It’s ‘sugar free’, so it’s healthy!

I keep on reading articles and social media posts about ‘sugar-free’ recipes and getting angry, so I thought I would tone down the rage and write to hopefully inform and educate without getting ranty.  I would also like to state at this point that I eat sugar, I am not sugar-free.  I do limit how much I have and eat a very good diet alongside the odd slice of cake, or biscuit.  I’m not perfect, I don’t expect you to be either.  What upsets me is that I don’t like it when people eat something that they think is really healthy and can eat as much as they like of it, when in fact it should be eaten in moderation.

It is fully acknowledged by everyone that sugar is bad for you.  It is, in fact, sugar, rather than most fats that cause the internal damage – cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic internal inflammation and all sorts.  Due to this, there has been a growing awareness around sugar alternatives that are a better choice in terms of the impact on your health.  Xylitol, maple syrup, dates etc.  However, I’m about to possibly put a cat amongst the pigeons and say that they aren’t that good for you either and should be limited as well.  There is an argument and research that shows that having sweeteners and sugar alternatives can still lead to weight gain and the health issues that go alongside because the brain recognises the sweetness, but doesn’t get the calories it’s expecting, so you eat more. It also can lead to increased sugar cravings as well.

The sugar that is the worst for you is high fructose corn syrup as it causes mayhem with insulin production, which with overexposure to leads to insulin resistance, fat storage, type 2 diabetes and all the associated health issues.  Also ‘foods’ made with high fructose corn syrup are highly processed and devoid of nutrition which is also why they are so bad for you. 

The thing that irritates me about all the recipes with other forms of ‘healthy’ sugar in is that they still contain sugar. Yes, it might be alongside other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial to you, but there is still an impact on insulin production, fat storage, and/or the sweetness receptors in our brain.  It also means that people might be eating a lot of sugar in the form of a fruit smoothie that is ‘good for you’ but if you have 4 or 5 pieces of fruit that you drink in a short amount of time, you are having a sugar overload.  (Did you know that with the 5 A Day campaign, you should only have a maximum of 2 fruits, and the rest should be vegetables?). This is also the case with energy balls and the Nakd bars etc. Yes, they are much better than a mars bar, but they do contain a large number of dates, and if you have too many, the impact on your health is not good.

So in a nutshell, be mindful of how much sugar you are having, healthy or otherwise as it can be the case that there is too much of a good thing.

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