I quit sugar #3 (why sugar makes us fat)

Posted on February 4th, 2011

OK. So this is where it gets interesting and a little bit tricky. As in, good tricky.

Today I’m going to cover off two key issues. Yesterday I said I’m eating more (good) fat and protein as a way of getting me through this quit sugar business. This is in part cos fat and protein satiate. They fill me up. So I don’t crave sugar. Or anything else for that matter. Oooh, but they’re fattening, you say!? Actually, no. Sugar is. Let me explain.


But first, know two things to kick off with:

sugar doesn’t fill you up. it makes you want to eat more and more (thus making you put on weight)


the real issue here is FRUCTOSE…

not sugar per se. Sugar is half fructose and half glucose. But it’s fructose that causes the issues.

fat doesn’t make us fat, sugar does

I’m going to dot-point this part because it is tough to follow. I’m going to leave out most of the fancy scientific language.  If you want to know more (and it’s really worth learning more)  can I highly recommend David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison?. It’s the full, glorified biological breakdown of the deal. But for now:

* every substance we ingest has a corresponding appetite hormone that tells our brain (the hypothalamus) that we’re full. It’s like a little detector/messengar. It finds the protein or the fat or the carb and goes, “Hello! Better tell the brain we have a visitor”. It is also able to tell the brain when we’ve had enough. The brain then issues the edict: “Time to shut down appetite”. You’ve probably noticed when you eat cheese or nuts it gets rid of hunger straight away. Yeah?

* every substance, that is, except for fructose. Fructose is a sugar found in fruit and honey and in table sugar (sugar contains 50% fructose, 50% glucose). When we eat fructose, it’s like our body doesn’t notice it. It goes undetected. And so we can eat and eat and eat it, but our bodies don’t feel full.

* people often say fructose is good because it doesn’t cause insulin spikes (as glucose does). This is actually a bad thing…for a host of reasons…but in part because insulin is an appetite control hormone.

* add to this: we have a biological predisposition to seek out sugar and eat a stack of it. This is because sugar is a super fast way to get energy. When we were cavemen it made sense to seek out sugar. It was rare, but very valuable, energy-wise.

* when we’re in balance, and eating NO SUGAR, our bodies don’t put on weight. We have no cravings. We get full and genuinely lose interest in food. We burn off the calories in our system. And only then do we feel hungry again (another set of hormones tell the brain we’re hungry). Then we eat again. This is not some magical state of utopia. It’s seriously what our bodies do on their own (which is why up until 200 years ago no one really got fat and why my grandfather could eat dripping sandwiches and stay skinny).

* so , all things being equal, we don’t get fat from eating fat and protein. Our bodies ensure this. We get full. We move on….to hobbies…and the like.

* add to this, fat is actually required to activate metabolism and to synthesise Vitamin D which is also required for metabolism. Eating (good) fat can actually make you lose weight. But that’s another discussion.

Now, add to this…

* the way fructose is converted to energy in our bodies means that it skips the fat-creation control mechanism in the liver and is converted directly to fatty acids, and then body fat.

* this doesn’t happen with any other substance we ingest, including glucose. Our body has a bunch of checks and balances to ensure this.

* After eating fructose, most of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. This is not the case with glucose, of which your liver breaks down only 20 percent. Nearly every cell in your body utilises glucose, so it’s normally “burned up” immediately after consumption.

* So, to quote David Gillespie, “Eating fructose is like eating fat that your body can’t detect as fat”. A double whammy disaster.

why don’t we have a fructose “I’m full” switch?

* well, because in the olden days, as in cavemen days, fructose was rare. Cavemen would find a berry every now and then. Or a bee hive. But, as I mentioned, all sugars are very energy efficient, so we like to eat them (ergo, our eyes light up when we see cake). We’re programmed this way. It’s not a weakness. So when we found fructose, it was in our interest to eat as much as possible so we can store it. There was little danger of overdosing on it, because it was so rare. So our bodies, naturally, evolved to have no “off switch” for it, so that we could gorge on it when we had the (rare) opportunity.

How much sense does that make? A lot, I say!

* consider this:

our bodies have not changed the way they digest and metabolise food in the 130,000 years since caveman days.

But our diet has changed dramatically. And so everything happening to our bodies these days is a coping mechanism. Our bodies are confused. They’re just trying to cope with this ridiculous – and growing – amount of fructose in our lives.

But fructose is natural, why’s it so bad?

* It’s not bad. We’re just designed to eat VERY LITTLE of it. How much? Studies say the amount in about 1-2 pieces of fruit. Which as David says in Sweet Poison, is about what we used to eat prior to the “invention” of sugar in the 1800s.

