Sunday life: I quit sugar

Posted on February 27th, 2011

This week I quit sugar (part 1)

* Dear reader, most of you have read my “I quit sugar” posts over the past few weeks and are probably wondering ‘why’s she going over this again’? Well, this should give you an insight into the turn-around times in publishing. I wrote this Sunday Life column at the same time as my first post. It just takes this long for it to be subbed, fact-checked, laid out, printed and distributed. It’s a nice little refresher for those of you who’ve been following things on this blog…If you’re new to this blog, you can catch up on other “I quit sugar” posts my interview with David Gillespie is here, the reasons why sugar makes us fat here, how I quit sugar here and some breakfast ideas here.

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It’s not that I’m a sugar junkie. I’m just wedded to the stuff in a tortured, forever-self-moderating way. As a kid, growing up in a drought-ravaged backwater as part of a social experiment in subsistence living (which largely consisted of skirting the breadline and tending goats), we didn’t eat much sugar. Sometimes, though, Dad, in a scene reminiscent of Charlie Bucket with his gold-foiled slither of chocolate, would bring home a Chokito bar and split it between us. Invariably we’d wind up spinning the ceiling.  And so it was I got a highly attached taste for the stuff and its maximum (!) fun times (!) effects.

As I say, I don’t eat a lot of sugar. But it’s a struggle not to. I do seductive things like convince myself that a slug of honey on yoghurt every night is wholesomely Nigella Lawson-ish – annoyingly cloying, but not harmful per se. But the trouble is, if I get even a wafer-thin taste of sugar, something wild and wooly comes over me and I have to eat the whole damn upside-down almond meal and pineapple loaf. Sugar does that; it makes us demented and we turn into Mirandas, as one friend said. Remember that Sex and The City scene when she dumps a cake in the bin, then douses it in water so she won’t keep eating it?

I’ve avoided quitting sugar for ages. Mostly because I’ve known it means never touching it again. One French study found it’s more addictive than cocaine. And must be treated as such. But lately it’s made me crankier, puffier, foggier, sicker and more attached than normal. I’ve reached saturation point; it’s time to become a nice person again.

But why quit, you might ask? Sugar’s natural. Well, yes. But so is petroleum. And surely you don’t mean fruit and honey? Yes, yes, I do.

Here’s the deal. On Friday I met with David Gillespie, author of the authoritative  Sweet Poison, Why Sugar is Making Us Fat. Seven years ago Gillespie was obese and obsessed. He did his own fanatical research (he’s a lawyer!) and concluded sugar is what makes us fat (and puffy and cranky). Without changing any other aspect of his lifestyle he quit sugar permanently and lost 40kg. And never gained the weight back.

But let’s be clear – it’s fructose that’s the enemy. Table sugar is half fructose, so is the sugar in fruit. Honey’s 40 per cent fructose and agave is 90 per cent. Now here’s the untechnical gist of the matter: every single molecule we stick in our gobs has a corresponding appetite hormone that, when we’ve eaten enough of said molecule, tells our brains “OK kiddo, we’re full now”.  Our bodies are good that way; we’re designed to eat only as much as we need.

Every molecule, that is, except fructose. Odd you might say…

This is because back when we were cave people, sugar was both highly valuable (as insta-energy for chasing wildebeast) and extremely rare (a berry here and there). Thus we evolved with no fructose “full switch”, so that when we did stumble on a berry bush we could gorge ourselves stupid (and store it as insta-fat). Our digestion and metabolisms haven’t changed in 130,000 years. Our sugar intake, however, has. In just 150 years it’s gone from 0kg to about 60kg a year.

But here’s part two of the dastardly deal. The way fructose is converted in our bodies means it’s not used upfront as energy, but converted directly to fat. It also becomes, as Gillespie says, “porridge in our arteries”, leading to cholesterol and cancer. And the rest. “Eating fructose is like eating fat that your body can’t detect as fat,” he says.

I’ve been off sugar since last Monday. The hardest bit has been going through the tedium of witnessing how often my psyche lunges for it. I reach for it to calm myself, to reward myself, to fill awkward pauses between activities. In it’s absence I’ve been like a dog chomping at an imaginary mosquito.

Seneca, the Stoic philosopher used to overcome a fear of losing something (food, shelter) by periodically going without it for a chunk of time, “with the object of seeing whether it was worth going to much trouble to make the deficit good”. I guess I’m doing the same. I shall report on the results in a few weeks.

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  • Mrs Bok

    Hi Sarah, sugar gives me terrible eczema, makes me cranky, puffy – but I’m addicted all the same! After following your blog I tried giving up on sugar. I last about 7 hours! It’s so hard to avoid as it is in absolutely everything…so even whilst trying to avoid it, it’s very hard to do so. I’m encouraged that you find it hard to but you’re still trying.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Truth be known, I had some dates today. Just thought I would to see how it felt. Didn’t do much for me, which is SUPER weird. I really can recommend trying the methods I’ve used (eating fat and protein). Keep trying!

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  • Sharon

    Ever since I read the series of articles you wrote about wanting to quit sugar and the reasons to do it, I’ve been really, reaaaaally cautions towards it. I am thinking of lowering my level of sugar intake. I won’t go as far as you so as to quitting absolutely, but definitely being much more moderate. I’ve been looking like crazy at the ingredients list of so much stuff to find if there’s any sugar, AND THERE IS. In so much of the food we consume, even crackers! CRACKERS.

    I was telling my family all about it the other day. I described to my mother the feeling of… trason I felt, because so many things we bought were made with sugar without us knowing. Then, twenty years from now, when I have diabetes or something, I won’t even know why, but it could easily be from all that hidden sugar I was eating all along.

    All this topic has been incredibly eye-opening, so truly, thank you. I will be on the lookout for your next posts. This article was great, and so was your video interview with David.

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  • http://thechocolatefigsf.com Sarah

    yes, you have opened my eyes as well. having abstained from the little sugar i used to eat (raw honey, maple syrup, dried fruit) when craving sweets, i actually find that i don’t crave it at all anymore. and when i do splurge on a date&nut bar, of all things, i get a RUSH like no other and i’m hungry again right away. it really is amazing.

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

    In a craving laden moment today I allowed myself a milk bottle lolly from the kids’ stash, after being off sugar for 2 months. Mother of God that thing was sweet!! I only had one when normally I would have eaten until my teeth were zinging. I also bought myself a chocolate, but I haven’t eaten it yet. I actually had an apple instead. I feel better for not bingeing on sugar all the time but I don’t know that I will be able to give it up forever. I’m just taking each day as it comes!

