Women's Health - Shrink Your Sugar Belly - - CONTENTS -

Trust us, af­ter seven long days with­out any sugar, your brain’s re­ward cen­tre will ex­pe­ri­ence that first bite of juicy pear, lus­cious grape or crunchy ap­ple as an ex­plo­sion of sweet­ness – a full-on pa­rade of flavour march­ing across your taste buds. The part of your ap­petite that pre­vi­ously begged for dough­nuts will be just as sat­is­fied with this phase’s de­lec­ta­ble, fruit-filled menu.

So why does fruit get a pass in your new phase? Sim­ple: it’s packed with fi­bre and nu­tri­ents and it doesn’t con­tain any added sugar. Now, you’re cur­rently work­ing to­wards a goal of six tea­spoons of added sugar a day, but not yet – it has to be done grad­u­ally. We’ve elim­i­nated it on Days 6 to 12 be­cause a sugar-loaded palate will have been so over-sug­ared that it’s lost the abil­ity to re­ally taste and ap­pre­ci­ate the sweet­ness of fruit. Elim­i­nat­ing it for those seven days has helped to re­set the way your taste buds and brain re­act to sugar stim­uli.

We’re not say­ing that the sugar in fruit isn’t more or less chem­i­cally the same as the stuff found on top of your ce­real or stirred into your tea (ta­ble sugar and the sugar in fruit have ap­prox­i­mately the same pro­por­tion of fruc­tose and glu­cose). But fruit has less of it and the body has a harder time ex­tract­ing the sugar from a piece of fruit than it does from a sweet. That’s be­cause fruit is packed with fi­bre, which slows the break­down of the food in your di­ges­tive sys­tem, lead­ing to a far more grad­ual re­lease of sugar into your body – spar­ing you from the heady sugar spikes that used to send you reel­ing.

DAYS 13–20 What to do

Have break­fast ev­ery morn­ing. Just as you did in Phase 1, you’ll start the day with a pro­tein­packed meal to keep your ap­petite and blood sugar on an even keel. In this phase, you’ll find some ter­rific fruit op­tions. When fruit is paired with pro­tein and fat, it’s even more sat­is­fy­ing.

Feel free to mix and match the lunch and din­ner op­tions. You can also keep eat­ing any of the Phase 1 meals, but we’ve added some quick and easy meals to this phase to keep it var­ied. Just like the Phase 1 meals, th­ese are cen­tred on fresh, whole foods – grains, veg­eta­bles, low-fat dairy and lean pro­tein.

Have one serv­ing of a pro­cessed whole-grain prod­uct, if you like. Ideally, all of your grain in­take would be from whole, un­pro­cessed grains be­cause once they’re pul­verised into flour and re­struc­tured into ce­real, bread or noo­dles, they get di­gested al­most as quickly as sugar. But we all live in the real world, where a bowl of cold ce­real makes for a quick break­fast, a bowl of pasta is call­ing your name, or you want the con­ve­nience of

a sand­wich. That’s why we’ve brought back pro­cessed whole-grain prod­ucts in this phase, but just once a day. A note about bread: it can be tough to track down a com­mer­cial one that doesn’t con­tain added sugar, so the bread we use in this phase comes in the form of tor­tillas and pi­tas, which tend to have about one gram or less. If you choose to eat one of our wrap or bur­rito op­tions, you’d be tak­ing in a mi­nus­cule amount of added sugar. If you opt for ce­real, pick one with zero grams of sugar and three or more grams of fi­bre per serv­ing.

For all its nu­tri­tious good­ness, fruit’s sugar con­tent means that it’s higher in kilo­joules than veg­eta­bles.

So in or­der to keep your weight in check, you don’t want to go over­board on the fruit. Whether you snack on it, serve it for dessert or eat it as part of a meal, you can have fruit as long as you don’t eat more than three serv­ings per day. A serv­ing is a se­lec­tion of sliced fruit or one medium piece of whole fruit. If strong sugar crav­ings have been an is­sue in the past, you may want to head for low-sugar fruits more of­ten; it’s best to play safe.

Don’t for­get to snack! Eat­ing ev­ery few hours is just as im­por­tant in this phase as it was in the last one. You’ll still be eat­ing one 420kJ and one 630kJ snack per day at the times of your choos­ing. And while you can have a juicy piece of fruit, we sug­gest that you pair it with pro­tein or a fat in or­der to con­trol your blood-sugar re­sponse and sat­isfy your ap­petite even more. Check

out the chart on page 92 for some ideas. And watch out for the fol­low­ing foods: white flour and prod­ucts made with it, white rice, fruit juice and sugar in any of its many forms (in­clud­ing the ta­ble sugar you might add to foods, honey, agave and maple syrup).


Think of fruits as crayons. You wouldn’t use just two colours, right? You want the whole box to pick from. It’s the same with fruit. All fruit con­tains fi­bre, vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and var­i­ous dis­ease-fight­ing, skin-boost­ing nu­tri­ents like an­tiox­i­dants and phy­to­chem­i­cals. The real dif­fer­ence be­tween types lies in their colours, which are linked to dif­fer­ent nu­tri­tional good­ies. The more shades you choose, the more health ben­e­fits you’ll reap.


To turn fruit from a snack into a proper dessert, you’ve got to try grilling it, at least once. Grilling fruit causes its sug­ars to caramelise, cre­at­ing a unique, smoky flavour that’s per­fect for a side dish or dessert that tastes deca­dent.

You can grill or braai any fruit large and firm enough to take the heat: ap­ples, pears, pineap­ple, peaches, or­anges, even straw­ber­ries – if you put them on skew­ers. If you want to try braai­ing smaller fruits, like grapes or blue­ber­ries, use a pan to hold them above the flames or coals.

To pre­vent stick­ing, brush the fruit on both sides with about a tea­spoon of olive oil. Most fruits need only three or four min­utes of grilling on each side. Place on a non-stick bak­ing tray in your oven (on the grill set­ting). When it’s done, slide it onto a plate, top with a dol­lop of plain yo­ghurt, ri­cotta or cot­tage cheese (trust us, it can work!) and dust with cin­na­mon.

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