The quit-sugar message promoted by Sarah Wilson, David Gillespie, Robert Lustig is fairly unpalatable in that the majority of people want to have their cake and eat it too. Me included!
The language used in getting their message across ie. sugar is poison, addictive, toxic, sounds dramatic and some may wonder if it is necessary to use these words. Perhaps yes, perhaps no. I believe to some degree the language is tied up in marketing the message. The 'I Eat More Wholefoods' 8 week program doesn't sound as catchy as 'I Quit Sugar' does it? And titling a book 'Sweet Poison' is clever word play and makes good marketing sense: there isn't meant to be anything sweet about poison now is there? The title alone is cause for intrigue.
I was prompted to write this post after reading a series of posts on the quit sugar topic. First I read two well considered posts on the sugar topic over on naturopath Georgia Harding's blog, Well Nourished go here and here. Then I read Sarah Wilson's post about her 'lapse' when she ate two chocolate croissants, I read the post and each of the comments. A number of commenters on Sarah's post made reference to how banning certain foods or ingredients such as sugar can, for some people, lead to a cycle of binging and purging and an emotional and physical roller-coaster, that for some can be a symptom of an eating disorder. This thought has crossed my mind a number of times when considering the quit sugar message. I don't think in any way though it is Sarah's intention to set people up for developing or fuelling an eating disorder.
There is a problem though as I see it and that is the quit sugar program is promoted as 'one size fits all' so to speak, when in fact it doesn't really account too much for individual psychology and physiology. Sarah's reason for quitting sugar was to address her auto-immune disorder, from what I have read in the comments of Sarah's blog people go on her program for a wide range of reasons, including weight loss, and what might be working for Sarah may not be right for others and can result in a feeling of 'failure' for some that can then feed into self-esteem and body image issues. For another take on this aspect read this post on Mamamia.
I agree that in no amount does refined sugar provide nutritional value, however by my observation sugar is not addictive to every single person. There are people who can take or leave sweet food, people who can open a packet of biscuits or chocolate eat one and still have the packet in the cupboard a week later untouched. These people exist really they do!
I have written before that the positive side to the quit sugar message is that it is raising people's awareness about hidden sugars and encouraging people to include more real food and less processed food in their diet which is precisely the way to go for good health and longevity there is no arguing about that.
It was a National Geographic article Sugar Love (a not so sweet story) found via Georgia's blog that made the most impact on me. At the end of reading it I felt sad. Sad about the children included in the article who represent a generation of children being fed processed food and the diet related diseases and shorter lifespans they will experience as a result. I also feel motivated. Really motivated, to continue adding my thoughts to the sugar issue and to keep on finding ways to encourage and support people to eat real food and to especially feed their children real food even when it means going against the tide of a massive, dominating fake food culture.
Love to hear your thoughts in the comments.