Is sugar evil?

wellbeing

Is sugar evil?

wellbeing

Is sugar evil

It seems like sugar is this years hot topic. Last year it was the 5:2 diet that was getting all the attention and now it’s ditching the sugar. The World Heath Organisation has suggested that the recommended maximum daily intake of sugar should be halved, stating that we should be aiming for sugar to be no more 5% of our calorie intake for the day. I have several issues with that statement, but before I get into them I’ll also add that the recommendations state that the source of the sugar that should be limited includes sugar from sources such as honey, fruit juice and fruit concentrate. 

So is sugar really that evil?

To answer that question, we first have to define what we mean by ‘sugar’. Technically, most carbohydrates are sugars in a chemical sense – from bananas and sweet potatoes to apples and mango etc. Milk and dairy products also contain some sugar in the form of lactose. Even whole grains are broken down in the body to simple sugars. Then of course we have refined sugar and the products it is found in, for example packaged cakes, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks etc. 

For me, the key difference here is nutritional value. While a banana may contain sugar, it also contains some fibre, vitamins and minerals like potassium. The same can’t be said for a can of Coke. 

Raspberries

As refined sugar and the products you find it in are usually very low in nutritional value, I would agree with the WHO’s guidelines of reducing them, however it’s not just as simple as that. For a start, the recommendation for sugar to be 5% of total calorie intake meaningless to most people. Unless you’re tracking everything that passes your lips using MyFitnessPal it would be very hard to determine that. I can also see why they include more natural forms of sugar in that recommendation, however all most people see is the headlines – ‘smoothies are full of sugar and bad for you’ and then use it as an excuse to justify choosing a can of coke. I’ve actually heard people saying that. Yes, fruit smoothies might have a high sugar content, but at least they have some nutritional value, the same of which can’t be said for fizzy pop!

I am also concerned at the impact this demonisation of sugar will have on our children, young girls in particular. We are just recovering from fat phobia, do we really need people to have a sugar phobia too?

Yes, sugar is not a healthy food, and an excess of it, even from natural sources may not be best for our health. However, I have always maintained that no food should be demonised to such an extent, rather people should be educated properly, instead of just reading the headlines and getting the wrong end of the stick.

For most of us we do need to keep an eye on our sugar intake, but with an approach of balance rather than ‘all or nothing’. Some people certainly do better with a much lower sugar intake, for example I’ve worked with women with PCOS who have benefited from a low sugar approach. I’ve also worked with people with sugar addictions – something which is becoming more and more common. For some, excess sugar can play havoc with their skin and hormones. For weight loss, keeping an eye on sugar, even from natural sources can be a sound approach. But, if you generally tolerate sugar well, natural foods like fruit in their whole form should not be avoided. 

Arnhem Market 047

For me, I know that I am generally fine with naturally sugary foods like fruit in relative amounts. I try and keep dried fruit, fruit juices and shop bought smoothies to a lower level and I do make an effort to keep an eye on the amount of processed sugar I eat because I do feel the effects when I over indulge. I also enjoy using more natural sweeteners in moderation for baking instead of refined white sugar, but still like to keep them to a reasonable level. Another approach I sometimes use is to eat naturally sugary foods with a source of fat or protein which helps to lessen the impact of the food on my blood sugar. Nuts and yoghurt with fruit is a favourite of mine.

The best way for most people to approach this comes back to good old common sense and balanced healthy eating. Eat mostly whole foods in their most natural form, such as whole pieces of fruit instead of fruit juice or dried fruit, while keeping processed and refined sugar foods to a minimum.

What are your thoughts on sugar? How does sugar affect you? What do you think about the demonisation of certain foods? 

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57 Comments

  1. Sarahf

    This is such good timing! My sweet tooth has been raging this past week, and I’ve been trying to have fruit instead of candy. But then you hear that fruit is full of sugar and that it’s not good either, and it just makes me want to give up altogether. Demonising any food just makes those of us who aren’t experts in nutrition even more confused about something that really shouldn’t be so hard. Thank you for talking about this, it was very informative.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Sarah, glad you found the post helpful and informative!