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  • Lorrae

    I went cold Turkey on sugar nearly 2 years ago and dropped 7 kg in the blink of an eye – and I wasn’t over weight, by any means. [Was 65 kg -dropped to 58] The funny thing was, I’d tried many times before and failed. It wasn’t an intentional feat. I suffered a mini nervous breakdown and throughout that time and felt that I developed a physiological aversion to sugar. My body no longer needed it, or could tolerate it.I felt so much better without it – more energy, less mood swings and generally less tired.
    I am “back on ” sugar now – though haven’t regained the weight – bonus.

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    Alice Shaw Reply:

    The difficult thing for me is that I don’t feel like the small amount of weight I have lost is in proportion with the huge amount of junk I have given up eating. Makes it hard to stay motivated.

    [Reply]

    Lily Reply:

    Alice I think the big thing is not to do this to only lose weight – do it to stop poisoning your body. The weight will come off. I didn’t get the huge first week drop that others reported, I was so tired, cranky, headachey and even constipated ! It took everything in me to persist and the weight is coming off slowly and steadily. If I restricted my kilojoule intake or increased my exercise it might come off quicker – but I don’t want to “diet” with all that implies. I feel better, drink heaps more water, and the cravings do go. My 10 year old son went to a party yesterday with sugary food and commented on the drive home “Mum I am so thirsty after eating all that sugar”. That moment was worth it – the kids are aware of what it does to them not only because they have read it – but they have felt it.

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    Jason Reply:

    Hi Lorrae,
    I’d like to know why you decided to eat sugar again. Also, why do you think you haven’t put on weight since doing so? Cheers..

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  • http://www.centralcoastseachange.com Tracey from Central Coast Seachange

    I’m getting withdrawal symptoms just reading this post. I use CSR’s low gi sugar in my cooking and in my coffee..not that it is really any better but makes me feel like I’ve made a stance against ”bad sugar’.’
    BTW, how’s your bike riding in high heels going up at Byron Sarah? We need an update.

    [Reply]

  • Struggling Girl

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m a bulimic who is struggling daily with bingeing and purging. Sugary food and carbs are my downfall and after I read your post (the first one where you talked about quitting sugar), I decided to give it a shot to see if I quit sugar, I would stop bingeing and then feeling guilty after, make myself throw up ‘magically’. I’ve been sick since I was 15, 7 years later I am still sick, I’ve tried all sorts of recovery (InPatient, Pyschotherapy, Hypnotherapy…) However, this new plan to quit sugar and carbs completely it hasn’t been going that well. I eat mainly protein and vegetables for breakfast and lunch, then come dinner come, the urges come back and hit me so hard, I end up bingeing on carbs (bread) again. I don’t eat much fats as I’m still scared to eat them. I’m at a lost now because my episodes of b/p have become worse after I started the new plan. Do you have any advice for me? sigh

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Try eating more fat. It’s been working for me. Fills me up. I don’t feel like carbs. I know the late-night “need” for “something”. Have some cheese or macadamias…it needs to be an indulgence food, but fatty proteins won’t see you going back to the pantry over and over. Also try going for a quiet walk after dinner. x

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    Recovering Bullimic Reply:

    Dear Struggling girl,
    For me the food, sugar addiction wasn’t what kept me on the b/p cycle it was the purging. I realised that what I loved (but hated) was throwing up – the release of rage & anger which I had kept so still by being a ‘good girl’ all my life. I realised that a successful purge (ie all food eaten, out again) created a numbness, euphoric state, a bliss & a peace that allowed me to lay still without any negative thoughts rushing through my head…. yes eating the sugar and carbs was compulsive (for me they were the easiest things to throw up) but not the reason for my bulimia. It sounds like you’ve created another set of rules (ie no sugar/carbs) – that are too easy to break (eating a mere morsal is very easy) – therefore self hatred sets in you eat the whole packet, container, loaf – & for me the anger around all this guilt was purged violently down the toilet. I wander if for you the addiction is also in the purge?

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Dear Recovering Bulimic,
    Very good questions. And I agree, and eating disorder is often tied up with rules that act as triggers for punishment (and prompts for the anger and the rage). To this end I can only ever suggest meditation. Always meditation. I promise. Slowly slowly it helps to replace the old habits.
    x

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    Mia Reply:

    Dear Struggling Girl

    Much love to you, I dont know what you are going through and couldn’t imagine how hard it has been for you. However, I have struggled with the self-hatred that comes along with a narcotic addiction, so I know a little of addictive behaviour and the complications that can arise because of it.

    The thing that helped me, apart from this blog and all the wonderful advise within, has been Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am not sure if you have tried it when you said you had tried many things, but I found this to help. And of course, as Sarah suggests, meditation.

    And dont beat yourself up. Take baby steps, always gently.

    Good luck. xx

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    Hello,

    I really understand your pain and frustration as I too struggled with ongoing eating disorders. I am since recovered and what I really feel compelled to tell you is that, “it is not about the food”.

    Food is a distraction from allowing you to see the real you – from allowing you to come home to who you really are.

    I know you may be aware of this already but placing control around your diet will not help things at all. Sure leave out sugar and other chemicals that are poisoning your body but try and start really listening to your body, feeding it what it truly wants. Often we eat what our minds want, but if we truly listen to our bodies this is when real change come about and a truly loving relationship with your body can be built. Some days it may be protein for dinner and at other times it may be the carbs or fat..there are no rules and everyBODY is different.

    If you would like to chat feel free to contact me xx

    [Reply]

    Struggling Girl Reply:

    Recovering Bulimic: I think i’m just addicted to the whole binge/purge cycle and to me it becomes a form of ‘relaxation’, bingeing just blocks out all the frustrations and lonliness I feel even though I act like I’m fine in front of everyone and my family is not in Melbourne (I’m an int student). Then I purge because I have a fear of gaining weight on binge food. Its a horrible cycle. I think I’m just eating and throwing up my feelings and also perhaps I have quite a healthy diet which set me up for cravings, trying to include more protein in my diet now.

    Sarah & Mia: What sort of meditation do you suggest? I have tried sitting still and trying to calm my mind but I get distracted too easy.

    Claire: Its great to hear that you have recovered. Its always makes me believe that someday I will get out of this tunnel and see the light. How do you differentiate between what your mind thinks you should eat? and what you body really wants you to eat? I have a constant dialouge in my head dictating if I can eat this or that and it overwhelms my life constantly. Wish I could shut it out. I would love to have a chat with you. Wld you be able to leave me a email address? Thanks :)

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    Yes, please have hope – I promise there is an end to the cycle and that comes with self love. It is possible!!

