Our very name often begs the question: Why are you called I Quit Sugar when you deem some “sugars” okay to eat?
We know it can be pretty confusing when you first get started on our 8-Week Program, so we set out to answer all the questions you may have.
1. What are we referring to when we say “sugar”?
- Sucrose (ordinary table sugar) is made up of 50 per cent glucose and 50 per cent fructose.
- It’s the fructose bit that we’re referring to in our name I Quit Sugar.
- Other sugars (glucose, maltose and lactose) are safe to eat in moderation. But fructose is not.
- Some sweeteners contain an even higher fructose ratio than sucrose, like agave. It can contain up to 90 per cent fructose!
2. Why is fructose bad for us?
- It passes directly to our livers and promotes fat storage.
- Fructose can only be processed by the liver, which increases the workload and potentially contributes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Fructose is addictive. Some studies say it’s more addictive than cocaine and heroin.
- Our bodies are designed to gorge on fructose because it’s such a nifty source of fat; great back in caveman days, not so much today.
- Fructose makes us eat more. Unlike all other food molecules, fructose has no corresponding “we’re full now, stop eating” switch (or enzyme) in our brain.
- This means we can keep eating and eating the stuff without getting satiated.
- It also increases another hormone, ghrelin, which makes us feel hungrier.
- Fructose makes us sick. Countless studies link fructose consumption to a host of metabolic disorders, including immune disorders, cancers, diabetes… and the list goes on.
3. What does this mean for sweet treats (even the fructose-free kind)?
- Sarah and IQS stress that we should treat cakes, cookies and desserts as “sometimes foods”, meant to be eaten one slice or portion at a time. But we can only do this when we’re not cooking with fructose.
- Studies show that when we’re not consuming fructose, the right appetite hormones switch on and you can stop after that one slice, and not need to have dessert every night.
4. What do we use when we need a little “sweetener” in our recipes?
- When using sweeteners, we prefer two options:
5. Why do we use rice malt syrup?
- Rice malt syrup is made from fermented cooked rice. It’s a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose.
- We rate it because it’s fructose-free and slow releasing, so it doesn’t dump on the liver like fructose does.
- Sarah finds that you need very little rice malt syrup to achieve sweetness. The most we use in any of our I Quit Sugar recipes is 1/2 cup for around 8 to 10 serves.
- If you’re worried about the conversation happening around arsenic levels in rice malt syrup, read our most recent post on the issue here.
6. Should you cut out ALL sugars entirely?
- Sarah’s ultimate stance is to try and take a savoury frame of mind. She emphasises swapping sweet treats (even if they contain zero fructose) for cheese and nuts. Why? Because these whole foods contain an abundance of nutrients and fibre, which slow down the absorption of the natural sugars they contain.
- Sarah’s recipes also contain very minimal amounts of sweetener, of any kind. She uses whole foods like sweet potato, coconut, coconut oil and nuts to provide the sweetness. These foods help slow down the sugar absorption so we don’t get blood sugar crashes.
- The above all represents Sarah’s main stance since she first quit sugar. The science on fructose vs. glucose has expanded since that time and she’s been challenged to stay abreast of it, but her stance remains the same.
7. What about sugar in the I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program?
- The point of the 8-Week Program is to quit your addiction to sugar, which means for 5 of the 8 weeks you quit ALL sweetener/sugar.
- Throughout the course of this “sugar detox” our hormones, metabolism and taste buds have the opportunity to recalibrate. At the end, we invite everyone to reintroduce a minimal amount of sugar and sweetener back into their diets to see if their bodies actually want anymore. Some people don’t find they want to reintroduce any at all!
- When you quit fructose, you also get your appetite back in working order… which brings about a host of health ramifications. This has been Sarah’s ultimate aim. Anyone who’s read her books know that experiencing “food freedom” is key.
- And when you quit fructose, you quit processed crap. Which really, is our ultimate aim.
8. So why isn’t our book (and website) called I Quit Fructose, then?
- To be honest, it’s not very catchy, is it?
- Plus, no one ever eats straight fructose. The bulk of our fructose consumption comes via table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, both of which most of us call “sugar”, right?
9. YOU NEED TO REMEMBER…
- Recent science suggests that ALL sweeteners pose an issue.
- Whether the sweetener you use is fake, “natural” or of the non-sugar derived, the “sweet taste” of these sweeteners can trigger blood sugar swings and cause issues with the reward centre of the brain, possibly leading to addiction issues.
- Read even more on the sugar substitute debate.
We hope this makes things clear. Feel free to post questions below if you have any.
Are you ready to transform your life and quit sugar for good?
Join us on our next 8-Week Program, starting February 2!