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Is Sugar Killing Us?


___________________________ Guest post by Hannah (@han.holistichealth on instagram)

The health industry has recently been placing a lot of focus on sugar, America is now implementing a sugar tax, it’s the new fad diet and companies are bringing out sugar-free alternatives to their product lines. But is sugar really killing us like they claim? No. Sugar is not killing us, and if you hear me out, I’ll explain why.

Sugar is a carbohydrate and our body needs carbs as they provide our body with energy. Carbs are components of our DNA and RNA, and vital to the general functioning of our body. There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. In this article we are going to discuss simple carbs (sugar).



Simple carbs are the sweet stuff like lollies, cake and cereals. They are very quickly broken down and absorbed by the digestive system. Simple carbs are single chain carbon molecules and are, in the chemistry world, monosaccharides and disaccharides. Lets focus on the monosaccharides, as you’ll come across them a bit more. Fructose, glucose, galactose and ribose are all monosaccharides. They get absorbed into the bloodstream almost immediately and give you that sugar rush… but also that crash in energy levels.

The problem with simple carbs is that because they do get absorbed so quickly, it also means that they get used up very quickly, resulting in ‘yo-yoing’, or inconsistent energy levels.

As previously mentioned, there are different types of sugars. The body metabolises and stores each sugar differently. The two most common sugars are glucose and fructose, they come together to be called sucrose and the percentage of fructose to glucose is what makes the difference.



Glucose is the most abundant sugar in nature and is important for human nutrition (you’ll notice a lot of athletes will take glucose sachets before a long run or intensive exercise). The body primarily uses glucose (glycogen) for the normal function of the body, it can draw from fat and protein but it requires a lot more time to be able to break down the fat and protein to get the energy out.



Fructose is the sugar from fruit. It is the sweetest sugar, and it metabolises quite differently to glucose. Instead of being metabolised throughout the whole body, it is broken down in the liver. It doesn’t raise the body’s insulin levels as much as glucose, so we feel less satiated. On top of that, it also damages the liver and is a cause of weight gain.
Foods to avoid with high amounts of fructose are: high fructose corn syrup, palm sugar, golden syrup, dried fruit and foods with added dried fruit, overly-ripened fruit (the riper the fruit, the higher percentage of fructose).



Some foods that have a good glucose:fructose ratio include: grapefruit, raw apricots, rhubarb, nectarine, plum, banana (make sure the banana isn’t overripe otherwise it will have high levels of fructose), orange, strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, and raspberries.

Notice that the foods listed above are all wholesome foods that contain fibre, which help to reduce the glycemic index of a meal (see below). Fibre slows down the digestion of the sugar so that it is slowly released into the blood stream, which means energy levels are more stable. In juices, the same levels of fibre are not present, and so the glycemic index of juice is often higher than that of it’s solid counterpart.



Glycemic index is a ranking system of 0 to 100 depending on how quickly the blood glucose levels change after eating. High GI foods are those that are quickly absorbed and result in a spike in glucose levels, whereas Low GI foods are slowly absorbed and maintain a more consistent glucose level in the blood. Low GI foods also help with weight management as we feel fuller for longer.
Some foods that are Low GI are: oats, fruit, vegetables, and most nuts.


Image References:

Sugar Bowl –

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Don’t Diet


Dieting is something you should avoid at all costs. Rather, you should be eating healthy all the time. That’s not to say that you can’t have a treat every now and then within reason, but for the most part, it is about understanding the foods which help increase your metabolism, and those which slow it down and hinder your body’s ability to burn fat. When it comes to nutrition, don’t trust anyone. Do the research, and make informed decisions that make sense to you. There are a multitude of contradicting opinions, so it’s time to form your own.



Protein aids in muscle development and recovery. It also assists in maintaining your daily energy levels and mental performance. Proteins cannot be stored in the body for long, so they are continually broken down, which means it is important to replenish them daily. Generally speaking, an individual usually needs 1 gram of protein for each kilogram they weigh, everyday.

GOOD SOURCES OF PROTEIN – Eggs, Fish (particularly salmon), Meat, Chicken, Quinoa, Almonds



Good fats, (like saturated fat), increase the metabolic process to burn off unwanted fats (like trans fats), whereas bad fats will increase fat storage.

BAD FATS INCLUDE – Hydrogenated oil, Canola and Vegetable oil, Margarine and Butter substitutes.

GOOD FATS INCLUDE – Olive oil, Coconut oil, Eggs, Avocado, Raw nuts, Omega 3, Butter in moderation.



Carbohydrates are found in just about every food we eat. Once consumed, our body breaks them down into glucose, which provides us with the fuel we need to function. There are good and bad carbs though, and this is where we talk about high and low G.I (Glycemic index).

High G.I foods are processed in our body much quicker, raising our blood sugar levels faster than that of Low G.I foods. Low G.I foods are a more sustainable energy source, helping keep our blood sugar levels within an acceptable range, allowing our bodies to burn more fat.

GOOD CARBS INCLUDE – Millet, Quinoa, Sweet potato, Fruit and Veg, Steak, Chicken, Fish, Eggs

BAD CARBS INCLUDE – White stuff!, White bread, White flour, White Grains, Crackers, Pasta from white grains/flour, Potatoes, Pastries

NOTE: Dairy is okay (for some people) provided it is as unprocessed as possible.



Eating excessive amounts of sugar raises your blood sugar levels, causing your body to release more insulin. This increase causes you to store more fat. It then takes your blood sugar level from high, to an extreme low, where you will find yourself hungry, fatigued and craving sugary foods.

Some sugary foods include – Juices, Soft Drink (even coke zero), Salad Dressings, Muffins, Breads, Chocolate and confectionary (obviously…)



Processed foods are full of harmful chemicals, which our liver must work hard to filter. Our liver also breaks down fats for us, but when it has to deal with processed foods it cant always get the job done properly. As a result, we are making it difficult for our body to burn fat.

Some harmful substances to look out for include:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • High fructose corn syrup often found in wholemeal breads, cereals and yoghurts that are advertised as health products
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Processed soy products