Top 10 Q&A’s from the guy behind That Sugar Film

that sugar film (blog3)

Want to be a part of a sugar revolution as big as tobacco was back in the 70’es? Then watch That Sugar Film when it shows in cinemas throughout the world over the next 6 months. Dr. Lustig started rocking the proverbial ‘sugar boat’ back in 2009 with his presentation Sugar: The Bitter Truth, David Gillespie raised the alarm as well in his book Sweet Poison and now That Sugar Movie is going global. It is going to happen, and it’s just the beginning.

That Sugar Film – what is it about?

Last week my husband and I were amongst the lucky people who got to watch the first preview screening of That Sugar Film in New Zealand. Having being immersed in this topic for over 3 years, I have to say that it was pretty spot on! It explains why sugar is worse than you thought (trust me, you will be surprised) and showcases real life examples from around the world. And, of course, how one man, Damon Gameau (eating a healthy diet, drinking no alcohol and taking no prescription medicine) reacts when subjected to 40 teaspoons of sugar per day over 2 months (similar to Morgan Spurlock in Super Size Me). Here is the twist though, Damon must only eat perceived ‘healthy’ food such as juice, cereals, muesli bars and low fat products. My favorite part? That this is a highly entertaining movie. I won’t lie and say I didn’t cover my face once, but it’s easy to watch, family friendly and humours. So, my dear friends, if you need to be convinced that sugar-free diets aren’t just ‘another fad’, watch this movie! (Opens in NZ cinemas May 7th, book tickets here, and will be touring South Africa, Europe and America in the following months).

TOP QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM THAT SUGAR FILM

Damon Gameau has placed himself in the line of fire after 66 screenings in Australia and now here in New Zealand. These are the top 10 questions that were asked and the answers from Damon that you really want to know:

1. What is your top tip for cutting down on sugar?

Read labels. Understanding that 1 teaspoon is 4 grams. So, if you see a product which has 20 grams of sugar, you divide that by 4 and you then know there is about 5 teaspoons in that serving. Knowing that the companies are using a vast amount of different names for sugar, though they are catching on to this message, there are something like 60 different names for sugar, like evaporated cane juice, my favourite new one is ‘grape mist’.

2. Best tip for dealing with withdrawals?

We now know that fats activate award centres in the brain, not quite as strong as sugar but in similar ways, I had avocado and a teaspoon of coconut oil with my meals. A nutritionist in Australia told me to use reversed psychology, if I had a craving have something really disgusting, like apple cider vinegar, so you brain says, well if you are going to give me that when I have a craving I’m not going to have a craving anymore, it’s a really good technique.

3. Cold turkey or doing it gradually?

It depends on how much sugar you are having in your diet. For me I would say gradual, we have to be kind to ourselves. What worked for me was to have a lot of fruit in that transition period, it has a lot of sweetness to it but the fibre is protecting us from the influx of sugar. And your palate does adjust, for me it probably took about a week, everything tasted bland and like cardboard. But, then I started noticing the subtle flavours again, it’s quite an amazing moment, even to me, now, who drank two cokes a day, I find a banana almost too sweet, so you do get through it.

4. Sugar in alcoholic drinks?

We know that a lot of the fructose is burned off in the fermentation process of alcohol. White wine, red wine is quite low in sugar. Dessert wine and champagne is higher in sugar and beer has a different type of sugar called maltose, so it obviously still affects the liver but you have to have a lot more of it to cause damage.

5. Sugar in honey?

Honey is high in fructose but if you are eating healthy, not having much sugar in your lives, a little honey is totally fine. I think we just sometimes go extreme. This sugar addiction has developed over 100 of years, it’s important to be kind to ourselves. If you have a little honey or maple syrup here or there, enjoy it.

6. Should we avoid dried fruit and certain high fructose fruits (as well as added sugar)?

I think that fruit is very important, we know from studies that fructose is affected by the fibre, it slows down the metabolism in your body, it reacts very differently than of that sugar is removed and we have it like a free sugar. Dried fruit is an interesting one. We had a scene in the film that we took out where we took a child’s lunch box and counted out that there were 91 sultanas in there, and then I took 91 grapes and I tried to eat them all but I only got through about 30 of them, I just can’t, the fibre and water. But you can have all that condensed sugar in one tiny box and get that hit. It’s probably better for you than a Mars bar but be careful with the dried fruit.

