In our many years (decades, in fact) of working with patients in the clinic, using nutritional changes as the chief means of helping them to lose weight and solve their weight related/metabolic health issues, we generally recommended people go cold turkey off sugar and starch, which is quite effective. It’s the method we felt worked the best and was the quickest and in many ways easiest way to shift to the new eating regimen for the most people and it’s what we recommended in both Protein Power and Protein Power LifePlan.

In our experience, most people suffer little from making the switch, though it does mean a few days to maybe a week of some degree of withdrawal. It’s sort of analogous to pulling the bandaid off a wound — it’s more painful to make many tiny pulls that each hurt than one purposeful pull that hurts once and gets the job done fast. For other people, however, letting go of sugar is tough and becomes a stumbling block to successful transition to this new way of eating.

21 Day Sugar DetoxSo for that group who needs a day by day plan to get off the sweet stuff in a more gentle fashion, let me recommend Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox.

The book is sufficiently informative, but not weighty, in the initial sections describing the whys of getting off sugar and full of helpful charts and meal plans and all the what and how-to information, including lots of delicious recipes, such as a gorgeous Shrimp Pad Thai that use zucchini noodles instead of grain-based pasta and a number of slightly sweet treats that don’t pretend that maple syrup or coconut sugar are something other than what they are – sugars – but make sparing use instead of fruits, such as apples and green tipped (under ripe) bananas for such things as Granny Smith Apple Crumble and Grain-Free Banola.

If you’ve been wanted to go low-carb or paleo, but were unsure if you could finally give up the sugar, this book may be the interim step and the help you’ve been waiting for.


  1. I’ve been on a low carb diet most of my adult life, and I never found it challenging to cut sugar entirely. What I find challenging is to keep eating the same foods low in carbs over and over again, without getting bored with them.

    MDE Replies: Boredom is a problem with any diet that curtails something, I suppose, but with the vast variety of low carb foods, I’ve never really suffered from it, myself. Meats of all types, both fresh and cured, fish and seafood, poultry and game. Bacon!! Cream cheese, avocado, nuts. Greens and low-starch veggies and low sugar fruits. And when you really miss a muffin or a pancake, it’s easy to make them with coconut flour and almond flour and shake things up. Or have a shake! Low-carb cheese cake or low-sugar low carb ice cream for dessert. Or fruit and whipped heavy cream. Honestly, I’m not really feeling the boredom.

  2. I’ve struggled with obesity all of my life and the only periods when I was able to maintain a “normal” body profile was when I discovered the programs and regimens suggested by Protein Power and The Zone. Now, as I’m nearing 80, I’m prediabetic and all the books (mostly written by clinical nutritionists) advocate the low-fat, hi-carb diets that made me into the condition I am.

    Can anyone out there recommend a book for a fatboy like me who’s prediabetic that embraces a sensible protein rich and non-anti-fat approach to controlling my condition?

    In reply: Dr. Araujo ~ Why look for something new? If Protein Power worked before, we see no reason why you shouldn’t try it again. The same metabolic issues you struggled with previously are exactly what Protein Power or any well-formulated low carb diet are specific to address. You could look at Drs. Volek and Phinney’s Art and Science of Low Carb Living for a slightly newer take on the same information.

    1. Volek and Phinney, Art and Science of Low Carb Living.
      Thanks. I’m on it.
      You two saved my life once before, as you said, why not again.
      Old Irish saying, “Only a fool changes what works…”

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