Sugar makes you overeat

PAncake stack (blog)

If you have been following this blog for a while you probably already know that fructose isn’t good. New research presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology shows that all sugar isn’t all the same when it comes to hunger and feeling full. This research investigated the differences between fructose and glucose by showing images of food to volunteers whilst they were having a fMRI scan of their brain.

The results indicated that*:

  • Eating or drinking fructose triggers the reward circuits in your brain and makes you want to eat when you see something desirable (such as cake), even if it’s just an ad on TV or a picture (I’m sure marketeers are aware of this, perhaps without understanding the reasons!).
  • Fructose does not make you feel very full.
  • Glucose, on the other hand, makes you feel more sated and hence you don’t feel like overeating.

So, what does this mean for you?

This makes all the difference in the world if you want to loose weight or just be healthy. Be aware, however, that most table sugar and sugar added to processed foods are made up of a combination of fructose and glucose. Choose your sugars wisely. If you cook and bake, swap fructose for glucose. Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy and the sole energy source for the brain.

This doesn’t mean that you should start overindulging in glucose Don’t eat more than you normally would  of fructose rich foods. But, if you want a healthy life style, you can start by swapping sugars, then slowly reduce your intake and you will notice that your taste-buds all of a sudden become less sweet. You then don’t want to eat as many sweet things and if you carry on, eventually you don’t want sweet things at all. No willpower needed to resist the sweets, just your cleansed body telling you what you need.

You can also use alternative sweeteners (non-sugars). If you want to know more, please follow my blog.

Follow me here (via email, see top right on this page) or on Facebook.

*I use the word indicate as the sample size was  only 24 people.

 

 

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

 

Homemade Nutella

First, apologies for the week-long absence! My computer crashed, then I thought I would get it back yesterday, but it turns out that is impossible to resurrect it 😦 So, I now have a brand new computer to blog from!

I had a request for my healthy copy-cat Nutella recipe – so here it is (shop-bought Nutella is crammed full of sugar and 20% oil, this recipe only has 2 table spoons of oil + what is in your chocolate). Please note that this is not dairy or sugar free, but it IS palm oil free and gluten free as long as the chocolate is. Please see further below for a “free-from” chocolate spread.

Main (blog)

GLUTEN FREE – EGG FREE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

1 cup of hazelnuts
250 grams (8.8 ounces) of milk chocolate
2 table spoons of an oil that doesn’t solidify at room temperature, e.g canola oil

In terms of chocolate, I made mine with Whittaker’s Creamy Milk which is perfect, but I think mainly sold in New Zealand (Whittaker’s is a very popular brand here). However, if you can’t get this, aim for a milk chocolate which is (like Whittaker’s Creamy milk) around 33% cocoa solids, 30% milk solids, pure cocoa butter and no added vegetable fats (let me know if you find another brand that tastes just like Nutella in the final recipe).

Directions:
Heat oven to 175C (350F).

Place hazelnuts in one layer on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 8-12 minutes. When the skins start to crack, take them out and let them cool down. If you haven’t roasted hazelnuts before you will notice a beautiful aroma spreading in your kitchen…. Like Nutella! It’s the roast hazelnuts that give it that unique flavour.

1 2

While the nuts cool down melt the chocolate at low heat over a water bath, stir continuously (don’t let it get too hot, don’t let the water touch the chocolate bowl or it will burn and the chocolate will be ruined). When all lumps are nearly melted, take the bowl off the water bath. Let it cool for 10-20 min, or however long it takes, before it’s room temperature.

Place the hazelnuts in a tea towel or similar and rub until most the skins come off. Flatten the tea towel and run a flat hand over them to separate the nuts from the skins. Put the nuts in a food processor and combine until smooth (or keep crunchy if you like the texture, I know I do!). Then add the oil and your melted chocolate when it’s ready and process for another couple of minutes until its as smooth as you desire. If you want it completely smooth, strain it though a cloth (I skip this step as I don’t mind).

Transfer to a jar and you can munch away on your own home made Nutella 🙂

The all-you -can-eat chocolate spread

Right, so here comes my first attempt at a sugar, dairy, gluten and palm oil free version. Disclaimer! This does not taste exactly as the real deal, more like a dark chocolate version of Nutella. However, as I pondered how to alter my attempt to get closer to the Nutella taste, I found myself having a spoonful…. Then another spoonful and soon I had devoured about a third of the jar! Well luckily it is not specifically unhealthy haha… So, whilst I keep trying to find the perfect free-from “tastes-like-Nutella” recipe (and keep test-tasting), here is a super delicious, smooth and creamy dark chocolate hazelnut spread.