7. My kids are so headstrong – how do I convince them to eat less sugary things?

Avoid ‘cutting out’ or ‘removing something’ from the kids. You want to crowd the pantry with other things that are healthier, provide good options instead of taking something away. We have got a lot of recipes on our page that are almost a transition, so you can make banana and avocado smoothies that are still really sweet but it’s not a soft drink. There are ways of making them sweeter but still healthy too, almost like a transition phase. So there are just all these new foods ad they start loving it – there is also a free book you can download to help families, you are not alone.

8. How do you see the continuing effect of the movie and your own personal commitment beyond the film?

We are carrying on the tour, South Africa, Europe and America. And, pitching to 300 philanthropists, we were able to raise enough money to develop a school study guide from grade 5 to 11 so they can do a whole term on just the topic. They get the book and there’s an app where you scan the bar-code, the sugar cubes drop out and tells you how much sugar is in that item. It’s great fun, great for Coca Cola too, the screen just fills up. And something very dear to me is that we have been able to raise money for the Mai Wiru (Good Food) Foundation, that’s the aboriginal community in the film, we have been able to re-employ John Tregenza that’s the man in the film, he started going up there again. We have sent nutritionists up there to train some of the aboriginal people and we are going to employ them to work full time in the store and they will show the other people how to shop, how to by lower sugar food.

9. We followed your ups and downs in the movie, not only the physical ones but also psychologically, those outbursts just seemed to become the norm?

This is the conversation I would most like to have – we need to acknowledge the link between food and mental behaviour is just as important as the link between food and physical behaviour. There was a study on 800 kids in New York where they lowered their sugar intake and noticed enormous changes in their grades and behaviours. And there were schools in England and one here in New Zealand where they removed sugar and suddenly there were less detentions. It’s very real, it’s just going to take a really long time. We accept the physical aspect of it but the mental ones are going to take a bit longer.

10. What do we do to get this message about sugar though to the government?

We have to remember that 40 years ago we were having the same chat about tobacco. That conversation had to start somewhere and that’s what the film has been doing. I think that scene with the Flintstones and the cigarettes get a laugh but I reason that in 40 years we will feel the same way about an athlete endorsing Gatorade to kids or Australian cricket captain is eating KFC. I hope we get to a point where we think ‘gee that was pretty irresponsible knowing what we know now. It is coming from a grass-root level, it’s people like you who go out and spread the message and share on social media etc. We can wait for the government if we like but it will take a really long time, we might as well do it ourselves, get moving, get active, and that’s what is happening. In Australia we see screenings now for medical groups and even some education departments, nurses etc. For example, next week we are screening for a private hospital, they are showing 400 nurses because they want to change the whole food in the hospital. In a prison 200 inmates are going to watch the movie because the nutritionists there wants to take away soft drinks because it affects their behaviour. It’s happening, and it’s happening without a government, it’s though the people. That’s what we can do for now and then, if there are votes in it, the governments will come on board.

So, dear readers, if you want to be a part of a grass-roots movement that will change how the world eats and leave a legacy for your grand-kids, spread the word, watch the movie, ask for low sugar products at your supermarket, your tuck shop/can-tine/cafe and follow my blog for great tips on eating less sugar, delicious recipes and staying healthy 🙂

If you would like to see more articles like this and gluten, dairy and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page), on Facebook or Twitter.

 

How to get rid of your sugar addiction – when going out (4/4)

Friends at cafe eating (blog)

Going to a bar, café, sports game or the movies can seem almost impossible if you are planning to eat or drink anything at the venues as sugar is added to most things. Many of these businesses capitalise on the fact that you are going out to enjoy yourself. Who wants to go to a place with delicious food and drinks and feel deprived?

There is a fair few things you can do to make sure you can still go out and enjoy yourself without feeling like you are being difficult and still adhere to your life-style choice.

