So, what’s the story?
Going sugar free, AKA, laterz ‘free sugars‘ / excess fructose – i.e. the added sugars for which we have no need in our diets, unlike the other sugars: Galactose, Lactose & Glucose. FYI – table sugar (white/brown/cubed/caster/demerara etc.) = sucrose = 50% fructose + 50% glucose.
I hear you – why is this?
So, despite NOT being Scientists (and we’re totes not trying to be anything other than foodie messengers & #HomeCooking promo’ers), here’s what we’ve gathered; when we eat, different hormones are triggered – they tell the body what macro/micro nutrients we’re eating, where they need to go and what needs to be done with them (repair damaged cells/fuel our brain/re-build muscle etc.) – and some key hormones; Ghrelin, Leptin and Insulin control satiety (fullness) and appetite. The only foodstuff we consume, which according to some studies ‘is thought to be insufficient to induce satiety’ (i.e. it does not trigger a response when it comes to how full we are within 15 minutes), is fructose. Yes – hence our ability to be able to consume 25 custard creams in one sitting.
So what happens to this sugary stuff?
Well, when consumed in excess of our #RecommendedNutrientIntake, other than spiking our blood sugar levels and a couple of other negs effects listed on the NHS website, the fructose is dumped on our liver before being (in the most part) converted into fatty circulating acids aka triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (#TheBadType) which then circulate in our body, by-passing most appetite control hormones. These fatty acids can become, as described by David Gillespie, quite literally, ‘porridge in our arteries’ which can potentially lead to conditions such as coronary disease – to put it very bluntly (and yes, simply).
But why do we, (most of us anyway), eat it in the first place?
Due to some clever marketing, the ability to produce fructo-filled edible delights at a tiny cost and our innate desire for sweet foods (paired with our often addictive personalities) means that we all (at times) ‘crave’ this Sweet Poison. Many research papers conclude that sugar is as addictive as any drug (we’re talking cocaine-style), it’s been suggested that we crave that ‘high’ just as a smoker or a crack addict craves theirs.
So what contains this fructose-fiend?
Table sugar: 50% / Coconut Palm Sugar: 43% / Honey: 40% / Agave: 90% (I know, we all thought that was super ‘healthy’ right) / High Fructose Corn Syrup: 55% (in most fizzy drinks/cereals & yogurts – normally the ‘low fat’ ones) / Maple Syrup: 35% / Golden Syrup: 40% / Fruit juices – but we’ll come to on to that below.
But so many of the above are ‘Natural’?
Oh, so all natural things are good for us, like Opium and magic shrooms? #ObviNot, and that is where marketing, profit and sheer ignorance (um, us entirely) play a part. We’re talking adverts that say: Fat Free / No Added or ‘Fruit only’ Sugars / Natural, Natural, Natural. Let’s be honest, Coca Cola, Cadbury’s and Kelloggs – their industries would be in tatters if we all gave up ‘free sugars’.
Can I eat Fruit?
YESSS – fruit is the BOMBBB – just make sure you eat the WHOLE freakin fruit, and whole because the relevant fibre/liquid/pectin content is what is super important here. In a juice there is no fibre, so drinking apple juice gives you an injection of nutrients (yey), but then dumps a tonne of fructose on your liver – a bit like a spoonful of sugar (bummer). Our point is this, we’re BIG fans of fruit. In particular the classic English Apple, Berries and Kiwis (did you know you can get your daily RNI of Vit. C from 1 Kiwi)?! We know, pretty rad right, anyway, we digress.
Our final stance on fruit is the dried stuff – afraid we’re not mega fans, although it still contains the fibre – given that the liquid (or ‘bulk’) has been removed means that we can eat WAYYY more of one particular type of fruit, i.e. 40g sultanas = the fructose quantity of 130 grapes – and how often do you sit down and eat 130 grapes? So be mindful & if you are gonna gobble on dried fruit and gulp juices then go easy on ’em!
Will I feel different if I give it up, OR more realistically speaking, cut down my intake?
We believe the answer is yes – extensive research has been carried out, and if you’re a true sugar addict, which most of us have been or are (consciously or unconsciously – soz) then you will (very likely) notice a change. Notable benefits (both published & that we have experienced) include: a heightened mood pattern, increased energy, healthier bowel movement, clearer skin and improved sleep – so basicallllly, a slightly better version of you.
We gotta mention though, the withdrawal phase (if you wanna go #ColdTurk) can be a semi-tumultuous road, (headaches and the like), but we say ride that wave, let your body recalibrate & your senses adjust, remember your body is meant to, and will, tell you when it is hungry and what it is craving – so listen to it and start hanging out in the ‘intuitive eating’ realm, which is totes 2k17 😉
The final word:
We’re not trying to impose an all out ban on the consumption of ‘free sugars’, we’re not total freaks, no, we’re realists and we fully appreciate that there is most definitely a time and a place for sweet delicacies that our heroes (HELLLLO Nigella and Mary) have come up with. We just want people to be a little more mindful about labels/health claims and ‘convenience’ foodstuffs. The key, in our humble opinion, is to eat full fat, unprocessed, non-tampered with, British (if available & Free Range where possible), foods. Get munching on those sumptuous fats, that essential protein & those epic carbs, eat them until your heart’s (AKA satiety’s) content. This is not a diet, we are merely trying to break a habit that has become a bit of an addiction.