In this day and age there are so many definitions of ‘sugar free’. For the purpose of my recipes I often go down one of two different sugar free paths – low to no fructose and/or no refined sugar.
I’m no scientist but to my knowledge, fructose is a form of sugar which often causes havoc with many tummies out there, including my own. It is metabolised by the liver and stored as fat rather than being used up as energy straight away like glucose. Fructose does not produce an appetite control mechanism like glucose does, meaning we are never satisfied when we eat it – we just want to eat more. On top of this, fructose hides all over the place … regular table sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose! Due to this I have taken up many a challenge to make my favourite indulgent recipes into low fructose or fructose free versions. For more info on the effects of fructose visit the ‘I Quit Sugar’ website – a great rundown.
In this section I also include recipes which are ‘refined sugar free’, meaning they only contain natural, un-processed forms of sugar e.g. fruit & veggies. These recipes are not fructose free however fruit and veggies come hand in hand with some of the good stuff too (fibre, vitamins & minerals to name a few) making these recipes more beneficial to our bodies than the average chocolate bar. If you can handle some fructose in your tummy, these are the ones for you!
After much conversation with friends, and roaming the internet to define ‘sugar free’, I have found that it is purely dependent on who you ask as to what they define as ‘sugar free’ – no sugar at all (including lactose, fructose etc); fructose free; refined sugar free and so on. Please note that I am not a dietician, nor do I suggest radically changing your diet without seeking medical advice first. My simple message when it comes to various forms of sugar (including fructose and lactose) is to do what works for you, after all, you are the specialist of your own body.