  • Ask your regular places (or find some new ones ) how much sugar there is in the various recipes you would normally eat or drink. Then ask for alternatives. You can ask when you are there or you can call or email them in your own time, so that when you go with your friends that, just like them, you can just look at the menu, picking something, and then enjoy it. Sorted!
  • If you are going somewhere you haven’t been before you can still contact them ahead, but if you don’t have time or only find out last minute – do some research in general. Get street-smart on sugars, know your stuff. Find out what the biggest culprits are on restaurant menus and which are the best options (this would depend on what type of food you normally go for). This will allow you to make easier choices when you have a new menu in front of you. You can, of course, always ask the staff in the venue.
  • If you have to choose something from a café to takeaway, there are usually a couple of gluten free and dairy free options, however, sugar-free is still highly unlikely to be on offer in your typical café. If you have time, order something from the sit-in menu and ask if you can take it away. Many things on lunch menus are naturally sugar-free but ‘glass cabinet’ offers typically aren’t if you are looking for lunch.
  • Finally, if you are going somewhere you know has zero options which are suitable for you, for example the cinema, bring your own snacks! (just keep in mind that some places don’t allow people to bring their own food)

I hope these tips were helpful. Please share any of your tips 🙂

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

 

 

How to get rid of your sugar addiction – visiting friends (3/4)

At home friends in the kitchen

Visiting friends or going to parties can be a minefield if you have food intolerances, allergies or you life-style choice isn’t very common (i.e. sugar-free). Hopefully you have lovely and understanding friends who accept and support your new life-style choice (that would make this easier for you). Pot lucks are great as you just cook something that you want to eat, and then bring that (check out savoury ideas here on the blog). However, you might find that some friends might hesitate to invite you over for a regular dinner because it’s too hard to figure out what to cook for you. You can, however, explain to them that, main courses shouldn’t be too difficult. Home-made, wholesome dinners don’t often have heaps of sugar in them (with the exception of a few cuisines which has many sauces with higher sugar content), so I don’t usually fret about that (it’s far more likely to have gluten in it, e.g. pasta).

Make it easy for them and say that you will bring drinks for yourself and dessert for everyone. When it comes to drinks, water is of course always best, just not as exciting as other drinks. You could jazz it up a bit and drink sparkling water and add slices of lemon and strawberry. If you are not too worried about the usual effects of alcoholic drinks on your body, just choose wisely (sugar-free or low in sugar) – keep an eye out for my post on drinks soon.

Desserts and treats are the most difficult ones to deal with – they are after all meant to be sweet and sugary. I have dragged many recipes (which are now here on the Ex-sugarholic) to work with me and asked my very helpful ‘taste panel’ to rate them and give me feedback. My aim was to make free-from recipes which tasted just as good as the sugar-laden stuff (to ‘normal’ sugar addicts). This meant that I could still bring cakes and sweets to work, have friends for dinner or visit them and everybody satisfied and happy. That being said, I don’t actually eat sugar-free ‘treats’ very often. When your body and taste buds are cleansed from the sugar addiction you just don’t feel like it that much and I tend to go for foods which are just naturally sugar-free rather than recreating something I miss. But, I like to have the option so that I can choose.

PicMonkey Collage - bring to visit friends

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about all the testing I did. Just try some recipes on this blog and then go visit your friends 🙂

Have you got any questions? Please let me know.

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

DIABETICS: Please note that the recipes containing glucose (including the following terms: dextrose, rice syrup and glucose syrup), as far as I understand, is not suitable for people with diabetes. Please see my recipes with no added sweeteners or just the natural sugar from fresh fruit. If in any doubt, please contact your health professional

 

How to get rid of your sugar addiction – at work (2/4)

business meeting with sweets

In the previous post we focussed on getting your home sugar-free, now, let’s look at what we can do about the abundance of treats which present themselves at the place we spend the majority of our wake hours during weekdays – work!

The challenges

Work was my biggest pitfall. There was always sugary treats available, in the lunch room, in the kitchen, at people’s desks and at meetings. It was hard to resist because:

1) You’re addicted, so you crave it

2) You want (need!) it if you are stressed, sad, upset etc

3) You don’t want to be rude if someone offers. “No thanks” or “I’m good thanks” (said with a smile) are the shortest ways of dealing with this (if you don’t want to spend the next 10 minutes explaining why you have gone sugar-free).

4) You don’t want to be seen as the odd one out and you want to feel a part of the group. At work, sugary treats are used as a bonding experience (the boss brings cake, going out for an ice cream, having a drink after work etc).

