JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook

150 Low-Sugar Recipes to Help You Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks


By J.J. Virgin

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In this essential companion cookbook to JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet, JJ Virgin brings her groundbreaking diet into the kitchen and makes it easierand tastierfor readers to drop damaging sugars and lose fat fast.

JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet revolutionized the way readers think about sugar.

This cookbook companion features more than 150 delicious and simple recipes, including mouthwatering breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and sweet-tooth-taming desserts. Designed to help readers drop pounds and melt away fat without missing the foods they love, JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook provides all the tools readers need to succeed, including meal plans, grocery lists, and customizable menus for readers with special diets like vegans, vegetarians, and Paleo devotees.


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Think about sugar's place in all our happy memories, from birthday cakes to Halloween candy to after-school treats. Maybe there were sundaes with your grandparents or big boxes of candy at the movies with your friends. Boy, have times changed! It's hard to feel the same way about sugar now, but its hold over us is just as strong as it ever was.

Sugar is everywhere! It's nearly impossible to avoid, even though we know it's bad for us. But what if I told you I could give you a simple way to change the way you look at sugar and an easy plan to reduce it in your diet without feeling like you're being deprived? You'd jump at the chance, right? Cutting back on sugar is the secret to fast fat loss, breaking weight loss plateaus, reducing inflammation, balancing hormones, and improving mood and sleep more than any other change to diet or lifestyle. And it's not as hard as you think!


The key is understanding this one thing: not all sugar is created equal! It's the impact of sugar that matters. Sugar Impact (SI) is the very reason I've declared sugar—especially hidden sugars, which I'll describe in this book—Public Enemy #1. The high Sugar Impact of the 7 foods I'm going to share with you is the single biggest culprit when it comes to hijacking your weight and health.

High-impact sugars create dramatic spikes in your blood sugar and insulin response, and take aim at your weight, your skin, and your insides. Low-impact sugars are the key to a nice, steady stream of energy that fuels your body and eliminates the daily siege of sugar spikes and crashes.

I've helped hundreds of thousands of people overcome the vise grip of sugar, and I can help you, too. I can promise you amazing results if you follow the recipes and meal plans in this book. The revolutionary program I've created is a game changer. It's an easy to follow, step-by-step process that weans you off the foods with the highest and most damaging sugars—those with the highest Sugar Impact—so that you can lose weight, drop fat, and improve your health fast, all while satisfying your sweet tooth, and without the trauma of withdrawal or deprivation. By making simple sugar swaps for just 2 weeks, you'll heal your body and transform your life forever.


Our love affair with sugar begins in the womb. We're genetically hardwired to want food that's sweet; every cell in our body needs the sugar glucose to function. So we can't—and shouldn't—cut it out entirely. But the line between what we want and what we need has become so blurred that our sugar consumption has gotten out of control. The average American eats more than 22 teaspoons a day. A day!

That's a far cry from how our ancestors ate. They gorged on fruit when it was ripe, and honey if they were lucky, to store energy. It wasn't often, and that was as sweet as it got. But when high-fructose corn syrup was introduced in the 1970s, our food got sweeter, which only increased our desire for sugar. It also happened to be the beginning of the war on fat, and when fat came out of food, so did the taste. Sugar was poured back in to compensate, and because high-fructose corn syrup was cheap, it was used in just about everything. Suddenly, eating low fat meant eating high sugar—and we were all being dosed with it.

By 2000, the average American was consuming a jaw-dropping 150 pounds of sugar a year (up from 5 pounds in 1900), with about 61 of those pounds coming from high-fructose corn syrup.

Even though we don't eat as much straight table sugar as we used to, we still don't always know how much sugar we're consuming. We're increasing the amount we eat by about 1% every year, which is faster than the world's population is growing. Many people come to me when they're at their wits' end—they've already cut out sweets, they use "healthy" substitutes like honey or maple syrup as sweeteners, they add fruit to their whole-grain cereal. They power through the day with low-calorie snack bars and live on salads and diet sodas. Of course, no one can live like that for long, and when they veer off course they beat themselves up for their lack of willpower. And after all that, they're still fighting weight gain, fatigue, cravings, mood swings, health issues like joint pain and insulin resistance, and maybe even diabetes. No wonder they're frustrated!


