Other than the occasional raw sweet treat, on a day to day basis, my kids and I don’t eat any added sugar.
To be clear, when I say no added sugar, or sugar free and sweetener free, I mean no agave syrup, artificial sweeteners, barley malt, barbados sugar, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered sugar, castor sugar, cane juice, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, coconut sugar, confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, dates, date sugar, dehydrated cane juice, demerara sugar, dextran, dextrose, diastatic malt, diastase, dried fruit, erythritol, ethyl maltol, free flowing brown sugars, fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, honey, galactose, glucose solids, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, granulated sugar, icing sugar, invert sugar, lactose (except for Leo who is breastfed), malt, maltose, maltodextrin, malt syrup, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, muscovado, palm sugar, panocha, powdered sugar, rapadura, raw sugar, refiner’s syrup, rice malt syrup, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, stevia, sucanat, sucrose, treacle, turbinado sugar, xylitol, yellow sugar or yacon syrup.
Whats Wrong With Sugar?
In addition to the standard problems excess added sugar has on the body, some of the reasons I have taken steps to cut my families sugar intake are:
- Enamel Hypomineralsation
My four-year-old Maxwell has a congenital defect known as Enamel Hypomineralsation.
Healthy teeth are smooth and durable, like marble, because they are covered by enamel, a very hard, highly mineralised substance, that acts as a barrier to protect teeth from decay. Maxwell’s teeth lack enamel, so some of them are soft and crumbly like chalk.
The main issues with this condition are sensitivities to hot or cold foods, crumbling and potholes, increased risk of tooth decay, and the cost of treatment. Not only can this condition be physically painful for Maxwell, my wallet has taken a beating too.
Even with the Medicare rebate, private health cover, and a kind and caring paediatric dentist, we have spent thousands of dollars on dental care. Lollies and soft drinks might seem like cheap treats, but the reality is for our family they can be the cause of a lot of unnecessary pain and expense.
- Malignant Hyperthermia
Malignant Hyperthermia is a hereditary and highly dangerous condition that causes your temperature to rise and muscles to contract when you are administered general anaesthesia. Basically if you have this condition, in the worst case scenario, when you are put to sleep you don’t wake up again.
My kids and I have not been tested for Malignant Hyperthermia (the test requires removing muscle from your thigh), but because it runs in my family, and it is so life threatening, doctors prefer to treat us like we do have the disease, and not all hospitals and clinics cater for us.
What that meant for us is when my son Charlie needed surgery this year, to remove twelve teeth (two were decayed and the rest were extra teeth including a clump of eight or more “nerd” teeth) we had to travel to city over two hours’ drive from home, and pay go to a private clinic. The anaesthetist also had to use different drugs, which took him longer to wake up from. It was a very long, stressful and expensive day.
I want to keep those kinds of days to a minimum, if that means cutting back on sugar then that’s what we must do.
- Candida Overgrowth
We are currently being treated for a Candida Overgrowth in our guts. Candida love sugar, it’s what they use to grow and to turn from a yeast to a fast-growing gut permeating fungus.
Basically, the less we feed them sugar the less they will overgrow and make us sick.
- I am a sugar addict
“Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.” – Dr Mark Hyman
I have struggled with extreme sugar cravings (a symptom of Candida Overgrowth) my whole life, but it took for me to weigh over 130 kilos, and develop gestational diabetes until it sunk in that I was a full-blown addict, and therefore could not consume refined sugars in moderation.
Since going Paleo and giving up refined sugars for good, I have lost over 50 kilos – without working out.
So, no Sweet Treats?
When I tried being too strict with the kid’s diet it backfired on me, and they started sneaking sweet treats (that they were allergic to!!!) behind my back which caused a few issues.
So, as a compromise, at special occasions like birthday’s and every now and then, they have desserts sweetened with dates, raw honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, but most days I make them desserts with no added sugar so they don’t feel like they are missing out.
If no sugar, then what?
I make no added sugar treats using whole fruits and vegetables.
Do fruit and vegetables contain sugar?
Yes, fruit and vegetables contain fructose, but they also contain a lot more fibre which helps the body utilise it correctly.
The explanation that made most sense to me was, this lecture (1:13:07)
“When God made the poison, he packaged it with the antidote.”
“Fructose is a poison, but wherever there is fructose in nature there is way more fibre” – Robert H. Lustig M.D
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology believes whole fruit is fine because it contains fibre, which limits the amount of fructose you are going to take in, and it gives you an essential nutrient, which you needed in the first place.
Does Fruit Give You Cavities?
The kid’s paediatric dentist has also said it is ok for the kids to eat whole fruit, and that the sugar from whole fruit will not rot their teeth. Whole fruit is packed with fibre, that helps promote saliva production, and brushes away harmful bacteria.
Canned fruit, dried fruit, and fruit juices are a different story. Canned fruit is often full of added refined sugar, dried fruit can stick to your teeth, and fruit juices don’t contain enough fibre to help the body deal with the fructose. I limit these foods as much as possible.
Get Real Banana Peel
Before you tuck into a sugar free dessert it’s best to mentally prepare yourself, and be realistic. If you make a banana bread that is sweetened with banana’s only it will be sweet, but it won’t be as sweet as it would be if you added a cup of sugar to it.
It is amazing how quickly your tastebuds do adapt when you cut out sugar.
I prefer no added sugar desserts now!
Here is a collection of my favourite Paleo no added sugar desserts, if you know of any more good ones please let me know in the comments section below – I would love to try them and add them to this Sugar Free and Sweetener Free Paleo Recipe Roundup.
I will keep updating this list with new Sugar Free and Sweetener Free Paleo Desserts and Sweet Treats, so be sure to check back in, or sign up to my email list for updates.
4. 2 Ingredient Banana Cookies by Fresh Planet Flavor
Looking for awesome Paleo recipes for your lunchbox? Check out my post on the Best Paleo Lunchbox Ideas.