Thursday, August 29, 2013

Effective fat burning workout, HIIT - Learn why

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is still a relatively new phenomenon in the fitness world, some people claim it is the quickest and most efficient way to lose fat fast, while others still prefer going for a light jog or a walk.

What Is HIIT

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, which means you perform a high intensity interval (+80% max heart rate) followed by a low intensity interval. The most common HIIT technique is a 30 second sprint followed by a 1 minute walk. The intervals are usually repeated for 10-15 minutes. A light warm up is recommended due to the increased chance of injury associated with high intensity activity, a 5-10 minute warm down is also recommended.

Benefits Of HIIT Over Traditional Cardio:

EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption

Also known as “the after-burn”, in recovery, oxygen EPOC is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. These include: hormone balancing, replenishment of fuel stores, cellular repair, innervation and anabolism. Post-exercise oxygen consumption replenishes the phosphagen system. EPOC burns extra calories up to 48 hours after your HIIT session, depending how hard your HIIT session was. One experiment found EPOC increasing metabolic rate to an excess level that decays to 13% three hours after exercise, and 4% after 16 hours. So performing HIIT can help you burn more calories all day long even when you’re not exercising, which will help you shed fat faster.

Hormone Release

HIIT dramatically increases growth hormone, catecholamines and epinephrine. These are all fat-incinerating hormones, that have been shown to enhance fat mobilization release from both subcutaneous and intramuscular fat stores. To maximize hormone release don’t eat carbohydrates 1-2 hours before your workout, the insulin response from carbohydrates will limit the growth hormone release. Growth hormone puts the brakes on the body’s primary fat storage enzyme Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL).

Very Time Efficient

HIIT is very time efficient, most workouts are anywhere from 12-25 minutes long, as opposed to traditional cardio, which are usually 45-90 minutes long.

Can Be Done Anywhere, With Any Equipment

HIIT can be done in and outside the gym. The most popular form of HIIT is sprinting, which can be done on the pavement, the football pitch, or on the running track. A more intense version of that, is hill sprints, where sprinting up the hill is followed by a light jog down.
Other HIIT methods include kettlebell swings, skipping, squats, high jumps and spinning.

Increased Vo2 Max

VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. HIIT is known to increase an individuals vo2 max much faster than traditional cardio. If you are an athlete, increasing your vo2 max is essential.

Conditions Both Aerobic and Anaerobic Systems

While performing the high intensity portion of the workout (sprinting) you are working the anaerobic system, while performing the low intensity portion (walking) you are working the aerobic system. By working both systems you burn glucose and fat, getting the best of both worlds.

Your Metabolism Won’t Adapt To HIIT

Our bodies are built for survival. A 30 minute jog that burns 400 calories probably won’t burn the same amount of calories 6 months later. Your body will adapt to the activity and use its fuel more efficiently, which means it will burn less calories, and you will reach a fat loss plateau quickly.
HIIT on the other hand is unpredictable and there are so many variables, such as equipment and interval length.

WBC helps you to...

images from Google

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ditch junk food and beat stress ... with exercise

Put away that sticky bun -- working out will ease your tension and leave you feeling totally calm and relaxed

When did you last feel stressed? Your answer is likely to be very recently -- you might even be feeling stressed this very minute. And you are not alone.

Stress as we term it today started as the 'fight-or-flight' response when early man confronted life-threatening situations, and it was vital to our survival.

While modern man no longer has to deal with the dangers of hunting for his food or outrunning sabre-toothed tigers, we have our own modern stressors -- problems at work, in our personal relationships, financial concerns, traffic jams, the kids arguing, you name it -- and though hardly life threatening, they can trigger the same fight/flight response.

When we are exposed to a stressor a number of things occur. Chiefly, the adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol (known as the 'stress hormone'), energy levels and heart rate increase and our muscles tense in preparation to deal with that stressor.