If you're eating healthy but you just can't drop that stubborn weight (maybe you're even gaining weight), here's your answer. The problem is that many diets people think of as healthy are loaded with hidden sugars. Sneaky sugars hide in surprising places—including foods you think are safe: whole foods, diet foods, fruit, enhanced waters, dressings… even sugar substitutes. Even when you're hypervigilant, it's hard to know all the places they take cover or how to avoid them. All told, there are more than 50 names for sugar!

But whether you're on the Sugar Impact Diet or you're just getting started, this cookbook is your low–Sugar Impact road map for easy, fun, delicious recipes that deliver benefits to your weight and health faster than you thought possible.

The recipes in this book make going low Sugar Impact so simple! They eliminate high–Sugar Impact foods for you and still serve up delicious, straightforward meals that are fun to make and eliminate your cravings.

You may have trouble picking your favorite out of the 150 scrumptious recipes, but rest assured, you'll never feel that you're missing anything or being deprived. These recipes help you enjoy taking control of your Sugar Impact, and just to be sure, they leave plenty of room for you to swap foods to your heart's content.

Plus, if you've ever been on a diet and felt paralyzed wondering whether you can do the program if you have diabetes or insulin resistance, or as a vegetarian or paleo dieter, the answer is—yes! I've created meal plans for all those scenarios and more and included them in this cookbook. In addition to the meal plan for the basic Sugar Impact Diet, I've given you 3-week meal plans for managing your blood sugar, gastrointestinal healing, and for vegetarians and vegans, as well as Paleo followers.

You'll be amazed at how easy it is to keep the weight off no matter where you are or what your eating style is.

People who've followed the Sugar Impact Diet had amazing results—most lost 10 pounds in just 2 weeks! And they feel better than they have in years—symptoms we're all told to believe are the normal signs of aging, like bloating, exhaustion, and joint pain, simply disappeared.

You can see results like this, too! You'll be surprised at how easy it is. I'll show you how to eliminate the hidden sugars holding your health and your waistline hostage from these 7 food groups:



Packaged Fruit

Low- and No-Fat Dairy and Diet Foods

Sugary Drinks

Sauces, Dressings, and Condiments

Sweeteners and Added Sugar

Dropping your Sugar Impact in these 7 categories resets and retrains your taste buds. You'll key back into the subtle sweetness of nature's treats and set yourself up to join my clients in losing up to 10 pounds in just 2 weeks—which is great news, since studies show that when you lose weight fast, you keep it off.


The strategic, step-by-step approach of the Sugar Impact Diet ensures your success by moving you through the program at your own speed, in tune with how your body responds to the changes in your diet. You have to know where you are when you start. Then you'll gently remove high-impact sugars, shift from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, and emerge on the other side, ready to chart your maintenance path forward.

Simply put, the journey to low–Sugar Impact freedom is guided by the 4Ts—Test, Taper, Transition, Transformed! In just 2 weeks, you'll drop up to 10 pounds and no longer wonder what it feels like to be bursting with energy and feeling better than ever.

Cycle 1: TAPER

Take the Sneaky Sugar Inventory to identify how much sugar you are actually eating.

Take the Sugar Impact Quiz to identify the impact sugar is having on you.

Trade your high-SI foods for medium-SI foods.

Take your starting weight and measurements.

Start the day with a Sugar Impact Shake.

Focus on following the portions of the Sugar Impact Plate and eating by the Sugar Impact Clock.


Trade your medium-SI foods for low-SI foods and avoid any low-SI foods that are asterisked (i.e., most fruit).

Hide or toss the medium- and high-SI foods.

Start the day with a Sugar Impact Shake.

Take the Sugar Impact Quiz weekly.

Take your weight and measurements weekly.

Check in with the Sugar Impact Quiz at the 2-week mark to determine if you should stay in Cycle 2 or shift into Cycle 3.


Swap 3 or 4 low-SI servings for medium-SI servings; 1 or 2 of these servings should be from fruit.

Have one high-SI serving at the end of the week.

Weigh, measure, and retest at the end of the week. Decide if you can stay in Cycle 3 or need to return to Cycle 2.

Once a year, repeat Cycles 1 and 2 to ensure you're retaining your sugar sensitivity and to bust any plateaus. You should also do Cycles 1 and 2 again if you "fall off the wagon."

At first, your success on the Sugar Impact Diet will be about how much weight you lose, but that's just the beginning. In time you'll see the gift it delivers in helping you stay at your goal weight forever. Most programs yank the sugar and then leave you without a path forward—and you usually end up right back where you started.

