Christine Wallace: The One Line Rule

February 12, 2015 by in category Media, The One Line Rule with 0 and 0

We were thrilled to see this write up about The Muesli and The One Line Rule by Christine Wallace in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times. It is great to see another enthusiast for the sugar free lifestyle.

Christine Wallace: Most diets don’t last but there’s The 1 Line Rule

You probably know about the concept of ‘peak oil’ – the point at which the world’s petroleum is being extracted at maximum volume before starting to fall as oil reserves deplete. You may have heard that this summer is ‘peak beard’, with the number of men sporting hirsute over smooth cheeks expected to fall over 2015. As you read this, one thing is certain: ‘peak hope’ is here. Enough time has elapsed since New Year’s lofty resolutions for them to be but a grudging memory and source of vague guilt and irritation.

Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Most of us resolve every January 1 to eat better and exercise more, and do so for a day or a week or, if we’re really on fire, a fortnight. In that short time, one doesn’t get much of a result and, without evident improvement, resolve falters and we fall back to our usual poor eating habits and sedentary behaviour. Why this happens and what to do about it is an interesting question for which there are some credible research-backed answers.

Any change that rests purely on human resolve is going to have limited results. Psychologist Roy F. Baumeister has shown experimentally that we have a certain amount of willpower which “gets depleted as people perform various acts of self-control”.

Does this make us deplorable moral weeds? Baumeister’s research suggests not. “The average person spends three to four hours a day resisting desires,” he told Monitor on Psychology. “Plus, self-control is used for other things as well, such as controlling thoughts and emotions, regulating task performance and making decisions. So most people use their willpower many times a day, all day.” No wonder there’s not a lot left to allocate to eating better and exercising more in line with our New Year resolutions.

One temptation writers are supposed to resist is mixing metaphors. My willpower was exhausted sitting down to write this column on a day calling out to be spent playing golf, so I’m giving in to the temptation – for you, to make the thought unforgettable. It is that we’re at a boiling frog moment in terms of what we stick in our cakeholes.

The boiling frog story, you’ll recall, is that a frog in a pot of cold water heated only gradually will boil to death before noticing it’s in danger of doing so. So it is with the amount of sugar we consume each day. In recent decades the amount of sugar in the processed foods we eat, from breakfast cereals to savoury sauces and everything in between, has crept up inexorably, much of it invisible to the eye. We’re pretty much at the point where our food consumption is basically sugar with lots of fat and a bit of protein on the side. (I’m lumping refined carbohydrates in with sugar since that’s how our body treats them.)

Two Melbourne women, Emma Dumas and Heather Brodie, perceived a fundamental problem with the plethora of diets being pushed around the place: if any of them were any good, why are there so damn many of them? Dumas’ and Brodie’s genius insight is  The 1 Line Rule  to keep sugar in check. “On any nutrition panel, check one line, sugars”, the rule goes. “If it’s more than 5g/100g (5 per cent), move on.”

I first came across The 1 Line Rule shopping for muesli on holiday at Barwon Heads. I read the back of every packet looking for one that wasn’t chock full of sugar before coming across the rather strange looking, brick-shaped package that is The Muesli, made by Dumas and Brodie. The 1 Line Rule was on the back. I bought The Muesli (delicious) and started applying The 1 Line Rule generally. It was a revelation. If you go through your kitchen and throw out everything that contains more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product, and shop accordingly, the need for willpower goes out the window: you can’t help but eat healthily. It’s a structural solution.

Is “peak sugar” an impossible dream? I don’t think so. As well as Dumas and Brodie’s smart thinking, Australia’s own Sarah Wilson of the I Quit Sugar For Life eating plan and CSIRO with its Total Wellbeing Diet show the way forward. Once you eat better you feel like moving more – a virtuous circle begins. Get with it and you’ll never need to make another futile New Year’s resolution again.

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