In the normal course of events the 'danger' passes, our relaxation response kicks in and our body returns to its pre-stress state. However, in our high-pressure culture, for many people the body's stress response is nearly constantly switched to 'on'

This long-term activation of the stress response system is known as 'chronic stress' and it is associated with a host of health problems from headaches, insomnia and high-blood pressure to chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Chronic stress also affects the body's balance of dopamine and serotonin, which, over time, can lead to anxiety and depression.

And the bad news does not end there. Chronic stress not only messes with your head, it also messes with your waistline. Cortisol signals the body to store fat (your body thinks it is an 'emergency situation' and may need it) specifically in the tummy area, so continually raised cortisol levels mean a bigger waistline over time. Stressed people also tend to reach for high-sugar, 'comfort foods' -- so a double-weight- gain whammy follows.

Managing stress, then, is paramount to maximising optimal mental and physical health. 

But how best to break the stress cycle, and to control our experience of it? Regular exercise is key in the management of stress, helping to fight it on a number of fronts. Exercise promotes the production of neuro- hormones that are associated with elevated mood. This produces a calming effect and feeling of empowerment, which will help you to deal with any current or future stressors.

Stress creates a physical tension in the body and exercising helps to release that tension -- creating a more relaxed body and ultimately a more relaxed mind.On a practical level, physical movement itself is a great distraction from your woes. Stepping away from our worries can provide a calm and perspective we might not otherwise get by focusing too closely upon them.

It seems that exercising can make you more resistant to stress in the first place. In lab studies, scientists put animals on a six-week aerobic programme, they then compared their brain cells with those of a group that remained sedentary.

They found that the brains of the exercising mice changed into a biochemically calm state that remained steady, even when the subjects were under stress, while the non-exercising group continued to react strongly when exposed to the same anxiety-inducing situations.Exercise also promotes better sleep, which is vital in lowering stress levels. Consider how much better you handle life's problems after a good night's sleep.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Misconception about low carb diet

The common trend at the minute is to have that lean athletic look or the shredded physique adopted by many celebrities with their well defined abs ready for the beach. 

Both of these physiques are very achievable but only with the correct nutrition and training. A common diet followed by most people seeking to achieve this look is to lower their carbohydrate intake or to cut them out completely. You hear a lot of people commonly say usually around 6-8 weeks prior to their holiday away is “I’m off carbs”.

A common misconception that people have when adopting a low carbohydrate diet is that they cut out fat as well. Here lies the problem. Your body needs energy to in order to survive and go about your day to day living. Your body makes energy by using glycolsis (the breakdown of carbohydrates) and beta oxidation (the breakdown of fat). If you take away both energy systems your body’s energy will begin to suffer. You will notice:

  • Tiredness
  • Cravings
  • The feeling of been hungry constantly

Now trying to exercise as well is going to be tough when you have little to no energy stored. Your body will slowly enter a starvation. Eating something along the line of egg whites, chicken and veg or some white fish and veg every day is not going to do anything for you, one because there are minimal calories and it’s not even going to hit your basic metabolic rate let alone assist with benefiting the exercise you are doing.

If you are attempting to cut out carbohydrates don’t neglect fat. Make sure you include in your diet a good range of good fats. It does sound odd what I’m about to say but in order to lose fat you do need a certain amount of fat….good fats that is. You need to stimulate the turnover of fatty acid release from your body to burn more, which equals increase fat loss .

So cut out carbs yes, but don’t cut out fat as well. Great ways to increase the amount of good fats in your diet is to eat fatty rich foods such as oily fish, nuts, red meat, avocados, walnut oil and coconut oil.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tucking into a big breakfast hailed as way to lose weight

Research has highlighted an unlikely way to stay slim – the Big Breakfast diet.

Tucking into lots of calories at the start of the day can assist weight loss, a study has shown.

But, for the diet to work, a heavy breakfast must be balanced by a light supper.

Scientists studied 93 obese women who were split into two groups. Both groups ate 1,400 calories daily. One consumed half their total calorie allowance at breakfast time, the other consumed half at dinner.

