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The Perfect Metabolism Plan: Restore Your Energy and Reach Your Ideal Weight (For Readers of How Not to Diet and Wired to Eat)

The Perfect Metabolism Plan: Restore Your Energy and Reach Your Ideal Weight (For Readers of How Not to Diet and Wired to Eat)

by Sara Vance
The Perfect Metabolism Plan: Restore Your Energy and Reach Your Ideal Weight (For Readers of How Not to Diet and Wired to Eat)

The Perfect Metabolism Plan: Restore Your Energy and Reach Your Ideal Weight (For Readers of How Not to Diet and Wired to Eat)

by Sara Vance


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Heal Your Metabolism to Improve Your Health and Reach Your Ideal Weight

"The answer to many of our health issues is right at the end of our forks." The real secret to reaching vibrant health and our optimal weight is to reset our metabolism. In The Perfect Metabolism Plan, nutritionist and foodie Sara Vance breaks it all down into the 10 keys you need in order to unlock your optimal metabolism. Sara started out as a picky eating kid who didn’t like veggies very much and ate way too much sugar. She paid the price with a long list of chronic symptoms─mood swings, insatiable hunger, digestion issues, allergies, and weight gain. It wasn’t until years later that she realized that the answer was staring her in the face the whole time. The answer was right at the end of her fork!

Reboot your metabolism and take control. Millions of us have counted calories until we're blue in the face. We've cut fat, eaten less, and exercised more─and we're still heavier than we want to be. Or we lose the weight, only to see it creep back. It's frustrating, discouraging, and unhealthy. In Sara Vance's The Perfect Metabolism Plan, you'll learn that this inability to stay at a healthy weight is not about willpower and it's not your fault! When your metabolism is out of whack, your willpower, hunger hormones, insulin, and cravings all work against you. And you not only can't lose weight, you tend to feel foggy, sluggish, or generally unwell. It’s time to take control. You need a plan to achieve metabolic renewal.

The Perfect Metabolism Plan will show you how to reset and reboot your metabolism through 10 keys, and you will also find:

  • A bonus chapter of metabolic hacks
  • Over 50 healthy recipes
  • And, a workable plan for putting it all into action

If you are a fan of books such as Happy GutBrain MakerThe Metabolism PlanThe Case Against Sugar, or Wired to Eat; you’ll love Sara Vance’s The Perfect Metabolism Plan.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573246439
Publisher: Mango Media
Publication date: 03/01/2015
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,085,110
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sara Vance is a certified nutritionist, the founder of the company Rebalance Life LLC, and a passionate advocate for nutrition and health. Sara was overweight as a child and suffered a long list of health complaints. When she found the answer to many of her chronic health issues right at the end of her fork–she knew she had found her calling.

Sara published her first book The Perfect Metabolism Plan, in March of 2015, which was the culmination of intense research and experience. Sara has contributed articles and healthy recipes to MindBodyGreen, Beaming and Livestrong; and has appeared on eHow, Fox 5 and San Diego Living for several years. Sara is a powerful motivational speaker and has spoken at corporations, elementary schools and various events. She has worked in collaboration with doctors, taught at schools and community centers, created videos for Gaiam TV (yoga for kids), in addition to seeing individual clients. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Perfect Metabolism Plan

The 10 Keys to Unlock Your Ideal Weight and Virant Health Without Dieting

By Sara Vance

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Sara Vance
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-974-7


Break Up with Sugar

Stop Burning Sugar and Start Burning Fat

Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They've discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine. —MICHAEL MOSS, Sugar, Salt, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Ahhhh sugar. Sweet, sweet sugar. Sugar tastes good and makes us happy. We reward and comfort ourselves with sweets. Sugar is always there to lift us up when we are down. Sugar shows up for us at every celebration from our first birthday on. So why would I be asking you to give it up? It's no accident that the first Perfect Metabolism Key is Break Up with Sugar. It is simply not possible to reach optimal health and metabolism if your blood sugar is not under control.

Sugar gives us a rush of energy, but each rush is followed by a crash. So naturally, we will reach for more sugar to boost our energy and make us "happy" again. I call this cycle the "sugar roller coaster." Being on this ride for too long can wreak havoc on our metabolism and immune system.

Sugar's Dark Side

I always knew sugar wasn't a health food. But I used to think that it was just "empty calories"—not great, but not exactly too bad. Boy was I wrong! The truth is that sugar has a very serious dark side.

As our intake of sugar has steadily increased in the past several decades, so have the rates of obesity and many related diseases. This is not a coincidence! Chronically elevated blood sugar is linked to an increased risk of many—actually most—major diseases.