      Reply
  2. Tamzin

    I do believe some sugars are evil and contributing to our ever expanding waste lines but I also believe that it’s the highly processed sugary foods that are more to blame then say fruit. I do eat more sugar then I should but it’s usually of the natural kind rather than the white processed sugar. I am not supposed to eat processed sugars as it’s effects my skin and is obvious when I have that’s for sure! I also know I feel way better if I have a low sugar diet the only sugar I use at home is coconut which seems to be fine for me. I think it’s all about balance, I do feel very strongly about giving sugar to children though, I am not mother but I know if I were I would not be giving my child any processed sugar all the time I was in control of their diet!

    Reply
    • Laura

      I agree wholeheartedly about refined sugar and children, that is definitely going to be something I will have to get my head around soon!

      Reply
  3. Zoe

    I don’t really see sugar as being ‘demonised’ (unless you’re reading The Daily Mail!) and I think that it’s good that people are now learning about how bad sugar is for you. I’m not sure that it’s all that common for people to think, ‘Well there is sugar in fruit too so I may as well just have this Mars bar.’ Those are the sort of people who will always have an excuse not to eat healthily. (My mum is one of these!) And equally, people who have a tendency to get obsessive about what they eat will do that anyway, with whatever is the latest hot topic. I think that even if this message makes a few people stop and think about what they’re eating then that’s got to be good.

    I do think that there needs to be a distinction between processed and natural sugars though. Most articles I’ve read do go into this, but obviously the headlines tend to be less balanced so you’d be relying on people actually reading the articles to get the whole story! Also it does concern me when I read about diets where fruit is banned for being ‘high in sugar’. Fruit doesn’t need demonising, that’s for sure!

    Reply
    • Laura

      You might be surprised at the number of people that do actually use it as an excuse, I agree they are probably the people that would always want to have an excuse, but I guess my point is that proper education and they wouldn’t have those excuses. Anything that demonetises fruit it really worrying :-/

      Reply
  4. kezia

    I think refined sugar and sugar dependence is one of the key factors causing high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes as well as other horrid health problems. BUT saying that you need to have a sensible approach and naturally sweet foods are meant to be delighted and enjoyed, but still in moderation. I love raw honey(I have a 3kg tub of it!) , which is really good for you but if I ate tons of it I would still be on a blood sugar rollercoaster!
    I think we should listen to our bodies and that eating natural sugar is only a problem when you feel dependent on it for energy, waking up or for emotional comfort. When we make powerful and mindful decisions regarding sweet food then they can be a delightful dietary addition!
    Oh I love the sugar debate:) Thanks for starting it here!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Glad you enjoyed the post! I have about 3 or 4 different forms of natural sweeteners in my cupboards, love them, but try not to go over board either :-)

      Reply
  5. PoPpy @ Persistence Over Perfection

    I do certainly believe that sugar is bad for us and should be limited – but, exactly as you say, my view is that if you’re otherwise healthy (i.e. don’t have diabetes) then it’s the processed sugar that’s the problem, not naturally occurring sources within a wholefoods diet. I eat about three pieces of fruit a day but all of them are combined with protein and fat, to reduce the impact on blood sugar. I also watch how much dried fruit I eat, although I have small quantities every day – but I still manage to lose weight because I practice balance and moderation (and I’ve worked hard to largely eliminate processed foods). For diabetics, a stricter low-sugar approach can be useful; I know a particular diabetic who when she was diagnosed was told her sugars were so high she would HAVE to be on medication and most likely insulin not metformin. They just didn’t think there was any other treatment option for someone with such high sugar levels, based on previous cases in the practice. Two years later and she is defying all her doctors by controlling her diabetes through diet alone and they have no idea what to do with her! They want to use her as a case study for the practice as they have never had anyone control diabetes in such a successful way before.

    Reply
    • Laura

      I have a client that had diabetes and we reversed it with changes to her diet, I don’t know why diabetes slipped my mind to be mentioned! My grandma also has it so I make her low sugar treats every now and again :-)

      Reply
  6. Alex

    Great post.