    In terms of differentiating what to eat, basically I eat only when I am hungry. When my body is truly hungry I will then feel into my body, m ystomach and ask do I feel like something crunchy, sweet, salty – meat or vegetarian? If I’m feeling like eating half a pizza or a block of chocolate I know this is what my mind wants and I begin to ask myself what is missing from my life that needs to be filled – where is the sweetness I lack (I have a meditation process / self inquiry that I do).

    The key to my recovery was not putting limitations around myself. If you feel like having a big sandwich full of carbohydrates for lunch have it and stop eating when you are full. The amazing thing for me was that when I stopped putting restrictions around myself and stopped counting calories, carbs, protein, fats etc I began to naturally gravitate towards healthy foods anyway.

    This recovery did not happen overnight, and it does require work and at times some discomfort – but what could be more uncomfortable than having a ed. The good news is following certain guidelines (my love guidelines :-) ) I recovered in less than a month.

    Remember you are not alone – you are never alone and you will find your way to inner happiness. Email me anytime at cloudcatcherclaire@gmail.com

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Claire that’s generous of you!

    Mia Reply:

    Meditation doesnt have to be hard work. I just sit, and whenever thoughts try to come into my head I dont hold onto them, just let them go. I too struggled at first, with distraction and anger and frustration coming up as soon as I started. Believe it or not, I once had the image of Tyler Durden from the Fight Club movie riding a giant penguin through my brain, and I could not get it out. That’s ok though, just keep trying and it gets a lot easier. Even just ten minutes in the morning can help. I try to do morning and night for about 20 mins but dont always get there. The point is to be gentle to yourself, and if you dont do something, just try again the next day. Now I really look forward to it.

    Sarah did a really good post on transcendental meditation a while back too, if you check the archives. :)

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Struggling Girl:

    I am a recovered eating disorder sufferer, and I owe my recovery to a number of wonderful sources: Geneen Roth’s “Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating” changed my life; yoga, years of therapy, meditation, and removing myself from unhealthy environments (like friends or family members that practiced or encouraged self-deprivation), were the healing elements that helped me. It did not happen overnight, and it did not happen by finding the “right diet.” I would highly encourage you to seek face-to-face help with someone who can help you to feel good again! If you are a student, there is likely a student counseling service at your school or university. That’s where I first received help for my illness.

    Take care.

    [Reply]

    Struggling Girl Reply:

    Thanks Elizabeth. I have been seeing psychiatrists, psychologists, hypnotherapists for years and they have never helped me to recover completely, perhaps it was also due to me subconsciously not doing everything they wanted me to do, so I always got better for abit then lapsed back into my old destructive ways. I tried seeking help at the uni counselor last year and like before, I improved a bit and got worse again. I’ve read Geneen Roth’s Women, Food and God once and thinking of re-reading it again. I’m also thinking of signing up for her online retreat. Have you had any experience with that? Meditation seems like what everyone has said worked for them, but I struggle to keep still and be with my thoughts just even for 5mins. :(

    [Reply]

    Cee Reply:

    Hi Struggling Girl,

    As some of the other repliers have said, I feel compelled to reply to you given your situation. I was bulimic from the age of 12-25 and, like you, was certain that I would never be able to recover. I always heard about these people that recovered and that it was possible, but i was sure it would never happen to me as somehow I thought I didn’t deserve to be better/happy/free of my ED. My advice to you would be that although it seems impossible, it is possible to get better!

    I was convinced that if only I could stick to the perfect diet, if only I could exert some self control, and if only I could cut out the foods which scared me and led to a binge, then I would be ok. But this never happened because actually the roots of my illness had absolutely nothing to do with food. One day I told a friend what I was going through, and she organised for me to see a counsellor and I commenced what has now been 3 years of counselling (ie VERY hard work). It absolutely terrified me, but I decided that life was not worth losing because of my eating disorder, and put all my trust in my team of counsellor, doctor, dietitian and friend. I was lucky that I found a ‘team’ that worked for me. I think what really hit home was when my counsellor asked me what I would like to be remembered for? Did I really want my whole life to be about my ED or did I want to get control back over my life and actually LIVE my life? The choice was mine, and I have every faith in you that you will get to the point whereby you choose to live your life rather than let your ED do it for you.

    I still don’t LOVE myself, but I am taking baby steps and every now and then I truly surprise myself at how far I have come. When that happens, the feeling is 100 times better than any binge or purge ever could. So remember, be gentle with yourself, give yourself time, and try not to think a ‘perfect’ diet or avoiding sugar or increasing fat (as suggested above) will get rid of your ED, cos if you are anything like me, food is just how you express your ED, it is not the cause.

    Sorry for such a long post!! Please feel free to contact me if you wish to have a chat, I am now a fully accredited dietitian and would be happy to help you in anyway you like.

    :-)

    Elizabeth Reply:

    SG:

    There’s no saying what combination of things/therapies will work for you. If you feel drawn to one of Geneen Roth’s retreats, then go for it! I started to really get better when I started to choose the therapies that seemed exciting to me… just the act of doing something because you want to is empowering! And every little bit of help is a positive step. Take care, and you will get better!

    Struggling Girl Reply:

    Hi Cee and Elizabeth,

    Thanks for all your encouraging comments. I have been struggling a lot lately especially with university starting and at times I just wonder if I will ever get over the eating disorder. I know that it is so terrible to binge/purge on food but it feels like almost like a stress relief at times when I binge and just zone out on life and the only focus is food. I know I’m not functioning to my maximum capabilities because food and eating/not eating is the main focus of my mind and time but I feel addicted to it.

    I’m trying very hard to really work on new ways to self-medicate without food but its always so difficult when the urge to b/p just controls your mind. I am also restricting bread and sugar atm because they are my binge triggers but I don’t know how effective it is because I end up bingeing on time anyway after restricting it for a while. I’m trying to solve my emotional issues but they also feel very overwhelming, especially how I am very worried to put on weight though I’m quite underweight and malnourished. I’ve been at such a low weight for such a long time that being ‘skinny’ has become my thing and I don’t know what people’s reaction will be if I gain weight and no longer so skinny.

    Thanks Cee for being willing to have a chat with me. If you are comfortable with it, could you leave me your email because my email has my name on it so I’m worried someone I know might know who I am and I would be quite embarrassed. Sigh, this illness is really something I want to be free from.

    Cee Reply:

    SG, I completely understand how overwhelming and secretive this illness can be, so am happy to leave you my email address. Please feel free to email me anytime on beetis@hotmail.com.

