About the Post

Author Information

I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

How much sugar’s in my food? What to eat instead. Nigel Latta’s sugar show

NOTE: If you found value in this post, why not donate (at right) and receive my 60 page paleo (whole food eating) booklet, with all the info you need to revamp you diet for health and weight loss. Thanks, Julianne 🙂

You may have watched Nigel Latta last week- “Is sugar the new fat?” in which Nigel showed us the health issues related to sugar, and led us through the supermarket to show us the insidious ways sugar is added to nearly all processed food.

As a nutritionist – I was asked to do the research for the programme, and I have to say what I found out about the problems with a high sugar consumption surprised me. It was shocking watching 2 year olds having numerous teeth pulled out due to decay from drinking sugary drinks. I was also surprised at the amount of sugar the average person in New Zealand consumes – 32 teaspoons per day – and that most people are simply unaware that they are eating way beyond the WHO recommended level of 9 teaspoons maximum.

If you missed it – here is an article with a good overview of the programme: ‘Sugar leaves sour taste in Latta’s mouth’

You can watch the programme too on TVNZ on demand here Nigel Latta ‘Is sugar the new fat?’

Sugar is mentioned in the programme as causing problems for you liver, cholesterol, teeth, and leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes, but it does more than that – for example it increases uric acid and therefore gout. Here is an article you should read for the full gamut of health issues that sugar contributes to. 15 Terrible Things That Happen If You Eat Too Much Sugar

 

A number of questions arose from that programme:

  1. How do I figure out how much sugar is in the processed food?
  2. How do I reduce sugar so I get down to the recommended 9 teaspoons a day or less?
  3. What do I eat to lower my triglycerides and lose weight like Nigel?
  4. What about naturally occurring sugars – do I count those?
  5. Treats and chocolate – are they okay?

To answer question 3: What did Nigel eat?

Dr Mikki Williden – the nutritionist on the show has written an excellent post covering exactly what diet she recommended to Nigel and why:

So…. how did Nigel Latta change his diet anyway?

Question 2: How do I figure out how much sugar is in the processed food?

A teaspoon of sugar weighs about 4 grams.

Look at the nutrition label:

You will see two columns – amount per serve and amount per 100 grams

Here are label examples from drinks – (taken from diabetes.org.nz reading labels)

Go to carbohydrates and the subset of carbohydrates – sugars

Note the serving size – in this example it is 250 ml (which is one cup) and there are 4 serves per container – in other words these are litre bottles of drinks with 4 x 250ml serves in each. Note that per serve on both the fruit juice and the soft drink there are 26.8 and 26.5 grams of sugar. Divide 26.8  by 4 = 6.7.

Per cup you get nearly 7 teaspoons of sugar in both juice and soft drink.

Diet fizzy drink of course has no sugar because it is artificially sweetened with a chemical sweetener. In my opinion – this is not a better option as you retain your taste for unnaturally sweet foods by drinking these.

drink_nutritional_facts

We know that juices contain sugar, but perhaps we didn’t realise just how much!

What about Marmite that Nigel looked at on the show? Here we use the label information taken straight from the Sanitarium website.

You may have noticed Nigel with the calculator – what he did was take the amount of sugar per 100 grams – 11 – and multiplied it by 2.5 to get the amount of sugar per 250 gram pot

11 x 2.5 = 28. Then he took 28 and divided it by 4 to get the amount of sugar in teaspoons per container – the answer is 7 teaspoons of sugar per 250 gram pot of Marmite.

marmite

Another label that Nigel did not look at (one can only fit so much into a 43 minute programme) is some dairy-food I came across that had an NZ Heart Foundation tick.

CacliYum caramel, 150 g pottle. As you can see from the nutrition label – there is 15.9 grams of sugar per serve – divide 15.9 by 4 = 4. Four teaspoons of sugar per pottle of dairy food – that is the total added sugar that a child should eat in one day!

caliyum calciyum caramel

 

But what about foods that don’t have labels?

How do you know how much sugar you are eating when you grab a piece of cake, slice or muffin in a cafe, or a handful of lollies?

Here is a little chart to help you out – the amount of sugar in one typical serve:

Note – most of this information was taken from the McDonald’s McCafe and standard menu.

Food Serving size Sugar per serve grams Sugar per serve – teaspoons
Cake -dense 1 matchbox 6 – 10 1.5 – 2.5
cake Standard café piece, 150 g 50 – 60 12 – 15
Biscuit Small 7 cm diameter 4 – 8 1 – 2
Chocolate bar e.g. Moro 60 gram bar 32.5 8
Chocolate e.g. Roses 1 piece 5 1 – 1.5
Slice, bakery, cafe 9cm square x 2 cm thick, 100g 30 – 55 7.5 – 13
Muffin, café size Muffin 130 grams 40 10
Thick-shake large 70 17.5
Iced chocolate Tall McDonalds 58 14.5
Hot chocolate – Tall McDonalds 47 11.5
Ice-cream scoop x 1 100g, about 1 small cup 26 6.5
 Nice n Natural strings  1 string  8.8  2

 

A quick note about naturally occurring sugars in whole food

When you look at a milk label – you will note that the it has about 10 grams of sugar per 200mls. In the case of milk – this sugar is naturally occurring – NOT added. The same with fruit – the sugar is in fruit in its original form. Eating whole fruit is fine – it comes in a package with fibre and nutrients. So if the food you are eating has sugar naturally and the food has not been altered by refining and processing – not a problem. Feel free to chew on some sugar cane!