When you complete this program, Cycle 3 will be your guide to staying sugar sensitive for life. I still encourage you to redo Cycles 1 and 2 once a year, especially if you want to push yourself toward a new goal, but whether or not you do, you'll have 150 simple, delicious recipes to help you chart your course. They put you in complete control of your weight, energy, and health—whether you're eating at home or out, you're paleo or vegetarian, you're feeding a family on a budget or dealing with personal conditions like leaky gut or insulin resistance.

This book is organized to make the best use of your precious time—and to help you easily customize the Sugar Impact Diet for your lifestyle.

Part I is an explanation of Sugar Impact and what lowering it will mean to your weight, your health, and your life. Part II gets right to the good stuff with all the tasty recipes, and the meal plans in Part III make living your low–Sugar Impact life a no-brainer—just follow them as they're laid out and watch all the benefits of lower Sugar Impact come your way.

You're about to enter completely new weight loss territory. Be prepared for how quickly the changes come—and how empowering it will be to break free from the stranglehold of sugar in just 2 weeks!





Starting a new diet is a little like waking up on Christmas morning—all the promise and wonder is so exciting! Well, here it is, the Sugar Impact Diet, just waiting to be unwrapped. And its present to you is that it's going to change your life in just 2 weeks! Once you see how easy it is to drop high–Sugar Impact foods and the huge benefits it has for you in your life, you'll never look back. Fast fat loss awaits—most people lose 10 pounds in just 2 weeks—but so does a more youthful-looking, energetic you. You can kiss your cravings good-bye, along with the brain fog, achy joints, and other oppressive symptoms that have made you feel old, sick, and tired before your time. And best of all, in your new low–Sugar Impact life, you'll be arming yourself against—or even reversing—serious diseases connected to obesity and high blood sugar, like insulin resistance and diabetes.


The secret sauce of fast fat loss is this: the Sugar Impact Diet is going to take you from being a sugar burner, which is what you are now, to a fat burner. Sugar burners begin burning the fuel in their food as soon as it hits their mouth, and they have to keep shoveling more fuel in the furnace to keep it lit, so to speak. So your body currently depends on a steady supply of carbs for energy—because you're in a vicious cycle where you'll crash without them. Even worse, your metabolism never dips into your fat reserves for energy because it doesn't have to and chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin levels prevent fat burning. To lose weight, you've got to start burning fat and stop burning sugar—and lowering your Sugar Impact is the key.

You'll have all of the support you need on your journey to becoming a fat burner. Simple swaps, delicious recipes, and easy-to-follow meal plans will be your road map—follow them, and your extra pounds will be in your rearview mirror so fast you won't even know what hit you! You'll not only lose weight fast, ditch your cravings, and be bursting with energy, you'll have fun along the way!


Another thing that sets the Sugar Impact Diet apart is that there will be no counting calories. In fact, I forbid it. Let me hear you say it—yay! Just as all sugar is not created equal, a calorie is not a calorie. I want you to start looking at food as the information it is. Every time you choose something to eat, it has consequences, for better or worse. It's going to send your body a message, and the payoff is either that you're being nourished or you're not. As you might imagine, your body responds a little differently to a hot fudge sundae than it does to a lean, organic chicken breast. But why?


All foods raise blood sugar, but high–Sugar Impact carbohydrates and sugary foods make your blood sugar go way up. Your pancreas produces the hormone insulin to get glucose, one of the sugars you eat, out of your bloodstream and shuttle it to your cells to use for energy—glucose is our fuel. What your cells can't use, your liver and muscles can store in the form of glycogen to be used for energy later.

But insulin also makes it easier for your body to store fat. Ack! Plus, it can lead to much bigger problems like insulin resistance and diabetes.

In addition to glucose, one of the other most common sugars in our food is fructose, the primary sugar in fruit. Fructose is also found in less natural "foods" like sugary drinks and packaged snacks in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose is metabolized differently than other sugars. It doesn't create the spike in blood sugar and insulin like other sugars do. At first blush that sounds like a good thing, but that biological mechanism is a protective measure; fructose blows by it, so your body has no way of registering that it's eaten and that it's on its way to being full. To make matters worse, fructose goes directly to your liver, the only organ that can metabolize it. Your liver converts some fructose to glucose (which can then be used as glycogen or converted to fat) and the rest to triglycerides.

