ZERO SUGAR DIET is the latest book by David Zinczenko, with assistance by Stephen Perrine. Zinczenko is not a medical researcher or clinician; he is a professional writer and editor. He is the author of over twenty books on diet and health, including the EAT THIS, NOT THAT series, the ABS DIET series, and the ZERO BELLY series. He has been a high ranking editor of three magazines about diet and health. Both for his job and for his personal use, he "obsessively reads" the latest research on this subject.

ZERO SUGAR DIET is written like a magazine article, full of anecdotes, factoids, helpful hints, "studies say" declarations, recipes, lists, and bullet points. Many diet books are like this. It is not anything like the books of Gary Taubes, WHY WE GET FAT and THE CASE AGAINST SUGAR, which I strongly recommend. Taubes writes like a scientist and a lawyer, clearly and fluently making an argument and explaining the science and history of the issue. Zinczenko is a salesman for a proposed diet.

On page 11 he writes: "In 2015, researchers at the University of Massachusetts compared two sets of dieters. One set had spent the previous year doing pretty much everything that I did: cut calories, reduce saturated fat, ate lots of fruit and vegetables, took the skin off their chicken, ate low-fat dairy items, cut sodium, ate more fish, reduced trans fats, cut back on sugar, and exercised a minimum of 150 minutes a week. The other group did none of these things. All they did was eat more fiber, at least 30 grams a day.
Yet after a year, both groups showed nearly identical reductions in weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and inflammation.
My first reaction? I was mad. Car-flipping mad."

So, in this book he is proposing a diet very low in added sugars and with lots of fiber. His diet has two phases. Phase One is two weeks, Phase Two is thereafter.

He makes the distinction between natural sugar, that occurs naturally in the food, and added sugar, which is in many, many foods you will find in the supermarket and in restaurants. He proposes that for two weeks, you avoid all added sugar entirely. Each meal should include (1) a zero-sugar carbohydrate: vegetables (fresh or frozen), whole fruit (fresh or frozen), beans/legumes, unsweetened whole grains and cereals (brown rice, quinoa, oats), or nuts and seeds... (2) a "power protein", such as eggs, fish, plain Greek yoghurt, or lean meat (turkey, chicken, lean beef, roast pork) ... and a zero-added-sugar beverage (water, tea, milk, black coffee, or wine in moderation).

This two-week phase will probably drop your weight by ten pounds or so, but more importantly, it will end your cravings for sugar, show you that with enough fiber, at the end of the meal you do not crave dessert.

Phase two, you can resume buying packaged and processed food, with the proviso that it should contain more grams of fiber than grams of sugar. He has pages of lists, of commercial breads, crackers, soups, snacks, that actually meet this requirement. Most restaurant chains will have SOMETHING on their menu that will pass. You will probably continue to lose weight, but more slowly.

After the first two weeks, he also allows (at most) two "cheat meals" per week, when you can eat whatever.

My own comments: The very-low-sugar, high-fiber diet is interesting, because it offers an alternate explanation for why some other diets work. For example, there is a book called THE CHINA STUDY, which reports on a statistical, epidemiological study of many local populations in China, each with a somewhat different pattern of eating, which found that the less meat that a population ate, the more healthy they were. Vegans point to this study to argue for a totally plant-based diet. I note that the more plants you eat, the more fiber you will get. Meat consumption in China is strongly correlated with household income, and I will bet that household income is ALSO strongly correlated with SUGAR consumption. So the fact that the vegan diet WORKS, to reduce obesity and improve health, may not necessarily finger meat as unhealthy. Similarly for the Paleo diet. The basic idea of Paleo is that over LONG periods of time, by natural selection our species adapts to the foods we have been eating, so we may be better adapted to ancient foods and less well-adapted to more recent foods. (Especially foods invented in the last two hundred years, but to some degree even foods that were introduced with the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago.) From my personal experience I can say that the Paleo diet also WORKS. But it is ALSO a very-low-sugar, substantial-fiber diet, so perhaps it is not necessary to quit eating grains, beans, and dairy.

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Comment by Frankie Dapper on February 17, 2017 at 11:19pm

lack of love and ya die like a dove whose gorging on yokes and having strokes

Comment by Flora Star on February 17, 2017 at 10:44pm

The most dangerous foods to a "hypertensive" (patient with high blood pressure) are those high in starches. Foods rich in animal fats (and cholesterol) should also be watched.

High blood pressure is often related to overweight. Indeed, many patients can effectively reduce their pressure merely by reducing weight - dropping a stone (6.35kg) may often bring the pressure back to normal, without the need for any form of medication. (Some doctors believe this is not a true blood-pressure problem. But who is to know until the weight is back to normal and the BP reduced?)

Guidelines to prevent cardiac problems:

Overweight most commonly results from an over-indulgence in foods containing refined flour, sugar, and potato.

It is now well documented that starch foods are also notorious for increasing the "triglyceride" component of the blood. This is one form of blood fat. Elevated levels are known to be associated with an increased risk of premature heart attack.

Eating less of the starch foods helps both in keeping the weight down and the BP normal. Other foods which should be cut down are those containing a lot of cholesterol (the other form of blood fat). High levels of cholesterol are also well incriminated for producing premature heart attack.

Certain sea foods (oysters, crustaceans), animal fats (milk, cream, butter), egg-yolk are quite high in cholesterol. By reducing the intake of these another risk factor is reduced, and you could be helping yourself to better living and a longer life span.

The key factors which will increase the risk of heart attacks include an increased BP; overweight; high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. These can be controlled readily by any sensible person without too much difficulty, and entirely without drug medication.

