating glucose and deposits it into fat likes like a nerd stuffed in a locker. This results in maintained or increased stored fat. With a low-sugar, low-insulin diet, LPL is regulated and unable to stuff nerds in lockers.
HSL Comes to Play: With stable insulin levels, the hormone HSL comes to the party. It’s kinda like mom and dad have gone to bed so you sneak the kid with the booze through the back door. But so long as mom (insulin) is pacing around, the party can’t start. HSL breaks up triglycerides in our fat cells and turns them into fatty acids transported to our bloodstream as fuel, so we can “burn body fat”.
So, high insulin gives us the finger with both hands when sugar is ingested by simultaneously promoting fat storing enzymes (LPL) and suppressing fat burning enzymes (HSL). (2)
By removing the stimulus that causing our insulin to spike (sugar), our body can now make the transition to mobilize fatty acids as fuel rather than constantly running off a state of dietary or stored sugar.
Feeling of Satiety – When your body runs on sugar and carbohydrates as its main fuel source, it needs constant re-feeding. Your brain constantly signals to your body, “Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!” leading you to graze on snacks all day. In the presence of multiple fuel sources, our body will always burn sugary carbohydrates first (because they are immediately accessible after a meal and floating in our blood as glucose). When trained to run on glucose, we burn it then immediately want more. So, by removing the sugar we remove the blood glucose, and we kill the signal.
TIER 1 – Removal of refined, processed high-sugar junk:
- No soda (including diet soda)
- No table sugars, agave or syrups
- No candy
- No desserts
- No juice
- No artificial sweetener
TIER 2 – Removal of refined, processed high-sugar junk + processed carbohydrates:
- All of the above +
- No breads or bread products
- No pasta
TIER 3 – Removal of refined, processed high-sugar junk + processed carbohydrates + high-sugar natural carbs
- All of the above +
- No high sugar fruits (bananas, apples, mangoes, melons, grapes, pineapple, all dried fruits)
- No starches
- No grains
- No rice
- No oats
- No goat or cow’s milk
What the hell is left?!
- Lean Beef & Beef Jerky
- Lean Pork
- Almond milk
- Rice milk
- Coconut milk (higher in fat)
- Low-sugar sauces
- Hard, aged cheese
Remember, nerds! This is a fat loss article, not a permanently sustainable diet recommendation. How aggressive you choose to get with your removal is entirely up to you. Tiers 1 and 2 should be a given, and I strongly recommend you remove what you can from Tier 3.
What to do after the two weeks?
We are all metabolically different. With protein levels the same, some people operate more optimally on a carbohydrate-heavy diet (bodybuilding), others on a fat-heavy diet (Paleo), others a steady stream of protein and doughnuts (flexible dieting). That’s a decision we help you personally assess and plan by talking through personal factors. Not everyone can or should eat the same. Genetics, body type and level of activity need to play a factor. This is not to provide long-term diet advice or preach dogma on food philosophy. Our expectation here today is to alert your body of its likely dependence on sugar in the blood and kick start the process of fat loss for a lot of you.
Slowly re-introduce some of the foods you love, but pay attention to how you felt not eating them! Consider permanent removal of Tier 1 and some of the foods on Tier 2 and Tier 3. You’ll have to find your own happy balance.
Aside from the 90/10 Rule (follow nutrition rules 90% of the time, do what you want the other 10%), removal of refined sugar is a permanent change we should all consider making to our diet. What you chose to remove from your diet after the two week experiment is up to you! My guess is that you’ll keep going for longer than you think.
Dave Thomas is a Certified Nutrition Coach, author of 360Nutrition and lead contributor to The Dirty Fork Online Magazine.