The solutions

1) And 2) are eliminated when you have successfully withdrawn from sugar (you simply don’t feel like it). The withdrawal itself though, takes a while and it is hard work.  I had almost uncontrollable sweet cravings, head-aches and mood swings to match a pregnant woman (now that I know what that’s like!). When I first went sugar-free, I felt a bit like Pavlov’s drooling dogs for the first two weeks whenever I sat in the vicinity of the sweet stuff. I crumbled a couple of times, but started resisting all the time with much difficulty. Then I started seeing the first benefits and gained strength and willpower from then on. After 4 weeks I noticed the ease of which I started to avoid sugary things and after 6-8 weeks I didn’t feel like it any more at all and reaped all the benefits of a sugar-free life-style.

To make this as easy on yourself as possible, make sure that you bring a lunch from home that will fill you up. Just as important – bring snacks!!! Lots of safe snacks are critical for those in-between meal cravings or if you have just been to a meeting where there was a plate full of delicious chocolates that everybody else was scoffing down. Those first couple of weeks you may last it through the meeting, but then you might feel like secretly sneaking off to a kiosk or vending machine to get a sugar kick (don’t judge me, I was an addict after all!). So, look out for my posts coming soon on weekday breakfasts, lunches and snacks (easy to make in and suitable for bringing to work).

I DON’T HAVE THE TIME! If you really, really don’t have time to prepare anything from home,  educate yourself on the amounts of sugar in food and drinks available at, or near, your work. Ask them which of their products have no added sugar (or the least, low sugar) and are low carb. Give them a call in a break or after work if you don’t want to ask in front of your colleagues. Sure it requires a little work at first but then you get to know the menu/offering at you (new) fav places and can make informed decisions on what to pick. If you can’t avoid it, it’s definitely better to reduce the amount you consume rather than carrying on eating loads of sugar.

3) And 4) – feeling ‘rude’ and left out – unfortunately won’t disappear, you just have to think about how you will deal with it. I don’t explain anything to people that I only meet briefly, if offered, a simple “I’m good thanks” will suffice. With work colleagues that I worked with often, I started explaining that I quit sugar and why (health reasons, life-style choice). After that, everything became so much easier as they actually helped. They would stop putting cake in front of me and asking if I wanted muffins, chocolate (or whatever else treat was there that day). Although the “oh you can’t have this” popped up a few times – which really just makes you feel annoyed as you want at least to be asked if you want any. After a while though, it will become a non-issue for you as you and your colleagues get used to your new life-style (but they might still think you are a bit odd, but think about all the odd habits your colleagues have, I’m sure it’s no weirder in the grand scheme of things). However, if you don’t wan’t to explain exactly why you are doing this or really don’t want to be seen as being different, you could always just say that you are “watching your weight” or that you are “on a diet” – nobody thinks that is weird, after all, most people are doing it on/off which is completely accepted part of society (although, probably not very good for you). Why not make one of the recipes from my blog and bring to your next meeting (try the banana cake – I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like this). Sorted!

If you have any questions, do ask away in the comments below and keep an eye out for the next post in this series.

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

DIABETICS: Please note that the recipes containing glucose (including the following terms: dextrose, rice syrup and glucose syrup), as far as I understand, is not suitable for people with diabetes. Please see my recipes with no added sweeteners or just the natural sugar from fresh fruit. If in any doubt, please contact your health professional.

 

How to get rid of your sugar addiction (1/4)

lady eating sugar cubes - how to get rid of your sugar addiction TEXT

Are you unable to go a whole day without eating anything sweet? Are you an emotional eater? Are your energy levels throughout the day like a roller-coaster? Do you NEED something sweet to get you going during the middle of the day, but then your energy levels drop again soon after? Are you unable to say no to people offering you treats?  If you answered yes to some or all of these questions you are likely addicted to sugar. And who can blame you – sugar is added to most processed food these days. If sugar is as addictive as cocaine and tobacco, it is really no wonder that we get hooked!

If you know that sugar is bad for you (if not, check out my last post) and you are ready to take the leap and become sugar-free, here are some top tips for kicking the sugar in a series of four blog posts 1: Starting out – at home, 2: At work, 3: Going out and 4: Visiting friends.