After 12 weeks, women in the "big breakfast" group had each lost an average of 17.8lbs. Women in the "big dinner" group lost 7.3lb.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Detox diet side effects

Thinking of signing up for a fruit juice cleanse? You might first consider how your body reacts to a week with no protein or fat and fewer than 1,000 calories a day.

After the first sip
Your brain's hunger signals are answered with a dump of pure fruit-juice sugar. And don't get any ideas—veggie-based body cleanses aren't any healthier.

The sweet stuff prompts the pancreas to squirt out insulin, which moves sugar—now in your blood in the form of glucose—into your cells.

After 30 minutes
As your cells suck up the glucose, your blood sugar level can start to plummet and you may feel dizzy.

Meanwhile, lacking enough calories, your body is operating off its supply of glycogen, a form of short-term energy stored in the liver and muscles.

After two days
With each shot of juice, your insulin levels skyrocket, then crash. Your glycogen stores are pretty much gone, leaving your tank on empty—and you feeling weak and listless.

Since you're getting only about half the calories you need, your body draws on two long-term power sources: triglycerides, a type of energy stored in fat cells (woo-hoo!), and protein, taken straight from your muscles (oops). You begin to lose muscle mass, even if you're still exercising every day.

After three days
Your brain is not happy. It enters into semi-starvation mode and gobbles ketones, fuel that comes from the breakdown of fat. Ketones work, but they're like low-grade gasoline; as a result, you may feel unfocused or irritable. (Any "mental clarity" is likely due to a strong placebo effect.)

Sans a fresh protein infusion, your brain is also lacking amino acids, the raw materials that neurotransmitters need to maintain your mood. If you're prone to depression, you may start feeling blue.

The proteins in your shrinking muscles break down into ammonia and uric acid, unwelcome chemicals that invade your bloodstream. Now your kidneys are busy detoxing your detox.

Stay near the bathroom: The juice's high carbohydrate load causes a surfeit of water to enter the intestines. That extra H2O in your gut means you're apt to get diarrhea.

After four days
With no food to digest, your small intestine feels ignored. Its villi—the rows of tiny fibers that move food elements into the blood—start to atrophy. Your diarrhea may get worse, leading to dehydration... and there goes your rosy glow.

On the eighth day
Solid food! But uh-oh—you've lost muscle. Even if you go back to your regular eating habits, you now have less muscle mass to burn those calories; instead, the calories are more likely to be turned into fat. (Hence, one reason yo-yo dieting makes it harder to lose weight: Your reduced muscle-to-fat ratio messes up your metabolism and makes calories much harder to work off.)

Sources: Eric Ravussin, Ph.D., Nutrition Obesity Research Center, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Timothy D. Brewerton, M.D., Medical University of South Carolina; Leslie P. Schilling, R.D., Schilling Nutrition Therapy; Lona Sandon, R.D., and Jo Ann S. Carson, Ph.D., R.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Warrior of the month award

Warrior Bootcamp awards recruits who show consistency, resilience, teamwork and determination in training. The Warrior of the Month award is chosen based on the inputs from all our instructors. You don't have to be the physically fittest or strongest to be selected but consistently demonstrate a never say die attitude, team skills and mental toughness that is an example and inspiration to others.

Well done again to all the recent winners.  

Warrior of the month June 2013 award for morning sessions goes to Pauline!

Warrior of the month June 2013 award for evening sessions goes to Phaik Hoon!

Warrior of the month July 2013 award for morning session goes to Bernadette!

Warrior of the month July 2013 award for evening session goes to Sharon!

The prizes are : a free exclusive SILVER Warrior BC water bottle

and two FREE WBC  training sessions.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How Sleep helps your Heart

New research suggests that getting a good night’s rest can help you squeeze more mileage out of your existing healthy behaviors.

