Tuesday 3 September 2013

The low down on glucose

You know that feeling when you're sure you've turned the last corner before the brow of the hill or the end of a long bush walk and you discover there's another (and another) still to go? That's what my sugar alternative journey has felt like, but I think this time I really am close to the summit.

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of using glucose instead of sugar, but I recently read a warning from David Gillespie (of Sweet Poison) that you shouldn't use glucose regularly if you are also still eating significant amounts of ordinary sugar. I have been a little bit stuck on this, and left a question for him on his facebook page which he replied to.

The warning that he had written in his book, The Sweet Poison Quit Plan, tells us that eating glucose while we still have significant amounts of fructose in our system leads to an overproduction of insulin (if you'd like to read the full warning, see italics at the bottom of this post*). I wrote to ask what is meant by "significant amounts of fructose" and to get further understanding of the problem. David's reply was this:

"The primary reason I suggest not consuming glucose until you are unhooked from sugar addiction is simply that if you aim is to lose weight then you will slow that process down by eating glucose treats while you are addicted to sugar. If you are not trying to break your cravings and are still eating sugar then feel free to use glucose instead of sugar whenever you wish."

Hoorah! This is great news! Those of us who still consume sugar on occasion but like to bake with glucose at home are in a pretty good place. So keep it up!

I must say I was surprised at the reply - it didn't attend to the issue of overproduction of insulin, which I thought sounded quite problematic. For now, I am happy to trust David and his infinite knowledge (!), though I am sorry he didn't explain the original warning further.

So I am happy to continue using glucose. I have something sugary about once a week perhaps, and rely on glucose for my home baking. But I am also checking out a couple of other options, as it just seems right to mix it up a little. And glucose doesn't always do the job I want it to - especially when it comes to liquid glucose. AND, the fact is glucose does give you quite an energy hit, it's 100 on the GI scale and it lifts your blood sugar levels. While it is always better to use glucose than sugar, I do just wonder if we don't need that energy hit all the time, especially at night time (I need my sleep!). So I'm mixing it up. And I'll be letting you know how. Have a look at this post to see what I'm in to at the moment. I'm pretty sure I have come to the end of the line as far as what sugar alternatives I am willing to use:

(and liquid glucose)
Rice Syrup
Honey (occasionally)

Glucose powder

While we're chatting, I have to say I am so pleased with how far we have come with reducing sugar, taking care of our health and still enjoying what we're eating. My question to David was written in a public forum and I got a number of responses from people who have quit sugar. None of them answered my question, and all of them told me I needed to quit sugar completely, and never touch it again. They told me that if I am still eating a sugary item once every week or two, I am actually still addicted to it. David Gillespie talks alot about our addiction to sugar, and the need to break this addiction by removing it 100% from our diet. I must say I don't feel at all addicted to it, and if I do eat some sugar it doesn't make me fall off the wagon completely. I don't believe I crave sugar. I sometimes like to just try a little something when I'm out that looks interesting and tasty, or when it's offered by a friend, and if that's still called addiction... well... oh well! I am delighted with how well this is working out, and I hope those of you who are joining me are also proud of yourselves. Let's keep making this work.

*David Gillespie on sugar and glucose in your diet:
"While you are still eating sugar, your appetite control system is still broken. If significant quantities of fructose are still in your diet, then eating glucose-sweetened foods will make the problem worse, not better. Glucose is metabolised fast and makes its way quickly into the bloodstream. If your appetite control system is broken, any food will cause you to overproduce insulin in a desperate attempt to clear the accumulation of blood sugar. Eating glucose in this state will simply add (extraordinarily efficiently) to the blood sugar load and encourage even more overproduction of insulin. For this reason, you must not substitute glucose until you are certain your appetite control system is operating normally." (Pg 64, The Sweet Poison Quit Plan) 

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