Phew. That was hard work. For now, know this: fructose is to be avoided at all costs. More in the next post….

In the meantime, can I ask…how do you feel about eating more fat now? Relieved? When I got my head around it, I felt that it intuitively made sense. What do you think?

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  • jac

    surely though even fat needs to be eaten in moderation (and preferably good fat – ie not dripping sandwiches, regardless of whether you stay skinny despite eating them). it’s not just about weight loss – but heart health and overall general health.


  • Sarah

    I decided to try a little experiment yesterday: I went out and bought about $4 of my favourite flavoured Jelly Belly jelly beans, and held onto them for when I got home to watch TV with my grandma. And consumed them.

    And even after having a few, I could feel this sensation in my mouth like what you’re describing. I could tell that I was not full. I could taste nothing but sweet in my mouth, and it was DISGUSTINGLY sweet. It made me weak at the knees!

    Worse, I had just had a proper dinner, but after having that sugar, it was as if I hadn’t eaten anything at all, and I was seriously craving food. Scared the beejebus out of me, because usually I don’t notice how it reacts with my body.

    Once I had a few cups of water and brushed my teeth a little, you know what I started craving?

    Almonds. 😉


  • Sarah M.

    Great post!

    @ Jac – I too was once skeptical of large quantities of fat (they may help you stay skinny but what about healthy?) but due to growing evidence I’m quite convinced that even “large” percentages of fat as part of a diet don’t correlate with increased heart disease (or diabetes, or stroke…). There is some great info on the blog “Whole Health Source” which analyzes the scientific literature on the subject (past and present) which overwhelmingly point to no positive correlation (trans fat is another issue, however). http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com – If you’ve got the time and inclination I definitely recommend checking out the archives on fat consumption and related disease rates.



    Sarah Reply:

    Sarah and Jac, trans fats should always be avoided. The thing is our bodies don’t gorge on the other fats when in balance (ie when we don’t eat fructose). So you don’t have to really worry…And Sarah is right, much literature know confirming that it’s not fat that’s the main concern with heart disease etc….it’s sugar. We’re eating less fat and doing more exercise than 50 years ago…but getting fatter…and keeling over from heart disease….


  • http://sweeter-living.blogspot.com/ Kris

    I was brought up thinking ‘low fat’ was the way to go.
    Skinny milk, low fat cheese, low fat yoghurt, lean cuts of meat, not eating the skin off a BBQ chicken, even going for chicken breast over thigh…
    I am currently reading Sweet Poison and I am getting really excited about what I am learning.
    It honestly makes a whole lot of sense.


  • http://phoenixinthecity.blogspot.com phoenix

    Wow, thanks for explaining all of this! My trainer suggested that I try cutting fruit and dairy from my diet because of the fructose and lactose to see what those changes will bring since we’ve got the training part figured out. It’s still early days but I’m psyched.


  • Lauren

    Wow, this is so interesting! This may seem like a silly question but what about sugar in yoghurt?


    Maree Reply:

    Read the labels on yoghurt. Milk and yoghurt have about 5% sugar which is lactose so anything over 5% is added cane sugar. Beware the ones that say they have no added sugar because they use concentrated fruit juice which is even higher in fructose (the bad sugar)


  • Heather Ross

    I saw a biologist here in canberra last year who is associated with ‘Deeks’ cafe who do gluten/grain free good in canberra. I have celiacs and the indicators for another auto-immune disease…early stages. Anyway I was put on a no sugar, dairy and grain free diet with heaps of protein and veges. It is a diet that needs to be closely monitored by an experienced health professional as it is very restrictive. When I say no sugar that includes fruit so yes it is full on. The first 10 days were hell…i craved sugar like you would not believe and I have a pretty good diet with not alot of sugar I thought. After the 10 days I had no sugar cravings at all and felt so much better. The diet is too restrictive and not a long term option but it answered many questions for me which is what it is designed to do. I am eating too much sugar and I really crave it so this is a good reminder. Different train of thought – the no grain issue is an interesting one. Grains are considered inflammatory by some and not a friend of those with auto-immune. I can not eat many grains as I am a celiac but I do try to stick to quinoa (not actually a grain as many believe) and organic brown rice or well rinsed brown rice. Rice is a grain but I think you need some – plus I love my curries!
    Thanks for the ongoing information…it is a wonderful support.


  • Anna

    It definitely makes complete sense – and I feel so much better when I steer clear of sugar! I recognise that weird panic feeling, like you can feel your body and brain reacting to it. The only thing I’m confused with is milk and lactose – should we be avoiding lactose or not? I recently bought lactose free milk, and despite having no additives found it seems to taste really sweet?



