Sugar Busters is a popular high-protein diet developed by a group of New Orleans based physicians (and a layperson) in the late twentieth century. The authors of the popular diet book, Sugar Busters! include Samuel S. Andrews, MD (endocrinologist), Morrison C. Bethea, MD (thoracic surgeon), Luis A. Balart, MD (gastroenterologist), and H. Leighton Steward (the ghost writer and a New Orleans entrepreneur). Their premise, "Sugar is toxic!" claims refined sugars are toxic for the body, causing it to release insulin and store excess body sugar as body fat. The diet calls for avoiding refined sugar and processed grain products. It is not a "no" sugar diet, but a "less" sugar diet. The theory behind Sugar Busters! is fairly simple. Food high in carbohydrates (which results in sugar when it is digested) raises glucose levels in blood quickly. The pancreas is stimulated to release the hormone insulin to convert glucose into glycogen in order to store energy. The consequence of insulin production is stored fat. This diet is a version of that proposed in the worldwide success of the diet books by Michel Montig-nac from the 1980s and echoes the views of William Dufty's Sugar Blues (1976).
Therefore, the book recommends choosing correct carbohydrates, those that are low-insulin-producing. Insulin is necessary for survival, but with less insulin production, the authors claim that it leads to a healthier condition since fat comes from sugar. The authors claim that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate meal causes an unnoticeable rise in glucose levels and, consequently, a very insignificant rise in insulin, but a significant increase in the level of glucagons, a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar and get rid of stored fat reserves. On the other hand, insulin "inhibits the mobilization of previously stored fat even if one is on a rather skimpy, but glucose-generating, diet" (Andrews et al. 1995: 4). Sugar Busters! also promises to lower cholesterol, increase energy, improve health, and help treat diabetes and other diseases. The food selection is mandated: "starchy" foods such as potatoes are to be avoided and even certain fruits, such as pineapples, "which have a high glycemic index" (Andrews et al. i995: i3i). The prescriptive abstinence from pineapple is in contrast to The Beverley Hills Diet, which sees it as the perfect food. As with Mazel's approach, portion size is mandated though this is understated in the "sugar" focus of the diet. This diet is similar to diets that people diagnosed with Type II Diabetes use to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar; however, it is yet to be proven if such a diet is necessary for those who have proper blood-sugar control.
SLG/Rakhi Patel See also Atkins; Mazel; Metabolism; Zone Diet
Andrews, Samuel S., Bethea, Morrison C., Balart, Luis A., and Steward, H. Leighton (1995) Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat, New York: Ballantine Books.
Dufty, William (1976) Sugar Blues, Radnor, Pa.: Chilton Book Co.
Grayson, Charlotte E. (2004) "Sugar Busters!" available online at <http://www.webmd.com/content/pages/77 3220_290.htm> (accessed February 26, 2007).
Montignac, Michel (1986) Savoir gérer son alimentation, Paris: Artulen.
-(1991) Dine Out and Lose Weight: The French Way to Culinary "Savoir Faire", London: Artulen.
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