At home

Living on your own might make the start of a sugar-free journey easier than if you are living with someone. However, if you do live with a partner or have a family, I’d start out by getting them on-board first. If there is chocolate lying around, you might not be able to help yourself (unless you are one of those superhuman people who have an ironclad willpower). If you don’t think that this is a good option in your household, start this journey on your own but know that the sugar-free community is growing rapidly everyday, there is always help and support to be had if you know where to look (you could always start here, by following this blog by email or on Facebook). When the rest of your household witness the changes in you (For example, loosing weight, better skin, loads of energy and how much happier you are) they might be encouraged to join you on your journey. This is NOT another fad diet to try out, it is a life-style choice which will make you happier and healthier.

Before you start whipping everything out of your kitchen, just make sure that you are prepared with sugar-free substitutes. You need to have alternatives ready for when you house is ‘clean’ and you are suffering serious sugar withdrawal (no, it’s not fun the first two weeks). Otherwise, you are setting out to fail. So, if you are new to this, I’d recommend saving the link to this series of posts and then go back and start here when you have read them all). I will be following up with posts about weekday breakfasts, lunches and dinners and how to prep in advance to make life easy.

Now, are you ready to make a change? Start out by going through your pantry, make it a cool challenge, get your partner/kids to help. First, start of by binning the obvious ones, your regular sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar etc. Then proceed to look at all the processed foods (check the labels) – has is got more than 5% sugar in it? (5 gram per 100 gram). Put it all in a pile on your kitchen bench. All the whole foods (oats, coconut flakes, seeds, nuts etc) are fine, only natural (tiny) amounts of sugar there. Don’t be surprised if your seemingly innocent cornflakes, toasted muesli or energy bars are crammed with sugar. While you are at it – remove all your (wheat/gluten) flours. Gluten and wheat are just empty calories which will be turned into sugar in your body.

Woman looking into fridge

Then pull everything out of you fridge which aren’t whole foods (veggies, fruit etc). Look at the back of the labels and add anything which has more that 5% sugar in it (and wheat/gluten) to your pile on the kitchen bench (unless the sugar content it is not added sugar and comes in its original ‘packaging’, e.g. a can of apple sauce with nothing whatsoever added to it).

Now, stand back and be amazed by the amount of food that makes up your pile (hopefully your fridge and pantry are completely empty!). How big was it? If it’s wasn’t much – congratulations, it seems you sugar addiction isn’t being fuelled at home (but perhaps rather when you are out and about). Decide what to do with your haulage of sugar but make sure it leaves your house or lock it in a box and burrow it in your garden with a note as a time capsule for your future self (kidding away, I would suggest actually throwing it in the bin so it doesn’t harm someone else!).

Empty fridge      Healthy fridge

Excellent. You have taken a huge step, now you need to replace all the sugary foods with sugar-free ones. The best way is to make wholesome foods yourself and not buy any processed foods since it’s ridiculously hard to find any processed foods which aren’t sugar-free (and it’s far better for you anyway). You don’t have to make everything from scratch though, use some ‘shortcuts’ if you want. Such as buying unsweetened chocolate (instead of making the chocolate yourself – in some countries it’s really easy to get, whilst in others like NZ it’s almost impossible to find), ready to use gluten and wheat free flour-mixes, unsweetened rice-milk etc). This is where the Ex-sugarholic comes in handy – browse through and see which recipes you like/need, then go shopping and get cracking on your amazing new sugar-free lifestyle.

For weekday breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas and how they can be prepped in advance, please keep an eye on up-coming posts which will be focussing on these particular topics.

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

DIABETICS: Please note that the recipes containing glucose (including the following terms: dextrose, rice syrup and glucose syrup), as far as I understand, is not suitable for people with diabetes. Please see my recipes with no added sweeteners or just the natural sugar from fresh fruit. If in any doubt, please contact your health professional

 

How you got hooked on sugar and why it’s so bad!

sugar syringe

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you that sugar is not really healthy. Right? But, what most people probably don’t realise is just how bad and addictive it is. If you are currently a sugarholic, read on! (and keep and eye out for my next post on how to become an ex-sugarholic). If you are already on a sugar-free journey, a reminder of why we choose this lifestyle is always good.

