It seems to be the latest ‘evil’ in the media, with voices from all around telling us we should eat less of the stuff… but why?
I gave up sugar a little while before it grabbed the media’s attention, but I’ve been slow to quit it. I thought I had a pretty healthy diet, but was surprised by how much sugar I consumed when I began to look at it.
I think it was a sort of psychological substitute. As I can’t have gluten, I’d almost reach for other sugary things that I could eat. I couldn’t have the cake, but I could have a meringue or a lovely packet of Haribo Tangtastics (other jelly sweets are equally to blame!)
I started to investigate the sugar thing when my mum was diagnosed with cancer and we begun to look at how diet could help with her treatment and in fighting the disease naturally.
WHOAH, it’s a HUGE topic.
I’m not an expert and certainly do not have all the answers. I only know the conclusion I came to for the situation our family was in based on what I read extensively both in book form and on the internet.
I’m not here to preach about what’s right, I wanted to merely share some of the sources I used and then if it makes sense to you and you want to try it – for whatever reason- sure, give it a go.
Initially, my reasoning was that if mum was going to go through treatment and having to drastically change the way she ate and give up a whole load of stuff, I wanted to share in that journey, even a little bit, by giving up sugar in solidarity with her. It’s turned out that it’s been good for my health too – bonus!
The most influential sources for me have been Chris Woolam’s ‘The Rainbow Diet’ and Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar.‘ These are the two sources that I kept going back to time and again to check things or clarify details.
I found Chris Woolam’s book informative and scientifically based, using his background in biochemistry. It was a thorough summary of many options for natural or alternative treatment, written in a way that could easily be understood by a non-scientifically minded person like myself -someone seeking the best way forward when faced with a sea of options.
The message I kept hearing was ‘cancer cells need sugar to survive. Starve them of it and you’ll be helping to slow down the advancement of the disease, if not reverse it’. Worth a try.
The more I read, the more I think that there’s just no need for any of us to consume the amount of refined sugar we do.
Historically, fruit was scarce and was rarely eaten, except when it was found in abundance in the environment. Then it was gorged on and is apparently, according to Sarah Wilson of ‘I Quit Sugar’, the reason we have no ‘I’ve had enough’ gene when it comes to the sugary sweet stuff and eat it to excess.
In modern history, we ate a mere 2kg sugar a year in 1700. By 1900, this had sky-rocketed to 41kg. In today’s society, we consume approximately 82kg a year, more than our body weight – Crazy! (source: Wellness Mama)
I don’t want to eat so much of something I don’t need. So I stopped – gradually. It’s very hard to avoid. Turn over the ingredients label and you’ll see it’s everywhere. From the obvious cakes and biscuits to the hidden sugars in sauces and condiments. I’m an avid label reader. For me, anything over 5g sugar per 100g is out.
What about fruit? Is the question most people ask. Personally, I eat a little fruit, mainly berries and other lower fructose fruit. Having said that, I do eat bananas which are high in sugar, but where I’d formerly put a whole one on my breakfast, I now put a few slices. I know people who eat no fruit and others who eat it freely. I don’t eat dried fruit either – sugar per 100g is too high. I also try not to have substitutes like honey or maple syrup but I’m not religious about it. I use rice syrup if I need a sweetener. I tried Stevia but the powdered stuff was simply horrid. The disgusting aftertaste was most unpleasant.
The fruit/honey/maple syrup thing may change in the future. I don’t think those alternatives are as bad as refined sugar, but that’s where I am for now. The white (or brown) stuff is out – for good.