Hello. I was recently told that I need to avoid sugar. What does that mean? I’m honestly confused by it all.
Hi, you’ve come to the right place. There are so many names for sugar that it’s almost ridiculous at this point. You’re about to dive deep into a really big topic and there’s a lot of confusing information out there. First, let’s start with some basics, then I’ll give you resources to keep you going.
Sugar: When people use this word, they’re usually referring to white sugar from sugar cane. Sugar cane makes cane juice, molasses, white sugar, raw sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, and several others.
Fructose: The natural sugars found in fruit.
Lactose: The natural sugars found in milk.
Unrefined Sugar: Forms of sweeteners that aren’t from sugar cane that are closer to a natural state. We call them unrefined because unlike white cane sugar, the nutrients are still in place. Examples include date sugar, honey, molasses, and maple.
Ose: Ingredients ending with “ose” indicate a form of sugar. Examples: Dextrose, Lactose, Fructose.
Now, when someone is told to “avoid sugar” it’s important to get clarity from their doctor. For example, a cane sugar allergy is different from fructose intolerance. There are so many different medical conditions that require sugar avoidance, so you’ll need to know which category you fall into.
Kid Three is intolerant to cane sugar, and sugar alternatives. Fruit sugars don’t count against him because the fiber is there. He can’t have more than one cup of milk on an empty stomach due to the natural sugars. More than that and you’re looking at a problem. Each person will have a unique diagnosis and foods they need to eliminate, or consume in smaller amounts.
Depending on the condition you have, you might have a level of tolerance as well. You’ll have to figure that out as you go. For example, those with a fructose intolerance must also eliminate some vegetables due to their natural sugar content, so knowing why you’re sugar free is important.
The biggest tip to getting started: shop the perimeter of your grocery store. With the exception of added sugar in yogurt and flavoured milks, you’ll find little to no added sugar in the perimeter of a grocery store. Keep your meals simple for the first 20 – 30 days as your body adjusts.
Keep a detailed food journal so you can track the changes. The Whole 30 diet and AIP Paleo diets will be two of the best for sugar free. There are also several great cookbooks for those diet types. Whilst Paleo is also sugar free, they liberally lean into “legal” sugars such as maple, date, and honey. That might not be helpful for you.
SCD and GAPs are both sugar free too, but they’re extreme healing diets that are not for the faint at heart. Only those who truly need those diet types should use them. Below are a few resources to keep you going.
RAISE (membership website) has a slew of low/no sugar resources, as well as hundreds of allergy friendly sugar free recipes. Depending on your condition, it might be a good fit for you.
Good luck on taking the first steps!
~The Allergy Chef
Low/No Sugar Resources
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