6 ways to cut sugar from your diet

As we saw on the programme – sugar is in a huge number of processed foods – flavoured tuna, Heart Foundation tick mayonnaise, Marmite, Baked Beans etc. In fact it looks almost impossible to eat a modern diet without overdosing on sugar. To reduce your sugar intake – here is the hierarchy of foods to remove – starting from the worst offenders – that is, foods highest  in sugar and lowest in nutrients.

1. Cut ALL soft drinks and sugared drinks.

Cut out any drink that has sugar in it – every single one – even that so-called ‘healthy’ fruit juice. Every single glass of drink with sugar has at least 7 teaspoons of sugar. This includes flavoured milks, soft drinks and fruit drinks of all types, and ‘sports’ drinks (unless perhaps you are running a marathon).

What do you drink instead? – Plain unflavoured milk (preferably A2) for children as long as not sensitive to dairy, light blue or blue top. Water, or soda water (make your own with a soda stream) with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to flavour if desired.

2. Cut out lollies, sweets, chocolates etc.– they are nearly pure sugar with no nutrients

3. Cut out biscuits, cakes, muffins, slices, buns, bakery products, cro-nuts, cheesecakes, etc. The primary ingredients are refined flour and sugar. Note: this includes gluten free and other ‘healthy’ alternatives.

Refined white flour turns into glucose rapidly during digestion, it has few nutrients, and in this way is little different from eating sugar.

4. Cut out desert foods: ice-cream, frozen desserts, sugary puddings

5. Cut out breakfast cereals – most cereals are made from highly refined grains, with a lot of added sugar.

6. Cut down on refined grain products, that is- foods made from white flour

Refined grains (cereals, bread and bakery products) turn into glucose very quickly during digestion, this glucose enters your blood stream  and causes a rapid rise in blood sugar just like eating sugar or sweets. To deal with the glucose in your blood you send out insulin, which quickly removes the sugar leading to a blood sugar crash and sugar cravings within a couple of hours of eating.

So what should I eat instead?

The best way to avoid processed foods is to completely rearrange your diet so that you are not relying on refined carbohydrates as you main sources of energy.

Mikki’s article outlines the diet that she gave to Nigel – I highly recommend you take a look at that.

 

Here are some tips to overhaul your diet and avoid processed foods:

Tip number 1 –  start your day with protein, and add protein to each meal, it has a huge effect on satiety – that is –  it stops you getting hungry, and helps keep your blood sugar stable so it won’t come crashing down with major sugar cravings an hour later. Protein is high in animal products like poultry, meat, eggs and cheese. Protein is also found in unsweetened yoghurt (although not as high as meat or eggs). You don’t need large amounts – about a palm size per meal.

Tip number 2 – Eat as much food as possible that is unprocessed and whole food that a hunter-gatherer would recognise as food

Tip number 3 – Base your meals around whole plant food, especially colourful vegetables, and some starchy veg (but don’t forget to add that portion of protein)

 

Your Carbohydrates: Eat fresh vegetables including starchy root vegetables and whole fruit for your carbohydrates. The bulk of your meals should be vegetables.

Your protein: Eat fresh meat, poultry and eggs for protein, and cheese if you tolerate dairy.

You fats: Eat fresh nuts and avocado, and healthy oils like olive, macadamia, and other nut oils,  and coconut for your fats.

 

If your diet consists of real, whole food instead of processed food – you’ll eat a no added sugar, you will reduce your risk of disease,  sleep better, feel more alert, lose weight and have more energy.

Eat colours and flavour from nature – if you want something sweet eat real whole fruit, and eat a large range of colourful vegetables and fruit

Think about this:

Colours and flavours in nature indicate nutrition; anti-oxidants, polyphenols, phytonutrients

Colours and flavours found in most processed food are chemicals have no nutrition or are toxic

Meal Ideas

Breakfast:

Eggs –  (3 or 4)  whole eggs scrambled,  boiled, poached, or an omelette. Have with sautéed veggies, grilled tomatoes and / or a bowl of fresh fruit.

Fritatta: 1 – 2 cups of veggies both colour and starch (leftovers are quick), heat through. Add seasoned beaten eggs and cook until set.

Cooked fresh fish e.g. salmon. With sautéed veggies (leftovers make this easy) and wilted spinach.

Smoothie – make with egg white or unflavoured whey powder, fresh or frozen fruit (berries are best), flax, olive oil or avocado oil. You can add greens too.

Salmon,  tuna (or any type of cooked fish) patties – make with flaked fish, mashed kumara, egg to bind, season and add herbs like parsley. Then brown on each side.

Breakfast hash – any left-over meat and vegetables all sautéed together.

 Lunch:

Cold meat / poultry and large mixed salad with avocado or nuts, olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic dressing. Follow with a piece of fruit.

Sashimi (raw fish) and seaweed salad plus a few rolls of sushi. The sashimi will give you extra protein for satiety.

Make extra dinner from night before and take to work and heat.

Soup – home-made vegetable soup with extra meat / fish or chicken added. Use a mix of starch and non starch vegetables.

Make large muffin sized Fritattas, or mini bacon and egg pies. Have with salad.

Root vegetable salad – there are many varieties, add a palm of protein like chicken, tinned fish, eggs, some greens and dressing

If you tolerate grains, use thin slices of whole grain bread and pack with protein like cold meat or chicken and a big load of salad veggies

Dinner

Your plate should be about 3/4 vegetables; some starch and lots of colour, plus 1/4 meat or other protein food (about a palm size) Legumes are okay if tolerated. Make sure they are prepared properly; soak for 24 hours and cook well.

Any type of typical dinner can be adjusted to suit, add more veggies, remove or reduce the refined grains, or replace with root vegetables.

