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Health & Fitness

The Lowdown on Sugar…

Kia Ora its Sarah here! I am going to start this blog off with a disclaimer…I am NOT a doctor, dietician or research expert. I am an educated food lover who is making a decision for herself. The information in this entry has been sourced from various places as per my reference list so you are able to check this information out for yourself.

We often make New Year’s resolutions that we very rarely follow through with and whilst most people try things like increasing exercise or saving harder I decided to quit sugar. I had good intentions of keeping it up and to this day five months later I have stuck with it, to mine and everyone else’s surprise. I guess the thing for me was that this was not some fad or diet or a weight loss regime that I was going to try, for me this was a lifestyle change. I want to be healthier and have a cleaner body and mind.

As a health care professional I know how bad sugar is for us, I am confronted by it regularly. People are becoming more obese and in conjunction with multiple medical problems people are walking time bombs. Now don’t get me wrong. It is not just because of sugar but the research and facts are there. Sugar is bad for you, really bad. I try not to preach the sugar free lifestyle because I think with anything you should arm yourselves with the facts and choose something because YOU want to do it. This blog will cover some brief science …eek!!! Don’t worry I am not going to rehash awful memories of high school science but science is crucial to understanding the sugar free lifestyle. It can get quite complex so I will keep it basic.

So what’s the lowdown on sugar? Well by sugar I am mainly referring to added sugar and fructose. Excess fructose consumption is shown to contribute to obesity and insulin resistance. Unfortunately because fructose needs to be metabolised by the liver it first gets stored as fat in the body rather than being used for energy. This leads to insulin resistance which can cause type 2 diabetes. Fructose is also shown to cause heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Dr Chan, the director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 40 million preschool aged children are overweight or obese and in a talk she gave in 2012 she points out no one ever became nutrient deficient from eliminating sugar and processed foods. This is why in the 1990’s WHO gave refined sugar a nutrient value of zero. That’s right ZERO. Considering how many of our food products contain sugar i personally find that scary!

Back in the day people only consumed small amounts of sugar a day so it wasn’t really a big deal then, now people are consuming over 22 teaspoons a day (Johnson, R.K., Appel, L.J., Brands, M., Howard, B.V., Lefevre, M. , Lustig, R.H., Sacks, F., Steffen, L. M. , Wylie- Rosett, J. , 2009)

Fruit is good for you I hear you say?! Well…not necessarily. Fruit for me was the one thing I found hard to give up! After my two month detox programme I did with the I Quit Sugar programme by Sarah Wilson I was allowed to reintroduce SOME fruits back into my diet but I only have maybe one serve a week. Despite fruit having some nutritional value it still contains, in some cases, large amounts of fructose. Apples are one of those that is higher in fructose than say kiwifruit.

Sugarfree feasts

Sugar is in so much…low fat foods are often the biggest culprits because in order to compensate for low fat they increase the sugar content to retain flavour. Also our body breaks down full fat products better than low fat versions anyway…so time to get back into blue top milk and full fat products. It is IMPORTANT though to still be mindful of calorie content. Just because you are cutting out sugar doesn’t mean you can go crazy with calories. It’s important to still maintain a healthy body! But the best thing about fats is they fill us up and sustain our energy. Fats get a really bad reputation and they are not all bad. In fact there is no evidence to prove that saturated fats contribute to heart disease at all.

So what does this mean I hear you ask? And what on earth can I eat?! Well heaps actually. I eat a largely high protein low carbohydrate diet without sugar. Since cutting sugar I don’t get those sugar rollercoaster’s. My energy levels are far more sustained and I don’t need to snack through the day. If I do feel hungry though, I chow down on cucumber and vegies. Now don’t get me wrong. I certainly have whoopsies…my coffee shop puts a little chocolate on my coffee and I occasionally eat out and a sauce may have sugar in it but it’s all about getting back on track. I know how my body feels after having sugar. It’s awful. I get abdominal cramps and feel lethargic. Now I have educated myself and I look after my body and keep it sugar free 99% of the time.

Some of the goodies I have made! L-R Sugar free nutella, peanut butter porridge whip, anzac biscuits and ice cream…Yes sugar free chocolate coconut ice cream!!!!!

If you are unsure about where to start there is heaps of information out there and recipes of sugar free goodness. I highly recommend checking our Sarah Wilson online her website www.iquitsugar.com is really informative with great recipes too.

Enjoy! Namaste

References:

  • Chan, M. (2012). Obesity: bad trouble is on its way. [Lecture notes] New York. United States of America. http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2012/forum_20120921/en/
  • Chowdhury,R., Warnakula,S. , Kunutsor, S., Crowe, F., Ward, H. A., Johnson, L., Franco, O.H., Butterworth, A. S., Forouhi, N. G., Thompson,S. G., Khaw,K.T., Mozaffarian, D., Danesh, J., Di Angelantonio, E. ; (2014) Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis : Annals of Internal Medicine online 18 March 2014; DOI: 10.7326/M13-1788;
  • Johnson, R.K., Appel, L.J., Brands, M., Howard, B.V., Lefevre, M. , Lustig, R.H., Sacks, F., Steffen, L. M. , Wylie- Rosett, J. , (2009). Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health. 2009; 120: 1011-1020 Published online before print August 24, 2009, doi: 10.1161/​CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627
  • Gillespie, D. (2014). 12 ways fructose destroys your body. Retrieved from http://davidgillespie.org/12-ways-fructose-destroys-your-body/

Join the discussion

  1. Arndt

    Hi Ciacee,
    First congrats to your livestyle change and feeling better! BUT I’m still waiting for you to follow up on your promise to discuss the science of why fructose is harmful. I think citing D.Gillespie’s homer cartoon (12 ways fructose..) as science is just a bad joke, isn’t ??! I challanged him to come up with some science to his claims and so far he has presented only non relevant studies. Also Dr Margaret Chan of the WHO is a politian not a scientist, her ramblings are not worth of my time. So what does the science say about fructose ?

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