    :-)

  • Terry Kelly

    Sarah, I’d be wary of accepting all of David Gillespie’s ideas. His findings have been questioned, and some even ridiculed, in the scientific community.

    [Reply]

    kelly Reply:

    I absolutely agree with you, Terry.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I’m intrigued, how so? I know this kind of data gets criticised by scientists working under “dietary” organisations funded by….oh yes, Kelloggs and Nestle. I tend to ignore such criticism.

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Sarah,
    Maybe you’re a little overly sensitive but I didn’t see/read any criticism in the comments. Possibly some advice about being ‘wary’, as opposed to giving advice in areas that should be trodden very carefully and left to those more qualified.

  • Susan

    Hi Sarah,

    I don’t disagree with the argument of excess sugar causing obesity, but what happened to everything in moderation? I think the point is excessive sugar, not a small amount of honey now and then and definitely not a couple of pieces of fruit a day! When you talk about fructose not signalling appetite signals, what about the fibre fruit contains, a well know appetite regulator.

    Food should be pleasurable, sociable as well as nutritious…..not the source of deprivation and emotional struggle.

    Love your website and blog, but don’t agree with extreme diets…..especially for people with eating disorders.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Hey Susan, I agree re diets and anything extreme. I think 1-2 pieces of fruit a day makes sense, just not fruit juice. Also moderation is a matter of definition. Soooo much of our food has hidden sugar in it, that even before we have honey on our porridge, we’re already eating way too much of the stuff. My main aim is to get people aware of just how much sugar they’re eating (mostly without realising).I personally have quit it because I have an autoimmune disease and I’ve been advised too many times by doctors etc that sugar makes things worse. I realise not everyone is in the same boat!

    [Reply]

    Susan Reply:

    Thanks Sarah. I completely agree that there are special cases were certain foods need to be eliminated due to illness and also agree that we should all avoid processed foods with hidden sugars and concentrated fructose. I hope this change brings some relief for you.

    I think it is great that you are stimulating people to think more about their health and what they are consuming. I especially love your blog about your exercise approach and how it has changed over the years. I too used to think intense was the only way to go, now I exercise for enjoyment, health and to get some fresh air, rather than just weight loss and an adrenal rush!

    All the best

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Sarah,
    Re your comment above, I notice that there is no reference to your AI disease in the article in the paper on Sunday promoting David Gillespie’s book. I appreciate your argument and how it has helped you but do you think it may have been relevant considering your justification above of ‘not everyone being in the same boat.’

    Article reads very much like an advertorial………

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    My Sunday Life column follows my findings as I test out different approaches. I’ve tested some crazy things that I don’t expect others to try themselves. In my column I don’t specifically encourage people to try it. In my blog I do.

    Brooke Reply:

    I think it’s important for us all to keep in mind that Sarah is not dictating to us about what we should all be eating or not eating. She is simply keeping us informed about what methods she has tried to improve her health and recover from her AI condition. How we adapt this to our own lives and diets is of course up to us. Just like anything you read on this topic, regardless of whether it is from a qualified research scientist or simply someone commenting on their own life experience, you should adapt what works for you and leave the rest. Just look at the Government sanctioned “Healthy food pyramid”, which tells us to eat mainly grains. Those of us with highly acidic systems, gluten intolerance etc etc know better than to accept that as gospel.

    There is so much conflicting information out there regarding health and nutrition from experts, government bodies and studies funded by interested companies (Nestle, Kellogs etc as Sarah has mentioned), that it is almost impossible to determine fact from fiction. The only thing we can do, is take the information we are given and find out what works best for us as individuals.

    I, and I’m sure many others, really appreciate Sarah sharing her experiences of dealing with illness. It’s such a relief to know that I’m not alone in the world, and that there are people out there who understand what I’m going through and are able to make suggestions that may help me. Some of them I implement, and others I let through to the keeper. But it’s great to hear from people who understand and are not just trying to sell something!

    Just for the record, I have been off sugar for almost 5 weeks now, and I have lost a little weight, and feel clearer in the head. So I will keep it up as long as my health improves. :-)

    Jason Reply:

    I agree with the fruit juice. An example of a serve of fruit is : 1 medium (e.g. apple); 2 small pieces (e.g. apricots); 1 cup canned or chopped fruit or 1½ teaspoons of dried fruit.

    If you have a 250mL Nudie Juice for example, you are already 3 times over your daily recommended amount of fruit. Fruit juices should be in shot form (with Vodka!) size. Also, be careful of larger pure fruit juice drinks. Emma + Toms 350mL juices can contain up to 40.3g of sugar. That’s to much.

    [Reply]

  • Olivia

    Hi Sarah,

    check out videos on Bernardo LaPallo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UlfJwn9GIU he is 109 years old, he attributes the following foods to his longevity; honey, cinnamon, cacao, garlic, olive oil; while he has lived on predominately organic vegetarian diet with 3 small servings of fish a week. Walks every morning and has done so his whole life, and eats a high quantity of raw fruit and vegetables.

    What we can all learn from Bernando is – moderation is the key and his five “superfoods” which includes honey have contributed to his immune health.

    Moderation is the key and finding that balance in our lives, though, I can empathise with what you are going through as if it wasn’t for sugar I myself would have no addictions…except maybe coffee :-)

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  • http://www.annpenhallow.com.au Ann Penhallow

    Hi Sarah
    I gave up sugar about the time you did, and I feel I’ve been managing my hunger and cravings well. However, what I’ve really begun to notice, is just how much sugar comes my way day to day, and how in the past I’ve automatically said ‘yes please’ without ever considering what I’m eating.
    For example, last week I went to my niece’s birthday dinner and started shovelling in the chocolate cake for dessert before realising what I was doing.
    I know in his book David Gillespie says obviously we shouldn’t insult our hosts or any kind of hospitality, when they’ve gone to so much trouble to prepare a delicious meal etc., but that comes later when you’ve managed to kick the sugar habit.
    While trying to give up, as I am, he recommends going cold turkey, because just a little bit of sugar can cause the addict to cave again.
    So, I resolve each new day to kick the sugar habit, and I will not beat myself up if I lapse. It’s not a diet, it’s a change of lifestyle.
    I look forward to reading more about your own progress!