    Personally, I know my sugar cravings have almost died entirely since giving up milk chocolate and I started eating more natural sugars (fruit in homemade smoothies now being my major source). It’s the processed stuff that I found really addictive. But that’s just me!

    I agree that nothing should be demonised, keeping things in is the best way to encourage balance and listening to your own body about what to put in it. It’s all a personal education and I wish more people would be willing to try things and have a go.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Totally agree on the personal education, one of the things that really concerns me is the processed artificially sweetened crap that people are lead to believe is healthier.

      Reply
  7. Ms.J

    Aahh yes, FAT is taking the limelight -and rightly so- and what HEALTHY bloggers seemed to know all along, the rest are discovering; sugar is to blame for many a health crisis. But like you have stated so perfectly – demonizing any food is not a healthy attitude whatsoever. I have learnt that processed sugar does make me feel like crap..therefore I take full responsibility when I consume something sugary, because of course there is no way I’m going to be cutting it out completely ;-)

    Reply
    • Laura

      Great attitude and approach! I think that is actually very empowering and much the way I approach it. Sometimes I make the choice to eat something with processed sugar but with the full understanding that it’s not going to do me any favours – with that in mind I at least make sure it’s worth it!

      Reply
  8. Cat

    I just love how sugar is being brought to the public attention more. Of course, whenever a message hits the media it will always be pulled in various directions and warped, but I think it’s generally a step in the right direction.

    I personally have cut back on my sugar intake in recent months, and notice way less cravings. That said, I had a cupcake overdose this weekend and it gave me a serious sugar hangover (racing heart, headache – terrible!) but just about worth it ;)

    Reply
    • Laura

      Yep, I think what I would like to see to counter that is more about the benefits of fat!

      Reply
  9. Hazel

    I could not agree more. I have huge issue with processed sugar as personally I find it hard to find my off switch when I start and do end up feeling as though I am in a mental fug. I have taken quite a lot of interest over the last few years in the ‘Give up Sugar’ campaign but have never been able to accept that I should cut down on my consumption of fresh fruit. I know that eating fresh fruit till the cows come home does not make me feel crappy and sluggish in the way that cake does! I have gone through a few months (more than once) of giving up processed sugars in cakes and biscuits and chocolate etc and do feel heaps better for it. I always seems to slide back though. I think moderation is the key (something I struggle with). Great post. Hazel

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Hazel, glad you enjoyed the post. I know that moderation is something a lot of people struggle with as they can tend to be all or nothing. Hope that you are able to get to that happy point in the middle :-)

      Reply
  10. Emma

    I definitely don’t think that all forms of sugar should be eliminated and do agree that there’s a lot of scare-mongering about with regard to sugar and fruit. That said, as you yourself say, some people do better than others on the sweet stuff (including fruit and starches) and others can’t handle as much, so it’s about finding what works for you.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Couldn’t agree more, definitely about taking an individualised approach :-)

      Reply
  11. Alissa - Not Just Apples

    As a diabetic, I’m keenly aware of sugar, and I truly believe that low GI, natural, non-processed sugars are the right way to go. I avoid fake sugar replacements, as well as standard white sugars. But creating it as an EVIL thing, and demonizing it, probably isn’t the best thing! We’ll end up with more sweeteners being made in some sort of factory, and this causing other health issues (aspartame?!)…

    Reply
    • Laura

      That’s the worrying side of this as well – more artificial sweeteners, eek!

      Reply
  12. Claire @ Flake and Cake

    Great post Laura! I definitely agree that this media obsession with sugar is not healthy. The message should be that real food is the way forward. I just worry that all this coverage won’t lead people to embracing whole foods – fruits, nuts, veggies, meat – but picking up boxes with the words ‘low sugar’ and a big tick.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Totally, that will be the next thing that marketing companies will cotton on to. I wish the message could be ‘more whole foods and less processed foods’ instead of just less sugar x

      Reply
  13. Lauren (@PoweredbyPB)

    I think a real distinction needs to be made between demonizing all forms of sugar (including fruit) and the processed, refined stuff. It really concerns me that people think that fruit is bad for you.