So, how did you get hooked in the first place? Well, sugar binds itself to the same opioid receptors that drugs, alcohol and tobacco do! Following the fat-free ‘revolution’ in the 70’ies much of the fat in processed foods was replaced with sugar. This, unfortunately, means that there is added sugar in most processed foods. So, the generations growing up after the fat-free ‘introduction’ never really stood a chance of not becoming addicted in our modern and very convenient world. If we had all stuck with making everything from scratch like previous generations did, we probably wouldn’t be facing the global obesity epidemic that we are today.

The majority of this sugar consists of fructose and glucose.

Glucose is produced in our bodies and ingested through food and beverages and can be naturally broken down by every cell in the body. Glucose is the main energy source for our brain and for various processes in the body. We NEED it.

Fructose, however, is not essential and can only be broken down in the liver. Small amounts are okay as the liver can handle it and turns it into glycogen which is stored until it’s needed. If we flood our bodies with fructose the liver can’t keep up though and it’s forced to convert the fructose into fat which can cause havoc on our bodies in a multitude of ways (from tooth decay and obesity to fatty liver, diabetes, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction and heart disease). Natural fructose ingested through whole fruit is okay (as the fibre slows it down from being absorbed too rapidly in the bloodstream causing a spike in blood sugar). Juice is the one to stay away from. Juicing fruits hides the bulk that you are drinking. Think about a large glass of orange juice. It could have taken 8 oranges to make – would you ever eat that many oranges in one day? And, as mentioned, it goes straight into your bloodstream. You might as well just inject sugar right into your veins. If you stick with non-juiced fruit, it is really hard to over-eat. Just be careful with dried fruits, it’s easy to be tricked into eating too much because they take up more space than fresh versions and, hence, more concentrated.

For these reasons, you will notice that a lot of my baking uses glucose/dextrose (in the shape of glucose powder, glucose syrup and rice syrup). Important to note though is that glucose has a high Glycaemic index (GI) and is not suitable for people with diabetes (instead, please check out my low-carb recipes with no added sweetener, just fruit). Also, please note that even though we need glucose, it is a sugar and an excess can be dangerous, potentially causing obesity, diabetes and a host of other issues. All the recipes with glucose should still be considered a treat (baked goods) although some of them only has low amounts. Just eat sensibly.

Generally, many of the recipes that you can find here I only make for special occasions and a fair few of them I created or adapted during my sugar withdrawal because I craved those things I would normally eat. On a daily basis though (when you’re past the withdrawal), the main bulk of my food is wholesome and made from scratch as this is the only way to fully know what goes into your body. Yes, sure, it takes extra time, but as with anything that really matters, good things take time.

Need more information to be convinced? Check out the following:

Dr. Robert Lustig – Sugar: the bitter truth (video)

David Gillespie – Ways fructose destroys your body (article)

Nigel Latta – Is sugar the new fat?? (video)

If you would like to see more articles like this and sugar-free recipes you can follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

 

 

Using dextrose (glucose) in cooking and baking

Glucose powder loose (blog)

What is dextrose? Is it the same as glucose? What is it used for in baking? How is it different from regular sugar? How do I substitute dextrose for sugar in a recipe? Is glucose syrup the same as corn syrup? Where do I buy glucose / dextrose? This is your ultimate post on glucose / dextrose, read on to find out the answers to your questions 🙂

What is dextrose (glucose)?

Dextrose is a form of glucose. Dextrose = D-glucose, hence, the terms dextrose and glucose are used interchangeably. It’s also sometimes called corn sugar, grape sugar, crystaline glucose, wheat sugar, rice sugar or rice syrup.

The full name is dextrose monohydrate and it is a simple sugar generated from the hydrolysis of starch, most commonly corn. The corn starch is treated with naturally occurring enzymes (they same as in our mouths) or acid. There is no way around the fact that this is a processed product, but at least it simulates natural occurrences (when we eat starch, it’s hydrolyzed by enzymes and broken down further by stomach acids to for example dextrose).

Wait, hang on – I thought this was a sugar-free blog? 

I’m glad you asked. There are so many people, blogs, sites and books out there now with a “sugar-free” label. Despite that label, you may often find the following sugars in the recipes: Agave nectar, honey, brown rice syrup, glucose syrup, dextrose powder. Read about agave nectar here (to be honest, I fail to see this product as being healthy for anyone) and read about honey here (depends if you are overweight, diabetic or neither, but generally avoid it).