Curries, use coconut cream and curry powder or paste with the meat. Have with lots vegetables and a small portion of rice, or make cauliflower ‘rice’ (This is finely chopped and cooked cauliflower)

Stews or Casseroles (thicken with arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch) Standard stew: meat, onion, carrot, parsnip, stock, wine, canned tomatoes, herbs.

Slow cooker meals

Roasts, use kumara, pumpkin, courgettes, carrots, capsicum, eggplant, garlic, red onions, beets, leeks etc. (you can roast many different vegetables), and meat or poultry of choice. Tip: make a whole pile of extra roast veg that you can toss with dressing and eat for lunch the next day.

Stir-fries, with a range of veggies and meat of choice, have with a little rice or cauliflower “rice”.

Fish and seafood – pan fry, baked or foiled, not deep fried. Eat regularly. Eat with lots of vegetables or salad.

Bouillabaisse is a delicious way to use a variety of seafoods in one big pot

Meat loaf, add some minced organ meats, lots of herbs but no bread.

Meat balls, home-made, tomato sauce over veggies instead of pasta.

Spaghetti bolognese over sautéed strips of courgettes or other vegetables instead of pasta

Bacon and egg pie (no pastry)

Shepherd’s pie, top with creamed cauliflower or mashed kumara.

 

Sauces and gravies

Replace flour with arrowroot, cornflour or tapioca starch,  to thicken.

Sauces like tomato sauce often contain a lot of sugar so use in small amounts, or find low sugar varieties

Snacks:

Fresh Fruit (in moderation, berries are great – the colour is full of nutrients)

Carrot and celery sticks, nuts

Home-made beef jerky, or biltong

Boiled eggs

Cold meat

A small can of tuna or salmon with vegetable sticks

Cheese and apple

5. Can I eat any processed food?

Actually – personally, I think a little is fine, I think everyone needs their treats from time to time, and getting too purist or weird about food may not be healthy psychologically. So as as long as the bulk of your diet is nuturing you and giving you energy, take your time and enjoy the occasional treat. Like Nigel – feel free to have that Maccas on Friday nights.

What about chocolate

You’ll probably see nutritionists say a little dark chocolate is okay.

This is because is has only a little sugar, and chocolate is high in nutrients, and the fat is fairly healthy. It is hard to eat a lot of dark chocolate as it is so rich.

See the 90% chocolate on the left – just 1.3 grams of sugar for a 20 gram serve and the 70% on the right 5.8 grams per 20 grams – 1.5 teaspoons of sugar. So go dark and have just a little for a treat.

chocolate label

NOTE: If you found value in this post, why not donate (at right) and receive my 80 page paleo zone booklet, with all the info you need to revamp you diet for health and weight loss. Thanks, Julianne 🙂

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81 Responses to “How much sugar’s in my food? What to eat instead. Nigel Latta’s sugar show”

  1. Abi #

    This is a great article. Just wondered if you would follow the same plan if your were a breastfeeding mum?

    September 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm Reply
    • Yes – you can follow the same plan. Dont go very low carb though. Feel free to eat plenty of starchy veg and fruit. An eat plenty of healthy fats. You need to keep up your milk supply. Other points for breast feeding – if your baby has colic – it could be the mums consumption of diary. Eat lots of different vegetables so that baby gets the varied tastes through the milk. Eat plenty of seafood – our diets are generally low in omega 3, iodine, and zinc which are critical for brain development. Eat iodised salt.

      September 10, 2014 at 7:24 pm Reply
  2. Julie #

    Very interesting.

    September 10, 2014 at 7:15 pm Reply
  3. Christopher Ramsay #

    Hey, that all fine and good but ive got a few points to make.
    first off it should be said that im a university student and as such dont really have alot of money. concidering this my diet manly consists of

    Meats (i have large amount of good quality meat thanks to my loving mother, who working in a community with alot of farming, so they get a beast every year and often bring me down some when she comes for work)

    Potaotes: there cheap, last ages and they easy to cook (and forget).
    breads, once again coz their cheap ($1 a loaf)
    Ive never been one for fizzy drinks, but i do drink alot of milk.
    carrots, depending on prices.

    mum also got me a pottle of vitamin supplements which i take regularly

    is there any sustainable way to get a healthy diet, while living on a (very) tight budget

    September 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm Reply
    • Get as much food as you can that is inexpensive – potatoes, carrots, onions etc and seasonal fruit and veg. Go to markets and cheaper fruit and veg shops. I got kiwifruit for 50cents a kg last week. Get cheap cuts of meat and cook it in a slow cooker. Just do the best you can with the money you have. A multivite will not make up for the dozens of nutrients you get in real unprocessed food, but can cover nutrient deficiencies common in NZ diets like iodine, selenium etc.

      September 10, 2014 at 8:26 pm Reply
    • Honora #

      We have community gardens around here in Addington and I grow a heap of greens on the patio and in our wee garden. I’ve commandeered the driveway too as the tenanted properties up the drive were doing zilch except allowing convolvulus to overrun the landlord’s inherited rose bushes etc. I planted a bag of seed potatoes all the way up the driveway.

      September 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm Reply
  4. Honora #

    Very comprehensive post. Couldn’t be more helpful. I see our vege spread has only 7.2 g/100g of sugar but I’ve replaced it with a kefir/egg/kiwifruit smoothie anyway.

    September 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm Reply
  5. Rachel #

    What about getting enough fibre? I am GF. I have started cutting back on sugar after the show. My partner has never been into it but it took Nigel to convince me

    September 10, 2014 at 8:22 pm Reply
    • I eat this way and get a lot of fibre and my gut works really well. I eat a lot of veg, both cooked and uncooked, starch and non starch and salads. I have one berry and kiwi and spinach leaf smoothie every day as well.

