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, so we set out to answer all the questions you may have.
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!
Why is fructose bad for us?
Fructose passes directly to our livers and promotes fat storage. Fructose can only be processed by the liver, which puts immense strain on this organ and is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fructose is also addictive and makes us eat more because there is no ""we're full now, stop eating"" switch (or enzyme) in our brain. It mucks around with our hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin, leaving us feeling hungrier.
In short, fructose makes us sick. Countless studies link fructose consumption to type-2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cancer, heart disease, stroke and more. You can read more about why fructose is so bad for us here.
How much sugar can I consume per day?
We recommend sticking to the 6-9 teaspoons of free sugar per day(3 for kids), which is in line with the World Health Organisation. Less is better if possible!
Free sugars include refined sugars added to processed foods, as well as natural sugars found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. Free sugars don't include the sugars found in milk (lactose) or fresh fruit and vegetables.
Wait, doesn't fruit contain fructose?
We know, fruit has sugar in it, but whole fresh fruit also has plenty of fibre, nutrients and other goodies to help us metabolise the sugar and slow down the sugar dump on your liver. We love our fruit whole, not juiced or dried.
What about the sugars that are naturally occurring in ingredients like vegetables, whole grains or dairy?
There's no limit on how many vegetables, whole grains or full-fat dairy products you can consume. It's no secret we love veggies and eat them in abundance! However, yes, they do all contain a small amount of natural sugars, but not the kind we're focusing on avoiding.
What do we use when we need a little “sweetener” in our recipes?
When using sweeteners, we prefer two options:
- Rice malt syrup: a complex carbohydrate blend of glucose and maltose, which is 100% fructose-free.
- Stevia: a plant-derived sweetener that's 100% fructose-free and great for diabetics because it doesn't raise blood sugar levels.
Should you cut out ALL sugars entirely?
We emphasise 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.
A savoury state of mind is best. Consuming sweet flavours of any kind encourages your “sweet tooth”, making it more difficult to stay off the hard stuff. Plus ALL sweeteners – fructose-free or not – can raise insulin somewhat and cause a metabolic response (albeit some in a much more manageable way).
Check out a round-up of our most popular FAQ's here!
Need more help?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to assist!