    Sarah Reply:

    Lactose is fine (if you’re not intolerant). It doesn’t contain any fructose, so the lactose and galactose are consumed properly by our bodies.


  • Therese

    Great article. Also,the havoc sugar does to your skin – it’s so ageing and causes candida and other nasties. Ive been on a detox this week (The last Resort) and finally after a week have curbed my sugar cravings. I have to read this book.


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  • Chloe

    Sarah, this is simply fascinating to me and interestingly enough, when Sweet Poison came out I went to buy it and backed out because I feared it would make me feel guilty about the way I eat.
    I have a history with an eating disorder which I became very sick and have finally recovered from. I don’t want to bore you all with detail about here except to say that reading this has made me feel less guilty about my habits and more motivated to give up on sugar so my body can function how it is supposed to and I will be less likely to get uncontrollable urges to eat (and never feel full) and therefore less likely to relapse.
    I’m wondering – are you still having smoothies for brekkie? I have banana smoothies with organic natural yogurt, cinnamon, chia seeds, lsa mix and soy milk but I know bananas are filled with sugar and so is yogurt. What to do?!
    Also, I know you’re not a soy fan. What’s your choice for lactose intolerant people?


  • Trish

    Hi Sarah.I bought ‘Sweet Poison’ last year and totally gave up sugar (except for 2 pieces of fruit per day) and after about a week of mild headaches, completely lost my taste for it AND lost 5 kilos within a month! It was totally effortless, because you can eat anything else, and you feel full with less when eating normal food i.e. not low-fat junk.
    I was astonished to note that low-fat fruit yoghurt has approximately 7 teaspoons of sugar in it, and has more than the full-fat version! I gave up yoghurt because the low sugar ones are really unpleasantly bitter soI make up my calcium requirements with milk and cheese.
    Another bonus is that you lose all the fat around your midriff and the top of the thighs (saddlebags?) and so look a lot slimmer almost immediately!
    I will never go back to eating sugar because my appetite is now effortlessly under control.


    Alice Shaw Reply:

    It is interesting to hear you lost so much weight… I haven’t lost any really and it has been a month. Perhaps it is because I am eating quite a bit of fruit?? I just don’t know what else to do otherwise and I am keen to continue with the no sugar thing..


    Trish Reply:

    I have been absolutely rigid about it, reading labels and making sure I have the low-salt alternative for things such as peanut butter, as it has very little sugar.
    As I love fruit and I found it very hard to cut down but it’s easy to consume a lot of sugar if you don’t. I find nuts of all kinds are a good substitute (and very filling!).


    Alice Shaw Reply:

    Maybe that’s what is going on. I am carefully checking labels but the fruit is probably my replacement sugar for sure. The first couple weeks I was in with the nuts but have tapered ff bit… think I will up the nuts again…

    Maree Reply:

    I have lost 11kg in 6 months but the scales didn’t budge for 6 weeks despite the fact that I felt and looked slimmer. Good thing is that it indeed comes off in the right places.


    Alice Shaw Reply:

    It has now been six weeks for me…got on the scales this morning, 4.5 kilos lost!!! I guess it takes a little while to catch up!

  • Trish

    I forgot to mention that the only downside is other people’s reaction which is often negative as in “Ooh, aren’t you good’ or “I’d better not have dessert, either, if you’re not”. I’ve decided to wait it out, and they will eventually get over it!


  • Mia

    Fantastic! I was wondering the difference between fructose and glucose and how they were connected. Thanks a heap, Sarah!

    Having grown up with a perpetually dieting mother who always had no fat, low-fat everything, the message that fats are not only ok but necessary… well. It needs some times to sink in. Logically I believe it, but on a cellular level it scares me. I think the ket to this is trying it, and proving it to yourself in your own skin.


  • http://diariesofawhimsicalwife.blogspot.com/ Melissa Darr

    what a great series of posts. I totally agree on the fructose front! I suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and the worst thing for me to eat is sugar (glucose or fructose) and i know how much havoc it wreaks on my body if i have consumed some! I am looking forward to see the rest of your posts! Go good FATS! :-)


    Jessica Rabbit Reply:

    Hi Melissa,
    I’m just wondering if you suffer with estrogen dominance? I have been tested for polycystic ovaries and the test was negative but im wondering if there is a link between my estrogen dominance and sugar they same way there is a link between PCOS and sugar. At the moment the only way i can get my estrogen down is with the contraceptive pill and believe me i have tried a hundred alternate therapies, but i feel like utter shit, i have no energy, i just don’t feel myself. Sorry to give you my life story but your comment was the closest i could find to my hormonal imbalance just wondering what sugar does to your body so i can see if i have the same side effects. Thank you.