      September 10, 2014 at 10:09 pm Reply
  6. Hannah #

    What about home made wholegrain bread? Organic spelt flour and organic wholegrain flour?

    September 10, 2014 at 8:38 pm Reply
    • Grains are a bit of a mixed bag nutritionally. They have anti-nutrients and gut irritants that affect many people. I am one of those – when I cut grains my auto-immune joint inflammation disappeared as did my mentrual pain and PMT. Saying that – if you do have grains and they don’t cause you problems – gluten free grains are best – and yes make your own bread.

      September 10, 2014 at 9:58 pm Reply
  7. Anita #

    Great piece and good to have so much practical information following Nigel’s show. My one question is just on the egg consumption – how does this affect cholesterol? Wondering how many is too many per week?

    September 10, 2014 at 9:22 pm Reply
    • Eggs have very little effect on cholesterol, most of the cholesterol in your blood is made in your liver. Sugar and a high refined carb diet increase cholesterol and triglyceride production in the liver. Saturated fat can affect some people and not others.

      September 10, 2014 at 10:00 pm Reply
  8. Melissa #

    Great stuff. My now 9 year old daughter was diagnosed type 1 diabetes last year and I have to say cutting out the sugar was surprisingly easy and she is so much healthier and better off for it. I find the whole process of reading labels for sugar content fascinating! I am curious as to what your opinion is on the use of stevia as an alternative to sugar (if in fact it is an alternative or whether it has the same effect as sugar)? Would there be anything you be concerned about in using stevia? Many thanks.

    September 10, 2014 at 9:50 pm Reply
    • Stevia is the safest of non nutritive sweeteners. But personally I’m not a fan of any artificial sweetener – it is unnaturally sweet and can maintain your taste for overly sweet food.

      September 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm Reply
  9. Lisa #

    Very helpful and insightful. You discuss food options for lunches including soups and left overs and salad/protein sandwiches. What about kids lunch boxes. Can’t heat food up and my son isn’t keen on sandwiches. I include fruit, carrot and cheese but often there is muffins and biscuits as well. Do you have some kid lunch suggestions or can you recommend a good reference point?

    September 10, 2014 at 10:13 pm Reply
    • I include nut bars for my kids sometimes – I try to make or pick the lowest sugar ones. I’ve included boiled eggs, chicken drumsticks, those little tins of tuna and vegetable sticks. I sometimes put in processed meat although I dont think it is that healthy to eat. My teen daughter likes root veg salad and cubed chicken with a dressing and herbs tossed through.

      September 10, 2014 at 10:24 pm Reply
      • Lisa #

        Thanks Julianne, I have tried chicken from time to time and vege sticks, tomatoes. Unfortunately he doesn’t like nuts, never has and only warm boiled eggs. He is possibly sounding fussy but he actually isn’t. I might try the root vege salad and that type of thing. I also cook a meat pattie and cut up which is low in sugar (again possibly not the best thing given it is mince based but better than processed in my view). It is hard to mix it up, they do get sick of the same thing week on week!

        September 11, 2014 at 9:40 am Reply
  10. Jaimita #

    We make our own bread at home but mix white and wholemeal 50-50. Without the white it becomes a bit of a brick. Any recommendations on what kind of white flour to use? What about rolled oats? What about pasta (white, wholemeal)?

    September 10, 2014 at 11:45 pm Reply
    • Hi Jaimita Bread does not have fructose which is the more problematic part of the sugar molecule. Home made bread that is higher in nutrients is preferable to bought bread. Try and use some non gluten grains if possible. Traditionally we soaked or fermented grains to reduce anti-nutrients. If you tolerate grains a little is fine – just dont base your meals around grains, they are a dense form of carbohydrate that turn rapidly to glucose during digestion. Switch them out for vegetables where ever possible, for example my meal ideas of having your bolognese on veggies rather than pasta. The nutrients are so much higher and varied, and the fibre in vegetables is particularly good for feeding you good gut bacteria.

      September 11, 2014 at 10:46 am Reply
      • Honora #

        A Chinese woman at work had sauteed matchstick sized swede for lunch the other day. It was delicious and not swedey in taste, surprisingly. I might try dehydrating the sauteed stuff and taking it tramping instead of GF noodles.

        September 11, 2014 at 7:24 pm Reply
  11. fran #

    A question, so many different websites have that you can use pure maple syrup, some say use honey, some say dont use them, some say use other sweeteners, im really confused as to what sweeteners im best to use, currently im using Rice Syrup for baking for the kids and iv looked at maple syrup and date syrup but im not sure? can you also use dates? or is that a no no being its dried fruit?

    September 11, 2014 at 12:18 am Reply
    • Hi Fran All alternative sweeteners are basically pure sugar, maple syrup and honey are more natural and less processed. However – they offer exactly the same amount of sugar as sugar syrup – so dont be fooled into thinking they are healthy. Rice syrup is pure glucose so doesn’t have the problem fructose – but it is still highly refined and few nutrients. All of these count as added sugar in the diet. Baking with these is still a treat food high in sugar, a whole piece of fruit is always better. Treats are fine, but not to be overdone.

      September 11, 2014 at 10:52 am Reply
  12. Aaronm #

    I notice you pick a dairy food as a ‘bad’ food for sugar. Did you compare this with a standard pottle of fruit yoghurt? No difference in the amount of sugar.

    Also, the marmite is a bit of a red herring. Yes, 7 teaspoons per 250g jar, but 50 serves per jar, so by my calculations, that makes 7/50th of a teaspoon per serve.