In the short term, diets high in sugar and processed carbohydrates can result in increased hunger/cravings, lowered immunity, mood swings, low energy, acne, and even our looking older. But in the long term, poorly controlled blood sugar is associated with many health issues including an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, liver disease, hormone imbalances, Alzheimer's disease, and more. A study published in JAMA in 2014 linked sugar consumption to an increased risk of death, in both normal and overweight individuals. Those whose diet was 25 percent added sugars had more than double the risk of dying from a coronary event. Nope, it's certainly not all sweet when it comes to sugar.

We Need to Get Out of Sugar-Burning Mode

Here's the thing: When we say we want to lose weight, what we really mean is that we want to lose fat. In order to do that, we need to get the body out of sugar-burning mode and into fat-burning mode. That can only happen if we stop delivering a continual supply of sugar.

Sugar (glucose) supplies immediate energy to our cells. Our metabolism can also convert fat to fuel, but as long as we are supplying it with sugar and simple ("fast") carbs, that will be the primary fuel. When our body is stuck in sugar- burning mode, we are storing more fat than we are burning.

Signs that you could be a "sugar burner":

* Being overweight, especially around the belly/midsection

* A need to eat frequently, or you will suffer from low blood sugar—do you get hangry (angry when you are hungry)?

* Mood swings, anxiety, depression

* Need for caffeine, carbs, and sugar to get you through the day

* Elevated blood glucose or insulin levels, insulin resistance, or diabetes

* Sugar/carb cravings

* Sagging or wrinkled skin—not aging as gracefully as you'd like

* Elevated liver enzymes (can be an indicator of fatty liver disease)

* Elevated triglycerides and other heart disease risks

The thing about being in sugar-burning mode is that it turns your metabolism into a stubborn toddler. No matter what (stomp, stomp), it is going to burn sugar! So if there is no sugar available, it might resort to converting protein or breaking down muscle to convert into sugar (one sign that this might be happening is having thin legs and a big belly).

In order to get the metabolism working again, we need to retrain the body to use fat as fuel. This means that we need to significantly cut back on sugar and simple carbs.

The trouble is most people have no idea that they are getting too much sugar and "fast carbs."

"I Don't Eat Much Sugar"

I hear this all the time. Despite the fact that sugar consumption has skyrocketed, most people grossly underestimate the amount they consume each day for four main reasons:

1. They are unaware just how much sugar is hidden in the foods they eat and how it all adds up each day.

2. They don't know how much sugar is "too much."

3. They are consuming too many high glycemic foods (many of which can even be low sugar or "healthy" whole grain foods).

4. They are consuming artificial sweeteners, which are as bad as (or worse than) actual sugar for our metabolism.

Let's take a closer look at our sugar sources ...

1. Hidden Sugars

Because sugar is added to so many foods, we often have no idea how much we are really eating and how quickly it adds up. Food manufacturers are smart; they know people love sugar, so if they want people to buy their product, they just need to make it sweet, right? In fact, the sweeter the food, the better it sells. The more packaged and processed foods you eat, the more added sugar in your diet. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, "There are 600,000 processed food items in our environment, and 80% of them contain added sugar."

Even people who reach for seemingly healthy options are often getting a lot more added sugar than they realize because even foods touted as "healthy" can have loads of sugar.

Some common sources of hidden sugars:

* whole grain cereals and breads

* bars (breakfast, fiber, and protein)

* fruit juices and drinks

* sweetened iced teas and other bottled drinks

* yogurts

* muffins

* coffee drinks (venti mocha latte anyone?)

* condiments

* salad dressings

* marinades

* sauces

* instant oatmeals

* wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages

It's easy to spot most of the sugar on a food label. If an ingredient ends in -ose (as in sucrose or glucose), it is a form of sugar. But there are other sneaky names that sugar can be hiding behind (some natural and others not so much). Here are some of them: agave, agave nectar, barley malt, beet sugar, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane juice, cane juice solids, cane juice crystals, coconut palm sugar, confectioner's sugar, corn sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, caramel, carob syrup, date sugar, dehydrated cane juice, dextrin, dextran, dextrose, diatase, diatastic malt, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, dehydrated fruit juice, fruit juice crystals, glucose, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maple syrup, palm sugar, palm syrup, powdered sugar, refiner's syrup, sorghum syrup, sucrose, turbinado.

Look for another option if:

* Sugar (in any form) is one of the first two ingredients.

* There are several different types of sugar used (this is often an attempt to disguise sugar).

* High fructose corn syrup is used.