When you scope out the most nutritious foods in the grocery store, hit the gym almost every day, turn down cigarettes, and put a limit on the number of alcoholic drinks you throw back at happy hour, keeping your heart healthy can feel like a full-time job. But as time-consuming as your health-conscious habits are, you better make sure sleep is on your to-do list, too. Adequate rest can make your existing healthy behaviors even more effective, according to new research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

In the 12-year study of more than 14,000 men and women ages 20–65, researchers first looked at how effective the combination of diet, exercise, not smoking, and moderate alcohol consumption were in preventing heart disease. Study participants who had adopted all four behaviors were 57% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease—and had a 67% lower chance of dying from heart or blood vessel problems—during the study compared to people who had adopted only one habit or forwent a heart-healthy lifestyle altogether.

Next, the researchers looked at the effect that a good night’s rest had on a heart-healthy lifestyle. Study participants who slept seven or more hours a night in addition to adopting the other four healthy habits were 65% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and had an 83% lower chance of dying from it.

Although the research doesn’t explain why sufficient sleep further increases the protective benefits of the other healthy habits, the scientists suggest that short sleep duration is linked to higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol level.

The bottom line: If you’re cutting out sleep in order to hit the gym, it might be time to shift your schedule around so you can give your heart the best of both worlds.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sports drinks do you really need them?

Many studies support the performance benefits of sports drinks, and while they do offer the benefit of enhanced fluid absorption and energy delivery during exercise, it is only in a specific context that they should be considered necessary.

For example, during recreational exercise like a gym workout, five-a-side soccer, walking or light jogging, water is more than sufficient.

Even though electrolytes are important for recovery and rehydration, if you are consuming food shortly afterwards, plain water and the electrolytes naturally present in food are adequate to support rehydration.

A key consideration is that many people use recreational exercise with the intention to reduce body fat. Consuming a sports drink during exercise will limit your body's ability to use fat as a source of energy, and only serves to restore calories that you burn.

In terms of general health, daily intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages (which sports drinks are) have been implicated in weight gain and ill-health, and although the jury is still out on that one, it is certainly something that needs further attention.

Similarly, considering many other lifestyle-related diseases have been linked to the overconsumption of added sugars, sports drinks are another culprit that should be avoided.


In the vast majority of cases, only athletes or those completing high volumes of labour-intensive work should justifiably consume a sports drink. If, for some reason, you are exercising in extreme environmental conditions like high temperatures or high humidity for prolonged periods, then an electrolyte drink with some added sugar is advisable.

Athletes who regularly complete prolonged bouts of high-intensity exercise can benefit from a well-formulated sports drink with optimal levels of carbohydrate and electrolytes.

This is because athletes often complete exercise bouts resulting in depleted energy stores and significant fluid losses. Water alone does not provide the necessary electrolytes or energy to sustain prolonged (greater than one hour) high-intensity exercise.

Commercial sports drinks are all roughly equivalent in their formulations, and are designed to provide the ideal balance of fluid, carbohydrate and electrolytes to facilitate a rapid transit time through the stomach and absorption through the small intestine into the blood during exercise.

For example, marathon runners can overcome fatigue resulting from depleted energy stores (muscle and liver carbohydrate stores known as 'glycogen') in the later stages of the race by regularly consuming a suitable sports drink.

But with all that said, it is during very specific periods that even elite athletes use and/or need sports drinks, and this is certainly not for every field or gym session.


If you are someone who exercises intensely on a regular basis, and feel that a sports drink can benefit you, as you might have guessed, i suggest making your own. All you need is water, table salt and fresh fruit juice or dilutable cordial.

Simply add about 300ml of fruit juice or cordial to 700ml of water and mix in an eighth of a teaspoon of salt (a couple of pinches). The juice will add a little sweetness and enhance the palatability of the fluid while also supplying a source of energy in the form of fructose, a fruit sugar. 

Warrior Bootcamp Schedule 5th - 11th August 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Death by Sugar

Guess what? The surge in diabetic death between 1900 and 1920 coincided with the sweeties and fizzy drinks industries properly taking off The cycle of addiction -- obsession and craving, caving in and using, remorse and shame, passage of time, more obsession and craving, more caving in and using -- happens with sugar too. 

Here's an experiment you may or may not wish to try at home. Instead of your evening meal, have a large bar of chocolate. Or something equally high in sugar -- ice cream, chocolate biscuits, sweets.