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  • cathy

    i quit sugar (after a lifetime of chocoholism) from 1 jan this year and have never felt better. i have loads more energy, which i need – i have a 2 year old, a demanding full time job and a partner who travels for work one week in every fortnight. i had been using sugar and caffeine for fake energy to survive and it was making me feel horrible

    the first 3 days without sugar were like the detox scene from Trainspotting – i was anxious, shaky, slept badly, and actually dreamed about chocolate! but as many people have noted, the craving disappears very quickly and now i don’t miss the stuff at all.

    i must say i disagree with you about fruit though. i have been eating 5 or 6 pieces of fresh fruit a day and still dropped around 4 kilos in the 2 months since i stopped sugar. as mentioned above, it’s the fibre and the bulk of fruit that sorts out the appetite stuff. i’d also be worried about not getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals without fruit. just ditching juice and dried fruit has been fine for me.

    thanks for raising this topic though and will look forward to Part II.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.sharpestpencil.wordpress.com Lana

    I have been sugar free for three weeks now. Feel no different (although my skin is clearer) and I have lost no weight at all. Still get cravings, still feel lethargic, still feel like I did on sugar basically. For a while I obsessed less about food but now I struggle to feel full (am vegetarian and don’t eat dairy).

    I did read the other day that the average Australian is consuming 20 per cent less sucrose than they did in 1970 and rates of overweight/obesity have doubled during the same period. That is a bit worrying

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Hi Lana, yeah I read your very similar blog entry on this topic and noticed you’ve been following my journey with it. As you’d know, David does say it can take months to adjust, depending on how much sugar you were consuming before. In my experience, having studied this with INN, it’s also a very individual thing. Some of us rely very heavily on carb metabolism. I’d imagine as a vego that would be the case.
    My learning has said it takes women longer, too…
    Consumption of sucrose has only shifted because we’re consuming more corn syrup and diet sugars. Fructose consumption is being made up for with the increased consumption of fruit juice.
    Don’t be worried…do what feels right for you. I have AI disease…quitting sugar was imperative. If your body feels better where you were at…return to it. x

    [Reply]

  • Chris

    It is great to follow up with others doing the same thing. Sugar free for over 2 months now – because of reading Sweet Poison – a few kg down, eat lots and lots of fat and protein. From looking for a fix food wise (and chocolate) every day, feeling bloated, tired and cranky constantly to having loads more energy, not being hungry all the time and feeling well. Luckily and surprisingly not a great deal of withdrawal. Only deviation has been two nights on the grog and if a chocolate fix was ever on my mind – it was during the ‘hangover’.
    Still overweight (approx 25kg over) and need to clean up the rest of my diet (ie add some vegetables) BUT one thing at a time I reckon!

    [Reply]

  • Mike

    Hi Sarah, thought your article was great. I saw the results of an experiment a few years ago (I think it was on http://www.mercola.com – great health website) The nexperiment had rats hooked on Cocaine and then they introduced white sugar to their cage and they stopped eating the Cocaine. Sugar is the most addictive product on the planet, that is why the food maker add it. Cheers

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Mercola has received two warning letters from the FDA for marketing nutritional products in a manner which violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

    In October of 2010, Mercola announced plans to produce a breastmilk alternative for mothers who may experience difficulty in breastfeeding their infants. Many of his fans were upset by the announcements and questioned his ethics, marketing an artificial formula product when donor milk banks provide a nutritionally adequate food for human infants. However, Mercola had explained in the announcement (when it was originally posted on his website) that the intent is to provide an alternative nutritional source for infants that they should normally get from breastmilk, even if their mothers aren’t able to nurse.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Yes, yes, I know. I’ve heard this argument so many times. I personally choose to read Mercola’s stuff using my brain to decipher the info that makes sense.
    It doesn’t detract from fact that rats-cocaine experiment is very legit and was conducted by Princeton Uni in 2008 http://medheadlines.com/2008/12/14/sugar-cocaine-heroin-equally-strong-addictions-study-suggests/
    Mercola simply reported it.
    Sigh…

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Don’t disagree with what you say Sarah, just trying to balance some information out so that people can make up there own mind and investigate further. There’s that word again……BALANCE…….

    Maybe it’s the cynic in me but I wonder what the motives are of people when the feeling to justify themselves in light of varying views/arguments/opinions. I’m certainly sensing a sensitivity to it at the moment.

    Mike Reply:

    Hi James
    I wouldn’t take the FDA as any crediable authourity it has been corrupted by drug companied and agro chemical companies for along time. Most of the FDA is made up of “ex” employees of drug and chemical companies. They approve dangerous products and resist any natural, biological or organic products that alternative type companies. They have been trying to stut him up for years because he has been exposing how they operate.

    [Reply]

  • James

    David Gillespie wrote an article in Crikey.com.au on 2 Feb making some interesting assertions, the one that astounded me most being “Overweight children eat more and exercise less because they are fat, not the other way round.”

    The following reply to that article, and more relevant for this blog, regarding the role of fructose in the diet and obesity. It should be noted that the reply was authored by Chris Forbes-Ewan who handles dietary matters for the Defence, Science and Technology Department in Scottsdale, Tasmania.

    “Readers of David Gillespie’s blogs may be interested to know that it is now more than two weeks since I first attempted to get David to reply to a series of questions in a comment about his blog entry titled ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’.

    My questions cut to the core of David’s treatment (or rather mistreatment) of the science that he claims underpins his book ‘Sweet Poison’. David hasn’t answered any of my questions.

    By refusing (or perhaps more appropriately not being able) to answer those questions, David is tacitly admitting that the science behind his book ‘Sweet Poison’ is fatally flawed.

    As I have demonstrated in other comments on ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’ and in my Ockham’s Razor program (ABC Radio National) of 10 Jan 10, David Gillespie is not a reliable source of information on the health effects of fructose.

    The questions are:

    (i) In light of the evidence provided by Rosemary Stanton that there has either been no increase or a slight decline in food intake in the last 30 years (see my comment sent on January 29, 2010 at 8:48 PM), do you still believe that food intake has increased by 30% in Australia in the last three decades?

    (ii) Taking into account your claim that average Australian intake of fructose is about two-thirds the average intake in the US, and that the US intake accounts for 9-10% of total energy intake (references provided in my comment sent on January 29, 2010 at 10:10 PM) do you still claim that almost 20% of our energy intake is now derived from fructose?

    (iii) Noting that the authors of the 1985 paper by Reiser et al. [Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Aug;42(2):242-51] refer (more than once) to a ‘… lack of relationship between the onset of the abnormalities and the type of dietary carbohydrate’, do you still claim that fructose consumption was the cause of severe heart conditions in four participants in that study?

    (iv) Noting that at least 19 human fructose-feeding studies were conducted after 1985 (references provided in my comment of January 30, 2010 at 6:02 PM) do you still claim that no further human studies were conducted following that date?

