Friday, September 14, 2012

Why I didn't quit sugar.....

My Humble Honey Ice-cream,  homemade without an ice-cream maker.....recipe coming soon. 

There's a lot of hype about quitting sugar at the moment. I thought about it. I bought Sarah Wilson's E-book and read Sweet Poison by David Gillespie. However after a long chat with Emma (read about my meeting with her here) and reading this, I didn't. Phew!

I just want to preface this by saying although I haven't quit sugar, I don't eat processed sugary junk or anything processed for that matter, nor do I drink soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Not even occasionally, to me they just ain't food.

By depriving your body of sugars, the very fuel it needs to function,  you trigger stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline to be released....the same hormones that would be released if you came across a grizzly bear in the wild! So just imagine the impact of such high levels of these stress hormones being secreted every day! Add to this the other stress factors in our busy lives and lack of sleep......and your metabolic system isn't looking good.

So what sugars do I enjoy? "simpler carbohydrate comprising glucose and fructose; a.k.a. sucrose...... In nature, this is the carbohydrate found in ripened fruits, beetroots and certain other well-cooked root vegetables, pure honey, and dare I say it, cane sugar." Emma Sgourakis 

Although, I have quit polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)  "PUFAs in our diet inhibit cellular respiration, pushing our cells toward lipid oxidation and inhibiting glucose oxidation, disrupting how our bodies use sugar, damaging the beta cells of the pancreas, leading to insulin insensitivity and high blood-sugar. The problem isn’t sugar; the problem is that people are eating the wrong types of sugar in foods with unsaturated fats."  Emma Sgourakis

Sources of PUFAs: Vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, safflower, flax, almond etc), nuts, seeds, grains, poultry, fish oil, eggs from factory-farmed chickens … 

Another interesting article I recently read "Stalling the Aging Metabolism", highlights de-stressing foods that promote the metabolism and suppress cortisol, these are salt (NOT iodised table salt), sugar, starch and saturated fats.

You may be interested or you may not. I hope you will take a look at the article, take the time to read it and make an informed decision. 

So if you did quit sugar or you were thinking of it, I hope you will think again. We all need a little sweetness in our lives.


  1. Thank you for writing this Natalie. And for that link to Emmas article. For a little while I pondered the whole no sugar thing. But not for very long because it simply doesn't feel right to be fanatical about it. My husband would go crazy without a bit of dark chocolate every now and then. And quite frankly so would I! I'm with you...a little bit of sweetness is good for the soul. xx

    Thanks for those recipes below. Your cooking is very inspiring :)

  2. So you don't eat any nuts or seeds, grains, any poultry at all? Do you not eat any fish that have fish oil, or just fish oil itself?

  3. Interesting Blog. I wholeheartedly disagree, and until you have tried cutting all sugar out of your diet, you really cant make an informed decision. The health benefits are amazing. Your body doesn't "need" sugar at all, complex carbs yes that include natually occuring sugars, but NO added sugar is required, like from your icecream above. Instead of making that with Im assuming castor sugar or some other form of sugar, freeze some bananas, strawberries, rasperries or blueberries or for that any fruit, and when frozen blitz it in the food processor. Instant icecream sorbet. delicious. Keep away from all processed foods, eat clean and you will definitely see a change. Also, once you cut this out, food tastes sooooo much better!! Chocolate is not required.

    1. Hi Anon,

      Thank you so much for your input. I did cut out all sugar in my diet for a few months however the moment I found out I was pregnant I stopped. My body craved things like papaya and some honey on my sourdough toast!

      I make my ice cream with raw cream, raw milk and 1/4 cup of honey.....Yours sounds lovely too, however its just sugar whereas I like to eat my sugar with a good fat.

      Did you read this whole article - if not - please read it, it is so valuable. Your body does need sugar to avoid you running on adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones). By not eating the sugars suggested above, your body is put into a catabolic which it begins to eat your own tissue. You may feel great now but long term you will come up against major problems.

      We eat nothing processed, as you may see from my blog I make everything from scratch. I use only organic and local produce, grass fed and finished meats, homemade bone broth, raw dairy, raw cheese, organic eggs (plus we keep our own chickens), tropical fruits, lots of high quality bovine gelatin.....etc etc.

      I very rarely eat chocolate :)

      DId you know that -“Fructose inhibits the stimulation of insulin by glucose, so this means that eating sucrose (a disaccharide, consisting of glucose and fructose), in place of starch, will reduce the tendency to store fat. Eating “complex carbohydrates,” rather than sugars, is a reasonable way to promote obesity.” Ray Peat PhD

    2. I don't think you understand what is meant by "giving up sugar". No one says you should stop eating papaya or a little honey, not even David Gillespie of "Sweet Poison" fame. Refined sugars, like table sugar, in the amounts that it is typically eaten in today's Western diet, is a very recent addition to the human diet. By all accounts consuming it in large amounts is very harmful to our health. I don't think it's fanatical to suggest to a person who consumes sugar in their morning coffee, sweet cereal for breakfast, a couple of cans of coke during the day, sweet biscuits or muesli bars for morning tea , LCM's or dried fruit for afternoon tea, and a chocolate bar or icecream after dinner, that they are should cut back on their refined sugar. From what you say, it doesn't sound like you eat refined sugars in those kinds of quantities, but for people who do, reducing their sugar intake is going to improve their health enormously.