Note your mood before and after; chances are you'll have gone from feeling normal to feeling headachey, irritable, vague, lethargic, even a bit depressed.

The next morning you may even feel slightly hungover -- thirsty, grumpy, spaced out.
Welcome to sugar crash. We don't need our sugar to be fermented in wine bottles for it to adversely affect our minds and bodies.

Obviously, most people would not have a large amount of chocolate in place of a meal, nor is this about food guilt or self-flagellation for eating 'bad' food -- it's about the effect refined sugar has on us physiologically. It's not good.
And although brown-rice wholefood freaks have been saying it for years, it seems as though the rest of us might be finally waking up to the fact that (a) sugar is addictive and (b) sugar is harmful.

While the debate continues over whether it is ever accurate to call sugar a poison or a toxin, its link with so many of us being fat and diabetic is impossible to ignore.
We have long beaten ourselves up about the obesity crisis. It's our own fault for being greedy, lazy, sofa-bound pizza monsters.

We are so busy exercising only our fingers and thumbs on computer keyboards and games consoles, punctuated by cake breaks washed down with giant buckets of fizzy drink, that we have become a society of elephant seals, honking self-pityingly about our ballooning size as we do nothing about it.
Except this is not quite an accurate picture. Yes we are definitely fatter -- on average three stone heavier than we were in the 1960s -- but not necessarily less active.
Research done at Plymouth Hospital, a 12-year study, began monitoring 300 five-year-olds in 2000 and found that although one in five was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (previously a condition that affected older or middle-aged people), these kids were just as physically active as children 50 years ago.

So what was making them so prone to developing it?
Could it be sugar? Well, yes. The 1923 Nobel Prize winner for medicine who discovered insulin, Canadian physician Frederick Banting, began to notice that in societies where sugar consumption was low, diabetes was rare.

It used to be quite rare in the West, too, but this began to change around the turn of the last century.
There was a 15-fold increase in deaths from diabetes reported in New York between the American Civil War and the 1920s, according to research conducted at Columbia University; this escalated between 1900 and 1920, where some American cities saw four times more people dying of the disease.

And guess what? This surge in diabetic death coincided with a huge increase in sugar consumption, as the sweeties and fizzy drinks industries began to properly take off.
Fast-forward to now. Robert Lustig is Professor of Paediatrics at the University of San Francisco California, and director of WATCH -- Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health.

He is, in other words, a world expert on fat kids, and is one of the very few medical professionals unafraid to use the word poison in connection with sugar.

Now, when we think of poison we probably think of arsenic, thallium or belladonna, which are all fast and dramatic, but what about a slower poison?

Alcohol has been called 'the slow poison' (by people like Shaun Ryder, who, it would be reasonable to say, knows his poisons).
But how can we include chocolate buttons or lemonade in that category? Isn't that the kind of hysterical hyperbolic labelling favoured by seaweed-eating macro-neurotics and food obsessives?

In 2009, Lustig gave a lecture called 'Sugar: The Bitter Truth'. Since it was posted on YouTube, it's had 2,602,506 viewings at the time of writing -- which is a lot for a 90-minute medical talk.

Lustig's point is not that sugar is full of empty calories -- we have known that forever -- but that it is metabolised differently from other foods. And not in a good way.
Not all calories are equal. The body treats fructose differently from glucose. In other words, starchy food -- potatoes, bread etc -- is not metabolised in the same way as the same calorific amount of sugary food.

Starch -- that is, glucose -- is metabolised throughout the whole body, whereas sugar -- fructose and glucose -- is dealt with only by the liver. Lustig calls this ''isocaloric but not isometabolic'': same calories, different chemical reaction in the body. And therefore different consequences.

The sugar to which Lustig refers is sucrose, the stuff we may or may not stir into our tea, and fructose, which is found in the food additive High Fructose Corn Syrup, HFCS, which is in lots and lots of the everyday foods we eat.

