Let me get something out in the open: my low-sugar section refers to low-fructose, higher-carb food. Now I’ll explain 🙂
When I was thirteen, my father, sister and I decided to cut out ‘added sugars’ from our diet. However, we still allowed both dried/ fresh fruits and juices, as well as honey. I had the occasional ‘sugar break,’ perhaps once a week, when I’d treat myself to a muffin or a few pieces of chocolate. However, after a couple of years I became lenient in my ways. My ‘no added sugar’ diet had merely become an ideal, taken over by frequent ‘exceptions’.
After reading David Gillespie’s “Sweet Poison” and Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar”, I was re-shocked into action. These two books (and research of my own) convinced me that fructose is our true nemesis.
Table sugar = 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
Unlike glucose, fructose is the (sweeter) part of sugar which is associated with the health problems. When we consume fructose, it bypasses our bodies’ mechanisms that make us satisfied. This is because your liver produces palmitic acid, which goes to your brain and suppresses leptin (a hormone which makes us feel full).
On the other hand, when fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are processed by our bodies, our brains release different hormones to tell us we’ve had enough. Fructose slips through the net – it’s the reason you can easily eat a whole block of sugary-sweet chocolate (or, well, I know I could!).
Try eating that much butter.
So, when we’re eating sugar – half of which is fructose – we get all the calories without the satiety. These excess calories are a huge contributor to one of fructose’s many problems: obesity.
But it doesn’t stop there. Fructose does far more than simply make you gain weight. It prevents glucose entering our cells properly, and can henceforth lead to insulin resistance (thus commencing and worsening Type II diabetes!). Eating too much fructose has been related to (to name a few):
- abdominal obesity (a fat stomach/ beer belly)
- heart disease, elevated blood pressure
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
To limit my fructose consumption, I eat 1-2 small serving of fruit most days. I limit the high-fructose fruits – think apples, bananas, mangoes, and pears – and love my low-fructose ones such as berries, kiwifruit, and grapefruit.
If I’m at a friend’s birthday party, I’ll eat the cake. It isn’t a big deal, and some fructose every once in a while isn’t the end of the world. A couple of times, I have actually chosen to binge on sugar, but always found myself feeling not just guilty, but pretty ill afterwards!
So, some of the recipes in this Low-sugar section contain reasonable amounts of glucose – in the form of dextrose or rice malt syrup – which is the ‘safer’ sugar. The recipes are thus higher-carb, and are often also filled with other valuable sources of complex carbohydrates from oats, kumara, and the likes.
If you want to reduce the sugar in your diet, give some of my recipes in this section a browse. I vary my diet constantly, and swap from low-carb to low-sugar every few weeks. Diversity is key! 🙂