Feb 01

Top 8 Reasons to join Sugar Free February

Sugar Free February has arrived.  Will you be taking on the challenge this month?  If you are on the fence, perhaps today’s article will help you decide. Here are my top reasons for staying Stronger Without Sugar this month and beyond.

Kicking your sugar habit can feel awesome!

Kicking your sugar habit can feel awesome!

1. It feels great!  I know that going without sugar seems like a real deprivation, but think instead about what you might gain in return.  I’ve been running my signature programme, ‘Stronger Without Sugar’ for a year, and my challengers report a whole host of benefits from more energy and shedding unwanted pounds to having a healthier and happier relationship with food. Focus on what you’d like to achieve, and give it a go. After all, what have you got to lose?

2. You’re likely to be eating too much.
The World Health Organisation advises us to get no more than 5% of our daily energy fromn added sugars, and Britain’s on Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition agrees.  Yet, according to one report, most children and adults get between 12 and 15% of their daily energy from sugars (1).

Where is your sugar coming from?

Where is your sugar coming from?

3. You may be eating sugar and not even know it.
When I talk to people about my signature programme, ‘Stronger Without Sugar’, the most common response I get is ‘I don’t eat much sugar, so I don’t need it’.  But when these same people look closely at their diet, they find that the sugar in their diet is hidden in all sorts of places they never expected.  Knowledge is power, so use this month to arm yourself with the information you need to make the best decisions for yourself.

My free e-book pinpoints where the sugar in your diet may lurk, and gives you top tips for reducing it in simple and delicious ways.  Download it here.

The red line shows non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; sugar is a key contributor

The red line shows non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; sugar is a key contributor

4. You know it’s not good for you, but do you know why?
If you ask most people why sugar is unhealthy, they will usually link it with getting fat.  Really, though, the relationship between sugar and obesity is not as straightforward as all that.  The media’s obsession with sugar and obesity also means that slim people think, “Well, I’m a normal weight; I can eat sugar if I want”.

Take a look at this graph.  It shows deaths from all diseases in the UK since 1970 (2).  There are some big killers here, but you can see that death rates from heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes have all fallen slightly.  The red line shooting upwards is fatty liver disease, where too much fat builds up in the liver.  It may affect up to 30% of us (3), and people of normal weight are nearly as likely to get it as overweight people.  Strangely, sugar may be as much of a factor as fat in developing the disease.

Some studies suggest that drinking just two sugar-sweetened drinks a day makes developing fatty liver more likely (4).  A high sugar diet increases the new fat your liver makes even faster than a high fat diet (5).  If you already have fatty liver disease, a high carbohydrate diet may make matters worse (6).  So if you reduce your sugar now, your liver may thank you later.

5. It’s time to stop the nonsense about ‘natural’
The other thing people ask me, is, “What about natural sugar”.  Listen folks, aside from artificial sweeteners, which I definitely don’t recommend, all sugar is natural. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you.  Arsenic and cyanide are natural, but you wouldn’t want to eat very much of them!  Please let’s stop confusing the word ‘natural’ with the word ‘healthy’.  Yes, I do recommend eating certain fruits, but that’s nothing to do with how ‘nautral’ the sugar is.  It is because the beneficial plant nutrients (phytonutrients) in fruits are essential for well-being.

There are lots of delicious, healthy ways to get your carbs.

There are lots of delicious, healthy ways to get your carbs.

6. “But we need sugar!” – Or do we?
So many people claim that humans need sugar to survive.  We don’t.  What we do need is carbohydrate.  All sugars are carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are sugars.  Sugars are small, simple moleucles of carbohydrate, while starches (sometimes called complex carbohydrates) are lots of sugar molecules, joined and twisted together in specific patterns.  Digestion breaks down carbohydrates into sugars, which the body then uses for energy.  So we don’t need sugar to get energy; we can get it from more complex forms of carbohydrate.  The advantage of this is that the complex carbohydrates break down more slowly, and the sugar in turn is absorbed more slowly.  This helps reduce blood sugar ‘spikes’, which can contribute to energy fluctuations, mood changes and weight gain.  There are plenty of carbohydrates in vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses, so there’s no need to eat sugar, or even a great deal of starch to get all the carbs we need.

Woman enjoying freedom

What could freedom from sugar bring you?

7. Sugar is lovely but…
You will read all sorts of things to put you off sugar and convince you that it’s poison.  I’m not going to do that, because you and I know that, even though it’s unhealthy, sugary food can be pretty darned tasty.  I’ve been advocating a sugarless lifestyle for a year, and I still enjoy chocolate; I’m not going to lie to you by pretending otherwise. So how do I manage to stay added-sugar-free for months at a time without resentment?

Here’s my secret, and it’s very simple, so you can do it too.  I focus on all the things that are even better than sugar.  Things like more energy to do the things I love, better health, feeling fabulous, and getting compliments (yes, I’m afraid I’m that vain).  Trust me, there are things out there that are even better than sugar, and they can easily be yours!

8. You can raise money for cancer research.
Despite advances in medicine and technology, far too many people are dying from this horrible disease, or facing degrading, debilitating treatment in the hope of survival. With better research we have more chance of defeating cancer once and for all.  For every day you quit sugar, you can raise money for Cancer Research UK, and take your stand against one of our biggest killers. Find out more here.

If you decide to kick the sugar in February, I’m here with you every step of the way, and I’ll be doing it with you.  Read more about my signature programme here, or click here to join me straight away.

Let’s get this party started!


  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27941325 [Accessed 31 January 2017].
  2. http://perspectum-diagnostics.com/patient-resources/epidemiology-of-liver-disease/. [Accessed 18 July, 2016].
  3. Yasutake, K., Kohjima, M., Kothoh, K., Nakashima, M., Nakamuta, M., & Ejoji, M., (2014). Dietary habits and behaviors associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(7), 1756-1767.
  4. Basaranoglu, M., Basaranoglu, G., & Bugianesi, E., (2015). Carbohydrate intake and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: fructose as a weapon of mass destruction.  Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition, 4(2), 109-116.
  5. Softic, S., Cohen, D.E., & Kahn, C.R., (2016). Role of dietary fructose and hepatic de novo lipogenesis in fatty liver disease.  Digestive Diseases and Science 61(5), 1282-1293.
  6. Rusu, E., Enache, G., Jinga, M., Dragut, R., Nan, R., Popescu, H., Parpala, C., (2015). Medical nutrition therapy in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – a review of literature.  Journal of Medicine and Life, 8(3), 258-262.


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