Shedding the Sugar

sugarI recently was invited to join a group of friends via the wonderful world of Facebook to do a month of "Shed the Sugar" for all of May.

Now don't get me wrong I have been off processed sugar for a long time, knowing the links of sugar to many diseases and decreased longevity, but since quitting the nasty white stuff I still had plenty of sweet foods in my diet, eating plenty of dried and fresh fruits as well as making plenty of sweet treats with honey or maple syrup, to the extent that my diet still had about the same amount of Fructose in it, had I still been eating sugar.

My invite to Shed the Sugar coincided with my return from a long overseas trip which had seem me eat far too many sweet things plus I had been reading I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson (which by the way I highly recommend). Everything was leading me to finally quit the sweet stuff.

Don't get me wrong I understand that fruits have nutrients in them and are great as part of a healthy balanced diet, but that is one or two pieces a day, without other sweet things, such as honey or dried fruit in muesli etc. I had found that my consumption was much higher than advised. Looking at graphs like this one from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition led me to realise for my health and the health of my family I wanted to lead the way in making the change to being free from fructose.

sugar-graph

So I spent the first 2 weeks just cutting back, then I took the plunge and took all fructose out of my diet,by the 1st of May I was ready to completely cut out all sweet things.

So you may be wondering, why no fructose? Many people understand the dangers of too much sugar, but fructose most people don't see as dangerous.

If we look at the graph and the rate of obesity then we can clearly see how sugar/fructose affects us, our ancestors and even our grandparents had very little sweet food. According to the work of Gary Fetke the only time our ancestors  would have eaten a lot of sweet food would have been at the end of summer when there was an abundance of fruit, which they would have gorged on it, and the body would have turned it into fat as reserves for the oncoming winter months where food especially of the sweet variety would be scarce. He believes that sugar or fructose is stored by our body as fat.

Gary Fetkke explains this in detail on his website NoFructose.com  His research suggests that when we eat fructose it acts as an appetite stimulant(I know this to be true) and therefore leads us to overeating. Hence causing such staggering rates of obesity in the modern western world.

Many of us will already be aware that sugar is linked with a whole host of diseases and in an article on Doctor Mercola's website it explains how cancer is known to thrive when fed sugar, furthermore sugar speeds up the aging process which lets face it none of us want.

So knowing all this information I was armed for a month of being completely sugar free, and now that we are in June I am happy to keep going. However on the weekend I ate out and was given sauce with my lunch, it was a bbq sauce which most people wouldn't even consider to be sweet, but by the end I had a thumping headache and knew the cause was sugar, this made me astonished at how tolerant to sugar we become without even realising it, and has made me determined to keep it out of my diet as much as possible.

 

Now the big question is what do we eat if we give up sugar, some of the hardest times of the day when you quit sugar are breakfast and snacks, however there are a whole host of alternatives which will leave you feeling nourished.

Ross at energise for life suggests having a teaspoon of coconut oil when craving something sweet as it is made up of medium chain triglycerides which when consumed go straight to your liver to use as energy without causing your insulin levels to spike and your blood sugar levels to go haywire. I personally love to add maca to smoothies and such to give me extra energy and add a subtle sweetness. Cinnamon also works really well for a alight sweet flavour.

Another great tip to help quitting sugar is to ensure you eat plenty of healthy fats that will stop you feeling hungry and nourish you, as well as flooding your body with nutrients, I find having spirulina every day helps me to feel nourished and energised. One of the keys is planning whay you are going to have so on Sundays I will make enough granola using nuts and coconut for the week and will ensure I have plenty of nuts and seeds to eat throughout the busyness of the week.

Now that I have detoxed my body of sugar I am ready to eat some sweet foods such as these subtly sweet muffins which you can read how to make here. As The American Heart association recommends no more than 26 grams of sugar per day. When we take into account that  a cup of grapes and a cup of strawberries would equals to 30 grams of sugar it really makes sense that we limit any other form of sweetness, as most of us are eating far too much of the sweet stuff even if it is providing nutrients.

I hope this post has inspired you to think about how much fructose you have on a day to day basis, and we'd love to hear about it.

Have you given up sugar? How did it effect you, did you see health improvements?  Please leave any comments below.

Resources used for article:

http://iquitsugar.com/blog/

http://greatist.com/health/sugar-wise-how-fruits-stack

http://www.energiseforlife.com/wordpress/2014/05/07/completely-banish-sugar-cravings/

http://www.nofructose.com/

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/4/899

http://www.mercola.com/article/sugar/sugar_cancer.htm