    Clare Reply:

    Hi Jessica,

    You are the first person I have heard say they have estrogen dominance! I also suffer the same thing, and only found out after 2 years of suffering (big time). I was not myself, no one could help me or find out what was wrong. I was sort of brushed aside by a specialist with a ‘the pill might help it’ solution. 12 months later and it has helped but I’d still like to beat it myself, and am just about to venture off the pill and see if I’m any better.

    I too wonder how much sugar affects the symptoms. I think there is a very close link, the problem is the severe ups and downs and uncontrolable cravings I get (with ED) – I always turn to sugar!! I’m hoping that after being off sugar for a week (and having mostly been off it except for berries and yogurt for 3 months as a trial) I will be able to keep the cravings at bay, and hopefully, the symptoms too, and remain pill-free.

    Fingers crossed.


    Jessica Rabbit Reply:

    It sucks doesn’t it !!
    I’ve had it on and off for about 10 years and the contraceptive pill Depo Provera is the only pill that corrects it but, i try to not go on it for longer than 9 months at a time every 2 years.
    What annoys me most about it is that no doctor, naturopath, herbalist, bio chemist can tell me where the estrogen comes from or why it flares up when im in good health (i think it’s genetic).
    I’ve been struggling with it for years and im sick of it!
    The sugar cravings are the worst but you’re not hungry you’re just craving sugar, and then the fatigue mid-afternoon and insomnia at night and lets not start on the uncontrollable mood swings !!!
    I’ve just bought this book and im trying the eating plan as of today, i haven’t cut sugar out so i think i will find it hard even though im a sensible eater.
    All the best with you’re journey i hope come 2012 we are both estrogen free !

  • http://aliceromance101.wordpress.com Alice Shaw

    I have just given up sugar myself, based on the Sweet Poison plan. It is very difficult and I still crave it but I think it is a mental rather than physical craving if that makes sense. It has been a month now and I definitely feel better but I haven’t lost weight which seems crazy to me… I am following a healthy eating plan but I haven’t been exercising much (oh this dreaded heat). But I will try and keep it up because I really can feel the difference. But … what about birthday cake?? I am not sure I will be able to pass that by….


    Maree Reply:

    Keep it up Alice. I’m sure you are feeling much better despite the fact you have not lost weight. I did not lose weight for 6 weeks and then all of a sudden I lost 3kgs and have steadily continued to lose since then. The cravings will disappear. Now that you are a month in you can bake yourself some dextrose treats or better still make some ice cream.


    Sharron Reply:

    Be strong Alice – eating that cake will take you back to square one. I think of it like a game of snakes and ladders – it takes sooo long to climb up that ladder if you slide down the snake! Keep a photo on your fridge of what you would like to look like and set yourself positive goals – say, in 3 months time I will lose X kgs.


  • Bec

    I guess I have known this intuitively for some time. We avoid fructose due to intolerance in the family. My youngest daughter and husband are fructose intolerant. My youngest daughter used to say to me many years ago when she was around 9 or 10 and before her diagnosis, that after going to parties and eating party food her body felt bad and she would be miserable and anxious for days afterwards. We should all listen to our bodies more like that. My husband can’t believe how great he feels now that he avoids fructose loaded foods. In fact we are all better off for it:)


  • Joanne

    In answer to Sarah’s question about eating more fat…

    I am on my fifth day without sugar and only today have I started to feel the benefits – I feel really great, high energy and am in an unusually amazing mood (i feel as if I’m on a no-sugar high).

    However I have been too scared this week to inject more fat into my diet. I am quite a small person and I am not quitting sugar to lose weight. I really don’t want to gain weight! I just can’t get my head around the idea of having full fat milk or coconut shakes etc. as I am ususally so careful.
    To resist my sugar cravings I have been having a glass of pepsi max straight after lunch, and avocado on wholemeal crackers, and then been resorting to good old fashion will power!!

    Even though I have read David’s book and it all makes sense, I just cant bring myself to eat lots of cheese etc. I’m inclined to believe that if you are already very slender, changing to a high fat diet, regardless of the fact that it contains no sugar, will make you gain weight.

    I’m probably wrong. But this is my instinct and I cant shake it !


    Hanna Reply:

    I it helps any, think about what is done to the milk to remove the fat. Superheating of milk to separate the fat from the rest of the milk causes the proteins in the milk to break down and then to become indigestible. Low -fat dairy products are dangerous for your health. In fact, homogenised milk is dangerous for your health (homogenisation is a similar process which forces the fat to distribute equally in the milk and not to rise to the top, as it does naturally.

