The sugar debate is so confusing!

i quit sugar

I Quit Sugar!

dont quit sugar

Don’t Quit Sugar

This whole notion that fruit is bad for your health and is to be avoided has me so confused!!!

I am almost at the point of being completely over this discussion! All l hear in the media and on my health blogs is that sugar is bad for you. We are not talking about the run of the mill cane sugar or the many other sugars in processed foods that are devoid of any nutrition and cause havoc with your health. We are talking about whole fruit, honey and maple syrup as examples. I have spent the last year avoiding anything that contains processed sugar and l feel so well because of it. If you can imagine a big mountain with me standing at the bottom, this is what my life was like when l looked into the future and contemplated the journey that l would have to go on to get to the top where my reward was too feel alive, energetic and hopeful for the future. It has been an enormous challenge to completely change my eating habits not only to remove processed sugar, but also glutens, most grains, dairy, processed foods and anything containing a hidden chemical, flavour or preservative. I don’t drink alcohol, eat lollies, anything processed that comes in a packet and l am starting to question and challenge the people who are telling me that l should just eat berries as my main source of fruit.

When l first bought Sarah Wilson’s book ‘I Quit Sugar’ l really got her message as l was sick back then with some very serious digestion issues. My whole body needed a break from sugar, even from too much fruit. I went on the low FODMAP diet and felt the healing effects of eating foods that were gentle on my digestive system and although l was selective, fruit was still an important part of my diet. I overall think her approach is very good and follow a version of the Paleo diet myself, but a year on and feeling great l am just loving my two to three pieces of fruit that l have each day and have no intention of giving them up.  l am really proud of my achievements and will power in resisting the many temptations that come my way given that l have three young children, but l am not willing to accept that fruit eaten at various intervals throughout the day as part of a balanced diet is going to negatively impact my health. I am currently studying Nutrition myself and know that fruit is a wonderful source of soluble and insoluble fibre which is so important for bowel health, as well as a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

Confused-yes! Then along comes a book by Cassie Platt called “Don’t Quit Sugar’. As soon as l read this book l liked it. Cassie has a positive approach to fruit being a really important part of a healthy diet and l like that she is a nutritionist and looks at this whole argument from a physiological point of view. It makes sense to me that natural sources of sugars in fruit, honey and sweet root vegetables be incorporated into the diet so that they can be utilised as an energy source for the body in the form of glucose. Cassie goes in to great detail explaining why she feels the body needs these natural sources of sugar, just as Sarah presents her arguments as to why we shouldn’t.  Cassie lists her 7 principles to help manage your blood sugar and weight and these are one of the best parts of the book.

There are so many positives about both of the books as l think they are both aimed at achieving wellness in your life and both have many positive things to offer. I really love the recipes in I Quit Sugar, but as with anything you can choose which ones suit you and add these into your diet. I bought this book at the start of my wellness journey and it helped me to learn about ingredients that l had never cooked with before. I  purchased Cassie Platt’s book recently and really identify with her approach but find elements of her recipes don’t suit me as much as the ones in I Quit Sugar.  Both books include ingredients that l don’t eat such as dairy and bread but they are beautifully presented, well researched and could be adapted to suit your food preferences in most cases.

Conclusion:

I think that every person’s needs are different and we shouldn’t be preached to as if we are genetically and metabolically the same. I listened to a fantastic podcast this week where the topics of nutrigenomics was discussed (http://thewellnesscouch.com/100no/100no-48-gene-profiling-with-dianne-scranton.) I hadn’t heard this word before but the area is so fascinating and considers how nutrition (the food we eat) can influence gene expression. The genomic wellness practitioner being interviewed talked about there being six main genotypes in the human race and how each of these requires a different diet to achieve optimal health and well being. This got me thinking that the one size fits all approach advocated by many in the weight loss/nutrition industry and even in our very own Australian Dietary Guidelines can’t possibly be in the best interests of the majority of people. In the podcast mentioned above Dr Damian Kristof who is a Naturopath and Chiropractor was starting to challenge the don’t eat fruit campaign saying that some in the wellness industry are going too far. I found his position refreshing and think that as time progresses and we are learning more about our genetics the debate will change and the focus will move away from fruit being the cause of our health woes.

Realistically in the big scheme of things if everyone was eating fruit instead of all the junk food that is being consumed l don’t think we would be in the midst of an obesity epidemic with so many chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes on the rise.

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