Why I won't be quitting sugar in 2017

How many kilojoules are you drinking?

Four or more drinks in a night could be adding a whopping 4,000kJs (or half a day’s worth of food) to your diet. Vision: Cancer Council Victoria

Sugar, sugar, sugar. Health fanatics are obsessed with finding it in everything we eat. Just watch Bondi yogis run from a banana like it's a brown snake in their back garden's kale patch.

As no sugar diets reign supreme in 2017, I'll rebel because I've got a handle on nature's sweet nectar. I'll follow Def Leppard and "Pour-Some-Sugah-on-Meeeeeeee" in 2017. Thinking about sugar free?

Here's why I wouldn't change a thing:

Because vegetables contain sugar

Beets, carrots, onions, and many other vegetables contain sugar. And they are all damn healthy, full of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Yet only one in 20 Australians gets the daily recommended amount of veggies in their diet. Sugar isn't the issue – that we think potato chips and tomato sauce are vegetables is.

Because I exercise

A bit of naughty intake is fun, especially when it doesn't hit the sides because you exercise. Exercising with intensity allows me to have my cake and eat it too.

Because fruit contains sugar

Eating fruit reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers – and fruit contains sugar. Never demonise fruit, especially when less than half of Australian adults are eating two or more serves per day. Some fruits (like raspberries) contain just one teaspoon of sugar per cup. Compare that to cola which contains six teaspoons per cup.

Sugar doesn't make you fat

Did you know that sugar and protein contain the same calories (four) per gram? Fats have more, at nine calories per gram. So, it's not 'sugar' that's making you fat, it's a simple concept called gluttony that's doing it.

Because I shop like an adult

Low quality chocolate, bbq and tomato sauce, fruit and fizzy drinks, fast food, and processed junk at the supermarkets – I swore these off years ago when I decided to be an adult and own my health. Sure, some sugar sneaks into my diet, but with good choices there's no need to be obsessive and 100% sugar free about it. The evidence is in your grocery cart. Do you see healthy fuel? Or do you see a birthday party for a 12 year-old?

No sugar sucks

I've seen many articles about "I went no sugar for a month, and here's what happened to my body." Yet, nobody likes a quitter. With 100 per cent abstinence, you are officially the party pooper at work, with your mates, and even in your household. Quality eating should be healthy, pleasurable, and sustainable – not restrictive.

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I refuse to be a sheep in the flock

Maybe I'm a natural born cynic, but I refuse to follow the crowd, and as the fat free-ers turned into lemon detox-ers then paleo followers and now no sugar? I see less individuality and more sheep herding and trend devotees. Lifestyle change never sticks if you're just a disciple being persuaded by clicks, likes, and social media influencers.

Sugar free makes you fat

Similar to the "fat free made us fat" conundrum, is it possible sugar free will do the same? Diet soft drink consumers beware, because University of Sydney thinks it might: "After chronic exposure to a diet that contained the artificial sweetener sucralose, we saw that animals began eating a lot more," said lead researcher Associate Professor Greg Neely from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science.

More research needs to be done, but it could be that the brain responds to artificial sweeteners by telling an animal it hasn't consumed enough energy, so said animal then consumes more food.

Sugar isn't the obesity epidemic's enemy

The enemy is personal responsibility. Choice. Portion control. Balance. Commitment. And the ability to get arse-off-couch. The enemy is how much time we spend online and watching box sets versus the amount of time we prep for a healthy week of eating and exercise.

Want to cut the sugar by 80 per cent? Stop being kids in candy stories. Empty the cupboards, bin the biscuit and ice cream tins, walk past the fast food joints, and drain the juices and fizzy drinks. Cut empty calorie (foods high in calories with little-to-no nutritional value) items from your lifestyle forever.

Follow Farmer Bob's example

Ultimately, Australia doesn't need nutritionists, personal trainers, and paleo / sugar experts. We just need the farmer. Imagine approaching Farmer Bob in Tasmania and asking what you should eat. He'd say:

"Get protein from the animals in that field over there, or grab a fishing rod and jump in my tinnie. Pick some fruit from that tree to the left. Eat some veggies to the right. Cook it all on the barbie by the shed. Don't eat more than your share. And after a week of moving your body, enjoy my wife's cake and a few drinks."

The obesity epidemic isn't about doses of sugar, it's lacking doses of common sense.

In 2017, calls will echo for a tobacco-esque witch hunt over sugar so Facebook crusaders can blame 'corporate privilege' and hidden sugars for their unhidden bellies. Instead I'm hoping Australians will take cues from the farmer - that would be sweet as.

Are you boycotting sugar in 2017? Or will you try to make some real changes instead? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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