2. Exactly How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

A century ago Americans consumed about forty-five grams of sugar over a five- day period (roughly the amount in one can of soda). Today, we consume about 576 grams of sugar every five days (about equal to seventeen cans of soda)! That adds up to over 130 pounds of sugar a year! Teenage boys are getting the most—over 500 calories of sugar a day.

Even if we track how much sugar we are really eating every day, we still might not know how much is too much. Recommended guidelines do exist, but they are not widely disseminated. Because of the powerful link between sugar and heart disease, not surprisingly, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting added sugars to no more than about 6–7 percent of total calories each day. (Added sugars are those put in during processing of foods, such as sugar-sweetened cereals, or supplements we make at serving, such as the sugar you stir into a cup of tea.) This means that on average, women should have no more than six teaspoons (twenty-four grams) of added sugars a day. Men should get no more than nine teaspoons (thirty-six grams) on average daily. Given that one twelve-ounce soda or bottled coffee drink generally has about ten teaspoons, holding this line may not be so easy.

Figure out how much sugar you are getting each day. Do the math to determine the sugar content of foods: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar. Just divide the grams by four to get the number of teaspoons per serving. A product that has twelve grams of sugar per serving, will have three teaspoons of sugar per serving.

As we know, sugar is lurking in so many foods, even "healthy" options.

* one fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt: 26 grams (6 tsp)—some of which are naturally occurring

* instant apple cinnamon oatmeal cup: 20 grams (5 tsp)

See how easy it is to shatter the recommended limits for sugar before the clock strikes noon—even when we are making "healthy choices"? Grab a bottled iced coffee and you surpass another day's limit: 46 grams (11 tsp)! It can be eye-opening to add up all the added sugar you get in a day's time—make sure to count everything—candies, dressings, sauces, and more.

3. High Glycemic Foods—Are Pretzels Worse Than a Candy Bar?

Here is the kicker: sugar isn't the whole story. Foods don't need to be sweet to spike our blood sugar. In fact, many of the foods that send our blood sugar soaring the highest are actually low-sugar foods. You might be thinking, "Wait, how could a low-sugar food affect my blood sugar?" To understand that, let's take a look at the glycemic index.

The Glycemic Index—What Is It?

Our bodies convert the foods that we eat into usable energy for our cells. All carbohydrates (whether in the form of a candy bar, a piece of toast, a handful of pretzels, or one of those 100-calorie snack packs) get converted to sugar, a usable energy form for the body.

The "glycemic index" is the measure for how fast and how much a carbohydrate gets converted to sugar. Foods are given a number between 1 and 100 (or higher in some cases). The lower a food is on the glycemic index, the more gradually it increases blood sugar and/or to a lower level. The higher the glycemic number, the faster and/or higher that food will spike the blood sugar:

* High glycemic: 70 and above

* Medium glycemic: 56–69

* Low glycemic: Under 55

When we eat a lot of high glycemic foods, our blood sugar spikes higher and faster. Doing this all day long is a recipe for a metabolism meltdown, which raises our risk for many diseases. Research out of Harvard has demonstrated that eating more low glycemic foods can lower the risks for obesity and related conditions like coronary heart disease and diabetes.

A sampling of foods and their glycemic indexes, according to Harvard Health Publications

* Gatorade 78

* Colas 63

* Milk 32

* Ice cream 57

* Yogurt, fruit 36

* Corn flakes 93

* Frosted Flakes 55

* Oatmeal 55

* Instant oatmeal 83

* Baked russet potato 111

* Doughnut 76

* Pretzels 83

* Snickers candy bar 51

* Table sugar 64

* Maltose 105

* Honey 62

* Fructose 22

* Apple 39

* Grapes 46

* Raisins 64

* Watermelon 72

* French bread, baguette 95

* White bagel 72

* Whole wheat bread 71 (average)

Not All Sugars Are Processed the Same

One of the reasons that colas are below 70 on the glycemic index has to do with the fact that most sodas contain high fructose corn syrup—which is made up of both fructose and glucose. Fructose is processed differently than glucose and most other sugars. Because fructose does not require insulin to get into the cells, it is lower on the glycemic index and was originally thought to be a healthier option. But it is primarily processed in the liver, and research is linking excess fructose consumption to elevated triglycerides and even nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The majority of excess fructose consumed generally comes from drinking sodas sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

Are Pretzels Worse than a Candy Bar?

You might have noticed that pretzels (as well as baked potatoes, wheat bread, and corn flakes) are quite high on the glycemic index, despite being low-sugar foods. How could a low-sugar food like pretzels spike our blood sugar higher than a doughnut or a cola? White potatoes and foods made from flours and enriched processed grains—like crackers, breads, and pretzels—are converted very quickly into sugar when they enter our bloodstream. That is how they spike our blood sugar levels, cause insulin to be released, and as a result, make our appetite increase. Let's take a closer look.

