Dieting experiment: Sugar overload vs sugar-free

Dieting experiment: Sugar overload vs sugar-free

It seems everybody's jumping on the sugar-free bandwagon lately, so Story is doing the same.

But it wasn't sweet -- first I ate loads and loads of sugar, for a whole week, and then I tried going without.

I'm doing this because it is recommended only to have six teaspoons of added sugar per day, but we're having around 27 on average -- that's nearly five times the recommended daily intake.

The first stop was a visit to dietician Sarah Elliot to find out which types of sugar I should be loading up on for this first week -- coconut sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave syrup, even fruit juice becomes free sugar once you extract it from the fruit. These are the sugars, free sugars -- stuff you don't find in fruit -- Ms Elliot says we should be moderating.

Except me. I've been sugar-loading. On day five, it doesn't feel like the end of the world but I do feel tired, a bit cranky in the afternoons and guilty about eating so much sugar.

Remember I'm only consuming as much sugar as we Kiwis average on a daily basis.

Once that week was over with, I was onto a cleansing diet, drinking only water, whole foods, no added sauces for pastas, no processed foods, a few pieces of fruit per day. It's pretty easy to monitor; all the food labels are easy to read.

But I came across a few big problems.

I usually shop online and the main supermarket websites don't have nutrition information available. You don't know what you're buying till it turns up at the door. Wouldn't it be great if you could search for juice and rank the results by sugar content?

Then there's alcohol. Alcohol is exempt from displaying nutritional information on product labels. Big booze gets a free pass on that one, but if I did know, I might have made better choices on Saturday night.

It turns out this whole experiment is an example of what not to do if you're trying to cut down on sugar. Ms Elliot says binge-and-cut eating is not a healthy way to eat.

Watch the video for the full Story report.

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