    (v) Noting that the World Health Organisation recommends that the maximum safe intake of added sugars is 10% of total energy (or rather just short of 10%); that the NHMRC dietary guideline is to ‘consume only moderate levels of sugars and foods containing added sugars’; that the American Heart Association sets safe upper levels of intake of 35 g of added sugar for men and 25 g for women, and that 12 of the 19 references to human studies conducted in the period 1985-2007 reported positive or, at worst, neutral effects attributable to fructose, do you still believe that added fructose is a poison in the diet at any dose?

    (vi) Given that the NHMRC in Australia and ACSM in the US (and other national health authorities) recognise the value of physical activity in weight control, do you still believe that physical activity has no role to play in weight control?

    (vii) Noting that the conclusion of the most recent meta-analysis (in the December 26 edition of Clinical Nutrition) concludes that ‘There is no support from the human literature for the hypothesis that sucrose may be physically addictive …’, do you still insist that fructose—the relevant component of sucrose in this context—is addictive in humans?

    Also, one of my comments on David Gillespie’s blog entry ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’ (www.raisin-hell.com) included:

    ‘There is a long list of purported causes of, or contributing factors to the obesity epidemic. They include, but are not limited to:

    ‘High intakes of total fat, of saturated fat, of a particular kind of saturated fat known as palmitic acid, of a type of polyunsaturated fat called linoleic acid; high intakes of carbohydrate and/or alcohol; low intakes of protein; skipping breakfast; ‘grazing’ rather than eating three square meals; eating fast food rather than home-cooked meals; using artificial sweeteners; reduced physical activity; insufficient sleep; exposure to environmental chemicals such as insecticides … even a virus has been implicated as a cause of obesity in some circumstances.

    ‘At the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society of Australia last December, a prominent Australian nutritionist stated that the correlation coefficient for the association between fructose intake and the obesity epidemic is something like 0.8 (i.e. there is a strong correlation). A prominent American nutritionist immediately countered with: ‘The correlation coefficient for linoleic acid and obesity is 0.85’. (Linoleic acid is a fatty acid found in large quantities in vegetable oils, e.g. soybean and canola).

    ‘I also suspect that reduced physical activity plays a major role in the obesity epidemic, which is most likely multifactorial (i.e. there are many contributing factors).

    ‘The cause (or more likely causes) of the obesity epidemic remain unresolved. It is not appropriate to claim, as David does, that fructose is indisputably the sole cause, and that it is harmful in any dose.’

    BTW, the President of the Australian Skeptics, Eran Segev, requested that I write an article for their magazine. It will be published in the March issue.

    Finally, you may be interested in a comment by Eran Segev about David Gillespie’s approach to the science of fructose metabolism in humans. Go to http://www.raisin-hell.com, scroll down to ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’ and read the comment dated February 17, 2010 10:50 AM.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Im getting a sense of deja vu here!

    Interesting blog post in Attack of the Chocolatier. I read the majority of comments (before they descending into nit-picking nonsense) and I must say, they have strengthened David’s argument in my eyes. I especially like Chris Forbes-Ewan’s flimsy-sounding defense for his affiliation with Nestle. Conflict of interest, much?? :)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Hi James,
    I thought I better reply…you’ve posted a few interesting points and you’ve posted the above rather detailed comment twice.
    Just a few things. As someone has mentioned, this Forbes-Ewan gentleman, he’s a Tasmanian nutritionist who makes chocolate for the army…funded by…Nestle. It raises questions and eyebrows. Especially in the context of your suggesting that my posts are plugging something.
    I’ve also spoken to David re your issue. It appears he most certainly has answered the questions you raised. Several times over. He tells me these questions have all been raised and answered in a series of four articles in the Skeptics magazine last year. You (and anyone else who is interested) can read them in full here http://sweetpoison.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Skeptic_SweetResponse.pdf and here http://sweetpoison.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/SkepMag_Forum_Sep10-1.pdf).
    James, I appreciate this is a pet topic of your and I appreciate counterpoints on this blog, I really do. But I will just ask that you observe the intensity of your comments…at times they overstep the tone of what I want shared on my blog. And are not always sensitive to where I think some readers are at when they share their experiences with food on here.
    This kind of tit-for-tatt stuff – or the reporting of it…between a bloke who wrote a book and a Tasmanian chocolate maker funded Nestle – isn’t my thing and isn’t appropriate.
    I’m replying openly because you’ve posted a number of comments and I think other readers might want to see where I sit with the points you make. Thanks.
    S

    [Reply]

    Terry Kelly Reply:

    I’m surprised by your comments Sarah. I haven’t seen anything disrespectful in James’”tone”. He’s just trying to deepen and widen what has been an interesting debate on a fascinating and unresolved topic. If David wants to be taken seriously he needs to convince the scientific community which, so far, he hasn’t.

    [Reply]

    Suze Reply:

    Agreed Terry! (where’s the like button when you need it).

  • Terry Kelly

    Great comments, James. Though probably well intentioned, David Gillespie is basically just a walking anecdote. As a Lawyer he’s argued like a Lawyer but probably never even understood the need to approach this scientifically and does not appreciate the level of scientific rigour which you have demonstrated.

    [Reply]

  • Rocket

    Yes, good work by the few scientific contributors here. If only it were all that simple, Mr.Gillespie would be in Stockholm collecting his Nobel Prize. Alas, like all other “quick fixes” to obesity in our society, it is another mirage.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    I don’t think it is all meant as a quick fix for obesity alone – basic idea is that we are consuming too much sugar for our health. We have lived on high amounts of fats and proteins for centuries (we need it) and now that sugar is in so much of what we eat, we are compromising our general health. It is a bonus that weight loss occurs. We don’t need this unprecedented amount of sugar.
    That sounds like common sense to me – scientific contribution sometimes dishes up what I consider real blunders. Isn’t margarine the result of a scientists idea of healthy eating?

    [Reply]

  • Brooke

    Brooke Reply:
    February 28th, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I think it’s important for us all to keep in mind that Sarah is not dictating to us about what we should all be eating or not eating. She is simply keeping us informed about what methods she has tried to improve her health and recover from her AI condition. How we adapt this to our own lives and diets is of course up to us. Just like anything you read on this topic, regardless of whether it is from a qualified research scientist or simply someone commenting on their own life experience, you should adapt what works for you and leave the rest. Just look at the Government sanctioned “Healthy food pyramid”, which tells us to eat mainly grains. Those of us with highly acidic systems, gluten intolerance etc etc know better than to accept that as gospel.