Your body breaks all the sugar you eat into glucose or fructose, no matter what the source of the sugar is. But glucose and fructose are metabolized very differently: glucose = fuel; fructose = fat. That's what I mean by Sugar Impact, and that's why I'm going to help you learn to key into how much of which is in the foods you choose.

Now, is fructose always the enemy? No. Remember, it's the primary sugar in fruit, and it's found in other natural, whole foods we eat like some vegetables. But in those cases, it's intertwined with fiber and nutrients. Fiber changes fructose's behavior for the better—it slows digestion in general, so fructose is slower in making its way to the liver, and it makes the fructose harder to access, so we burn some energy getting at it. When fiber and nutrients are absent, which they are in most sources of fructose in our diet—think candy, snack packs, energy drinks—fructose is like a guided missile with nothing to slow it down as it zeroes in on your liver. It's a fat "bombs away."

Most of us already know sugar in processed foods is bad for us, and we try to steer clear of that stuff as much as possible. So what's going on? Well, the truth is, most people don't know how much sugar they're eating. Once you take my Sneaky Sugar Inventory, I bet you're going to be pretty surprised to find out how much sugar is slipping into your diet, even if you consider yourself vigilant about it! It's in a lot of foods we'd never suspect, and some we even consider healthy. So if you're like many people I know, who watch what they eat and have already cut out sweets and the obvious culprits, it's okay to feel confused and frustrated about your expanding waistline and your health issues.

If you feel like you're doing everything right but you're still dealing with the frustration of…

Bloating or gas


Inability to lose weight

Increased appetite

Low or unstable energy

Poor mood (unfocused, irritable, depressed)

Stubborn belly fat

… you're probably getting way more sugar in your diet than you want or need. We're going to lower your Sugar Impact and take aim at those sneaky sugars and those symptoms!


Powering your sugar-burning metabolism with fast-acting sugar and carbs hijacks your ability to keep your appetite in check. It's not your fault—you're no longer in control.

The good news is that you can take control right back—and fast. With the right food—and the right information—your hormones begin to function as they're supposed to and referee the amount of everything you eat. You get your weight, your health, and your life back.


The nice, easy taper and transition from high–Sugar Impact foods to a diet filled with low–Sugar Impact foods will flip your sugar-burning, fat-storing metabolism on its head. The Sugar Impact diet is about to make you a fat burner, which is exactly what you want to lose weight fast and keep it off. When good fats and clean, lean protein become the focus of your diet, you'll trade the roller coaster ride of crashes and quick pick-me-ups for a steady stream of high energy all day long.

When you burn fat, you drop weight fast. And when you're low SI, your other systems, like the hormones in charge of your appetite, are all aligned in lockstep working to keep you losing weight and feeling great. Before you know it, your energy is back, your joint pain is gone, your gastrointestinal distress is in check, and bonus: you'll even burn fat when you sleep!

Here are the obstacles this book will help you understand and overcome if they rear up during your Sugar Impact Diet journey.

Obstacle #1: Cravings

Cravings can be intense and overwhelming, and staving them off is going to be a key part of winning the battle against high-impact sugar. I have a link to Sugar Attack Survival Strategies in the resources section of my website—http://sugarimpact.com/resources—specifically designed to get you through any rough spots, but wouldn't it be better not to experience them at all? Well, that's the goal.

First, you have to figure out where they're coming from. They can be rooted in your genes or your lifestyle (the way you eat), or both. Knowing the source of your cravings is the only way to break their grip.

The other major cause of cravings comes from eating a low-fat diet. No, that was not a typo. Remember, low fat means high sugar, and usually from high-impact sugars. They give you a quick shot of energy, but they set in motion a cycle of cravings for the very foods that create cravings. And your system takes a serious beating when you feed the beast of cravings. Your hormones and blood sugar are spiking and cratering in response to whatever you've eaten, but if you aren't aware that you're eating that much sugar, it can feel like punching in the dark. Labels don't aim to help you figure it out; sometimes sugar isn't even listed as sugar on the ingredients list. Barley malt sounds pretty innocent, doesn't it?

The important thing is—and don't lose sight of this—the recipes in this book take care of that for you! They're all lower Sugar Impact, which means they're designed to combat cravings by including the ideal balance of fats, carbs, and protein to keep you full and energized all day long.