    In natural, unprocessed foods, the fat is integrated with the rest of the food and assists, not only as Sarah points out, in making us feel full, but in allowing our bodies to process the vitamins and minerals stored in that food. Low-fat foods are one of the processed-food industry’s biggest cons – they do not only NOT make you lose weight because they take away the signals that your body needs, but they also un-assist your body in effectively using the nutrients in that food source. Think about it in dollar terms too. If they can remove the fat from milk and then sell it to you at a higher price as skimmed milk – it’s great for them because they can then sell the cream seperately. Oh you should hear what my local biodynamic dairy farmer (who makes Australia’s best commercially available yoghurt anfd fetta but better not name names!) say about the conventional dairy industry, specially its treatment of animals, what happens to the milk, and the use of antibiotics

    Go to the supermarket and buy some of that parmalat umhogenised organic milk, and try making a smoothie out of that. Just as an experiment. See what your body feels like ten minutes after consumption.

    You don’t need to starve yourself at all. get into the abundance. Ditch the Pepsi max with all its chemicals, and try smoothies. Try macadamia nut pesto. Baked fish. Baked sweet potato. Try really enjoying a homemade pizza. Just eat in moderation and stop when you’re full. You can just try, and monitor, and try, and monitor.
    Good luck


    Hanna Reply:

    Also, and this is something that I think is VERY important for us chicks. If you actiually had a diet where you didn’t have to expend willpower and energy and thought to follow, and here you weren’t always denying yourself food or worrying about what effects that food might have on you – how much time would it free up in your head to put towards things that are more important in your life. Hours each day? Quite possibly if you are an average Aussie chick. Think how empowered you’d feel if you knew that all your choices came out of self-love, and not out of denial. Think how that empowerment would go off into other parts of your life! Go for it!


    Kris Reply:

    I love this Hanna :)

  • http://eatsleepdreamlovefood.blogspot.com/ Jemma

    Hi Sarah,
    Sugar is not black and white as I have described in my blog post http://eatsleepdreamlovefood.blogspot.com/2011/02/is-sugar-enemy.html
    Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) are the experts in food and nutrition. To find one go to http://www.daa.asn.au and click on ‘Find An APD’.
    Jemma O’Hanlon


  • Belinda

    this information is so amazing and so confusing at the same time.
    I purchased the sweet poison quit plan today and plan to study in the next few days.

    Just wanted to know when it comes to birthdays etc will you allow yourself a small treat or is anything sweet off limits permanently.


    Maree Reply:

    Once you are no longer addicted you can buy some dextrose and make some wonderful treats (recipes in the book) and you can adapt recipes of your own by substituting dextrose for sugar. It becomes second nature and because your appetite control starts working you won’t want to over indulge.


  • Claire

    I grew up with two amazing parents that believe in whole organic, real, food. Fat, real butter, whole milk, natural homemade yoghurt, an abundance of fresh herbs, grains, seeds, nuts. All of it. They’ve turned their noses up to processed food and sugar and have been confused by the push to low-fat this and that. Therefore, in turn I’ve been confused and baffled me when people who know don’t care for their nutrition and diet, eat poorly but say ‘oh, fat is BAD for you’ whilst drinking their coke.

    I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see the ‘fat is good’ belief start to reach society. It makes me happy to think that even if it’s a small group that their are people out there that GET IT.

    Places like O&E are amazing because they’ve been pushing this message for ages and it totally makes sense to me – I mean it is my upbringing, it’s how I live everyday.

    Thanks Sarah – you are doing an awesome thing getting this out there!


  • Deb

    Okay I have a friend who I visited in Finland in August last year and was so amazed to watch her consume copious (to my mind) amounts of fat: milk with the fat solids still floating in it, egg yellow as opposed to egg whites, meat with cheese smeared across it. The truth is she has lost STACKS of weight but I still have trouble believing that’s the way to go. Programmed much? Absolutely! Really need to give this a go… Thanks Sarah


  • trace

    Over 2 years I quit smoking, took up eating, gained weight, joined a gym then knocked carbs and sugar out of my diet.
    Lost weight, gained shape!
    I’ve never felt so good! My skin has cleared up and I totally believe it is because I’ve cut out sugar (and carbs). I diligently read the ingredients list on the processed food I now buy – which is very little – and any added sugar equals a no sale. Have a look – I’m horrified how much of our food has sugar added to it! When you’re at the shops, walk when possible past the proteins and fresh vege – avoid the confectionary aisles and areas as much as possible
    After my three-o’clock sugar hit I used to go straight to sleep at my desk – literally! . No longer! My energy levels are great and I loathe the taste of sugar.
    Dessert at home for me is now something delish – a wedge of Brie cheese, a few nuts perhaps. Mostly, nothing – the amount of protein I eat + fresh salad does the trick.
    Plus keeping busy – I work on my art every night instead of sugaring.
    If you’re off the sugar – persist!


