Sarah Wilson (photo) is the health guru who inspired millions around the world to stop & # 39; sugar & # 39;
Sarah Wilson is the health guru who inspired millions of people around the world to quit sugar. She did it herself and look at her.
Slim, beautiful and radiant in health. Who wouldn't want to do what she does?
Her best-selling I Quit Sugar … book series drove a wave of public concern about sugar after a sensational 2015 report from the World Health Organization emphasized fears about the damage too much of the sweet things inflicts on our health. Sugar, it argued, was responsible for our "epidemic" overweight.
As a result, the government revised the nutritional guidelines and advised us to keep us at seven teaspoons daily (or between four and six for children, depending on age) – while cups of sugar mention "the new tobacco."
Membership in the Wilson online diet club, which gave aspiring sugar killers a plan to help them with cold turkey for eight weeks, grew to an astounding 1.5 million. She told them: "I have lost weight and my skin has disappeared. When I stopped taking the white stuff (sugar) I started to heal … I found the kind of energy and sparkle I had as a child. & # 39;
The company generated an astounding £ 1.5 million annually and its webpage had more than two million monthly hits. But Wilson closed his shop early last year.
The I Quit Sugar social media pages & # 39; s still exist – and are followed by more than 100,000 fans. On Facebook you see Wilson still dressed in a sweater with the slogan & # 39; Sugar Sucks & # 39 ;. But she is no longer actively involved.
She explains: "The information is available to people, anyone can use it to work with it. Now I have other passions to pursue. & # 39;
Nowadays she wants to talk about a new health problem: fear. Her latest book, First We Make The Beast Beautiful, recently released in a pocket version, talks about the lifelong struggle of the 45-year-old with mental disorders and offers advice to fellow sufferers.
Membership in Wilson's online diet club, which gave aspiring sugar killers a plan to help them with cold turkey for eight weeks, grew to an astonishing 1.5 meters. The company ran more than £ 1.5 million annually and its webpages had more than 2 million monthly hits. But Wilson closed his shop early last year
From a visceral account of her suicide attempt to inspiring encounters with the Dalai Lama, the book seems unusual for a woman who earned her fortune with sugar-free banana bread recipes.
And when we meet, I discover that it is a mass of contradictions.
My first plan was to come to the interview armed with a pint of coke full of sugar – I regularly write about the pseudo-science of popular diet fads.
And despite much hysteria, there is little evidence that sugar – over any other ingredient – is particularly toxic to our bodies. But I decided to take the idea of Coke in case it misled us.
But I don't have to worry – Wilson has indeed stopped sugar, at least for the time being.
"I like to scare people by eating cake," she says with a grin.
"I eat chocolate every day and I also like red wine. They are my favorite things on the planet. I can't live without that stuff. & # 39;
Yet she doesn't touch orange juice yet – because the sugar in fruit is "worse" for the body.
She & # 39; eat what she wants & # 39; but then admits that I have beaten myself up & # 39; because I succumbed to a croissant.
As if this wasn't enough, she now insists that she & # 39; never told anyone not to eat sugar & # 39 ;.
Yet it is in black and white, on the first pages of her first book. She writes: & # 39; When you stop taking sugar for the first time, you have to stop everything … so you can break the addiction. & # 39; At the end of the eight-week plan, she says: & # 39; some alternatives to fruit and safe table sugar can be re-introduced & # 39; .
But today she sweeps that aside and says, "It is now in my past.
"I have never limited the amount of food I ate. Now I say, I stop I stop sugar, I can do whatever I want. I gave myself the opportunity to recalibrate. I know how much I can handle. & # 39;
Her best-selling I Quit Sugar … book series drove a wave of public concern about sugar after a sensational 2015 report from the World Health Organization emphasized fears about the damage too much of the sweet things inflicts on our health. Sugar, it argued, was responsible for our "epidemic" overweight. Wilson now insists that she & # 39; never told anyone not to eat sugar & # 39;
Whispers of secret eating problems
As someone who blogs and talks about food and health on social media, I am keenly aware of the link between restrictive eating and serious mental illness. Within the online "wellness community" itself, people whisper endlessly about this or that popular food or fitness influencer who has a secret eating problem. But nobody ever talks about it publicly.
All the while their hundreds of thousands of loyal followers duplicate their disordered diet.
In 2016, eating disorder psychiatrist Dr. Mark Berelowitz said that a shocking 80 to 90 percent of patients who visited his clinic in North London were enthusiastic followers of bloggers and social media stars who advised avoiding whole food groups – including sugar.
I eat chocolate every day and I also like red wine. They are my favorite things on the planet. I can't live without that stuff.
There is no suggestion that Wilson was there. But it's no surprise when she tells me she suffered from bulimia – an eating disorder characterized by binges and purging – for most of her late teens.
She says, "I had never heard of it until I saw a magazine article about Princess Diana 's eating disorder and thought," Oh God, that's what I do. " I felt a lot of my fear in my stomach so I thought if I stacked food on it, it would numb.