    September 11, 2014 at 8:19 am Reply
    • I picked this one because it had the Heart Foundation Tick – giving us the impression it is healthy. However – you are correct – all fruit yoghurts and dairy foods have similar amounts of added sugar. A plain yoghurt without added sugar has a minimal amount of naturally occuring lactose. E.g cyclops thick and creamy yoghurt has 5.7 grams sugar per 150 mls – that is 1.5 teaspoons. This means that every pot of yoghurt has around 3 added teaspoons of sugar, if not more.
      And yes – with respect to Marmite – the amount used means you get a tiny amount of sugar. The point of this example is to show how sugar is added to just about everything – and many foods that we do not expect it to be in.

      September 11, 2014 at 10:58 am Reply
  13. Hi, can you please recommend the best choice for cooking oil for high-heat cooking e.g. stir fries or browning onions/meats?

    September 11, 2014 at 8:53 am Reply
    • Oils and fats that are high in monounsaturated fat or saturated fat are less able to be damaged during cooking. Saturated fat is higher in animal fats, coconut oil and butter oil (ghee). Monounsaturated fats are high in macadamia, avocado and olive oil. However olive oil has lots of anti-oxidants that are damaged by heating. I usually use a little macadamia, coconut, avocado or butter to cook with. I’m not a fan of the chemically extracted seed oils, as well many are high in easily damaged omega 6 polyunsaturated fats. Also excess omega 6 is pro-inflammmatory.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:09 am Reply
  14. Stephanie #

    Great article thanks and i”m the first to admit I’ve started looking at my labels since the show. Whats your view on brown rice? Can you eat “too much” of it??

    September 11, 2014 at 9:21 am Reply
    • Rice like other grains turn fairly rapidly into glucose during digestion. One cup of cooked rice turns into 10 teaspoons of glucose. So go easy on it – have a small amount – 1/2 a cup of so in the context of a mixed meal – i.e with protein veg and good fats added. This way the release of glucose is slowed by the other foods and it doesn’t raise you blood sugar as quickly. If however you are overweight, insulin resistant, or type 2 diabetic – I’d swap out your rice for root veg.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:15 am Reply
  15. Thank you for this article – for making what can seem really complicated, quite digestible (excuse the pun) for those of us who don’t have food/science/nutrition qualifications. I’m definitely on the low-sugar bandwagon for my family. I’m confident our main meals are pretty good, really need to work on lunchboxes for (4) kids and snacks.

    September 11, 2014 at 9:27 am Reply
    • Hi Abbie, Thanks. Yes lunchboxes can be tricky. And kids a bit fussy with what they take to school. Vegetable sticks and dip go down well – you can blend tinned fish like salmon with cottage cheese for a high protein dip.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:19 am Reply
  16. Val Stevens #

    Can’t help but cheer loudly for this article!
    This has been my lifestyle for the past 30+ years … much to the annoyance of those around me. They think I am being awkward but as I was allergic to cane sugar it was compulsory.
    My basic rules are… Rule 1 “… no processed food”. Rule 2 “… no ‘wrong’ foods in the house”. Rule 3 (for psychological reasons) “… break the rules only when you are out and only in extreme moderation”. Rule 4 (to help make decisions) “… three strikes (reasons not to eat a food item) and it is out. Rule 5 “don’t embarrass your hostess … graciously accept a tiny portion!”
    And yes I do have to suffer the consequences of using rules 3, 4 and 5 … but only minimally.
    Sugar is addictive and is always a tough battle.

    September 11, 2014 at 9:40 am Reply
    • Thanks Val, I love your rules! I agree with all of them. I have a rule that I dont break for health reasons – and that is no gluten – so I always check before I go to someone place for dinner that they are aware I am gluten free. Becaseu I dont want to make them feel uncomfortable by not eating the food they serve.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:23 am Reply
  17. Vanessa #

    I am gobsmacked about how much sugar my 2 little boys are inadvertently eating! I have a 3 & 1/2 year old and a 1 year old – what about breakfast ideas for them? They have weetbix which I guess isn’t too bad, but we put yoghurt and/or fruit with it. Sometimes they have rice bubbles or cornflakes but they are high (ish) in sugar – had a look this morning at the packets. And snacks for them are usually crackers or calci yum yoghurts or little fruit stick bars (which I thought were ok as they had the heart tick on them!) – all of which add to too much sugar…
    Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!

    September 11, 2014 at 10:11 am Reply
    • When my kids were young they would always eat eggs. So eggs and a bowl of fresh fruit salad was a typical breakfast.
      I sometimes make bacon and egg pies or muffins (without pastry) and again with fruit or toast.
      I dont like cereals in general – they are such highly processed carbs.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:26 am Reply
  18. Are any cereals ok for breakfast? I’ve started buying the ones with the lowest sugar content and uncooked/toasted. I start work early and it’s active physical work, and muesli, yogurt and fruit keeps me going for several hours, where as toast does not. But cooking eggs etc for breakfast seems a bit tough at 5am……. Thanks!

    September 11, 2014 at 11:34 am Reply
    • I’d suggest soaking non cooked cereals overnight and avoid the extruded cereals and gluten. Nuts seeds, oats and a little dried fruit, and maybe add full cream yoghurt mixed with whey protein powder or cottage cheese (if not dairy intolerant) to boost protein, when you eat it the next day.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:52 am Reply
  19. Colin McKinney #

    Really useful article, thanks.
    So many people in my age group (er… over 50. All right then, over 60) were impressed with Nigel’s ‘sugar’ episode. We went out to dinner last week, and the waitress commented that the restaurant seemed to be selling fewer desserts… also that ‘everybody’ was talking about it (the programme)

    September 11, 2014 at 11:36 am Reply
    • Thanks – interesting and great to see what a big effect the show has had

      September 11, 2014 at 11:53 am Reply
  20. Mirinda #

    Hi, great having the things in the show explained in more depth. We use Organic Stone Ground Flour and Raw Sugar here for all our baking bread etc. What are your thoughts on both of those?

