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Long being touted as a worthy low calorie replacement for fat, sugar of late has become public enemy number one. A series of books has been published with alarming claims about the danger of sugar in even small quantities. One of the more publicised books is “Sweet Poison” written by David Gillespie. In this book the author makes claims that sugar is toxic to our bodies and is one of the main causes of western disease like heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Many who have tried no sugar diets have found incredible weight loss results and improvement in health.

So is sugar really toxic to our bodies? Is sugar poison?

Studies carried out testing this very question has been less convincing. There is some evidence that shows sugar alone can cause damage to our livers, including increased blood lipids and blood pressure, however these results have mainly been seen in mice being fed much larger quantities that the average person.

The theory that our consumption of sugar has dramatically increased in the last 15 years, coinciding with increased rates of overweight and obesity, heart disease and diabetes over the same period is one of the central arguments used to support the toxic sugar theory. However what is less spoken about is over the same time period, average consumption of total calories has also sky rocketed along with a sharp decline in physical activity. In fact the average weight gained over this time period is accounted for by the extra calories that we are consuming.

As you can see, the argument that sugar is clearly accountable for all our health issues is not as simple as some claim. There seem to be many factors at play.

So what about the incredible success of no sugar diets?

As mentioned earlier, many who have cut sugar out of their diets have experienced great weight loss results and other health benefits. Surely this is evidence enough you say? Well not exactly.

Think about the types of foods that are high in added sugar. Many of these foods are also high in calories and fat. Many of these foods are highly processed with added sodium. When people go on a diet to cut out sugar, they are also cutting out most take away foods and most processed foods. When people cut out sugar, they tend to replace processed foods with extra vegetables, legumes and high fiber alternatives.  A no sugar diet is also very likely to be lower in calories which can explain the weight loss.

So do no sugar diets work? Absolutely. But the reason they work may in part be due to sugar, and in part due to the benefits of a diet higher in whole foods lower in processed foods. By choosing foods that are whole and un processed, high in fiber and low in salt, you are also choosing a diet that is low in sugar without even knowing it! If you eat this way you will most likely lose weight and enjoy significant health benefits along the way.

Author | David Finnin | Accredited Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist |http://www.dietforyou.com.au

  • The person who suppiled the information in this article obviously isn’t aware that some vegetables actually contain natural sugar. There is a few that also naturally contain salt. Not all vegetables have a high fibre content. You need to eat a lot of vegetables and drink plenty of water to get enough fibre to avoid constipation. Not having a good balance of protein and good carbohydrates to have a balanced diet. Yes there are good and bad carbohydrates. There is reliable lists on google. They are very similar to those used by accredited dieticians, nutritionists etc.

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  • No way! Its all in moderation

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  • no it is not, i would rather have sugar than the substitutes!

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  • This was an interesting mini article. Thanks for posting!

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  • Surely the correct response to this question is that all things are alright in moderation!

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  • A really informative article. I try to live by everything in moderation. Everyday there is new research showing a different argument to the affect of foods. So I say you can’t go too wrong if you eat a balanced diet with some treat now and then.

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  • yep everything in moderation! a little bit of sugar is fine , i think!

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  • Moderation is the key. Unfortunately sugar is added to most things to make it last longer.

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  • I think we should stop adding sugar to foods, it’s good in moderation but everything these days has sugar and it’s just not good.

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  • Anything is poison in excess

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  • I just could not believe how many teaspoons of sugar were being added to things – got me back to baking so I know what is in what I am eating and I have cut right down on packaged foods because of it

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  • I think we should stop adding sugar to foods. Naturally occurring sugars are fine in small doses.

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  • great artical… i personally believe nothing eatable can be harmful unless taken in large quantity… including sugar and salt !


    • I agree with you, some things in moderation are okay to have I say.

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  • sugar can become poisonous because it causes a lot of problems

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  • I don’t think it is poison I think it is addictive

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