"Cleaning up was the solution to the problem because I could bring it all back. Bulimia is like saying, "Don't come near me." It's a shameful thing to talk about. It's ugly, dirty, shameful. We are all fascinated by anorexia – it is seen as the ultimate female vulnerability. Nobody wants to be bulimic. & # 39;
Wilson tells me that her eating disorder was resolved by her late years & # 39; 20. A former boyfriend, a chef, took her on food tours around the world that helped her become "super comfortable around eating."
"Now I am obsessed with food, but in a very healthy way," she says.
She has never had specialist help with her eating disorder.
"My parents didn't know what it was. There was no way to talk about it, there were other things going on, & she says.
Tips spread by anorexia girls
At the age of 17, Wilson started psychiatric treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder. Four years later, during a university exchange program in California, her anxiety reached its peak and caused a nervous breakdown.
She returned to the Australian capital, Canberra, where her doctor diagnosed bipolar disorder.
Thought affecting around 600,000 Brits, the condition causes extreme fluctuations in mood – from manic highs to crippling lows.
At the age of 34 she had a second, devastating breakdown, which led to an attempt at her own life.
& # 39; Many things happened at the same time – a toxic relationship, the magazine industry faltered (before Wilson became a guru-guru was a successful Australian journalist) and I felt that I had no way out. & # 39; The stress, she claims, caused the sudden onset of an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's, which causes exhaustion, dry skin, and sometimes weight gain.
At her lowest point, she turned to food for the answer.
"I was fascinated by research that linked autoimmune diseases to sugar intake, so I thought I'd try (get sugar out of it)."
Her diet experiment was the start of her I Quit Sugar books. When I ask if her limited diet was a symptom of her eating disorder, she rejects my theory.
"It helped the chemicals in my body to dissolve themselves. I wasn't fixated on it, & she says.
For the record, there is no scientific evidence suggesting that dietary factors have an impact on the recovery of disorders that affect the immune system.
And the concept of sugar addiction is very controversial – most studies show that the effect of sugar on the brain is no different than that of food.
Wilson remains convinced. "It's chemical and hormonal. We are programmed to be obsessed with sugar.
& # 39; But some people are cool with it. I have a girlfriend who can eat one cookie or one scoop of ice cream. They do exist.
Donuts every day is not a good idea … but a little sugar won't kill you
Research suggests that as long as you cut calories, you lose weight – whether you eat sugar or not
It is clear that a diet with many donuts and carbonated drinks will not do wonders for our health. But studies show that sugar, provided we don't eat buckets full of it, is fine in the diet.
Nevertheless, many pseudo-scientific claims are hanging around, arguing that we need to remove a lot or even all of the sugar from our diet to combat obesity and disease.
Is anything true? Read on and decide for yourself …
MYTH: SUGAR MAKES YOUR FAT
FACT: Studies have shown that people on a sugar-rich diet are also more likely to be overweight or obese.
Does this mean that sugar itself is the cause of obesity?
The jury is after this.
High-sugar diets generally also contain a lot of fats, salt and calories, which means that it is impossible to know if any of these is responsible for weight gain. The most likely explanation, experts say, is that it is too much of everything that makes us pile on the pounds.
And research also suggests that as long as you cut calories, you lose weight – whether you eat sugar or not.
MYTH: SUGAR IS REDUCING
FACT: In studies, laboratory rats – selected because they had already shown a preference for sugary foods – were allowed to consume sugar after not receiving food for 12 to 16 hours. No matter how cruel it may seem, this was repeated for three to four weeks. After this time, they began to display bingeing-type behavior that researchers suggested to be "addicted."
They also eventually showed & # 39; withdrawal symptoms & # 39; – chattering teeth, shaking and vibrating – during fasting periods.
And there were also indications that the brains of the rats released more than normal amounts of dopamine after eating sugar – the "reward" hormone that was also released after taking addictive drugs. But other studies show that when rats are allowed to eat freely, with sugar as an option, they show no signs of addiction.
Similar binges occurred when the rats were given artificial sweetener, indicating that it is the sweet taste rather than the sugar they crave. A 2014 study reported exactly the same brain response when the experiment was repeated with food, regardless of sugar content.
No studies have found evidence of sugar addiction in humans.
MYTH: SUGAR CAUSES TYPE 2 DIABETES
FACT: Type 2 diabetes is a disease that leads to permanently elevated blood sugar levels.
This can cause serious problems over time, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and infections that lead to limb amputations.
But there is no evidence that this is simply because sugar is eaten. Research shows that the most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes is overweight or obese, regardless of what is eaten.
Exactly why scientists are still debating, but it is thought to be related to excess fat in the liver that interrupts the body's hormonal signals. A study of 355 obese individuals showed no difference in diabetes risk when consuming eight percent, 18 percent or 30 percent calories in added sugar. Again, it is too much of everything that causes problems.
MYTH: THE SUGAR RUSH IS REAL
FACT: Sugar is broken down quickly and a lot of food can lead to an increase in energy.
But some have used this fact to claim that sugar causes behavioral problems, especially in children.