Obstacle #2: Addiction

Some of you will flat-out say you're addicted to sugar. And there's real evidence that could be exactly what's going on. We know we're wired to eat sweet, so when it's available everywhere all the time, it stands to reason that you could find yourself in a bit of an internal scrap fighting the urge to indulge. The chemicals at war inside you are the very same ones that light up in response to other addictions. As Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of The Hunger Fix, explained it to me, "Animal studies have shown that refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine, heroin, or morphine. An animal will choose an Oreo over morphine. Why? This cookie has the perfect combination of sugar and fat to hijack the brain's reward center."

If you're hooked on sugar, you no doubt experience withdrawal when you don't have it. That also means you probably binge when you finally get your hands on it. I have support for that! I'm going to help you cope with any withdrawal symptoms that pop up with my Sugar Withdrawal Strategies (go to http://sugarimpact.com/resources) so you don't experience the defeat of giving in, or the guilt that goes with it.

It's not about "willpower." You're supposed to crave sugar when your blood sugar gets low. The key is to not let that happen—and the Sugar Impact Diet is going to get you out of the high-low blood sugar spin cycle. Once you even out your blood sugar, the rest of you will follow suit.

Obstacle #3: Let's Not Forget Stress

Okay, we've all eaten poorly when we're under stress—myself included. Yes, food is information for your body, but we have a more complicated relationship with food sometimes: it can also be a comfort when we're stressed out or upset.

Why is it, though, that we can only find comfort in chocolate? Or macaroni and cheese? Why doesn't anyone ever want Brussels sprouts to self-soothe? Well, for one, stress suppresses the happy hormone serotonin, which is also one of the feel-good neurotransmitters released when you eat sugar. Sweets are just a shortcut to bringing it back, stat.

Knowing what you know now about blood sugar spikes and crashes, it will come as no surprise that stress eating is just a short-term fix that actually leaves us worse off than before. Not to mention that it's a crutch that causes weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, self-esteem issues… should I go on?

So whether you're dealing with cravings, the pull of addiction, or stress eating, high–Sugar Impact foods—and the metabolic havoc they wreak—have had their hooks in you for too long. Going low SI will loosen sugar's grip on you and set your system free.


Of the many ways the Sugar Impact Diet takes care of you and ensures your success, the one you'll probably appreciate most (next to 150 high-taste, lower-SI recipes!) is that it doesn't take sugar from you cold turkey. You've been there, done that. You know where that gets you. Amped-up cravings and withdrawal symptoms are a prescription for failure, but when you taper and transition, success is all but guaranteed.

You'll move at your own pace from high-SI to medium-SI to low-SI foods. I'll be there every step of the way to help you ease off the high-SI foods that are hurting you. I also have strategies and Supportive Supplements on the resources section of my website http://sugarimpact.com to help you fight any and all symptoms that make a surprise appearance, so you have smooth sailing on your way to becoming an Impact Player.

One of the things you'll experience as you heal is that you'll retrain your taste buds to be more sensitive to sweetness. The more you're able to subtly tune in to nature's bounty, like the sweetness in berries, the less you'll need of it and the more processed sweets will seem like overkill. Bye-bye cravings!



    "Can help save your brain and your life. Numerous studies show that sugar can be addictive and pro-inflammatory and lead to a number of devastating illnesses. If you want a better brain, I highly recommend this book." --Daniel G. Amen, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
  • "Opens your eyes to how much sugar you're really eating, and provides an actionable plan to cut down on the sweet stuff and feel better fast." --Mark Hyman, MD, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet
  • "In line with leading-edge science, JJ Virgin presents a radical and empowering new way to look at sugar." --David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain
  • "Breaks through the myths and provides a clear and realistic path to health. This book is life changing!" --Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, author of P.I.N.K Method and The Hungry Hottie Cookbook, and founder of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition

On Sale
Sep 4, 2018
Page Count
352 pages

J.J. Virgin

About the Author

J.J. Virgin, CNS, CHFS is the New York Times bestselling author of The Virgin Diet and The Virgin Diet Cookbook. An internationally recognized expert in weight loss, Virgin has appeared on The Doctors, the Rachael Ray Show and Today, among many other programs, and blogs frequently for the Huffington Post, Prevention magazine, and Livestrong.com.

Learn more about this author