Once sugar has entered the body, it is dealt with by the liver. If you down a can of fizzy orange drink or a glass of orange juice, the liquid sugar hits the liver much faster than, say, eating the same amount of whole oranges to get the equivalent amount of sugar.

If the liver has to metabolise a sudden influx of sugar, this affects how it metabolises it. If the liver has to deal with a significant amount of rapidly incoming sugar, it does what we would rather it didn't -- it converts the sugar to body fat. Fast.

This results in something called insulin resistance, which is the underlying problem both in obesity and the development of Type 2 diabetes, and is also thought to be connected to the development of quite a few cancers.

No wonder Lustig is so adamant that sugar, far from being the sweet rewarding treat for children, is a deadly poison that's shortening the lives of millions of us.

But sugar has been around forever, hasn't it? Yet we have only been obese for a few decades. So it still must be our own fault for being greedy, super-sized fatsos. Isn't it?
Not according to British writer and broadcaster Jacques Peretti, who recently made a series unambiguously titled 'The Men Who Made Us Fat'. It's all about politics, economics and the massive amounts of HFCS added to our food.

You may not have heard of Earl Butz, but he is very much connected with the size of our, well, butz. He was a Nixon agricultural adviser who, in the early 1970s, suggested to farmers that they grow corn in industrial quantities, in the hope of bringing down the cost of food and therefore helping Nixon get re-elected. The farmers duly complied.

Powered by mega-production of corn, American food became cheaper: cows ate it and were turned into burgers, chips were fried in it. And there was loads left over. By the mid-1970s, America was up to its ears in surplus corn.

Butz went to Japan to investigate the processing of all this corn into a liquid sugar. This liquid was cheaper than cane sugar (the traditional food baddie we have long been told to avoid) and even sweeter.

As an only semi-indirect result of Nixon's re-election campaign, HFCS -- known as glucose-fructose syrup in Ireland and Britain -- began being manufactured and added to our foods on a vast scale.

Cheap and super-sweet, this stuff adds shelf-life, sweetness and even alters the appearance of baked foods (giving a sugary surface sheen), but its addition is not restricted to foods you'd normally associate with sugar, such as desserts or sweeties.

HFCS is squirted into everything -- processed meats, cooking sauces, coleslaw, bread, TV dinners, pizza, fizzy drinks, fast food, breakfast cereals, ketchup, yogurts, ice cream (even the premium stuff), salad dressing, cakes and biscuits, jam and an awful lot of low-fat food products. In fact, anything remotely processed.

Cheap added sugar made food taste better, last longer and sell cheaper -- from a food industry perspective, what was not to like?

Until the advent of mass-produced HFCS, fat was the number-one food enemy. Fat made you fat, raised your cholesterol levels, blocked your arteries and was generally bad.

Low-fat became the buzzword. Foods became prefixed with descriptions such as lo, lite and diet. Anything under 5pc was categorised as low fat. But fat makes things taste nice, as any butter-happy cook will tell you. So how to replace the fat?
With sugar. Lots of it. The soft drinks industry was already sugar-tastic when, in 1984, Coca Cola switched from traditional sugar to HFCS. Being the dominant brand, everyone else followed suit -- HFCS was cheaper and sweeter and nobody had ever heard of obesity crisis or sugar addiction.

While researching heart disease in the 1970s, one British academic, Professor John Yudkin, had made a case for sugar making us fat and getting us hooked. Nobody listened. Everyone was too busy demonising fat.

The food industry knew quite well that there was far more profit to be made from categorising fat as the enemy rather than sugar -- low-fat or fat-free was a far more enticing consumer option than anything sweetened with weird chemical stuff that was being linked to cancer in lab rats.

So we were sold the sugar good/fat bad equation.
These days, we have a situation where our food is saturated in sugar, our tastebuds have adjusted accordingly and we are carrying on average an extra three stone.

So the obvious solution would be to knock sugar on the head. Just give it up. Stop using it. Simple.

If only. The concept of food addiction is a new one. We can become addicted to substances -- drugs, alcohol, tobacco -- or behaviours such as gambling, but food? Yes, food -- specifically refined sugars, still a human diet novelty in evolutionary terms.

