Life without sugar surprisingly sweet

By Rebecca Malcolm -
WHITE POISON: Michael Mansell has given up sugar, lost 25kg and gained his health back as a result. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER 090514SP4
WHITE POISON: Michael Mansell has given up sugar, lost 25kg and gained his health back as a result. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER 090514SP4

Michael Mansell was an addict, but it wasn't alcohol, gambling or drugs he was addicted to.

Instead, it was something far more innocent. Sugar.

The Rotorua man has now been sugar-free for two years and the benefits have been astounding.

He's dropped more than 25kg, years of poor liver function have been reversed and above all else, he feels much healthier.

While the trend has become popular in recent months, Mr Mansell was one of the early converts to the no-sugar diet.

Mr Mansell said he'd struggled with weight over the years. He'd lost it through programmes like Weight Watchers but always put it back on. But when he saw a documentary on an Australian league player who had given up sugar, he took that approach.

He said once he put his mind to it, it was easy to stay motivated.

"There have been a couple of crashes off, like any addicted person," Mr Mansell said.

While he didn't get withdrawals when he initially gave up sugar, on the odd occasion he now indulged he noticed the mood swings and short tempers.

He said the weight loss was a big benefit, but even better was the turn-around in liver function which had previously seen him needing regular liver biopsies.

The general feeling of wellness blew him away. He had more energy, more vitality and simply felt healthier.

Mr Mansell said one of the hardest things was to convince others of the method behind giving up sugar. Many couldn't understand it was a permanent choice, not just a temporary measure to drop the kilos. "It kind of makes you an outsider and does limit eating out," he says.

Another to turn to the no-sugar phase is Laura Everest.

The 21-year-old gave up sugar about a month ago, opting for a "primal eating plan" which bans sugar, is high in fat and very low in carbohydrates.

She made the change after reading an article on the benefits of giving up sugar, and consulted a nutritionist before making the move.

Ms Everest described the first three to four days as awful with almost constant migraines and feeling sick. However she said the change was amazing and she felt so much healthier now.

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