    September 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm Reply
    • Hi Mirinda, Grains are okay if you tolerate them, many don’t as the anti-nutrients tend to trigger gut inflammation and are implicated in auto-immune disease. Traditionally prepared grains are best – soaked fermented. I think non gluten grains are best, and ancient grains. Raw sugar is little different from normal sugar – it has a tad more nutrients – that is all.

      September 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm Reply
  21. Penny Veale #

    Thanks for all the great and useful ideas. One question though, why is mashed kumara better than mashed potato on cottage pies etc. Both starchy vege, but kumara tastes so much sweeter? Pumpkin and carrots a better option, or a mix of all/some of the above in the mash? Young person recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the family, so potatoes and kumara largely out for us at pres!

    September 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm Reply
    • Actually potato in the context of a mixed meal is fine for most. Nightshades can be a problem for people with auto-immune disease and joint inflammation or who are carb sensitive. If kumara is also too starchy – mashed cauliflower is a good substitute, as are less starchy veg. See the carb list and counter for more info http://paleozonenutrition.com/2012/04/13/paleo-diet-carbohyrate-counter/

      September 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm Reply
  22. Sara #

    we are doing this diet or should i say life style and have a 16mth old doing the same. I replaced her yoghurts with a unsweetened one and just put mixed berries in it. She still has full fat milk, Fish, meat, Veg and fruit. Grainy bread and Vegemite.

    Just to be sure am i missing anything out of diet?

    I am very fortunate that she is a good eater and she does have porridge every morning. Please bare in mind she does have the rare treat prob once a month but that’s it.

    September 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm Reply
    • That is great – little kids need whole food too. As long as she has plenty of variety – she should get most nutrients. NZ has low minerals – iodine, zinc, selenium so seafood and seaweed is important. Occasional organ meats like liver are full of nutrients like vitamin A.

      September 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm Reply
  23. Pauline #

    I am very excited about this article and pending lifestyle change after battling obesity most of my adult and child life. I am such a terrible sugar addict and just can’t believe how much sugar I have been eating in food for years (now late 50s), so my question to you is what are your thoughts on dried fruit namely raisins and dates as a snack? I have learnt so much from this article and did watch the programme.

    September 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm Reply
    • Hi Pauline,
      If you are a recovering sugar addict with weight issues – I would recommend not to touch dried fruit. Keep your meals to protein, veggies and good fats. Limit or cut out snacks. Limit fruit. It is best to get over all the sugar issues – as in my observation dried fruit just ends up replacing lollies.

      September 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm Reply
  24. fran #

    Sorry another weird question from me, so iv been off sugar for four days feeling quite good, i run alot, and long distance, im doing an 18km training run tonight and im just looking at you to tell me having my electrolytes (which is essentially all sugar) is ok? id assume as im going to burn it off and need the sugar? or is there a paleo version to an electrolyte, i feel like im going to undo all the hard work by drinking two litres of the stuff!. Note we also live in the middle east so its upwards of 35 degrees at the moment even at night.

    September 11, 2014 at 9:02 pm Reply
    • How long does 18 K take? Some people find when they become more metabolitcally fexible – that is they burn fat more easily at lower intensity – that they don’t need the sugary drinks for shorter training sessions. Or they need less and only later in their run. Electrolytes and the minerals – and sweating a lot of salt – that might need to be replaced along with the fluid lost. Mikki Williden is the person to ask – she does a lot of running – and has experience. I’m more of a short weights session person myself.

      September 11, 2014 at 9:08 pm Reply
      • fran #

        probably take around 1.5hr, its not high intensity, just a long slow pace but i drink probably about 2-3litres on a run here because its so hot. Iv googled a few recipes so maybe i should try some out, i usually go for an hour with just water but any longer i prefer to have an extra energy hit due to the heat etc

        September 11, 2014 at 9:11 pm Reply
        • Hi Fran – If you’re looking to cut down the sugar content then you could trial having a Nuun tablet or Gu tablet which is just electrolytes without the sugar – that said, do expect your run to be a bit tougher initially! It definitely takes time to adapt. Actually some clients like having very diluted juice, chia seeds and a pinch of salt in their sports drink. Worry about replacing your losses when you come back from a run in the amount of 1.5x the loss (weigh yourself before and after) to avoid a dehydration headache. 🙂

          September 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm Reply
  25. Hi Julianne,

    I just read this article and was hoping you could answer some questions for me. For breakfast I eat a bowl of Sanutarium Wheeties, 3 pieces of dried apricots with rice milk. Would bacon and eggs be better? I also have 2 slices of Mackenzie Southern Grain Bread with a slice of beef schnitzel, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, mushroom and onions for lunch. Would I be better off without the bread? I tried it without the bread and found that I was still really hungry after. For dinner I have a whole chicken breast, mixed vegetables and brown rice. Should I not be eating the rice (I have at least a cup and a 1/2). I also snack on almonds to get through the day. This is my diet everyday btw. I should probably mention that I workout 6 days a week weights/cardio, but should I still not be eating this many carbs? or just replace them with something else?
    look forward to hearing from you thanks.