    Reply
  14. Anna @AnnaTheApple

    I agree with the fact that fruit and things like fizzy pop can hardly be compared – it’s sensational news paper titles and it sadly sells.
    But sugar, the empty calories refined kind, is a problem. It’s in everything – soups, sauces, drinks… and it is the one to watch out for rather than fat. Fat actually does the body good (in moderation of course) but sugar, other than providing quick energy (and tastes damn good) has no other purpose really. And it’s scary because people are choosing ‘low fat’ options believing they are doing their body good when really they’re just loading up on sugar instead. “Hey these marshmallows are fat free! These Jaffa cakes have less than 1g fat – let’s eat them all!” We’ve turned into a nation of idiots eating processed crap, being deluded buy big businesses and their marketing campaigns, and losing sight of what real nutrition really is :(

    Reply
    • Laura

      You are so right about it being in everything, even things like bread, it’s pretty scary! I wish the message could be more whole foods less processed foods rather than just low sugar, it doesn’t present the answer at all!

      Reply
  15. Fran

    I think its getting more and more difficult to just enjoy food and I believe that whilst it main role is for fuel it should also remain something that can be pleasurable (I know some may disagree here). It just seems like it’s one thing after another whether it be fat, salt, sugar, carbs in general, or even protein which was in the news last week with research showing the negative effects of too much protein (and protein always seemed to be the lucky one that escaped criticism!)

    I also think that giving a percentage target of daily calorie intake is going to be meaningless to most people. Also, starches from bread, pasta, rice, vegetables etc all end up turning into sugar in our body anyway!

    I do agree of course we should be limiting our intake of refined sugars from processed foods but I don’t agree we need to go completely low sugar and start getting worried about eating an apple or pear for example.

    My main concern about sugar is probably from a dental point of view so I try to eat things with higher sugar content at meals with other foods so it has less of an impact on my teeth, and of course as you say Laura, having foods containing sugar with a source of protein and fat also reduces the impact on one’s blood glucose levels.

    I suppose when it comes to sugar like with other things I go through my own phases with it and sometimes i am much more wary of it than other times (but not for any particular reason!) I also can never quite decide how I feel about artificial sweeteners, I try and limit my intake because it doesn’t help the taste buds adjust and i think it gives me cramps and bloating if I have too much but in general I am not averse to them wholly.

    Reply
    • Laura

      I totally agree with you Fran, food is something that should be enjoyed and I think that is becoming a problem for a lot of people as they start feeling guilty about everything they eat! I don’t mind stevia and xylitol in small amounts but I’m not a fan of other artificial sweeteners, again I worry that instead of choosing natural alternatives like honey people will choose a more processed option.

      Reply
  16. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    It is all about moderation for me. Whilst I try not to have sugar like chocolate or sweets every day, there is noway I am totally cutting it out. That wouldn’t work for me and I would end up caving in and binging.
    It makes me so angry when people try to tell me that bananas are bad for me due to all the sugar. Okay, tell that to my 7st weight loss.

    Reply
    • Laura

      So with you on this one, no way could I completely cut out refined sugar, I need cake occasionally!

      Reply
  17. Nicky

    From what I’ve learnt, sugar isn’t making people fat by itself – it’s more the fact that people get addicted to it and end up overeating because of that and because it isn’t as filling as other foods. The only thing that makes us fat as a population is eating too much. And an addiction to sugar may help that, but sugar in itself is not evil. I’m so fed up of the phases of demonising different foods for the obesity problem in the UK, not only confusing overweight people but confusing vulnerable girls when in fact nothing is bad, it’s all about moderation and it’s all about eating the right amount for you. You can eat anything you wanted for the set amount that you can sustain your healthy set weight at – it just so happens that healthier foods tend to be lower calorie so fill people up with all the fibre and good nutrients so you can get away with eating less calories by eating healthy.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Nicky, what you have said here is so spot on! This is exactly the message I’ve been giving to the girls I’ve been working with, a healthy balance where no foods are excluded but where healthier foods are prioritised is the way forward. I really get concerned about the impact these news stories can have on them :-(