An American analysis from 1995 with 23 studies showed that sugar intake generally had no effect on children's cognition or behavior.
Interestingly, parents would rather judge their children's behavior badly if they mistakenly believed that their child had drunk a sugary drink.
Another 2019 study looked at 31 previous sugar and mood studies – involving 1,300 adults – and concluded that sugar intake had no significant effect.
A 2015 randomized control trial – the gold standard of scientific studies – found that dietary interventions were only useful for psychiatric patients in combination with talk therapies and medication.
"But I have to walk to the other side of the room when the birthday cake comes out and focus the conversation so that I can stay away from that third slice of cake."
I have no doubt that the unfounded dietary advice from social media stars has fueled my own descent into anorexia. I present this to Wilson.
"Yes, I live towards it," she says (she actually speaks that way). "But my message was clear. It was not a didactic diet, it was a more balanced approach to eating. & # 39;
I do not agree with it. Her first book refers to sugar as "toxic."
Many of the appetite suppressing & # 39; tricks and tips & # 39; those she advocates are similar to the species I have seen in the circulation of girls suffering from severe eating disorders.
For example, she tells readers that if they feel like snacking, they should brush their teeth and drink a glass of water instead.
Much of the anorexia I've known brushed their teeth during the day to stop them from eating, because the minty taste makes food indigestible.
And drinking water is a way to fill the stomach without consuming calories.
Sift a pot of tea, she says, is a "nice distraction" of the cakes that could tempt you if you go drinking coffee with friends. Or you could & # 39; stuff yourself with spinach and you'll be too full to eat chocolate! & # 39;
A deep need that she cannot shake off
Strange food avoidance rituals aside, I notice the same vulnerability in Wilson that I see with thousands of women – and men – that I have encountered struggling with difficult eating, including myself.
Her relationship with food can indeed be stable.
But it is clear that her deep sense of fear will always be difficult to shake off.
And like everyone I have ever met who has had an eating disorder, their problems are never really about food.
"I've always found it uncomfortable to sit by myself," she says.
Wilson, the eldest of six, recalls the misunderstanding of her parents about her psychological problems, even at a young age.
"They could handle the problems of my brothers and sisters because they were manageable.
& # 39; Except me? I was permanently placed on a shelf that said "what the f ***". "
She cannot detect a particularly traumatic childhood experience, but says that signs of mania have appeared at the age of 11.
"I had a lazy eye at school, so I was bullied for a year and a half because I had to wear an eye patch," she recalls.
"I had no friends who lived in the country in the middle of nowhere – totally isolated. Imagine that. & # 39;
For 12 years single and with her family spread all over the world, she spends most of her time alone.
She only recently bought her very first couch, because & # 39; I have never been in one place long enough & # 39 ;.
Is she lonely?
"Yes …" she hesitates. "… I am basically lonely. I long for love. & # 39;
But within a few seconds she flashes back to her pleasant comfort zone. "I am a bit confused at the moment, but it is only because I have eaten too much sugar and gluten.
"I have to go back to my eating routine. I feel quite inflamed. My face is completely swollen. I stare at her flawless, glowing skin.
When the interview is over, we leave the restaurant – past the tray with steaming, freshly buttered crumpets.
We both look forward to it. "I shouldn't say this," says Wilson. "But crumpets are the best when served with a big dollop of honey."
Finally, some dietary advice that I have time for.
First We Make The Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson (Corgi, £ 12.99)
What is the difference…
Between an organ and a gland
According to the medical definition, an organ is a group of tissues that work together, with a series of functions.
Organs often form systems – for example, the circulatory system includes the heart, veins and arteries. Its function is to transport substances in the blood through the body.
The digestive system covers the stomach and intestines and breaks down food and absorbs nutrients.
Glands are a specific type of organ that secretes substances in the blood or removes materials from the blood or body. They can be endocrine or exocrine.
Endocrine glands release substances directly into the bloodstream – for example, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolism.
Exocrine glands include sweat glands and salivary glands and they release substances to the outside or into cavities in the body.
The liver and pancreas are both endocrine and exocrine, which releases insulin in the blood and bile in the digestive tract.
Liz Earle CICA Restore Skin Paste, £ 29
This night cream is abundant in extracts from the Asian plant Centella asiatica, praised for its calming anti-inflammatory properties.
Use bacon to cure nosebleeds
It sounds bizarre, but packing the nostrils with bacon can be a way to tackle a serious bloody nose.
Researchers at the Detroit Medical Center in Michigan treated a young patient with a rare hereditary condition that caused prolonged bleeding from & # 39; salted salted pork & # 39; to stab her nose.
They wrote in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology: "Cured salted pork made like a nose tampon and wrapped in the nose vaults successfully stopped the nasal bleeding immediately."
Pork contains compounds that stimulate blood clotting, researchers added. Salted pork, as used in the study, is not smoked – so if your butcher cannot deliver a slice of this specific meat, a pack of unsalted bacon would be the closest equivalent.
You can also make your own salty pork with recipes that you can find online.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) health