    September 11, 2014 at 9:42 pm Reply
    • I would certainly add some protein to breakfast. RE carbohydrates – people have different tolerances, and needs. This depends on your gender, insulin sensitivity, weight loss or gain goals, and exercise amounts and intensity. With regards to grains – people also have different tolerances. Traditionally though grains were processed to reduce anti-nutrients – something we just don’d do now. Rice however tends to be low in anti-nutrients and tolerated well by most. Properly prepared legumes too are fine for many people. Here is a guide that might help you figure out how much carbohydrate you need http://chriskresser.com/the-3-step-process-to-determining-your-ideal-carbohydrate-intake
      Active lean insulin sensitive (means you can send sugar to cells to be used easily) people are fine with more carbohydrates. However – experiment and see what works best for you. At lunch if you remove bread – you would need to replace that with either more fat or other carbs like root veg to stop getting hungry. Use this guideline to maximise nutrients in your diet. http://paleozonenutrition.com/2013/04/02/my-paleo-plate-a-guide-to-high-nutrient-balanced-paleo-meals/

      September 12, 2014 at 8:08 am Reply
      • Thanks for the reply

        September 12, 2014 at 9:13 am Reply
  26. Phil #

    Hi Julianne
    Really very interesting article, that has made me (finally) look harder at my diet with a view to reducing sugar intake.
    My question, I participate in endurance events and am training for a half ironman. Traditional foods for those long (2 hour plus) bike rides have been energy gels and bars.
    Do you have any suggestions for substitute foods that are portable, easily digested and readily converted to meet the instance energy needs?

    September 11, 2014 at 10:11 pm Reply
    • Mikki Williden is the best person to ask – she is a runner herself. Athletes I have worked with figure still use energy bars and gels for example Shorty Clark in this post: http://paleozonenutrition.com/2012/03/16/triathletes-paleo-diet-with-bone-broth-dramatically-reduces-osteoarthritis-pain/

      September 12, 2014 at 8:10 am Reply
    • Hi Phil, my preference is to get the athlete to ‘fat adapt’ so they rely less on carbohydrate (both body stores and food) during an event. You can train yourself to tap into your own body fat stores but this can only really happen when you reduce overall carb load in the diet and force your body to look for an alternative fuel source (i.e. fat – even the leanest of athletes have good stores of intramuscular triglycerides (fats) in their muscles for this). You can also provide an alternative fuel source by way of dietary fat. Lessening the reliance on carbs is really useful for reducing GI distress and meeting body composition goals and I’ve had a lot of clients go down this route with great success. In this instance, salted cashews, coconut bites (made from desiccated coconut blended down), nut butter, even cream cheese can be really good! Expect your training to take a hit however, as it takes time to adjust, but it’s well worth it. 🙂 It’s all about the timing of carb intake in and around training.

      September 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm Reply
  27. William #

    Hi

    Great article but I’m a bit stuck, I feel like none of this would keep me going. As an athlete (15+ hours training & racing a week) and someone that’s sub 10% body fat, would there be any added extras or allowances for more sugar to keep me going? After four hours of training or an intense competition (2+ hours) I tend to follow up with chocolate milk and a small (150ml) can of coke. Is this ok after exercise? Breakfast tends to be 1-2 weet-bix, 20-40 grams of fibre rich cereal and a banana. Dinners involve lots of vege and lunch tends to be based around meats, cheese and bread.

    Cheers

    September 12, 2014 at 3:07 am Reply
    • See comments to other athletes. You have much higher energy requirements so it is important to have the fuel your body needs for glycogen replacement and activity levels

      September 12, 2014 at 8:14 am Reply
  28. Francine #

    Can you tell me about sugar and alcohol. I like the occasional beer. Like one beer at the pub after work on Fridays and sometimes a bottle at a social occasion. How does this impact on my sugar intake?
    I was largely sugar free for two years then slipped up this year and have felt unwell and low in energy. Am back to limited sugar in my diet but still having craving problems. The diet plan you gave Nigel looks good so will give it a go. Also I bake occasionally using organic stoneground wholemeal flour and sweeten with tablespoon of honey. Is this ok or is it a problem.

    September 12, 2014 at 9:44 am Reply
    • Alcohol acts a bit like a carbohydrate once it has been detoxified by the liver. It is used for energy before carbohydrates or fats are used that you may have eaten too. Anything not used for fuel gets stored as fat. I’m not really a fan of any gluten grains – however some people due to their genes have little problems with them so from my point of view – it is something people need to work out for themselves. I prefer non gluten seeds and grains if anything. And vegetables are preferable carbohydrates due to their fibre type, nutrient content and less affect on blood sugar and insulin.

      September 12, 2014 at 11:56 am Reply
  29. Nicki Marchand #

    I was suprised on a quick scan of my pantry to find that Watties Tomato Purée, Heinz Mayonnaise, Watties Creamed Corn, kidney beans, etc had sugar added I always have these on hand and use for a lot of dishes, like pasta’s, curries, burritos, etc. I am one who likes to do mostly from scratch cooking but also work part time so don’t always have the time to make some of the basics like tomato purée. I therefore made an enquiry to Watties Heinz on their website and was asked to phone them, which I did. I was told that they use the brix measurement for sugar content and if the tomatoes for instance did not contain enough sugar naturally they would then add sugar to reach the scale required by the consumers as apparently the consumer “likes the sweet taste”.

    I suggested that if a women for instance was allowed up to 6t sugar per day (which I read was the recommended daily intake) I thought she would rather have that in the form of a piece of cake or chocolate occasionally rather than added to things she was unaware of eg, chicken wrap which has the mayonnaise(with sugar added) in it or pastas which have the tomato purée(with sugar added) in it.

