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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

is sugar bad?

I started this post last week before some of this stuff was featured on Sunday Night (a TV show on channel 7) my only complaint with this was that they didn't explain the difference between sugar and fructose

I have been doing a bit of reading and research lately in regard to sugar.
If you start looking into sugar you will come across lots of information that refined cane sugar is not good for us and that we are now eating vast quantities of this, particularly as it is added to many products that we would not necessarily think contained much sugar but do indeed contain vast quantities of it.
Did you know that BBQ sauce is 50% sugar?
So you know that cane sugar is not good, and you know that artificial sweeteners are also not good so what do you use in your baking or tea and coffee now?
Well most people of course substitute things like honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar or dates etc. for sugar thinking that they are more natural and therefore must be better.
But are they?
I have just been reading two books by David Gillespie an Australian lawyer and father of 6
- Sweet Poison and Sweet Poison quit plan.
He started researching how to loose weight after trying every diet under the sun and never getting very far, when his wife learnt that she was having twins (babies 5 and 6) he decided that he had to find out what was making him fat, his research led him to the conclusion that fructose had now become a huge part of our diets, after cutting out fructose he lost 40kg.

I have learnt that fructose (except in fruit) is not good for our bodies- basically it bi-passes the stomach and is converted straight to fat, it is also not good for us in so many other ways (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dental problems etc.), so even if you don't have a weight problem you shouldn't be eating it!
Because it bi-passes our stomach our stomach doesn't recognise that we have eaten sufficient and so we keep eating and eating and we never really feel full.
It is also highly addictive and you keep craving it.
According to Mr Gillespie we were never meant to eat vast quantities of fructose, fruit was seasonal and hard to keep, honey was hard to come by and therefore only limited quantities were consumed as a treat every once in a while.
Now we have easy access to cane sugar (50% fructose), fruit in unlimited supplies and honey can be found in every supermarket in the country and we now drink vast quantities of fruit juices and soft drinks.

In Australia in the early 1800 we ate about 2kg of sugar per year now we are consuming on average 50kg of sugar about 1kg per week often without our knowledge in processed foods.

A word of warning low fat processed foods often contain more sugar than the full fat versions
- they add sugar to make it taste better when they take the fat out.

So I am trying to eliminate as much fructose as possible from our diet.
That means not only is cane sugar  (50% fructose) off the menu so is honey (40% fructose), coconut sugar (40% fructose) and agave nectar (90%).
Dried fruit is also going- it is 100% fructose but also in a very concentrated form- unlike fresh fruit.
Fresh fruit while obviously full of fructose, after all fructose is a fruit sugar, also has fibre and this helps carry some of the fructose from our system.
Fruit juice is also out even freshly squeezed stuff!

Glucose that you find in rice malt syrup or glucose syrup is not very sweet, but as our body converts everything to glucose to use for energy these are OK, so is dextrose (another form of glucose) which can be used to replace sugar in recipes.
Having said that don't go overboard - too much that is not used by our body is still converted to fat, so remember still consume sweet treats in moderation.

Mr Gillespie has a saying -party food is for parties, not everyday use.

Mr Gillespie also suggests that if you do eat fructose eat it with fibre (fruit) as it will help it move through our bodies better.
Did you know that adults really only should be having 2 servings of fresh fruit per day and children should only be having 1?

How many of us go way over that thinking we are being healthy?
I know I do, and when I have children telling me they are hungry I often send them for a piece of fruit.
Now I will be encouraging them to snack on carrots, celery, nuts and even a little piece of cheese instead.

Since we gave up refined cane sugar (I am still tweaking, I am getting rid of the last of the dried fruit, sauces etc from my pantry) and particularly when VCH was on holidays and not eating sugar or wheat he went back to work 5kgs lighter.

Resources:  Sarah Wilson has a great blog as well as a I quit sugar e-book
David Gillespie's blog
Sweet Poison website
10 ways to sweeten food without sugar

If you are interested try borrowing the books from your local library if you don't want to buy them.


  1. Great post Deanne, it's not easy to make the shift but continual moves in the right direction will pay dividends.

  2. i saw the sunday show too. i grew up with soft drinks, lollies etc & gave up sugar a long time ago now. & recently honey, lactose & have very small amount of fruit. feel better for it. when i stopped feeding my kids sugar and even fruit juice we noticed a huge difference at the dentist too. thanks for an interesting post!

  3. Hi Deanne, I'm new to the blogging world and can't believe the first time I visit your blog you are talking 'sugar free'....I'm on day 4 of sugar free and feel so much clearer in mind plus the awful tummy bloating has eased already. I read both David's book and Sarah's ebook last weekend and it all made sense. I have a 7 year old son with autism and far too often sugar has been my crutch...begone sugar, fructose, agave, honey etc...I don't need any of you!!

    Will be checking in to see how you all go, best wishes, Jen

    1. Thanks for visiting, good luck with going sugar free.
      Have you checked out David's forum? Great support for the sugar free!

  4. I love this post - I wish I had known all of this at the start of the year when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes! I had to give up all sugar and it was hard work! Now that I've had my baby we are keeping our house a sugar free household! My darling Hubby even gave it up too! The worst thing we found were those pre-made pasta sauces that we used to use on a busy weeknight when we couldn't be bothered cooking - they are TERRIBLE for sugar! My inlaws are still unable to comprehend the idea of no sugar though. They think if its natural (like honey) that therefore its good for you!! So so wrong!!

  5. I've discovered your blog via Rhonda's Down to Earth left a comment where you mentioned making sugar free icecream,,,so I just had to visit! Since the beginning of May I've made a real effort to avoid sugar and I've lost just under 10 kgs as a result, have a lot more energy, no longer feel hungry all the time, have less aches and pains etc etc. My BP has dropped too which might mean some of the medication could be dropped. I will try your recipe using the ripe bananas!


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