However slowly but surely sugar crept back into our lives. There was more baking of sweet treats, more pudding and more treats.
Then there was Christmas. We ate more chocolate in a week than we would normally eat in about 3 months. On top of the chocolate there were rich indulgent puddings and sweet treats on hand and by the time we got back to Australia I was feeling a bit icky.
For me the biggest thing I noticed is that over time as I consumed more sugar I had less appetite control and was feeling like I was often hungry. If I ate anything that was really sweet afterwards my tongue would feel like it was a bit swollen. On top of that and I started to crave sweet things as snacks and after meals.
Over the past 12 months or more we have been educating ourselves about the negative impacts of sugar to our health but for some reason it was only this year that we really committed ourselves to ditching sugar for good.
I have read Sally Fallons Nourishing Traditions, David Gillespies book Sweet Poison, read "That Sugar Film" the book and seen the movie and read all of Sarah Wilsons "I Quit Sugar For Life" books. And the thing that I have taken away from all of this reading is that sugar in 99% of its forms is bad for our health and we are jut not designed to deal with the quantity that most of us consume on a daily basis.
Now when I say we have quit sugar this does not mean we are now living a life devoid of sweetness or that sugar will not pop up in recipes now and then (think 1 TBS sugar in a curry that makes 6 serves), but we are opting for a savoury diet with the occasional sweet treat rather that having sweetness in our every day life.
We are adopting a fructose free life in line with what both David Gillespie and Sarah Wilson recommend. This means that lactose in dairy products, rice malt syrup (made from fermented cooked rice and is a complex carbohydrate that releases energy slowly), dextrose (powdered glucose available from some supermarkets and all home brew shops) and stevia will become our acceptable sweeteners. Whole pieces of fruit in their fresh state with all of their fiber are in (no juices or dried fruit) within moderation (up to two serves per day with a focus on those fruits that have the highest ratio of fiber to fructose (see the table below with raspberries and blackberries coming out most favourable)
The World Health Organisation recommends that we aim to consume only between 6 - 9 teaspoons (24-36 gm) per day. Until I started reading up I had no idea how deceptive companies had gotten at hiding sugar in our foods. Foods that are marketed as being healthy alternatives are not always what they claim to be.
Do you like a smoothie? How much sugar do you think is in one?
According to Live Lighter Gloria Jeans’ 98 per cent fat-free Mango Fruit Fruzie, topped the sugar list with a whopping 31 teaspoons. The strawberry version came in at second place with 25 teaspoons in a large cup.
And Pure Power Fitness provide quick run down of the top 5 650ml sellers at Boost Juice and their sugar content.
All Berry Bang: 65g of Sugar (13 teaspoons)
Strawberry Squeeze: 69.55g of Sugar (14 teaspoons)
Gym Junkie: 66.95g of Sugar
Berry Crush: 68.25g of Sugar
Energiser Juice: 51.35g of Sugar. (10 teaspoons)
If that doesn't astonish you then let me compare it to some foods that are considered unhealthy.
Kit Kat 60g Crunchy: 31g of Sugar
Coca Cola 600ml bottle: 58g of Sugar
Magnum Sandwich 98g: 25g of Sugar
Big Mac: 8g of Sugar
Me Goreng packet Noodles: 7.6g of Sugar
Once you start cutting it out you will find it hidden everywhere. Did you know there are at least 56 names for sugar?
One group of products most often changed to be "Low Fat" are dairy products. But when the fat (between 3 and 4% for full fat milk so not much really) is removed the flavour is maintained by the addition of sugar. Dairy products will almost always have sugar listed on the nutritional table on the packaging as lactose is a form of sugar that occurs naturally in milk. A really easy way to work out how much of the sugar is added sugar is to look at the grams of sugar per 100 grams. Anything up to 4.7 grams is naturally occurring lactose, anything over that is added sugar of some variety be it fruit juice, honey or good old fashioned sugar.
Since we have been cutting out sugar we have been trying out new recipes and introducing some food into our diet in much greater quantities.
As I try recipes I will share them here if they are things we would be happy to eat again and again or make it into our regular diet.
I have a few recipe books to test recipes from and so far have found a couple that we liked straight away and even passed the taste test of other people who are not sugar free.
How do you feel about sugar?
Have you ever tried to give it up completely?