(I totally know I shouldn’t be writing this, what with me being a nutritionist and all, but sometimes stuff just needs to be said)
Sugar makes stuff taste nice.
Yes it does.
Just like fat also makes stuff taste nice.
But unlike fat, (or at least the fats which we like to think of as good fats) sugar is pretty much a demon ingredient. Anyone who cares about their health hates sugar. Some people won’t touch the stuff because it’s a poison. Or because it ages you. Or because it’s bad for your teeth. Some people have managed to avoid sugar for years, and even in my seasonal Reboots, we take a few days away from the sweet stuff.
Clearly there are loads of reasons to avoid sugar.
(the above is only a taster of the terrible things that sugar can do for you)
And yes, I fully agree that eating shed loads of sugar isn’t a good idea. Relying on added sugar to make your pasta sauce more tasty, or chucking tonnes of sugar on your cereal and in your coffee just to give you enough energy to get going every single morning is definitely not the way to live a long and happy and healthy life.
BUT, and this but is big enough to require capitals: sometimes, sugar is what is required.
You are sitting around a roaring fire, enjoying an afternoon with family after a wintery walk through the woods, and someone brings out a great big cake. Covered in icing, filled with joy and made with love by someone who bakes like a dream.
Or you might be at the cinema with your honey, holding hands and feeling romantic, and your royal sweetness offers you a packet of lovely chocolate while you watch the story unfold on the screen in front of you.
Or it might be your birthday meal out with your most special and funny friends. After stuffing your face with the best pizza ever made, you spot tiramisu on the menu.
Do you sit there and declare in your most righteous prim voice:
‘It’s got sugar in it. Sugar is bad. Sugar is crap. I wouldn’t dare touch the stuff and if you are wise, you’ll dump this addictive poison in the bin. Here, I brought some celery with me because it clears the palate’.
(and before you yell at me; yes, I’m a nutritionist. I know that for specific people, eating foods full of sugar is a terrible idea and that reducing sugar intake is a brilliant idea for most of us. This isn’t about that. This is about the joy of food)
(I also know that many foods can be made without sugar – I’m the Queen of chocolate breakfast without any sugar, don’t you know – but I also know that sometimes, being the one who doesn’t eat anything ‘naughty’ kind of defeats the whole point of having tastebuds)
Wouldn’t it be better, in that moment, to not worry about whether or not you should eat the cake/chocolate/pudding?
Wouldn’t it be lovely to just know that the odd splash of sugary loveliness isn’t going to kill you and that you might as well enjoy it?
Wouldn’t it just glorious to feel free and happy and content because you know for sure that the foods you usually eat are nourishing, full of goodness and that the odd cake-a-roo won’t do you any harm?
You might remember me ranting about this a bit in my post about having some lovely ‘general rules’ around food and life.
I’m definitely not advocating eating loads of rubbish all the time.
But sugar does taste nice. Especially when it’s part of a bigger something.
A special moment.
So, yeah, I’m a nutritionist, and I love chocolate.
Not every day.
And none of the pappy stuff.
But I definitely don’t freak out when it comes to getting my sweet-on!
As life is often about the sweet stuff, it can feel hard to know what to do about all those cakes and chocolate. Why not sign up to my newsletter and I’ll be here to help you whenever you need it.