  • Jane

    I have no problem with the benefits of good fats and proteins but I just can’t understand to avoid fructose at all costs? I have always been led to believe when I am craving something ‘naughty’ to have a piece of fruit instead (mind you I tend to choose cheese precisely for the reasons you mentioned), so I now find myself in a dilemma when my 6 and 4 year old say “I’m hungry Mum’, I often will say if your hungry have a piece of fruit because I never have veggies ready and if I always choose protein then where do they get their fresh food and fiber from. Any knowledgeable input would be greatly appreciated from anyone.
    Cheers, Jane.


  • Hanna

    I’ve noticed over many years of observing that often the only thing that can bring a sugar-binge under control is animal fat (for me anyway). When I have lsitened to my body after an overload of sugar (I mean a real overload, like an entire packet of iced vovos or a block of Cadbury’s) the thing my body seems to really want is either lamb chops with fat, or cheese. Much as when I drink too much, this is what I crave the next day. I begin now to see why, this is my body’s attempt to stabilize my blood-sugar level


  • Brooke

    I was very interested to read that good fat helps your body convert sunlight into Vitamin D. My Vitamin D levels are extremely low, despite a good diet and average sun exposure. After reading this I’m starting to think my low levels are more due to a diet low in fat. Which would explain why my doctor told me to take my Vit D tablets with oily fish etc.
    This could explain why Vitamin D deficiency is so common in a country with so much sun. Thanks for sharing all this info Sarah. It is helping me feel more in control of my own health.


  • Pez

    Sarah, your thoughts please in view of a high protein/low carb no sugar diet.

    A lot of people are confused by the term “ketosis.” People may read that it is a “dangerous state” for the body, and sounds abnormal to be “in ketosis.” But ketosis merely means that our bodies are using fat for energy. Ketones (also called ketone bodies) are molecules generated during fat metabolism, whether from the fat in the guacamole you just ate or fat you were carrying around your middle. When our bodies are breaking down fat for energy, most of the it gets converted more or less directly to ATP. (Remember high school biology? This is the “energy molecule.”) But ketones are also produced as part of the process.


  • Natalie

    You are inspiring me so much. It’s scary but I think I’m convinced.


  • August

    Hey Sarah,
    My question is what are the least sugary/fructosey drinks you can order at a bar, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic?
    The food stuff I can wrap my head around, but drinks confuse me!


    Maree Reply:

    I go for a dry white wine or a sparking plain mineral water.


    Lisa Reply:

    Re: alcoholic beverages. I have found that a spirit (my choice is vodka) with soda water and a dash of lime (make sure the lime has < 4g/100g of sugar) works for me :-)


  • http://www.twitter.com/velvet_hologram Natalie

    I agree Sarah. Since I’ve started consuming more fats (butter, coconut oil, animal fat), there is something intuitively ‘right’ about it. My body really does hit the satiated feeling, without my needing to overfill it. It also seems far happier when I give it these, & very happier when I don’t take the egg yolk out & only have egg whites!

    There’s still that internal struggle at times, getting used to the idea of ‘fat is good’, after so many years being told it was the enemy. It makes far too much sense to me now about the health dangers of sugar. & there’s so much written evidence to support this. I tell this to my friends who complain to me about wanting to lose weight. But a lot don’t like the answer. The idea of changing habits can be quite a scary thing at first. But it’s an adventure – a food adventure! That’s how I see it anyway (that’s how Candida has taught me to see it). Rather than get lost in the feeling of ‘missing out’, it’s a chance to explore within the boundaries & to get creative.


  • http://thechocolatefigsf.com Sarah

    haha- read this as i’m eating a huge pile of blueberries (before breakfast; on an empty somach). now i’m not sure what to do! great post, can’t wait for more of an explanation.


  • Tami C

    Hi Sarah,
    Any thoughts on how Stevia affects the body?


  • http://hanxious.wordpress.com Hannah

    I don’t mean to sound daft but some more info on what contains sugar (of the bad variety i.e. not 2 pieces of fruit) would be great. Some things are obvious, but I’m surprised honey needs to be cut out.


    Maree Reply:

    Regular table sugar contains 50% fructose (the bad sugar) and 50% glucose (the good sugar) so this should be avoided along with all other sugars except for straight glucose or dextrose which is powdered glucose. Dextrose can be bought at places where you buy home brew (beer making) supplies. Fruit juice should be avoided because it is a concentrated hit of fructose. When nature made fruit which contains a toxin (fructose) it packaged it with the antidote which is fibre. So if you eat fruit then eat it with the skin on.