Ahhhh pretzels. I used to think pretzels were the perfect snack: they only had one gram of sugar, so that meant they are healthy, right? I munched on them every afternoon. I needed them; rather, I was addicted to them. I can even remember stopping to buy them when I traveled out of town. But now I know pretzels were one of "my sugars," because they were spiking my blood sugar to eighty-three every time I ate them. I call simple carbs like pretzels "appetite stimulants" because they don't satisfy. They make you hungrier and cause you to crave more sugar and carbs. It's no wonder I used to go through several bags of them every week.

In order to get your blood sugar under control, you should be conscious of the glycemic index of foods. Foods with a higher glycemic index are sometimes referred to as "fast carbs," because they spike your blood sugar faster and higher. Focusing on "slow" or low glycemic carbs is critical to keeping blood sugar on an even keel. Refer to the above list, and find more details at

But What about "Healthy Whole Wheat?"

In stores and restaurants these days, we are seeing "healthier" whole wheat versions of so many things—breads, cookies, pastas, pizza crusts, rolls, cereals, etc. We may not like the taste and texture as much, but we choose these options because we are trying to be healthier! And the whole wheat version has fiber and whole grains, so it is better for us, right? Well, fiber generally does keep our blood sugar lower. That is one reason why eating a whole apple is better for us than drinking apple juice. But there are several reasons why whole wheat may not be as healthy as we thought. One reason is that even whole wheat bread is a high glycemic food. In fact, wheat bread spikes our blood sugar higher than some candy bars.

Many breads labeled "whole wheat" are really made with highly processed enriched wheat flour, which doesn't exactly resemble a whole grain anymore. They often contain high fructose corn syrup or multiple types of sugar. Many contain a significant amount of added gluten and even chemical- based dough "conditioners." Here is the ingredient list for a popular brand of hamburger buns labeled "whole wheat" and "heart healthy" on the front:

whole wheat flour, water, wheat gluten, high fructose corn syrup, yeast. Contains 2% or less of each of the following: soybean oil, salt, brown sugar, distilled vinegar, calcium sulfate, dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium peroxide, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, enzymes), calcium propionate (preservative), yeast nutrients (monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), corn starch, guar gum, natural flavors, vitamin D3, soy lecithin, milk, soy flour, sesame seeds.

The main ingredient in this bun is flour, not whole grains. The third ingredient is gluten. The fourth ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. It also contains brown sugar. Many commercial breads like this one contain a chemical called azodicarbonamide. This whole wheat bun is hardly a health food; in fact, it is hardly food at all in my opinion! Many of the above ingredients look more like a science experiment than a food!

It is not just the processed whole wheat breads that are causing us trouble. There are several other things about whole wheat that are messing with our metabolism. In the chapter about food intolerances, we will take a closer look at how whole wheat could be wreaking some serious havoc on your metabolism and weight. For now, let's move on to the fourth reason we are getting too much sugar ...


Excerpted from The Perfect Metabolism Plan by Sara Vance. Copyright © 2015 Sara Vance. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

An Important Note xiii

Introduction: Why Diets Don't Work xv

Part 1 The Ten Keys to Unlocking Your Perfect Metabolism

1 Break Up with Sugar: Stop Burning Sugar, Start Burning Fat 3

2 Fix Your Fats! Healthy Fats Are Critical to a Perfect Metabolism 23

3 Heal the Gut: Balance Digestion and the Inner Ecosystem 41

4 Identify Food Intolerances: Are Some Foods Making You Foggy, Fatigued, and Fat? 55

5 Lose the Toxic Weight: Toxins Tell Our Bodies to Store Fat and Promote Disease 77

6 Put Out the Fire of Inflammation: "The Silent Killer" 93

7 Stop the Madness: Lower Stress, the "Switch that Slows the Metabolism and Turns on Disease." 101

8 Ditch the Convenience Foods: Your Bodies Need Nutrients! 117

9 Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Dehydration May Be Slowing Your Metabolism and Making You Sick 133

10 Exercise Smarter (Not Harder) 141

11 Metabolism Hacks: Timing Might Be Everything 145

Part 2 Take Action! The Perfect Metabolism Cleanse

12 Phase One: ReSet 153

13 Phase Two: Immersion/Cleanse ReBoot 171

14 Phase Three: Reintroduce 185

15 Phase Four: ReNew-Merge/Move On 193

16 The Perfect Metabolism Recipes 199

Appendix 241

Resources 243

References 245

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