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:
1 cup of hazelnuts

80g cacao (or high quality cocoa)

4 tbsp coconut oil

100g cocoa butter, cut into inch size pieces

3/4 cup water

100g dextrose

Directions:

Process the cacao and 2 tbsp melted coconut oil until smooth. Transfer chocolate paste to a separate container. Add the cocoa butter to the food processor and mix until you have a grainy texture, it doesn’t matter if there are a couple of bigger pieces.

8 9

Pour the water into a bowl over a water bath. Add the chocolate paste and the cocoa butter to the water. Mix with a fork (it will be lumpy). Warm up slowly over low-medium heat until it is a completely smooth liquid, set bowl aside to cool while do do the next part.

10 11

Now, process the roasted hazelnuts until as smooth as possible.

4 5

Add 2 tbsp melted coconut oil to the hazelnut paste and process until smooth. Then add the chocolate liquid and process again. If you want it completely smooth, strain it though a cloth (I skip this step as I don’t mind).

6 7

Then, all you have to do is pour it into a jar and try not to eat it all straight away!

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

12 13

Fructose free “Heinz” ketchup!

I admit to the hideous crime of having covered vast amounts of my food in the past in ketchup…. (which contains 30% sugar!). I blame it on my sugar addiction though. And possibly a little bit on not having time to cook proper food – after-all, ketchup can make most bad foods taste better haha…

So, anyways, since I quit fructose, I have been trying to make replacement recipes. My preferred brand has always been Heinz and my other half’s has always been Watties. None of the first recipes were particularly successful, but then I stumbled across one on http://www.topsecretrecipes and thought I would have a bash at replacing the sugar in the recipe which turned out perfect!!! I actually ended up with a product that we both liked by using a Wattie’s tomato paste for the “Heinz” recipe – success!!! This recipe does have a tiny amount of fructose, see comment at the bottom.

CTP_5217

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

One 6-ounce (170 ml) can tomato paste or puree – although, I have made a version with a 10 ounce (285 ml) can too. Less sugar and still tastes awesome! (I use Wattie’s Tomato Puree)
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) dextrose (glucose) powder
1/2 cup (120 ml) white vinegar
1/4 cup water (60 ml)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

IMG_3664  IMG_3667

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot on medium heat and stir well. When it starts to boil, immeadiately reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring often. Remove the pot from the heat and cool down. Transfer to your desired container and store in the fridge.

By the way,  this recipe does have a bit of fructose in it (tomatoes naturally have fructose but only around 1%. Puree is concentrated however, even still, each 30 ml portion of this recipe has less than 1 gram. Keeping me well under my 15 gram per day goal.

Chocolate peanut butter spread

PC spread

This evening I felt like something chocolatey in particular and more precisely, Nutella….. drool…   I created a palm oil free version last year (palm oil plantations are destroying most of the worlds pristine jungles and the animals in them, like tigers and orangutans – just so that we can buy cheaper products as this is a cheap oil).  And this recipe is glorious! Nobody I have served it too can tell the difference between that and Nutella (please ask me if you would like the recipe).

However, that recipe does have dairy and sugar in it, so, whilst I wait for my latest shipment (including cacao butter – I need this to make a good version) to arrive in the post I came up with this quick solution to pour over some muffins I made yesterday (muffin version of my pear and blueberry loaf). It doesn’t taste like Nutella but rather like peanut butter meets chocolate bar and gets a kiss 😉

VEGAN – GLUTEN FREE – LOW FRUCTOSE – PALM OIL FREE

Ingredients:

3 tbsp cacao powder

3 tbsp peanut butter (use 100% pure peanut butter – I found that most cheaper brands have a disgusting amount of sugar, added oil and additives in it – you can even make your own. Pop peanuts in a blender, combine and done!)

1-2 tbsp Dextrose (glucose) powder

1 tbsp oil (I used canola)
Ingredients

Combine all ingredients with a fork. Change any ingredient to your liking to make it sweeter, more cocoay (is that a word?) or less runny. Voila!

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

Pizza crust

Pizza crust

Multiple times I have bought the ready made gluten free pizza bases in the super market and to my disappointment found that (like many other gluten free products)… they taste a bit like card board. So, I was mightily pleased when I found a homemade recipe which was delicious. I adapted this one from Wheat Belly to be diary free as well.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (almond meal)
1/4 cup chana (chickpea) flour
1/4 ground flaxseeds (linseeds)
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or other oil
1/4 cup water

Mix almond meal, chana flour, flaxseeds, onion powder, garlic powder, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl. Stir in the eggs, oil and water and mix thoroughly. Spread a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray /pizza sheet. Place the dough on the parchment paper and lay a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough. Flatten with a rolling pin into desired size (depends on how thick you want the crust). Then remove the top layer of parchment paper and use a utensil to form a crust edge. Bake for 20 minutes at 175C. Then throw on your favorite toppings and pop back into the oven for 10 minutes.

I make several of these crusts at the time to pop in the freezer for those long days where there is little time and no energy to cook.

%d bloggers like this: