Helping Mums Embrace Gentle Living & Easy Journaling

Sugar and Sweeteners are they bad for you? What’s the alternative?

This week’s chat with the lovely Danny Smith on his drive time show over at Radio Verulam was about nutrition and a few things that people might not know about SUGAR and SWEETENERS.

The problem is they are HIDDEN in lots of things that we eat and people don’t know.

Plus there are BIG health problems attached to them.

But don’t worry, you know me, I’m not into extremes, so I do have some ideas for alternatives.

If you fancy listening to us, then it’s about 15 minutes including music.  Otherwise, I’ve written it up below with some extra information I found afterwards:




Did you know that sweeteners are bad for you?

They are full of chemicals, that build up in your body and do it no good whatsoever.  There are tonnes of people talking in much more technical terms about this on the internet, so I’m not going to go into lots of biology about it, but basically they are toxins that build up in your body.

They are ironically NOT good for long term balanced weight as the body gets confused by eating something sweet that then has no calories.  Plus as you get more and more of these in the body, they will make weight loss more difficult as the body can’t work as well.

So DO NOT drink diet drinks.  Never ever ever.  Go for full sugar if you have to have a fizzy drink, or find something else or a different alcoholic drink that needs a different mixer.  Water is of course a great alternative!  I also talk about being careful of how much caffeine you drink later on in the day.

Watch out for low fat or low sugar foods.  In fact ANYTHING that LOOKS HEALTHY is probably packed with sweeteners and therefore bad for you!

Watch out for SQUASH because it often has sneaky sweeteners in it.  Instead look for a good fruit juice from concentrate (water it down if you like) or a squash with sugar.

So if you need sweetness I would actually advise sugar, just less of it so that it doesn’t affect your weight, insulin levels or health!



Problem is that sugar isn’t too good for you either.

Too much of it (like too much fat) affects the glyceamic index and insulin levels in the body that can aggravate or cause illnesses like Polycystic ovarian syndrome, IBS and Diabetes.

But most of all it is TERRIBLE for the immune system.  Us mums already have the bio weapons of mass destruction bringing every bug known to mankind back from school, and waking us up at night.  We don’t need something else that will literally inflame the insides of our bodies.

So if you need sugar use brown sugar, because that is marginally better for you than the white stuff and CUT out daily sugary treats, instead having a weekly one.

Now earlier on I said don’t drink diet drinks, so what about the others?  Well, be warned, often the healthy ones are packed with sugar especially those ‘water with a hint of something’ drinks that make you feel so self-righteous!

Plus if like Danny you like a can of coke you are looking at about the equivalent of 10 teaspoonfuls of sugar, which is 40g of sugar.  That is A LOT OF SUGAR. Added to that is the caffeine. So if you have any problems with your weight, sleep, emotional/mental health definitely don’t drink any after 4pm and consider finding something else that you like but which is a lot lower.

The NHS recommend the following: 70g for men and 50g for women depending on your height.  That means that 1 can of coke leaves you with very little leeway to have ANYTHING else in the day.  E.g. There could be another 4-5gs in one slice of bread, so if you have a sandwich you are done for the day and can’t add ketchup to your evening meal!

Remember that it is hidden in all sorts of things; always check the INGREDIENTS list.  I was over at Nanny Bets house the other day, helping her look through her cupboards.  The healthy cereal she had picked had added sugar.  The porridge was the ground up easy to put in a microwave stuff with none of the benefits of real porridge.

If you check the labels, the NHS recommends that:

  • more than 15g of total sugars per 100g is high
  • 5g of total sugars or less per 100g is low



I am not saying give up sweet!  Phew, you say!

If you have an immune system disease like me, then I would say that ALL sugar and ALL sweeteners have to go from your diet.

If you tend to be very up and down emotionally or are dealing with depression, then I would warn you to make sure that you always include something that is low in the Glyceamic Index when you have something that is high sugar or high fat, as it will only make things worse.

For the rest of you, it’s about cutting it down the sugar, cake and biscuits instead.

Here are some natural alternatives:

Honey – high GI, but natural and Manuka honey can be great for the immunity

Maple Syrup – comes from trees, rather than our traditional golden syrup, again high GI but natural

Stevia – is a natural sweetener, but I’m not keen because it doesn’t have ANY calories and I think that it will confuse the body

Xylitol – is the one I’m using at the moment for my 3 cups of tea a day.

There are definitely others: always worth a check at your local health food shop and by googling to see if anything new has arrived on the scene.


Quitting Sweetness Altogether?

You will find a LOT of stuff on the internet about how sugar, fructose, glucose, sucrose, carbohydrates and anything sweet, starchy or down right yummy is bad for you.

I totally DISAGREE!  What would life be like without a little sweetness?  Why on earth were bees created if not to bring a little pleasure into our lives?

Long term I’m convinced that those low carbohydrate diets are positively unhealthy and damage the body.

Check out this book called ‘I didn’t Quit Sugar’, it gives some really good advice, lots of technical information and they are about to bring out a recipe book too.


So what do you think about sugars and sweeteners?

Have you ever tried to those low carb diets?

Have I given you enough of a kick to try cutting back on your sugar and adding a few other alternatives?

13 thoughts on “Sugar and Sweeteners are they bad for you? What’s the alternative?

  1. Sugar is replaced by sweetener which is also has its own adverse effects. So it’s better to go for sugars but in control to avoid the health consequences.

    1. Thanks @Liam … but did you read the rest of the post about the alternatives, what do you think of those?

  2. Hi Lisa and thanks for informative post!
    I am always in the look out for sugar alternatives. I have recently heard about monk fruit as natural sugar alternative.

  3. Great post Lisa! I have also used the herb stevia as a natural sweetener, and that is very good. You can even grow it in a small pot in your kitchen, so it is nice and handy!

  4. As a nutritionist I’m constantly looking for ways to cut down on hidden sugars for the kids (and myself) it is literally everywhere. I think the problem is that our taste buds are being manipulated because of this so we expect foods to taste a certain way. Scientists call this the ‘bliss point’ where a food gives maximum sensory pleasure. Its worth reading this article on ‘healthy’ drinks which compares the amount of sugar with biscuits and doughnuts…certainly food for thought

    1. @Emma, yes I admit to reading the Daily Mail too – it’s full of such rubbish, but it does have some great ones like this! I remember one they did about cereal which was pretty shocking as well.
      My kids think I’m mean because I won’t let them have sugar on weetabix or rice crispies – but the way I think about it, is if they don’t get used to it, they won’t need it or expect it like me.

  5. I’ve read a recent research about artificial sweeteners being not that bad although I couldn’t find the link now.

    Thanks for the e-book recommendation. Will find some time reading it.

    1. Really @Jennifer? I suppose the thing is that everything has it’s up and downsides – the up being no calories, I would say the down being the chemicals. But I suppose for some people that’s better than other options.

I love hearing what people think about my posts!