Sugar sugar everywhere and not a drop to, um, eat…

Since I came back from holidays (food and alcohol fest) I have been living the sugar free diet. Now that I’m in week three and can write about it calmly and objectively, rather than from a cravings hole of despair, I thought I’d give it a go.

Firstly, the motivations. A dear friend is on her second go round with cancer, and diet has become a significant thing she can positively influence, in amongst the traditional treatments. Cutting out sugar is the key thing. Which sent me down a huge rabbit hole of how it all works.

For those of you who know me, the fact that it is the latest diet espoused by a TV personality is more likely to make me disbelieve than anything else. But I’ve been looking at a ketogenic diet in relation to other serious diseases, so I knew there was some significant merit in reducing carbs. Cue me reading books and scientific papers about human biochemistry and the way our body uses and responds to sugar. Fascinating stuff, even if I have become a conversational bore.

So, after two weeks, here is my experience:

  • For those not on the diet for medical, disease fighting reasons, you don’t have to eliminate all sugars, just fructose
  • Good luck doing that, because everything is packaged by the title ‘sugars’
  • Fructose makes up half of sugar as we know it (the good ole white stuff) so the easiest way is to avoid anything with added sugar
  • Good luck with that too, because sugar has been added as a cheap filler to just about every product that gets made, even the savoury ones and especially the ‘low fat’ versions of things
  • Unlike other energies, fructose isn’t recognised by our self-regulating mechanisms, so it goes straight into the liver where any excess (which happens after a surprisingly small amount) gets pumped straight into your blood supply as fatty acids (nice)
  • The headache was worse for me than the cravings – three days of constant dull thumping until I came through to the other side
  • The promised bright side: resetting my body so I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full (no more calorie counting) and no need to go to the gym to attempt to burn off fat – yay!
  • The downsides – restaurants are a pain, but I’m a good old fashioned meat eater, so a plain steak and jacket potato are easily allowed for a nice night out

Christmas is coming, so there will be a few treats in the coming weeks. I’m not foolish enough to think there won’t be. But the reality of reading the latest research (and the horrendous flaws that made up the current guidelines) has made me want to give it a shot long term, rather than doing it just because of Davina grinning from the front of her latest cookbook.

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