The other key factors, of course, are smoking, lack of exercise and a family history of heart attack. The first two can be controlled. The last one cannot be, but if present, it indicates the absolute need to adhere to the suggestions made.

Comment by Asa Watcher on February 10, 2017 at 11:50am

Just quit eating carbs.

By avoiding processed sugar, my wife dropped 5 lbs the first week

simply by avoiding carbohydrates from June to March she lost more than 40 lbs.

she feels better, looks better is happier, and has more energy.  

Try this site to begin:

Comment by Compelledunbeliever on January 24, 2017 at 9:13pm

I went on a diet ones time it was very simple. I called it the don't eat everything you see diet. I ate a simple food like a banana one bite at a time sometimes for a period of three hours. I lost forty pounds in one month! It boils down to exercise and simply not stuffing your face. I have a joint disorder called ehlers-danlos syndrome I needed to loose the weight to reduce pain. In my mind it all comes down to desire. If you really want to accomplish any goal it is up to your determination. Now could someone pay me gazillion dollars for this comment? I just as good as.any magic book.

Comment by Idaho Spud on January 21, 2017 at 12:44pm

When I was skin & bone (up to the age of 40), I never ate anything with artificial sweeteners because I thought I could use the calories, and I wanted to get the most calories for the buck.

For years now, I've tried to find products with artificial sweeteners, and avoid too much sugar. I used to think sugar tasted better, but now I can't tell the difference.

Ice Cream is something I love, and eat quite a bit of, but I've not been able to find any with artificial sweeteners.  I don't know why, because I can find plenty of soft drinks with no sugar, so why don't Ice Cream makers make some with no sugar?

On the subject of how much harm sugar does to our bodies, I've heard good points given on both sides of the argument for years, but recently, I'm leaning heavily towards the view that it's bad stuff, so I'm going to try to eliminate more from my diet.  It just hit me that I don't think that I've asked my favorite doctor the question.  Have to put that at the top of the list to ask him.

Comment by Randall Smith on January 21, 2017 at 8:08am

Like Glen, I think I'm a sugar addict, especially chocolate. Thankfully, I weigh only 125 lbs., decidedly slender. However, my concern is what sugar does to the liver, plus that it serves as a substitute for "good" calories.

So, when I went to Florida for two weeks, I had no cookies, desserts, soft drinks, candy or anything sugary. They were not in my pantry, so I couldn't be tempted as I tend to nibble. I was sorta surprised how easy it was. However, since I've been back home, I've returned to my old ways (made a batch of brownies). I agree with Glen: at my age (74), I want to enjoy food, including sweets.

By the way, I just picked up, but haven't yet read, Gary Taubes' "The Case Against Sugar". Thanks, John, for the recommendation of Zinczenko's book. I have much more to say, but will stop here.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on January 17, 2017 at 11:30pm

I eat oatmeal most mornings but i dont find it gives a greater sense of being full then lets say a bagel and couple of eggs. 

Thanks for all the info. Ya know, aint none of us getting out of this mess alive. I want to enjoy food too. So at this point am gonna enjoy some sweets. 

Comment by John B Hodges on January 17, 2017 at 8:55pm

To Glen Rosenberg-- I've never had the kind of addiction you do, so I can only repeat what the people I have read have said. Brown rice, Quinoa (a type of grain I have never tried, but which is quite trendy), Oatmeal, beans, peas, lentils. In the freezer section of your grocery store you can find one-pound bags of mixed chopped vegetables. Get a steamer and a bottle of olive oil, try having a pound of vegetables with one or two tablespoons of olive oil for breakfast, and/or dinner. The Ezekiel 4:9 folks sell bread with no sugar and no flour (they sprout the grains instead of grinding them). They also sell a type of breakfast cereal, which I haven't tried yet. Any sort of soup that contains beans... My favorite is minestrone. Split pea and lentil are also good, but I like them less... adding "Goldfish" crackers helps, they have no sugar either.

Back in my 20's I ate a "sattvic" diet for eight years (vegetarian plus milk and cheese). I ate some sweets, mostly dried fruit, but overall not much, and did not gain any weight over that time (which may not mean much, since I was in my 20's). My standard dinner was brown rice with a few added beans, steamed vegetables with some oil, and a glass of milk. I was happy, no cravings. Nowadays (I am 64) I cook a pot of brown rice (one cup of rice, two of water, one tbsp olive oil, boil, then simmer covered for an hour, stove burner set halfway between "warm" and "low", makes 3 cups cooked rice. I put it in 3 containers in the fridge, it's ready to warm for any meal. Eat the rice first, then whatever else, the fiber will get its chance to start making you satisfied by the time you finish your protein, salad, veggies, fruit, whatever.

In my late 50's I ate "mostly paleo" for two years, lost 30 pounds, was generally happy, but I was not strict. I cut way back on sweets but did not eliminate them.

This "Zero Sugar" diet is new, I've just started trying it, but I've done without desserts and sweets easily so far. Fresh fruit suffices for a late-night snack. It is a sudden change from my recent habits, when ice cream and chocolate were staple foods for me.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on January 17, 2017 at 8:35am


And more sugar. The rush is almost instantaneous. But it is short-lived and that means i need more sugar.

I am an addict. Do you truly lose the craving? Cuz i am pretty sure a sex addict, or a gambling addict feels the cravings more strongly?

Would you give some examples of fiber that work best in helping to feel full and reduce craving?

I concur that many studies are misleading or misunderstood. 



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