Given up sugar for lent? What does that really mean? Maybe you’ve decided to stop Netflix and chocolate binging or have thrown out your sweet stash to try and avoid that sugar high and instead are stocking up on Nakd Bars – because that’s the healthier option (I mean, Medjool dates have natural sugars after all!) If you’re biting your way through a Nakd Bar or a “sugar-free” bliss ball that’s packed with dates – STOP the chomp! You’ve been caught in the “no refined sugar” trap!

(Find the original article, ‘What Does “No Sugar” Really Mean?’) here.

Your fruity smoothie may claim that it’s made with “no added sugar” and your muffin may be “refined sugar-free”, but according to Sarah Wilson (author of ‘I Quit Sugar’), “No refined sugar is actually a misleading line that manufacturers are using to confuse us.”

What?! Looks like it’s time to debunk the myths, and explain what “sugar-free” actually means once and for all.

WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY “NO SUGAR”
When we say “no sugar” what we mean is no “fructose”. Despite the name, our I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program focuses on giving up a specific type of sugar – fructose. That’s because while other sugars (like glucose, dextrose, maltose and lactose) are safe to eat in moderation, fructose is not.

Fructose is addictive. It makes us fat and even sick. So where is fructose found? One of the worst offenders is sucrose (or ordinary table sugar), which is made up of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose.

But because fructose also features in so many sugar substitutes like dates, honey and even agave (roughly 90 percent fructose!) we also avoid them and opt for fructose-free alternatives like rice malt syrup and stevia (in moderation!) instead.

WHAT FOOD LABELS MEAN WHEN THEY SAY “NO ADDED SUGAR”

Many foods labelled “no added sugar” are still packed with fructose. Which in case you missed it above, is a problem!

One of the worst offenders is a bottle of no added sugar apple juice, which contains more sugar than a can of Coke! This sugar is also fructose (again, see above!). Fructose from fruit may be “natural” but a glass of juice contains more apples than you’d ever eat whole in one go. And the juice lacks the fibre required to slow the absorption of this fructose, so it hits your liver all at once.

Other misleading “no-added-sugar” labels include dried fruit, muesli studded with sultanas, jams and flavoured yoghurts. All have technically no sugar added on top of the fruit. All are fructose bombs.

WHAT HEALTH STORES (AND SOME WELLNESS BLOGGERS) MEAN WHEN THEY SAY “NO REFINED SUGAR”

Raw. Vegan. Refined sugar-free. Your “healthy” carrot cake may be delicious, but it’s certainly not really sugar-free. While your local health food cafe (or wellness blogger) will woo you with delectable desserts claiming to be made without refined sugar, the reality is that most are sweetened with dates, honey and maple syrup.

And these fructose-filled sweeteners will have exact same damaging effects on the body as traditional refined sugar does!

Besides, says Sarah “Seriously, agave and most honey is also ‘refined’. If the nutrients in honey are what you love, eat some whole fruit or a good meal instead!”

Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar and Simplicious will be available for purchase from the Move Your Frame Shop soon.

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