Anyone who has been following my social media channels of late will know that I’ve become a bit evangelical in my pursuit of the sugar free life. Having half-arsed my attempts at removing sugar from my life for several years, I read That Sugar Book last month, and it was exactly the kick up the bum I needed. Once I’d finished reading it, I wanted to read more, to learn more. In That Sugar Book, Damon Gameau mentions David Gillespie more than once. He quotes him several times, and at the back of the book recommends Sweet Poison so I thought I’d give it a go.
I already knew that fructose was bad for me; I already knew it was that, and not fat, which made me fat and sick. I knew it was bad, and I knew I could lose weight if I stopped eating it – but I never really understood how or why.
Gillespie starts his book by explaining why he’s written it. He was a lawyer – an overweight one. After reading about Darwin’s theory of evolution, he found it hard to believe humans had evolved for millenia, only to suddenly lose the ability to control our willpower, eat until we were too fat to move, and die. Something else was going on, and he set about finding out what. He didn’t do this by reading magazines or other books – or by watching the health section on daytime TV. He read scientific studies and journals – and not just about nutrition.
He learned about how our bodies work – not just the stuff you learn for GCSE science, but the details of how our cells work, how the foods we eat are used in our bodies. All of this is explained in the book in plain language that makes it easy to understand – I wish David Gillespie had been about when I was taking my GCSEs because I might have stood a chance!
Once he’s explained how our bodies process the food we eat, Gillespie goes on to explain how fructose bypasses our natural appetite control system and causes us to eat more than we need. He also references numerous studies that have shown the other ills fructose has been linked to.
As well as this, Gillespie explains why everyone thinks fat is the bad guy – the story behind how we all came to believe that fat in our food would get into our veins and give us heart attacks. Frankly, that part of the book is a scandal – but not as much as the fact that we all still believe it!
All of the claims in this book are backed up with study after study – something not many of the books that share a shelf with it can say.
Alongside all of this, the book charts the history of sugar – from its beginnings as a plant people liked but couldn’t transport, to something added to 70% of the foods in our supermarkets. As the back of the book says, in the space of 150 years we’ve gone from eating no added sugar to more than 2 pounds a week. It’s a massive global industry, and when combined with the low-fat industry it becomes a gargantuan beast that stands to lose an awful lot if we begin to realise that it’s fructose and not fat that’s causing our troubles.
What I love about this book is that it isn’t preachy and doesn’t expect perfection. Gillespie doesn’t advocate that we all go on some bonkers, spartan diet that involves only eating certain foods or spending a fortune on special ingredients you can only buy in a shop ten miles away that only opens on a Thursday. All you need to do is cut out sugar, and he assures us that once we do that, we will find we actually don’t fancy the things we used to crave in the first place.
This book was the perfect thing to read after That Sugar Book, and has really cemented everything I was already thinking about. It’s really made me stop and think, but also made me even more determined to go sugar free. Having finished reading it, I’ve moved on to The Sweet Poison Quit Plan.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested, not only in the sugar part but in how our bodies work and what we do with the food we eat.
Thanks for reading.