    There is so much conflicting information out there regarding health and nutrition from experts, government bodies and studies funded by interested companies (Nestle, Kellogs etc as Sarah has mentioned), that it is almost impossible to determine fact from fiction. The only thing we can do, is take the information we are given and find out what works best for us as individuals.

    I, and I’m sure many others, really appreciate Sarah sharing her experiences of dealing with illness. It’s such a relief to know that I’m not alone in the world, and that there are people out there who understand what I’m going through and are able to make suggestions that may help me. Some of them I implement, and others I let through to the keeper. But it’s great to hear from people who understand and are not just trying to sell something!

    Just for the record, I have been off sugar for almost 5 weeks now, and I have lost a little weight, and feel clearer in the head. So I will keep it up as long as my health improves.

    [Reply]

    Brooke Reply:

    Whoops, posted in the wrong spot…

    [Reply]

  • Mel

    I have found over the years that some people can limit there sugar intake like my husband and brothers however some of us lose all self control. I have never been able to stop at one row of chocolate or a couple of lollies, basically I scoff the lot anytime and place …. Embarassing really. When I give up all sugar after a few days I don’t want it and can easily say no without a second thought but once I start back on it such as I did at xmas it’s just all I think of. Who cares about facts figures and science, if u can’t say no, it has to go. It is an addiction and to all those who can have it in moderation then keep living as usual it’s fine.

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    hear! hear!

    [Reply]

    Maree Reply:

    That’s right Mel. If you find that something works for you then you go with it. I can totally relate to your comment. I used to be a person who could not say no and could not stop at one. I used to think I was a comfort eater with deep seated mental issues but David Gillespie has made me realise that I was simply addicted to sugar. I feel so much better and I don’t really care about the science either.

    [Reply]

    Terry Kelly Reply:

    Pity you don’t care about Science. It did, after all, bring you the internet and the ability to even make these comments (Physics). Science just means looking at things a little deeper than believing something just because it’s written in a book.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.180nutrition.com.au/blog Guy

    I’ve just come off the back of a 6 week detox that I blogged and followed through completely. Sugar of course was gone, all processed carbs and ate minimal fruit.

    To celebrate the end I indulged in a meal with a sugar loaded desert to boot!

    I felt terrible afterward. No doubt about it, if you go without sugar for a while, you realise the impact it has on the body.

    [Reply]

  • Nicola

    Hi Sarah,

    I love your weekly feature, and every week I found I can totally relate to whatever it is you’re trying (probably because we’re the same age!). I decided last week to check out your blog, I couldn’t believe you had decided to give up sugar as well. I felt compelled to reply to this as I went through something similar about 6 months ago. I was feeling generally unwell- head fog, an inability to concentrate and terrible fatigue. My blood tests came back normal and my GP recommended I try the Low Reactive diet which meant cutting out EVERYTHING! So gluten, yeast, dairy, alcohol and sugar (the hardest one!) After coming down with a nasty cold pretty much straight away, within 10 days I had my vitality back! I also lost 4 kilos, (which I didn’t need to do- it’s put me underweight).

    I did it quite strictly for a month, but found it hard as I have a sweet tooth, and found myself fantasising about chocolate treats and cakes. I found when I tried to introduce a little sugar back into my diet, I found I had a really bad reaction to sugar and alcohol, and huge “crashes” where I found myself with awful head fog, an energy crash and then a headache :( For a while then I became obsessive, checking labels, refusing friend’s dinner invitations- it’s especially hard when you eat out, I would request no sauces on anything, and of course no dessert, and eventually I became despondent and a bit miserable.

    I did a bit of research and decided to experiment and make my own “sweet treats” Cup cakes made with almond meal, agave nectar, coconut oil and banana (really yummy!) and i’d have little or no reaction- yay! I have since found out it’s a hormone problem that causes this (after spending a fortune on naturopaths, kinesiologists, endocrinologists etc..) and i’m better off on a low GI diet, but also only eating natural sugars (I’m fine with fruit, taken with nuts to slow the sugar absorption) and that wonderful Loving earth raw chocolate that I see you’ve already recommended Sarah.

    Anyway, so the main point I wanted to make was please don’t become obsessed like I did- I watched the interview with the Sweet Poison dude- how can Agave nectar be wrong? It’s a low GI food, and also used as a natural sweetener in many raw food treats (I found an amazing raw Green Tea ice cream sweetened with coconut milk and Agave nectar in About Life as well!)

    So I’ve found some kind of equilibrium now- I still avoid sugar and have cut down on my alcohol intake, but I think a little (natural) sweet treat is good for the soul! :) N x

    [Reply]

    Mandy Reply:

    Nicola, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your post. I love the idea of Low GI and want to work towards eating like this. Thanks for your feedback, I was fearing it was getting a bit no sugar obsessive around here! xx

    [Reply]

    Nicola Reply:

    Hey Mandy,

    Thanks for the reply, It’s the first time i’ve ever looked at someone’s blog let alone replied to a comment, I’m glad it helps- I’m much happier now I have my natural treats. Every person who had posted is just in the beginning stages, not one person has kept this giving up sugar thing for more than a couple of months! I did it strictly for 3-4 months, then it became too hard, and made me miserable to refuse dinner invitations, or eat something then wonder if it secretly contained sugar!! Life is too short! I understand everyone’s zealous nature in the beginning stages, I just think you have to be realistic. :)

    [Reply]

  • http://wabiwabi.wordpress.com amber

    I am also a sufferer of AI disease, and decided at the beginning of February to get rid of sugar once and for all. I have cut out sugar from my diet several times before, but have lapsed into “easier” eating and baking. February has come and gone, and I am still committed to this pledge. The first few weeks are always difficult, but I always feel so much better after that. This time, I am happy to report that, even if I haven’t noticed too many physical changes (apart from wonderfully clear skin), my mood has improved substantially. I also suffer from mental illness, and since cutting the sugar, have felt much calmer, hopeful, and joyful day-to-day.

    My AI diseases are Crohn’s and systemic arthritis (which gets so bad that I cannot even walk sometimes). Even casting aside David Gillespie’s research and personal story of success and health, I have been told by numerous health experts that minimising sugar in my diet is one of the best ways of reducing bodily inflammation. I also try not to eat any white carbs — rice, pasta, bread — but opt for dark, dense, wholegrain varieties with less gluten (gluten often causes inflammation, too).

    Every now and then, I have a slip — like a dribble of maple syrup in some yoghurt or a smear of honey on my rye toast — but I don’t get too frantic about it. The key to long-term success, I think, is not freaking out if you slip, but getting back on the horse right away. It’s not that difficult if you surround yourself with the right foods.

