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The highly successful Sugar Busters diet was developed by Morrison C. Bethea, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon, Samuel S. Andrews, MD, an endocrinologist, Luis A. Balart, MD, a gastroenterologist and H. Leighton Steward, a former CEO. They wrote the best-selling book, Sugar Busters! (Ballantine Books), and several follow-up books. Sugar Busters considers sugar toxic and eliminates high glycemic foods and foods with refined sugar from the diet. It is a low carbohydrate, high protein diet based on the glycemic index (GI) of foods. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates (carbs) according to the effect they have on blood sugar levels. Carbs with a low GI value slowly release sugar into the blood, which curbs cravings and provides a steady supply of energy. In addition to weight loss, the diet claims to lower cholesterol and help treat diabetes and other diseases.

Sugar Busters eliminates common high glycemic foods from the diet including potatoes, white rice, corn, processed and refined grain products (like white bread and pasta), honey, all refined sugars, carrots, beets, ripe bananas, watermelon, corn syrup, molasses, beer and sodas. The diet allows lean meats (including poultry, beef, and pork), fish and shellfish, beans, lentils, whole grains and cereals, low fat dairy products, low-glycemic vegetables (such as spinach, peas, squash, zucchini and cucumbers), canola and olive oils, and red wine. Snacks of fruit (including apples, pears, cherries, apricots, and citrus), dark chocolate, and nuts are also allowed. The diet claims not to count calories, but stresses portion control. 

The Sugar Busters diet is based on the theory that high glycemic carbs (which contain sugar or glucose) get digested quickly, making insulin levels spike. With too much circulating insulin, the body can't convert glucose into glycogen (which provides immediate energy). As a result, the glucose is stored as fat. Too much circulating insulin can also cause insulin resistance, which results in obesity and can be a precursor of diabetes. By minimizing carbs/sugar, the Sugar Busters diet promises weight loss and a reduction in insulin resistance. However, experts disagree with the claim that the diet can reduce insulin resistance and treat diabetes. In addition, they believe that the weight loss is not from eliminating carbs, but from the diet's low calorie meals, which only average about 1,200 calories a day.

"Sugar Busters! is not restrictive," state the authors on their website. "You can eat from all food groups, but we encourage you to make the best selections within each food group. Sugar Busters! is not an extreme or radical approach to nutrition but rather the voice of moderation."

  1. Steward H et al. The New Sugar Busters!, New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2002.

  2. Sugar Busters Concepts, SugarBusters.com:

  3. http://www.sugarbusters.com/concept.php

  4. The Sugar Busters Diet: What It Is, WebMD:

  5. http://www.webmd.com/content/pages/7/3220_290.htm

  6. The Sugar Busters Diet: What You Can Eat, WebMD:

  7. http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/92/102033.htm

  8. The Sugar Busters Diet: How It Works, WebMD:

  9. http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/92/102034.htm

  10. The Sugar Busters Diet: What the Experts Say, WebMD:

  11. http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/92/102036.htm

  12. The Sugar Busters Diet: Food for Thought, WebMD:

  13. http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/92/102032s.htm

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