The ‘quit sugar’ movement has become very popular and is frequently talked about in the media and online. This leads to a lot of fear and confusion as people wonder: should I quit sugar? Is all sugar bad for my health?
The answer in short is NO! Read below to find out why and what you should keep an eye on instead.
Why you should NOT quit all sugar?
‘Quitting’ all sources of sugar in the diet is not recommended. In order to eliminate all sources of naturally occurring and added sugars from your diet, you would need to be on a very restricted diet. Overly restrictive diets are almost always lacking in many essential nutrients.
Fruit is a great example. The naturally occurring sugar in fruit is fructose. Advocates of the ‘no sugar diet’ advise that fruit must go! Fruit is actually very nutritious however. Along with the fructose, fruit also contains dietary fibre critical for bowel health, and vitamins such as vitamin C. Cutting fruit out would mean that you miss out on these other important nutrients. The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest 2 serves of fruit a day for adults.1
Another example is dairy, which contains the naturally occurring sugar lactose. Milk, yoghurt and cheese are an essential part of the diet as they provide calcium, phosphorous and vitamin B12. Cutting these out could be detrimental to your bone health long-term.
There is one type of sugar that we should keep an eye on however, read below to find out what!
What sugar should I focus on?
It is recommended that Australians aim to limit their intake of added sugars.1 Added sugars are often present in high amounts in many processed and packaged foods and drinks. Think cakes, biscuits, lollies, desserts, juices, soft drink, energy drinks, pre-mixed alcoholic beverages. It is also important to consider less obvious sources of added sugar such as yoghurt, frozen meals, and canned fruit.
The aim here is to limit intake, not eliminate completely. This would be unrealistic and cutting out any food usually just makes you crave it more! A small amount of added sugars as part of a balanced diet is absolutely fine.2
Tips for reducing added sugars
So there you have it! Just keep an eye on your added sugars and try to keep to a minimum as much as you can.