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Sugar Busters diet


Also listed as: Diet, Sugar Busters
Related terms
Author information

Related Terms
  • Diet, type 2 diabetes, glucagon, glycemic index, low carbohydrate diet.

  • Sugar Busters is a diet book published in 1998 that includes a detailed explanation of the role of insulin in diet and health. Authors H. Leighton Steward, a former CEO, cardiothoracic surgeon Morrison C. Bethea, endocrinologist Samuel Andrews and gastroenterologist Luis A. Balart advocate a diet without refined or simple sugars. The book also includes a glycemic index that allows readers to determine glycemic levels of various foods.

Theory / Evidence
  • Sugar Busters is based on the elimination of foods that contain large amounts of refined sugar. Foods high in refined sugars will cause a large increase in blood glucose. When the blood glucose rises, the pancreas is signaled to release insulin. Instead of turning the glucose into glucagon, which can immediately be used as energy in the body, the body releases too much insulin. The result is increased storage of fat in the body. A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet causes a small increase in blood glucose levels. These small levels result in small increases in insulin secretion and therefore, a greater production of glucagon. The diet stresses foods high in fiber such as vegetables, lean and trimmed meats, stone ground whole grains, fish and fruits. The diet also suggests baking, broiling or grilling and if necessary, using canola oil in place of other oils that tend to be high in poly-saturated fats.
  • Researchers suggest that this diet may decrease the incidence of insulin resistance, which causes type 2 diabetes mellitus. Other researchers argue that obesity (regardless of how the weight is gained) is the cause of type 2 diabetes.
  • While this diet is more flexible than most others, critics note that the book does not adequately describe how to start the diet.

Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. Sugar Busters! 14 May 2006.

  • The Sugar Busters diet is based on the idea that sugar causes weight gain. Therefore, foods that contain large amounts of refined sugar should not be eaten or limited.
  • The diet emphasizes the importance of foods high in fiber like vegetables, lean and trimmed meats, whole grains, fish and fruits.
  • The diet also suggests baking, broiling or grilling foods. If necessary, canola oil can be used in place of other oils that tend to be high in poly-saturated fats.
  • Individuals should have three moderately sized meals a day. Snacks can be eaten between meals but should include fruit or nuts.
  • Fruit is encouraged 30 minutes prior to a meal.
  • Recommended foods: Meats including lean beef and pork, Canadian bacon, poultry, game meats (e.g. venison), fish and shellfish.
  • Vegetables including beans, lentils, peas, spinach, lettuce, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, eggplant and onions.
  • Fruits including apples, lemons, limes, pears, cherries, raspberries, kiwis, grapefruits, apricots, melons other than watermelon, tomatoes, oranges and tangerines.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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