By: Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD
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Imagine a diet where fruit and whole grains can be the bad guys.
It sounds strange, but that’s what “The 100” diet promotes by restricting consumption of sugar calories to 100 per day for quick weight loss.
You can get the general idea from the title of Jorge Cruise’s book, The 100: Count Only Sugar Calories and Lose Up to 18 Lbs. in Two Weeks.
This is basically a super low-carb diet. You may very well lose that weight, but it will be difficult to keep the weight off long-term. If a diet is filled with unsustainable restrictions, weight that comes off fast will be fast coming back on.
A diet that counts all sugar calories
The 100 diet isn’t referring to just refined or added sugar — it means all sugar that comes from carbohydrates, including those that occur naturally in fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Fiber content and protein aren’t taken into account. The number of total carbohydrate grams is what counts in coming up with the number of sugar calories.
So, in The 100 diet, sugar calories in a food are calculated this way: Total carbohydrate grams X 4 = sugar calories.
How many sugar calories do healthy foods actually have?
Here are a few examples of total carbohydrate grams in some healthy foods, translated into sugar calories:
- Medium-size apple (3-inch diameter) has about 20 total carb grams. That’s 80 sugar calories.
- Medium banana has 30 grams. 120 sugar calories. Over the limit.
- Half-cup of medium-grain cooked brown rice has 22 grams. 88 sugar calories.
- Half-cup of cooked black beans has 20 grams. 80 sugar calories.
- Non-fat plain yogurt (1.8-ounce container) has 17 grams. 68 sugar calories.
As you can see, it won’t take much to put you over the daily limit of sugar calories!
Controlling carbs is important — to a point
Most Americans overeat carbohydrates, so watching your carbs is definitely a good idea. But eating a balanced diet is more important, and so is portion control. You can manage weight by eating just about anything — just not overeating.
The 100 diet isn’t dangerous, but it doesn’t supply all the elements you need for a healthy diet. Losing fat so quickly, too, affects electrolytes and your body’s balance. That’s why you should check with your doctor before starting a super low-carb diet like this.
Carbs, healthy fats and protein, and the fiber, vitamins and minerals that you get from lots of fruits and vegetables are all part of a good diet. And so is naturally occurring sugar!
So rather than going on a crash diet, I advise you to take the weight off safely and gradually — 1 or 2 pounds a week. And you’ll have a much better chance of keeping it off.