  • Francoise

    Hi Sarah,
    I have really enjoyed reading your posts and have also been following a sugar free diet. Is organic, pure mapple syrup sugar free? Somebody once advised me that this was the only type of sweet we should eat. Is this true?


    Michelle Liebgott-Osinga Reply:

    maple syrup is definately not sugar free.


  • Cris,

    Hi Sarah, I left the sugar the same day of you, and the bread too, and I can say I’m noting big benefits, especially from cut the sugar ingestion, less hungry. I’m loosing weight and I’m plenty of energy. I complete agree with your articles and well, what can I say?, we want more!.


  • http://www.bodyincredible.com Kat Eden

    I love this. It took me about 18 months to get my head around the idea of being ‘allowed’ to eat more fat. Crazy, really, when I consider how much sugar – often refined – I was eating at the time, with relatively little concern. Fortunately for me, a good friend kept pushing at me to slowly but surely change my approach to nutrition to one that is more ‘back to basics’, and now I’d never go back! These days my diet consists of loads of fresh plant foods, just a little fruit like berries, and plenty of lean protein and healthy fat. I can honestly say I’ve never found it easier in my life to stay in shape and feel good, and that’s even post giving birth!

    OH – and Sweet Poison is a GREAT read!


  • Nix

    So interesting, Sarah.

    I had a huge sweet tooth growing up. Ice-cream and pastries and cake, oh my! (N.B. Say this with the same intonation as ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my’, for full effect :) A couple of years ago I cut out all processed food from my diet (with a birthday cake, christmas pud, etc splurge just a few times a year). Noticed huge benefits in terms of weight loss, energy levels, skin condition, etc. However, I’ve never been able to shift those last few extra kilos – and I’ve realised why…. The amount of FRUIT I was eating. Sure I’d cut out processed stuff, but I was still feeding my sugar addicition with copious amounts of fruit. (For example, in Summer, I’m talking a large bunch of grapes, a mango, an orange and 3-4 pieces of stone fruit EACH DAY). Natural yes, but still WAY too much sugar.

    Over the past 2 weeks I’ve really made a conscious effort to stick to 2 pieces of low sugar/high fibre fruits (i.e. blue berries, pears) per day. Now, when I need a snack, I ‘ll have some green vegies, not a couple of plums, or a handful of nuts instead of a big bag of cherries.

    I was concerned that I’d feel a little lethargic (I’m a bit of a gym junkie – and have always needed something sweet pre-workout), but I’ve got so much energy.



  • Jess

    This is the most interesting and helpful post + comments I think I’ve ever read. Well done everyone involved.


  • Dean White

    HI Sarah,

    I have to say i’ve come up a few times in Google a search and your website keeps appearing.

    You do cover off quite a number of very relevant topics in my life, and today made you an official bookmark for lunchtime reading.

    I’ve been eating pretty much raw/ extreme healthy foods since about April last year (the odd meal out etc is the treat). Reason is my family has recently had a number of family members pass away form heart disease.

    I got tested, i’m fine but with high triglycerides, all from eating full cream milk, loads of cheese (wine accompaniment), and French food – as i love to cook.

    Changing my diet initially was hard i did hours of research in to the good/bad foods.

    You touched on it in this article… the Caveman diet.

    yes, you were dead right our body is a wonderful system that despite being so great, has developed only through evolution and for the better part of 100,000 nothing changed.

    We foraged, scrounged and hunted. The main point here is that for this whole time nuts, berries, leaves and animal meats were really all we ate.

    Until 10,00 years ago when we invented things like boats, and the population moved, and grew and the new cities developed because we figured out rather than chase the animal, we could breed them.

    As domestication took place, and our cities grew there were significant food shortages and we took upon eating grains; corn, wheat and rice. Not something we at previous to thins… our bodies though will eat anything and try to break it down to get whatever energy is stored.

    The issue here is, our digestive systems aren’t compatible with the amino chains in these and affect the way our bodies operate. Some claim these chain breaks are the causes of some diseases we now face.

    Because we’ve become so reliant on these foods, and in a society where growing the amount of ‘real’ food is just not plausible because the planet is simply over populated we are at a cross hair with the society we should be living vs, a society which in the not to distant future will be struggling to support its peoples.

    The future of our human race is totally dependent on the next 100 years, and the way we manage our food resources. if we listen to what people like yourself is saying, we may actually have a chance of coming out the other end instead of passing the buck, wasting food, water and all other resources and watch the human race fall down.