When it comes to brown rice syrup (also known as rice malt syrup or rice syrup), glucose syrup (also know as liquid glucose) and dextrose powder, these are all broken down to 100% glucose in our bodies. Glucose can processed by every cell in our body and is the brains main source of energy. So, not all sugar is ‘evil’, we do need some (our brains main source of energy is glucose). You just need to withdraw from your fructose addiction first before starting to swap to glucose. And even then, everything in moderation! Glucose does raise your blood sugar (blood sugar = glucose). The good part is that you will stop craving sugary things and your body will actually be able to tell you when you are hungry for real and how much you should eat. Your body has a well functioning appetite control. Unfortunately it gets over-ridden by our fructose addiction. Check out this great video from Dr. Robert Lustig which explains all the differences:

So, the main bulk of my family’s diet consist of healthy, unprocessed, home-made foods and I only sweeten with fruit such as banana and unsweetened apple sauce. However, when I would like a special treat or have friends coming over, and want to make cakes or muffins, or for physical activity, I do use dextrose (glucose). I am also currently finding out more about and experimenting with the natural (non-blood-sugar-raising) Stevia, Erythritol and Zylitol.

USING DEXTROSE/GLUCOSE IN BAKING:

Generally glucose for baking and cooking uses comes in two forms: Powder and syrup. The powder looks a lot like icing (powdered) sugar but is not quite a fine and it is only 50-75% as sweet as regular sugar. By regular sugar, I mean caster sugar (or brown sugar or raw sugar) = sucrose. These are all made up of glucose and fructose (usually in a 1:1 ratio).

Glucose (powder):

So far (I will keep updating this post when I learn new things), I have found the following (as per David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison): You can substitute sugar straight over for glucose but you need to increase the wet ingredients or decrease the dry ingredients as glucose absorbs more liquids that regular sugar. Furthermore, it seems that if you cook with glucose and it’s not covered (e.g. as in my granola) you need to reduce the temperature to around 160C (320F) as it will otherwise get a burned taste, however, if the glucose is mixed into for example cake mix, I have had no problems or burnt taste from keeping the temperature at 175C (350F). In pretty much ever other regard when it comes to baking, it acts exactly like regular sugar.

Glucose powder 2 pic (blog)

Glucose syrup / liquid glucose:

From my experiments I have so far found that you can swap this for honey in any recipe where the honey is used to make the end product sweeter (obviously honey has a distinct flavour which you don’t get from the syrup). Liquid glucose tastes sweet, but not as much as honey, however, it certainly is as thick and sticky!!!!

In contrast to glucose powder which absorbs moisture (and therefore needing extra liquids added to a recipe), glucose syrup keeps the baking moist and soft (and keeps it from going hard) as long as you don’t use too much, then it goes sticky. It is also often used in icing and ice cream to keep it from going too hard and give it that smooth texture.

NOTE: Glucose syrup is commonly derived from corn or wheat but can also be made from potatoes, rice and cassava. If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy you can safely eat glucose syrup (see more here).

Glucose syrup runny 2 pic (blog)

What’s the deal with corn syrup? Is it the same as glucose syrup / liquid glucose?

Yes and no. Well that was helpful right? The thing is, it depends on who defines it, the retailer and the country. In the US, glucose syrup is often called corn syrup because, in the States, it’s most frequently produced from corn. Makes sense, right? So, glucose syrup can be corn syrup but corn syrup isn’t necessarily glucose syrup. The difference is that corn syrup often has fructose added and the water content is slightly higher. So, if a recipe calls for corn syrup and you can’t get a hold of it, because it’s too expensive where you live or because you are avoiding fructose like me, just use glucose syrup instead and add a little extra water to the recipe (like a teaspoon or two).

In conclusion:

I find it easiest to remember that glucose swaps for regular sugar and glucose syrup swaps for honey. However, keep in mind that glucose is less sweet. I have tried quite a few recipes doing this straight swap and ‘sugarholics’ liked them all the same. Myself, now that is a different matter. I actually don’t feel much like sweet things (wow, it feels nice to be able to say this), so when I fancy an occasional treat, I will make a recipe with only 1/4 of the sugar that you would put in a traditional recipe. I now find the amount I used to crave sickly sweet.

