I ate 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. This is what happened
For three years, Damon Gameau cut out sugar from his diet - then, for a documentary, he reintroduced the white stuff. The results were shocking.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink ... pened.html
I assembled a team of doctors, scientists and nutritionists all far more intelligent than myself and went about consuming 40 teaspoons of sugar a day; which sadly is what most Australians between the age of 19 and 30 are doing (this includes fruit juices, concentrates and other sweeteners like honey and maple syrup).
But there needed to be something to grab the audience's attention. That hook came in aisle five of my local supermarket when I decided to properly read some labels and discovered that BBQ sauce, hoisin sauce and sweet chilli sauce all had more sugar in them per serve than chocolate sauce. What if I could eat my 40 teaspoons of sugar a day by only consuming products that many people would perceive to be ‘healthy’ or at least would have no idea about the amount of sugar that lurks within them?
This became the key part of the narrative and the rules were set. For 60 days I would maintain the same level of exercise that I already did and I would eat no chocolate, ice cream, soft drink or confectionery. The 40 teaspoons a day would be ‘hidden sugars’ found in foods like low fat yoghurt, cereals, muesli bars, juices, sports drinks and assorted condiments.
None of the team monitoring me really knew what to expect. As a result, the film was very low budget in the first few weeks. There was was a real chance that all this sugar-eating lunacy might amount to nothing.
It's fair to say there was a spike in interest when I put on three kilograms in just 12 days. But the real alarm sounded when I had developed fatty liver disease after just 18 days. I remember calling the film’s producer from the blood clinic and telling him my results. All I heard was a delighted squeal from the other end and the words “Brilliant! Now we have a movie!" Compassion is not high on the resume of most producers.
These results elevated the project to a new level, as all the conjecture in the media was around the fact that one half of sugar, fructose, is unique in that it metabolizes by turning to fat in our liver (one in four people in western countries now have non alcoholic fatty liver disease). This is what had happened to me in under three weeks.
By the end of the experiment I had put on 8.5 kilograms, developed pre type 2 diabetes and heart disease risks, had an extra 10 centimetres of the dangerous visceral fat around my belly and noticed an enormous impact on my moods and cognitive functions (a topic that is increasingly being looked at in academic circles).
I also got a sneak peek under the veil of the food and sugar industry matrix. I learnt how we all have a ‘bliss point’ for sugar, which is the optimal amount of sweetness in a food that the companies spend millions striving for. I learnt about the manipulation of science that goes on to protect the enormous profits from sugar. I saw the horrible impact that sugar is having on our Australian indigenous culture and I now understand that sugar lights up the same reward areas in our brain as nicotine, cocaine and sex. We only have to see an image of it to trigger these responses.