One of the glummest faces I see in my GP work is on the face of a person who has just been diagnosed with diabetes who is facing the prospect of giving up sugar. There is a lot of misunderstanding of what sugar actually is.

What is Sugar?

Most people think sugar is just the white stuff that is put in tea and coffee and found in abundance in sweet things like cakes and puddings. Table sugar is sucrose, and it is broken down in your digestive system to the two simple sugars – glucose and fructose.

Fructose is the natural sugar found in fruit.

Glucose is the building block of nearly all carbohydrates, like bread, potatoes and pasta. These things don’t taste sweet but when they are broken down in your gut they are absorbed as pure sugar. They are in fact sugar!

So sugar doesn’t necessarily mean sweet! So what does ‘giving up sugar’ really mean?

What Happens When You Eat Sugar?

Whether you eat sweet sugary things, or mashed potatoes, they are absorbed into your body as the same thing – sugar. This prompts your body to produce insulin, with the consequent effect of fat lay down. The degree to which this happens is dependent on the glycaemic index and glycaemic load of the food.

The big problem is that too much sugar from any source, makes you fat.

Giving Up Sugar – Is It Feasible Or Even Necessary?

giving up sugar

Giving up sugar would involve cutting out all fruit, all sweet things, all processed food, nearly all pre-made food, and all carbs. You could easily survive, and be quite healthy doing this, but what would be your purpose?

If you want to get healthier, lose weight or have better control over your diabetes, reducing your sugar intake is definitely a great start. But you don’t have to go the whole hog in giving up sugar to make a big difference.

Easy ways to reduce the sugar load you put into your body include:

  1. Having smaller portions of carbs, have more veggies to compensate
  2. Eating carbs that have a low glycaemic index, e.g. whole grain rice, spelt, pasta (instead of the white stuff)
  3. Eating carbs that have a low glycaimic load, e.g. berries are a good choice of fruit because they are lower in sugar
  4. Creative alternatives to carbs, e.g cashew hummus instead of the usual stuff that is high in carbs.

Too much sugar and carbs in your diet doesn’t just expand your waist line, it really wrecks your health. When you get to grips with this area of your eating you can really make massive improvement to your health, without giving up sugar altogether.

I’ve seen patients (but not as many as I would like) reverse their diabetes by getting a good understanding about carbs – and of course putting that into practice!

You can learn a lot more about this on Uber Slim and really get your health and weight heading in a better direction.

Have an Uber Health week!

Dr Julie