The rules were set. For 60 days I'd maintain the same level of exercise that I already did and I'd eat no chocolate, ice cream, soft drinks or candy, and I'd get all my sugar from "healthy" foods.
The 40 teaspoons a day would be hidden sugars found in foods like low-fat yogurt, cereals, muesli bars, juices, sports drinks and assorted condiments.
Just 12 days into this, I put on five pounds. But the real alarm sounded when I showed signs of fatty liver disease after just 18 days.
By the end of the experiment I'd gained 19 pounds, developed pre-type 2 diabetes and heart disease risks, had an extra four inches of dangerous visceral fat around my belly and noticed an enormous impact on my moods and cognitive functions. My experiment with sugar provided me with a sneak peak under the veil of the food and sugar industry matrix. And it led to my resulting documentary and book, That Sugar Film.
I think affluent folks around the world are already aware of the dangers of hidden sugar. The goal of That Sugar Film was to penetrate what I like to call the “quinoa curtain” and get the message to the people that actually need it the most.
It's not about quitting sugar, it is about empowering people to see where sugar is hidden so they can truly have it in moderation. You can still enjoy ice cream at the end of the day, but perhaps don't have the apple juice, granola bar or low fat yoghurt on the same day because that's what's getting your sugar count so high.
The film is made for the whole family and includes cameos from Hugh Jackman, Stephen Fry, Isabel Lucas and Brenton Thwaites. Children need to see this movie the most, so we can give them the best chance of a wonderful, healthy future.
Here are the key things I learned over the 3 years of making the film:
1. Added sugar is now found in nearly 80% of the foods we eat.
Not many people really understand what "grams" of sugar means on a label. It helped me to know that 1 teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams. So if you see a juice bottle or soda with 32 grams then you divide it by 4 to get 8 teaspoons.