    The lady was polite and happy to hear my concerns but I do not feel anything is going to change unless more people complain. I have since had another look at the supermarket and found Leggos Tomatoe Purée with No sugar added and made in Australia

    I am going to have to be far more onto reading labels again, because when you became complacent they add things and you don’t even realise.

    September 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm Reply
    • Yes – it is amazing how much sugar is added to canned food. I buy plain tomatoes, or puree with no sugar added – and add herbs to make my own sauce. Look for lite versions with less sugar. Beans are super easy to cook too – just soak for 24 hours, change the water and cook well. I’m with you – much rather have my sugar in a couple of pieces of chocolate than eating it in food that I dont notice it in.

      September 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm Reply
  30. Lucy Maclean #

    Are whole raw eggs ok in smoothies? Or are egg whites better and if so why.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to educate us! Great information.

    September 12, 2014 at 4:40 pm Reply
    • Egg yolks are fantastic nutritionally – they have choline which is important for liver health. Egg whites are better cooked. Yolks, either cooked or raw is fine.

      September 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm Reply
  31. Stephanie #

    Hi Julianne, I’m confused so hoping you can help clarify something. Are we better off to drink say Unsweetened Almond Milk on a regular basis, which has a very low natural sugar count as opposed to the “blue top” which is high in natural sugar? Wouldn’t the blue top help keep you fuller for longer? I’m just a regular 36yo mum of 3, who is 5kg over my bmi according to doc, so not a major, but milk is very much part of my diet, and I’m looking to make small changes – but really confused as to what would be better for me (other than water obviously!). Any clarification on this issue much appreciated 80).

    September 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm Reply
    • Either is fine. But milk is a mixed bag – can elicit a large insulin response so not always useful if you want to lose weight. Okay if you tolerate it and only have a little in tea coffee etc. A certain amount of carbohydrates / natural sugars like whole fruit is fine each day. Depends on your tolerance and activity.
      As a general rule – apart from soup – dont drink your calories

      September 12, 2014 at 5:20 pm Reply
  32. Barry #

    Hi Julianne,

    Can you tell me how you make tour, kiwi, spinach and berry smoothies. Also, can we eat too much per day if we stick to your daily meal plan?

    September 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm Reply
    • 1 kiwi, 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 banana, bunch spinach, 2 rounded desert spoons of egg white or whey protein (plain unflavoured). 1/4 avocado or 1/4 cup coconut cream plus water.

      September 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm Reply
  33. Kevin #

    I squeeze my own orange juice every morning, is this bad? I usually use between 2 and 3 oranges. I don’t like eating oranges so I thought this was an easy route to getting Vitamin C.

    September 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm Reply
    • Better to put whole oranges in a blender and you get all the fibre that way. Juicing gives all the juice and no fibre so it digests really fast.

      September 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm Reply
  34. Rachael #

    Hi. Before my baby was born 15 months ago, I had gestational diabetes.I learnt a lot about what I was eating and after she was born I found I’d lost about 10kg. Now I’ve put it back on and am very confused about which foods are ok to eat. I’m not diabetic now, but I’m too scared to eat some foods like yoghurt and fruit. Which yoghurt is the best? Is skim milk powder when added to dairy products a good or bad tjing?

    September 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm Reply
    • Yoghurt has a high insulin response, and fruit is high in sugars. It is best to include protein at ALL meals and only have fruit after a meal if you have it. Same with yoghurt. Just a little full fat, no added sugar yoghurt with a balanced meal – not a whole lot on its own.

      September 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm Reply
  35. Jocelyn #

    How much teaspoons of sugar is in Ginger beer Bundaberg 375 ml bottle Brewed to be better. Thanks .

    October 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm Reply
  36. Rhiannon #

    This has inspired me so much, thank you. I was really confused about whether I should be counting in unprocessed foods (fruits, dairy, etc.) when watching my sugar intake. So this article helped give me an idea about what I should be paying attention to. I’m fifteen years old, and I want to make a difference in my lifestyle and the way I eat while I’m still young, partly because I have a lot of diabetes in my family. So thanks again, this article is going to be my guideline in the future.

    September 6, 2015 at 2:20 pm Reply
    • Thankyou! So glad I could make things clearer for you. Good on you for taking responsibility for your health.

      September 7, 2015 at 6:36 pm Reply
  37. Javier #

    Could you teach me how many teaspoons of sugar, if I juice natural carrot juice for 1 liter? and 1 liter for fruit juices? thank you

    February 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm Reply
    • 1 medium sized carrot has about 1 teaspoon of sugar – count how many carrots you use

      February 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm Reply
  38. Kaceey #

    Hey,
    I just wanna ask about the computation of nigel about the maritime where did he get the 2.5 in the computation. Thanks

    November 6, 2016 at 11:05 am Reply
    • I’m not sure what you mean – what are you referring to?

      November 6, 2016 at 11:44 am Reply
  39. Honora #

    I think Kaceey is referring to how Nigel extrapolated the total amount of sugar in a Marmite jar by multiplying the amount in 100g (on the label) by 2.5 to get the total in the 250g jar.

    “What about Marmite that Nigel looked at on the show? Here we use the label information taken straight from the Sanitarium website.

    You may have noticed Nigel with the calculator – what he did was take the amount of sugar per 100 grams – 11 – and multiplied it by 2.5 to get the amount of sugar per 250 gram pot

    11 x 2.5 = 28. Then he took 28 and divided it by 4 to get the amount of sugar in teaspoons per container – the answer is 7 teaspoons of sugar per 250 gram pot of Marmite.”

    November 7, 2016 at 8:55 pm Reply

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