Most of the recipes I have on my blog are a happy medium – sweet enough to bring along to visit friends (who will like it) and not too sweet for myself 🙂 So, if you are a fellow ex-sugarholic, you may be happy with the recipes as they are or possible cut down on the glucose (don’t forget to leave out a bit of liquids if using the powder version). In the opposite end, you could be a massive sugar fan and want to add in more (and then needing to add some liquid ingredients if using the powder version).

Where can I buy dextrose / glucose?

Where you can buy dextrose depends on which country you live in, but in most places you may find it at super markets, speciality stores and home brew shops (it’s used in beer and cider brewing too).

New Zealand: The powder in the top main photo I got from my local bulk shop in Auckland (Bulk Food Savings, by far the cheapest I have found at NZ $3.50 per kilo – it’s at 217 Dominion Rd but you access it from Walters Road where the Wendy’s car park is). You can also find it in home-brew shops and sections, but mainly I have seen it in the local supermarkets in smaller containers (Examples above: King Glucose – NZ$8.73 per kilo and Queen Glucose syrup – NZ$4.80 per 500 gram tub at New World). **prices updated March 20th 2015**

USA: If you have a home brew shop near you, this is probably always the cheapest option to buy dextrose powder, if not, this is the best deal I’ve found if you just want to get it shipped to your house via Amazon: Dextrose Corn Sugar 21 oz (600 gm)* (US$5.84 including shipping – US$2.4 per pound) or if you want a larger amount and cheaper by the pound: Corn Sugar 4lb* (US$14.61 including shipping – US$3.7 per pound). If you need glucose syrup (liquid glucose) please be aware that this is a minefield if you care about fructose content – on the description it sometimes says glucose and then it arrives and it’s really corn syrup (with fructose in)). I would suggest this one: Caullet Glucose Syrup – 2.2 lb* (prices updated March 20th 2015)

UK: Coming soon!

Australia: Coming soon!

Need some recipes using dextrose / glucose?

I can recommend trying the recipes in the book Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie – I have been using some of his tips and tried a few recipes. The only thing is that, for me, the recipes take some adaptation to be gluten and dairy free too (but hey-ho, I’m practically an expert in that now).

You can of course check out my recipes too (and to see more posts like this, follow my blog by email, see top right, or like it on Facebook or Twitter). Here are some recipes (using glucose) from my blog (click on the pictures to see the recipes/blog post):

_DSC0122   13   P1080053 - Copy

P1070772   P1080135   P1070648x

P1070660   P1070640 - Copy   IMG_3777

P1080396   cake   ctp_5217

*Please note that these are affiliate links. I only recommend products that I think is a good deal (because, why would anyone want to pay more than you have to if it’s the same product and quality, I have a family to feed too and always trying to save money) and are the soundest choices I have found (no dubious, unhealthy product for me thanks!). If you do decide to buy via these links you will support this page and help me keep going and bringing new great articles and recipes to you 🙂 

 

Super charged!

Just wanted to share my recent findings from quitting sugar (fructose). And when i say quitting, I don’t mean 100% because that is ridiculously difficult  (there is sugar in almost everything – the obvious ones but also fruit and vegetables) and un-needed. Unless you suffer from fructose malabsorption I wouldn’t recommend boycotting fructose completely as we need all the other goodies found in, especially, vegetables. My aim is to stay below 15 grams of fructose every day (which is the equivalent of 2 bananas, 2 Medjool dates, 5 cups of raspberries, 12 prunes, 16 passion fruits, 25 carrots or 1.5 kg of spinach – so munch away on veggies and low fructose fruit as crazy as you want, there is no way any normal person would eat too much of that).

It has been two months now, not easy, but I’m loving the effects. There are many benefits (most might say weight-loss if they are packing a couple of extra pounds), but my main one is that I used to have energy slumps throughout the day. I work regular hours and and would come home from work and have little energy to do anything (cooking, exercising and even walking the dog took so much effort). Now, I’m full of energy all day long (good for work) and can give my home life the same attention my work gets (good all around).  As I am a bit of a statistics nerd I tracked my productivity and came up with the diagrams below (before and after). Would love to hear from anyone else out there on a fructose free journey. And, if you are considering if it is worth the trouble, I would recommend reading The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie – food for thought!

Sugar - productivity

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