      Reply
  18. Rosie

    This is a very well-timed post for me as I’ve given up refined sugar for lent and I’m finding it difficult to navigate through all the guidance on what I now should or shouldn’t be eating. It seems like if I were to give up anything that my body processes as sugar I’d have to give up almost everything – alcohol, bread, pasta, and so on. I also can’t decide whether artificial sweeteners are in or out, which would mean my morning protein shake has to go, and the Sweet Freedom fruit syrup I have with fruit or on protein pancakes. It feels like such a minefield, I’ve been looking at books on giving up sugar but they all recommend giving up fruit too which just feels crazy to me, I’ve only just learned to love fruit so giving it up seems like a step in the wrong direction! I just wish there was clearer advice on what a good diet looks like – I read this week that a high protein diet is really dangerous but I was always taught that if you want to lose weight then a low carb, high protein diet is the best way to go. So confusing! xo

    Reply
    • Laura

      It used to confuse the hell out of me as well! If I had to sum up good nutrition as best I can, I would say focus on whole, unprocessed foods with just a few processed things here and there. A daily protein shake should be ok as should the sweet freedom. I think it’s about you tuning in to your body and noticing how it feels when you eat those things, if your energy levels feel stable and you don’t crave more sweet foods after wards you’ll be fine. As for the protein thing, a little more protein is good for weight loss, I think the issue with that article, is that it’s not examining a more moderate approach. Unless you are cutting out all starchy veg, fruit, grains and beans it would be hard to eat that much protein to the point of it being bad for you. I tend to recommend eating more protein in evening meals as that works better with your bodies digestive and hormonal systems to support weight loss rather than an overall low carb approach which can be unsustainable. I was going to say Rosie, if you ever want to, feel free to email me, happy to help!

      Reply
  19. Tiffany

    Great post! I recently had a doctor tell me to avoid ALL sugar and only use a tiny bit of honey if I absolutely have to. I thought that was a bit overboard – moderation is key. But it did make me more conscious about sugars and we always keep raw local honey in the house.

    Reply
    • Laura

      I need to get on the raw local honey train again! I completely agree that moderation is key :-)

      Reply
      • Tiffany

        I love the raw local honey! I was surprised how well it substituted for regular suborn (and splenda – don’t tell anyone). I don’t miss it at all but I have to watch my intake.

        Reply
  20. Maria @ runningcupcake

    I really agree with you here Laura. I agree that as a nation we eat too much processed sugar, and it is so often hidden in foods (cornflakes/ baked beans etc) but the WHO need to make it simple for people to understand- I pay attention to foods an nutritional values but I have no idea what % of my energy comes from sugar. It also seems very low if they are including all types of sugar- lactose/ fructose etc.
    I know that personally I find fruit juices and smoothies too sugary, but if I have some sort of milk in there then they are OK. I was always taught at school to think about “empty calories” (refined sugars) versus more natural foods which may contain sugars but also have benefits such as vitamins etc. I also think we try to break down our foods too much, and that we are discovering more compounds all the time that are in natural foods, and so a whole food approach is more beneficial than trying to think about macro splits the whole time. It’s like “look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves”- look after a healthy balanced diet and the macros will take care of themselves.
    I agree with Anna’s comment too- people are still after quick fixes (and companies still market them)- I would avoid low sugar things because I would rather have real sugar than artificial sweeteners. Long comment!