      Naturally occurring sugars, like those found in fruits and vegetables, are of course necessary for our health and nobody is suggesting we should give them up.

  4. You are confusing different sugars. Glucose is the fuel your body needs to function. The sugar many have stopped eating (except in fruit and at the occasional party)is fructose. Table sugar (sucrose) is made of half glucose and half fructose. Your body does not need added fructose in your diet for anything, if it did how did humans survive until a few hundred year ago when we worked out how to make table sugar from sugar cane and beets? Its been two year and a bit for me and I feel really good. No longer obese or prediabetic and my gout has gone.It doesn't feel fanatical at all to me. No more worrying about calories at all. It feels like freedom.


  5. Yeah I tend to think the whole "no sugar" thing is kinda to attract attention/controversy because its nearly impossible to be completely sugar free. Its more accurate to say "low sugar". If you eat bread, fruit, vegetables, pastas and dairy you'll get enough sugar for brain function.
    Both Sarah Wilson and David Gillespie advocate fruit and you can still do treats too - using dextrose in Gillespie's advice or using stevia or natvia, rice malt syrup or other natural sweeteners.
    I was very dubious of the claims at first and really reluctant to jump on the latest bandwagon but I have found it much easier than I thought - though since I do still eat some processed items so I am possibly going over what Gillespie or Wilson would consider the fructose limit for a day, some days. A couple of squares of dark chocolate and a black coffee is now doing what half a bag of M&Ms with a sugared latte was doing before. I was trying to make meatloaf the other night and ended up using commercial ketchup because it was all I had in the house and the meatloaf tasted like candy!
    I won't deny myself a piece of cheesecake at a cafe occasionally but I will probably split it with my Mum because I won't be able to eat the whole thing and it will taste too sweet anyway. For me its the insidious sugar in items that are not even sweet I want to get rid of - if you are completely home cookin then chances are other than your baking or ice-cream you are already eating far less sugar than the average Joe or Johanna anyway.

  6. I'm calling "bullsh1t". You haven't read Sweet Poison at all. If you did you would know that Glucose is essential to our survival, not "sugar" as such. And considering everything you eat converts to glucose once digested, there is no reason whatsoever to ingest it separately.

    1. Hi Anon,

      I have read sweet poison and did quit sugar for a few months as I noted in my response above.

      Perhaps we agree.....I am saying we do need sugar....however in the form of ripe tropical fruits, some beets, a glass of freshly squeezed oj and perhaps a little honey or maple syrup. I do not condone HFCS soft drinks, anything processed, chocolate bars, commercial tomato sauce etc.

      Did you read this?....

      “Fructose inhibits the stimulation of insulin by glucose, so this means that eating sucrose (a disaccharide, consisting of glucose and fructose), in place of starch, will reduce the tendency to store fat. Eating “complex carbohydrates,” rather than sugars, is a reasonable way to promote obesity.” Ray Peat PhD

      Thanks for visiting and for your comment.

  7. Interesting - I'm with Murasaki. Cut the sugar from our lives and things are pretty sweet to be honest. I didn't come from the junky place that David Gillespie came from - more in the home made, whole foods camp, definitely no soft drinks etc. I can't deny the difference, and I'm personally going to stick with it. Different stokes for different folks :)
    I struggled a bit with David's book as I'm a vegetarian, but since starting the very very low fructose journey eighteen months ago it has been well worth it. My boys are happy and very,very healthy. I have a sense of freedom by not thinking twice about saying no to dessert. I make treats, and enjoy them and it's purely for the pleasure of eating something gorgeous.

    <3 I can see what you're saying, but I do disagree :)

  8. i cut all sugar out of my diet for over a year and i did experience some health benefits from doing so in the short term. then for a number of years i went back to my old eating habits (which was not a lot of sugar by some standards) but still with some sugar. i found that i craved it and carbs for the energy. since having changed to a more traditional diet (or real food diet) and have included more protein, saturated fats, dairy and fermented foods as well as eliminating all refined sugar and carbs and processed foods, i have found that i have more energy than i have had in years. my moods are far more balanced too. i now feel like i have found a good balance with the amount of sweetest i require and use small amounts of honey, maple syrup and rapadura sugar as well as eating fruit for natural sweetness.
    i'm with you on this natalie, i think we all need a little sweetness.
    thanks for the link to emma's article, very interesting.

