In his book Get Off Your Sugar: Burn the Fat, Crush Your Cravings, and Go From Stress Eating to Strength Eating (Hachette Go, 2021), Daryl Gioffre, a board-certified chiropractor, raw-food chef, ultramarathoner and former sugar addict, offers techniques for how to stop eating sugar and transitioning to healthier habits. We caught up with him to learn more.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was massively addicted to sugar my entire life. In my late 20s, I started growing out of my pants, so I bought bigger sizes. My energy was depleted by the end of each day, and I realized that I was a walking contradiction: I would tell my patients to reduce their sugar, and then I’d go into my office and wolf down a candy bar. I was 42 pounds heavier than I am today. One day I was adjusting a patient and my pants ripped down the backside. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Right around that time, I learned about the alkaline diet and the “add versus take away” approach to eating. When I tried to simply deprive myself of sugar, it didn’t work. I started adding green juices and salads and boosting my mineral intake, along with more exercise. Within three weeks, my cravings were gone—no joke! And within four months, I lost the 42 pounds. It gave me a new lease on life.
Why is it so difficult to stop eating sugar with willpower alone?
Sugar is powerful: Research proves it is more addictive than cocaine. Americans eat more sugar than any other country in the world—an average of 130 pounds each year or 38 teaspoons per day! The World Health Organization recommends 6 to 9 teaspoons. The big problem is that sugar is hiding in “health” foods, like dairy, grains and processed foods; in your average U.S. grocery store, 74 percent of products contain sugar or a sweetener.
Many of us set a New Year’s resolution to kick sugar. Willpower gets you started, but there are deeper reasons that need to be addressed for you to be successful—like nutrient deficiencies that can cause sugar cravings, as well as really understanding your motivation. Good health is 20 percent strategy, 80 percent psychology. If you have a powerful purpose, you can crush the craving.
Please define the phrase “strength eating” from your book title.
Even before the pandemic, stress eating was a regular part of many people’s lifestyle. Stress creates acidity in the body and kick-starts a lot of cravings. But there is an alternative. As we start to add more healthy “strength” foods to our diet, we crowd out the bad, acidic options like sugar, the most acidic thing you can put in your body. It’s not about deprivation but about adding good to outweigh the bad.
With strength eating, you want to fill your body with three good-for-you meals a day, with a goal of no snacking in between. This will help your insulin and sugar levels drop, allowing the body to use the preferred source of energy: fat. In turn, this can help you lose weight. If you do need a snack, turn to something healthy, like a celery stick with almond butter and hemp seeds.