    Reply
    • Laura

      It’s the hidden sugar that I think is the issue, again something that could be addressed by advice stating that we eat more whole unprocessed foods! Definitely agree with you on the macro split as well, sometimes it seems we are focusing on the wrong thing entirely

      Reply
  21. Petra Kravos

    I think the key is to eat a well balanced diet with occasional treats which could include white sugar as well (if you like, but this is not a recommendation of course) – no need to totally give up everything that contains white sugar. Who doesn’t love a cake once in a while? I personally don’t use white sugar at all. I have a teaspoon of honey in my green tea every morning and I have naturally occurring sugars such as dried fruits in muesli/porridge and fresh fruits. I might have a dessert once a week or less often. However, desserts could be made healthier with naturally occurring sugars as well. I think the problem these days is that you can find refined sugar everywhere. They add it to bread, soups, drinks, etc. And many people don’t even know how much sugar is in the food and drinks they buy. That’s why so many people have too much sugar daily. People have to educate themselves and become more aware about the sugar in their diet. At the end of the day, too much is bad for you and can contribute to a variety of diseases.

    Reply
    • Laura

      So agree with you, I need a slice of cake sometimes! I think you are spot on about the issue being the hidden added sugars in processed foods, it is good if people can at least become more aware of that.

      Reply
  22. Sarah

    Great post, I agree wholeheartedly. The daemonisation of sugar has to be a bad thing, although my point of issue would be the levels of sugar unnecessarily added to processed food. Often when manufacturers try to lower salt content you see the levels of sugar go through the roof. Now i have no problem with the sugar in an apple a banana or even the occasional piece of apple crumble, i watch the older generation enjoy these in moderation and live happily into their 90’s but sugar in chinese food, crisps, innocent looking snacks, soft drinks…. now that is the issue.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Absolutely, I wish that the message could be to eat mainly wholefoods instead of processed, that would help to deal with that issue, although I think the food companies would be more pissed off!

      Reply
  23. Emma @ Stripes and Snapshots

    I have definitely noticed a trend in people trying to reduce their sugar intake, and it’s something I’m really conscious of. I have a bit of a ‘tyre’ around my belly and I’ve read a lot that it’s down my intake of sugar. I think I probably do suffer from a sugar addiction, and I’ve been known to eat a kg of chocolate in two days, which is definitely unhealthy. I feel like I need to do a detox to kit the habit, but maybe not when I’m at work getting stressed and irritable around my colleagues!!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Haha, yep I think a detox is easier to do when you can be calmer! I have seen a lot of people benefit from a short term sugar detox for kicking the habit, but also people who have taken a more gradual approach. You just need to think about what will work best for you :-)

      Reply
  24. Alice @adarling575

    Thank you for this! I’ve been wondering about it for a while as it’s so unclear. 5% of my daily intake really means nothing. Or they talk about spoonfuls – a nutritional measure that shows up on no packaging! What I was really confused about was whether it included entirely natural sugars in things like fruit etc. surprised and annoyed to hear it does – another about face from “5 pieces of fruit and veg a day”! So annoying.

    Reply
    • Laura

      That 5% thing really makes me mad and the same thing for the spoonfuls!

      Reply
  25. Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    It makes me sad to see fruit lumped in there with processed sugars. Some articles will go the extra step and make the distinction, but they -still- say to limit the amount of fruit we eat. I remember hearing a popular diet “guru” recommend eating a 100 calorie snack pack instead of a banana because the banana has more sugar. Are you serious?!? Pump our bodies full of chemicals instead of natural food? I think we should stop worrying about fat/sugar/etc, and start worrying about the MAN-MADE crap that’s added to our food instead.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Oh my god, that’s when it starts to get scary. Totally agree, its the processed food that should be the focus here!

      Reply
  26. Rachel

    Interesting post as I think many people, especially in blog/internet world, can have the tendency to be ‘all or nothing’ about things and have gone from the ‘zero fat’ angle to the ‘zero sugar’ angle. I do think that too much sugar is not great, but probably the main reason we convert so much of our food into sugars is that they are what our body runs on most easily. It’s easy to eat too much, especially if it’s sugar without ‘bulk’ (ie chocolate, sweets), and then we have more energy surging around than we need, hence weight gain and other health issues. But sometimes you need this kind of energy. When we go hillwalking, we are often out for 8-10 hours in the hills in sometimes quite wild weather. They way I eat then is very different to my ‘normal’ eating – I don’t really have meals as such as you don’t want to be digesting something bulky or fatty while walking, but you need plenty of energy, so we basically have plenty of snacky things, many of which are sugary. Things like flapjacks, tunnocks caramel wafers, trail mix and nuts are great for energy without bulk (bulk in your rucksack as well as bulk in the digestive tract), and you know you’ll probably burn most of it off – the flapjacks and trail mix have a bit of slow-release energy too. I also like the psychological boost of some chocolate when I’ve got to the top of a hard climb. I only eat like this when I am doing sustained physical activity and will go back to my big salads and lower sugar meals when we come home.