  9. I like the idea of quitting sugar (having heard that it is responsible for more deaths than heroin, cocaine and all the other drugs combined. - don't know if that's true but I have heard that whisper), however... I like sweet stuff. Not in a bad way, just a moderate way that I think is ok. I do find it funny how people are so set in their own beliefs regarding food and what constitutes a 'healthy' diet (myself very much included here). At the end of the day people live to 105 (and their secret? A packet of crisps and a pint of beer everyday) and people die at 46 (total 'health nuts'), sometimes I wonder! -thanks for the post Natalie. Cassie

  10. Hi Natalie, great timing. I have to admit I have been going a little nuts between reading yours, Sarah's and numerous other blogs. Second guessing what I think to what I read some times; I enjoy being challenged and love reading to find new ideas so this doesn't bother me. I think at the end of the day it's what works best for a given person and it could be that more than one type of nutrional diet would be benifical for a person (though this coudl be hard to see as it's a big life change and once you find something you think works you'd be less inclined to try something new) and probably based on what is happening within their lives at that time (e.g pregnancy, training). For me, I'm never going to cut out sugar completely I love sweetness, I just try to find it in more natural ways, though I also note changing a lifetime of habits can be challenging sometimes (mostly on holidays!). Thanks for the article.

  11. Just wanted to say thanks so much for stopping by the Sweet Poison FB page to answer my questions. :-) And thank you SO much for posting those links. I'm off to have a read now.

    Sorry you are getting so much lack for your choice. I hope everyone involved is just trying to have a healthy conversation, and not trying to persecute you for your choices. I think it's highly admirable that you've looked into everything, and are continuing to learn about foods etc. :-)

  12. I also wanted to add that I think you did exactly what Sarah was aiming for: you quit sugar for a few months, then added it back into your diet as you wanted, in the manner you wanted. This is what I believe she was aiming for when she launched her I Quit Sugar e-book. Just a thought. x

  13. Natalie,

    No fun reading through some of these comments, but some people have been sugar brainwashed, myself included in the past.

    Totally agree about sugar. And yes *sugar* not glucose. Glucose and fructose together = what what normally think of as sugar. And the fructose can be super good for you too.

    Yes yes yes, Sugar the Bitter truth. I went super low sugar for over a year, and was it worth it? Nahhh.

    After I read more, I realized I was not looking at the science, I was looking at someone's opinion. <--- Not always the best thing.

    You keep on rockin the sugar! Baam! :)

  14. I personally prefer Ray Peat's take on sugar. Hello, so many people who are peddling a "view" on sugar don't even have any background in science. God it really amazes me. Polyunsaturated fats and fake foods like high fructose corn syrup are what have ruined health in the West, not sugar!

    My sugar free years which began in the late 90s and all of the 2000s were the WORST EVER.

  15. Great post and I love to read differing points of views.

    I have quit sugar (using Sarah Wilson's eBook method). I basically did a full two weeks without sugar and then I began introducing sugar back into my diet in different forms and less of it. I drink milk with lactose, I enjoy fruit and I obviously still indulge in sweet foods on special occasions. I am never militant with my food but I had to clean up what I ate. Mainly I was enjoying too much sugar and would drink most of my sugar in sweet tea and coffees - I would even secretly eat chocolate in the middle of the night!

    I actually found I was happier after quitting sugar and I really believe that cutting down was a big part of it. Quitting sugar actually made me focus on removing bad foods from my diet to replace with whole foods. Things I should have been eating all along but were neglecting. Yes, I needed the extra help from those anti-sugar people to really do this.

    For me, quitting sugar was worth it. I quit sugar so I could regain my strength so-to-speak. I reset my palette then introduced whole foods into my diet to replace the bad.

    It makes sense that you can also enjoy the sweeter side of life but limit it for your own health benefit - and for me, my mental health!!

    David Gillespie says it best "Party food is for parties".

  16. Hi Natalie, I found this post fascinating! It is so interesting how the discussion about sugar can become so emotive. As part of a detox/cleanse in 2011 my husband and I quit sugar, dairy, caffeine, salt, wheat and alcohol for 12 weeks we did it under the guidance of a doctor and took supplements as well, it was a tremendously positive experience and it definitely recalibrated my sense of taste making sweet food impossibly sweet, prior to doing the detox dried fruit had been my go to pick me up and now I find it just too sweet and can't believe how much I was eating. Your post is fantastic thanks for introducing me to Emma's work, very thought provoking. I am interested to know your thoughts about stevia? I use it from time to time in baking but I have to admit I don't really love the taste or effect. And basically it is still a processed sweetener. Love to know your view. Thanks, Nikki x


Thanks for your sharing your thoughts. I love hearing from you and will respond to any questions in the comments sections. Natalie

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