    Two things I will never consume again are fruit juice and processed sugars.

    I must admit, I’ve become quite irritated about the “all things in moderation” arguments. Eating these sugars “in moderation” is a bit like smoking tobacco “in moderation”. It adds absolutely nothing to your health profile; in fact, consumption of refined sugars (where they are stripped of nutrients) *undermines* your health.

    Even if you’re not concerned about weight management, you should definitely be concerned about poisoning your body. Stripped down sucrose or fructose (any pure sugar, really) depresses the immune system, interferes with liver function and appetite regulation, leaches minerals from the body, disrupts cells’ ability to carry oxygen, and kickstarts degenerative disease.

    We just weren’t meant to eat table sugar. Or the juice of nine apples in one go. I absolutely, totally eat fruit. But I think of it as nature’s “treat food”, and you don’t eat treats all day! Fruit also has the fibre and pectin intact to help counteract the absence of satiety that results from consuming purer fructose. So it’s a treat with benefits.

    I don’t feel so bad about my occasional drizzles of maple syrup or honey either (again, these are a treat) because they haven’t been completely fleeced of their wonderful vitamins and minerals.

    This is where moderation comes in, I believe. If you’re avoiding those centre aisles of the supermarket and, so, avoiding processed foods with hidden ingredients, you’re much better able to gage how much of what you genuinely ARE consuming. How can you moderate that of which you’re unaware?

    Further, if you’re avoiding processed foods, you’re much more likely to be consuming WHOLE foods, where the goodies are still intact. Who wouldn’t want that for their body?

    If you’re interested in research and major food corporations and how they often interact to mislead the public and sell more product, do read “Food Wars” by Phillip Day. This is a thoroughly researched and edited book by a journalist who has no vested interest in the food industry. Michael Pollan is also excellent to read.

    Thank you, Sarah, for putting this issue out there for discussion. Sustainable and healthy food is one of the biggest dilemmas we now face as a nation and a global community.

    [Reply]

    amber Reply:

    the book is “Health Wars”, sorry.

    [Reply]

    Mia Reply:

    Amen! Our health is our OWN responsibility, and cutting out poisonous gunk when your immune system is compromised is certainly no extreme act!

    [Reply]

    Elizabeth Reply:

    I agree with everything you have written, amber. As someone who also suffers from AI and mental illness, cutting down on sugar has dramatically improved my health in every way: my mood is elevated, energy is strong and sustained throughout the day, mind is clear and focused, my skin is hydrated and glowing, my digestion is regular. The results have honestly shocked me.

    The funny thing is, when you don’t ingest so much added sugar, you begin to enjoy as treats the things that are naturally sweet, such as milk and plain yogurt, nuts and fruit. These whole foods are naturally sweet but we’d never know because we drown the sweetness out so often!

    I was able to stay added-sugar free for almost a year the first time. I lapsed and now I’m starting again.

    [Reply]

  • Linda

    I noticed my dependency on sugar – and caffeine – when I had gastro last week. The withdrawals from these made me feel worse than the illness. I hate feeling like I NEED to have something. Being addicted to these products just doesn’t make sense. I’m trying really hard to stay away. Your article was great timing.

    [Reply]

  • Elizabeth

    I have one question about Sarah’s comment regarding our hunter/gatherer origins and the frequency of our consumption of fruits in those days. I live in the northern United States where, yes, berry bushes are really the only natural bearers of fruit, so the life of a primitive person in this area would involve just the occasional stumble upon such a treasure trove of sugars. However, I wonder about people that lived in more tropical areas where fruits are much more plentiful and easily accessible. Surely fruits (and thus sugars) would be a much more common part of these people’s diet?

    [Reply]

    Mel Reply:

    Yeah I was pondering the same, it is so interesting. Pacific islanders have a naturally larger BMI, I wonder if that has any relation. I have no idea.

    [Reply]

  • http://herecomesbettyagain.blogspot.com Francesca

    I gave up sugar about 5 months ago as part of a naturopaths’ weight loss plan. I also gave up carbohydrates. I have lost over 15 kilos (i needed to lose this weight btw).
    The way that worked for me was being incredibly strict , no exceptions, no off days and no sneaky bites. No if I taste stevia it is too sweet. It can be done!

    [Reply]

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  • pip

    hi sarah, great article!
    i have become sugar free except for the 2-3 pieces of fruit i eat a day. i just cant give up fruit! it has so many other health benefits and is 100% natural. will eating this amount of fructose destroy all my hard earned effort? will i still reap the benefits of being sugar free (more energy, better concentration, etc)? or do you have to go absolutely sugar free to feel better?
    also, if you are going to eat fruit, are some fruits better than others? how do you find out the fructose quantities is various fruits?
    love your work, pip xx

    [Reply]

  • Rachael

    this is such an interesting discussion…my view (as someone who has oscillated for the last 20 years +) is that it is about balance, a personal shape of a plan of what is right for your body and mind, and respect for your feelings and knowledge of yourself. I don’t believe in deprivation, but I think loving your body and acknowledging the value or otherwise of what goes into it is vital. I also have arrived at, and will never depart from, the point of always asking myself, “what is my goal? Does this fit with my goal?” I am slowly getting there.

    Best wishes to all.

    [Reply]

  • Kat

    Hi Sarah,

    I’ve suffered from Bipolar II my whole life and after reading your sugar posts and looking back over the past few years of my life, I’ve realised that my mood was most stable and I was most happy in the period that I went off sugar before my wedding. Having just come out of a recent depressive episode where I had lacked the motivation to do anything at all, let along care for my physical and emotional wellbeing, your blog has given me the courage I need to give this a go again.
    Thank you so much for reminding me that mind, body and spirit are important, interconnected and influenced by conscious decisions that we make – one of which is what we decide to put into our mouths.
    With much gratitude,
    Kat

    [Reply]

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  • Lisa

    After cutting sugar out of my diet for a few months, I slowly let it creep back in through little treats here and there. But my body obviously prefers the sugar free way – it has developed a kind of ‘sugar alarm’ that stops me eating it…every time i have some chocolate, sweets or sugary drinks – even a small amount – my little finger on my right hand develops an eczema like rash. When I cut the sugar out again, the rash slowly starts to disappear over a few days!

    The fact it’s doing this to my finger now puts me off sugar completely! that and the fact that I’ve never felt better since cutting it out.

    [Reply]

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  • vicallen@live.com

    What about Natvia in place of Stevia (my kids hate taste of Stevia and don’t notice Natvia)?!

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