    Maybe one of the issues with trying to standardize advice for people (eat no more than 5g salt, 5% sugar a day etc) is that it does not fit with an individual’s lifestyle. What is suitable for a sedentary office worker is not going to be the same as someone who works in a physical job doing heavy lifting or a lot of walking. And we don’t all do the same thing every day anyway – sometimes you need more food, or more sugar than other times. People always say ‘listen to your body’ – well sometimes my body actually does need sugar! I am a sedentary office worker 3 days a week, and the other days I am often running around like a crazy person doing the chores, going to the gym etc (I go to work for a rest!). My energy – and sugar – requirements are different for each of those days.

    I no longer eat low fat stuff like yogurt and marg (where the full fat is more natural and satisfying) but neither am I about to give up sugar entirely as I do believe it has an important part in my diet. Thanks for giving a balanced view!

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks for this comment Rachel – very good point about the exercise! I’m all about individualised approaches, and I think that is where better education is key so that we can make more informed decisions about our own health x

      Reply
  27. Mary

    I see the effects of children buzzing from processed sugars every week in class. I believe people need educating on how to assess for their body or their child’s needs. Giving out the view that fruit is bad because of its sugar content is awful. At least that sugar is natural! There’s so much emphasis on calories and calorie counting-it’s so frustrating to see calorie totals topped up with rubbish sugary foods.

    Reply
  28. Andrea Cole

    I have to admit I eat a fair bit of “natural sugar” fruit is my go to snack and I eat a fair bit of it, one of the good habits my mother instilled. We always had fruit in the house but we were never allowed the processed sugary crap except as a treat. I kept that up with my own kids, one thing I did discover for my kids and my own sweet tooth is raw desserts. There’s a ton of raw recipes you can use to substitute for cakes, brownies what have you. I make those as an alternative to the processed grocery store stuff.

    Reply
    • Laura

      I think that’s a great approach, I often enjoy raw desserts much more that refined sugar packed ones anyway! Great that you’ve continued that approach with your kids as well :-)

      Reply
  29. Joy

    What’s a timely article; round a friend’s house for a girly night on Friday, we got round to talking about sugar. One friend’s personal trainer had told her a while back that all the fruit she was eating was preventing her from losing the weight she wanted to; she felt really frustrated by that advice as she relied on it as healthy snacks in between meals. We then ate cake that I made :)))

    With my focus in the last few months enjoying healthy fats, increasing things like avocados, coconut oil and so on, I haven’t given sugar too much thought but I have stopped having it in hot drinks as I realised on top of what was becoming an enjoyable but serious chocolate habit over winter, I needed to think about my teeth (dentally, I was at the back of the queue when they were handing out good genes, and I have a fair few fillings). I think (but only anecdotally) that I get a bit bloated from sugary things but with everything else in life we need to think about for optimum health, I’ve not stopped cake and try and have fruit like bananas every day, although I’m more of a veg person as I get less bloated from them.

    I grew up with a very sweet tooth, and even now I’d always take a sweet popcorn over savoury, but as a couple of people, have said, changing tastes come with changing amounts of sugar consumption. As with all these things, it’s a question of balance and these messages should be made very clear as to be aimed at people who just need more information about whether what they might be having has more nutritional alternatives (like Laura said, smoothies over fizzy drinks) rather than be so prescriptive about amounts of ingredients.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Haha, glad to hear you all still ate the cake! I think the approach of focusing on what you can eat more of rather than cutting something out is better – if you increase healthy fats then it’s likely that sugar will take up less space in your diet :-)

      Reply

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