People increasingly engage with on-line programmes that promise health benefits. These are often based more on anecdotal experience rather than objective scientific evidence. One such programme is Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar online 8 week program (IQS). While its core message of reducing sugar intake is consistent with consensus recommendations, the overall diet is inconsistent with Australian Dietary Guidelines. We therefore provided monitoring for individuals in the Sydney area who intended to enrol in IQS.
IQS subscribers were invited to undergo blood analysis of glucose, CVD risk factors and anthropometry as well as tests of cognitive function and food craving. Assessments were made prior to (T1) immediately following (T2) and 4-5 months post program (T3). Changes from baseline were analysed at both T2 and T3, using repeated measure t-tests. A two-sided P-Value with alpha set at .05 was considered significant.
From an initial 82 contacts, 37 completed T1, 24 returned at T2 and 12 completed T3. At T1, the sample was 34±5.5years with BMI of 25.2±4.5 kg/m2. Significant reductions at T2 were observed in blood triglycerides (-0.15 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.05 to -0.26), systolic blood pressure (SBP) (-6.0 mmHg; -2.5 to -7.3), BMI (-0.38 kg/m2; -0.09 to -0.68) and waist circumference (WC) (-3.4 cm; -0.89 to -5.87). Improvements were also noted in cognitive function. At T3, reductions in triglycerides (-0.15 mmol/L; -0.46 to 0.14) and WC (-3.6 cm; -0.71 to -0.06) persisted. The change in SBP reduced by half (-3.3 mmHg; -7.6 to 0.96), and BMI returned close to baseline (-0.04 kg/m2; -0.53 to 0.45). Blood glucose, Total or HDL cholesterol, fat or muscle mass did not change significantly at either endpoints. No adverse events were reported.
In a small, Sydney-based cohort completing IQS, some markers of metabolic health improved, with a subset of beneficial changes persisting up to five months after completing the program.