    In the 50’s, the US government were concerned of this fact and started farming Spiralena as a super food. Another which is how i came to your site initially is Quinoa. I have to say the balance i have right now of raw food and Quinoa is pretty much the rapid change in my body’s dynamics that my doctor was looking for. I don’t care if the research I’ve done is wrong. Because it’s the people who have helped to change my perspective on what food does, rather than just a chore, or something great to eat (like French food).

    Your body is a machine, if it is well tuned your body will tell you exactly what to go forage for from Coles or Woolworths… and the best rule of thumb I got told was, if you venture away from the fruit &v eg section and buy anything that didn’t come directly from the ground, your putting something bad in your body. This is the healthiest I’ve ever been, and I’m not obese, unfit or crazy… just looking for a way to prevent an early end.

    PS. Sorry for the rant, but my search path keeps finding your site, and you’ve just copped half of my lunch break typing out my thoughts.

    Good luck with your book too.


    Dean White Reply:

    wow. there is alot of ramble in there.


  • http://www.reikalein.com Reikalein

    “It’s not bad. We’re just designed to eat VERY LITTLE of it. How much? Studies say the amount in about 1-2 pieces of fruit. Which as David says in Sweet Poison, is about what we used to eat prior to the “invention” of sugar in the 1800s.”

    Sorry, just to clarify, is that 1-2 pieces of fruit per day? So I can have an orange and banana every day and be ok?



    Sarah Reply:

    yep. but I’d steer clear of the oranges and bananas (at least as a daily thing)…try kiwi fruit, berries and pears


    Sharron Reply:

    In Davids Quit Plan book bananas are listed as having the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of sugar per medium ripe banana – do you really want to eat that ???


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  • Freddie

    God Sarah, what do you eat when you go to a function like the Logies where the choice is limited and everything is usually smothered in a pale coloured sauce? Or worse, a friend’s house and the food is loaded with sugar, but they insist you eat and pile up your plate? I hate function food and even though the ticket price for a charity event I’m going to in June is $250 a head, I think I’ll have to eat before I go and hope nobody at the table notices.


  • JM

    Hello everyone!
    I was wondering if anyone knows of a book i can buy to help me with recipes/meal planner for the sugar free diet as i am pretty hopeless and want to get started on this awesome idea! i keep trying to find things i can cook/prepare but dont have a vast range of ideas. Im a uni student so i need to start taking my food from home too everyday.

    Cheers Sarah!!!! Im excited!


  • http://sugar-is-poison.blogspot.com/ Maree

    David Gillespie has a website where he and others post recipes. Some are free but to access the full site you have to pay a subscription. I have not subscribed so I’m not sure how worthwhile it is. http://www.howmuchsugar.com/
    You might want to search for blogs similar to mine. I have some recipes and tips. My most popular post by far is a recipe for sugar free muesli which I then also make some of it into delicious Muesli bars.


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  • Tia

    Hi Sarah,

    Your blog is changing me, and I am so excited! Went to buy your e-book yesterday but didn’t have my credit card at the ready, so today is the day that I begin.

    I’d say that the one fruit I do tend to consume a lot of is lemon. Being greek, it’s like a staple. I have 2 glasses of warm lemon water in the morning (half a lemon) then I use it as a salad dressing maybe twice a day, and possibly with dinner.

    Should I be cutting that out too? If so, can you suggest an alternative?




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  • Angela

    Can any one tell me where I can buy dextrose from? I live in Canberra.

    Thanks in advance


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  • Molly

    I’m sorry, gonna have to call bs on this. I know people who pretty much live on fruit, and people who incorporate a large amount of it in their diet. Not a single one of them is overweight, nor are they athletes training their arses off every day. There are whole civilizations thriving on large amounts of fruit. I can’t trust this over what my own eyes and ears tell me. This is just another theory – flawed in so many ways and proven wrong in even more. I very much agree on quitting regular table sugar, but fruit is a whole other spectrum and food is more than just numbers.


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  • Rene Chavez

    this is nothing new. my grandmother used to say “a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips” when it came to sugar. and she learned that from her mother. sugar along with over consumption of any carb will make you fat ass.


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  • Todd Jordan

    Really this is such bad and unhealthy advice. Some of the fittest people on the planet live a high carb low protein diet. Kenyan runners, Ethiopian runners in fact most lean world class endurance athletes eat a high carb low fat diet. All the riders in the Tour De France eat high carb low fat. I challenge you to show me one just one world class endurance athlete who eats a high protein high fat diet. Funny how the people who espouse this diet are not fit, cant out run their own shadow and try to tell others how to be healthy.
    The only way to true health is a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in fat together with a minimum of 30min high intensity cardio exercise.
    The diet you espouse will lead to no LONG TERM health I suggest you get your bloods tested before you start singing its vitues as it a sure road to high cholesterol and other chronic diseases.