Sugar–free diet is no easy venture

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

Having spent an hour watching a bunch of celebrities giving up sugar as part of yet another reality television show, it got me thinking about what lengths we will go to in the name of health.

Most of the celebrities taking part sang the diet’s praises and when offered a selection of sweeties, fizzy drinks and biscuits, they turned their noses up citing a change in tastes since the strict regime had taken over their lives.

During the episode, the group were taken to a restaurant for a standard pub lunch and it was clear to see just how difficult giving up sugar can be.

They agonised for ages over what they could or couldn’t have and it turned out only a couple of items on the menu were suitable for a sugar–free diet, even with modifications.

Some of them even said giving up sugar was synonymous to giving up a social life as it was so difficult be able to eat out and have a choice of sugar–free options, not to mention alcohol is off limits.

Jennifer Ellison was one of the celebrities taking part and she admitted to drinking up to eight cans of coke each day prior to taking part in the programme, which led to a huge weight gain and serious withdrawal symptoms when she gave it all up during the project.

As the show came to an end, she said she couldn’t see herself completely giving up sugar and instead, aimed to avoid it 80 per cent of the time and allow herself treats 20 per cent of the time.

Having tried a few extreme diets over the years, I know it’s hard to completely eliminate something, never mind sugar which appears in so much of our food. Even certain foods that most people think are fairly healthy can be laden with sugar and it can come as quite a shock to find out just how much is hidden in the ingredients.

As much as programmes like the Sugar Free Farm are good at highlighting the issue that eating too much sugar can be dangerous – and let’s face it, our NHS is struggling to deal with the diabetes and obesity problems that can be linked to sugar consumption – but I think moderation is better than elimination.

It’s just not good for the mind to be constantly worrying about what you can or can’t have and restricting yourself too much usually leads to failing in the long run.

The lesson I took from watching a group of celebrities being put through their paces at the Sugar Free Farm, is that it’s good to be aware of what you’re eating but don’t get stressed out trying to live like a saint. Having the occasional biscuit won’t do too much harm!