According to 2007 research from the University of Bordeaux, intense sweetness triggers more of a neurochemical pleasure response than cocaine.

Here's what the researchers said: ''In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants.

''The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.''

At Princeton in 2008, Professor Bart Hoebel had a look at rats and sugar bingeing, and noted changes in their brain chemistry that were the same as changes produced by morphine, cocaine and nicotine.

''If bingeing on sugar is really a form of addiction, there should be long-lasting effects in the brains of sugar addicts,'' he said.

''Craving and relapse are critical components of addiction, and we have been able to demonstrate these behaviours in sugar-bingeing rats in a number of ways.''

Never mind rats. As a card-carrying sugar addict, I can vouch for the addictive response sugar causes which overrides good intentions, self-knowledge, willpower, the loss of self-esteem caused by weight gain, even threats to physical health, such as diabetes, cancers and heart disease.

The cycle of addiction -- obsession and craving, caving in and using, remorse and shame, passage of time, more obsession and craving, more caving in and using -- happens with sugar too.
Ask any diet breaker; nobody has these issues with broccoli. Nobody binges on tofu.

My own sugar addiction emerged when I stopped drinking and subsequently robbed my dopamine receptors of their major daily sugar intake. I am far from unique; overnight sugar-madness is a common trait in recovering alcoholics.

But glancing around shows that you needn't be sugar sensitive (as in, alcoholic) to be sugar-addicted -- the size of our bodies on any high street makes that obvious. We are all sugar addicts now. One nibble and you're nobbled.

''Sugar sensitivity turns a person into Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,'' writes Dr Kathleen DesMaisons, author of 'The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Programme'. ''It's like having two different people live in your body.

''From one moment to the next, your sensitivity and openness turns to moodiness and irritability. This emotional ping-pong remains inexplicable without an understanding of sugar sensitivity.''

Thankfully, knowledge is power. Just as recovering alcoholics avoid all alcohol so that they don't trigger a craving, the same wisdom applies to sugar addiction. Except it's miles harder.

While being a drug addict is socially unacceptable, and being an alcoholic less so -- because booze is a legal social drug -- being a sugar addict is not only acceptable but positively encouraged. Go on, have some. You know you want to.
And because sugar is so prevalent in food, radical diet change can be hard to instigate.

Food recovery groups such as Overeaters Anonymous and Food Addicts Anonymous advocate a diet free of refined sugar (especially when combined with refined flour, or 'cake' as it's also known), which requires constant dedication and vigilance.
Sugar, as you can see from the panel, is everywhere.
Only when the social and financial cost of our consumption of sugar outweighs the profits made by the high-sugar processed food industry might we see an emphasis on industry responsibility, rather than blaming the individual for being fat, stupid and lazy.


  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Barley malt
  • Cane juice
  • Concentrated fruit juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dried/dehydrated fruit
  • Glucosamine
  • Glycerine
  • Honey
  • Jaggery
  • ‘Light’, ‘lite’ or ‘low’ sugar
  • Malted barley
  • Maltodextrins
  • Malt
  • Molasses
  • ‘Natural’ sweeteners
  • Nectars
  • Anything ending in -ol:
  • carbitol, glucitol, glycerol,
  • glycol, hexitol, inversol,
  • maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol,
  • xylitol, etc.
  • Anything ending in
  • -ose: dextrose, fructose,
  • glucose, lactose,
  • maltodextrose, sucrose
  • Sorghum
  • Sugars: Barbados sugar,
  • beet sugar, brown sugar,
  • cane sugar, confectioner’s
  • sugar, invert sugar, milled
  • sugar, ‘natural’ sugar, raw
  • sugar etc
  • Syrups: agave syrup,
  • barley syrup, brown rice
  • syrup, corn syrup, date
  • syrup, high fructose corn
  • syrup, maple syrup, raisin
  • syrup
  • Vanillan
  • Whey
  • Xanthum gum