March 15


What’s the deal with sugar?

In the process of preparing for last week’s Raw Desserts Masterclass (which was one of the best classes I’ve run so far!) I’ve taken time to do some research on sugar as it’s the hottest subject nowadays. You might have encountered a blog post, article or someone doing an sugar-free diet already. Or you’re doing it already. But what’s the deal with sugar and why did we end up where we are today? 

The taste for sweetness is one of our evolutionary traits for survival. A powerful urge that allowed humans to evolve. Biologically, the sweet taste exists in order to signal the presence of a vital food. Sugars are the basis of life on earth. They are produced by the plants during photosynthesis and contains the Sun’s energy, being a fuel for all living organisms. 

Being so important for vital functions, concentrated sources are raw in nature in pure form, found mainly in fruits and honey. The sweetness taste is what allows creatures to find it and recognise it, a powerful “carrot on the stick” motivator. 

However, humans found a way to trick nature and produce sugars, feeding an ever increasing sweet tooth. 

The people of New Guinea were probably the first to domesticate sugarcane, sometime around 8,000 BC. However, the extraction and purifying technology techniques were developed by people who were living in India. After domestication, its cultivation spread rapidly to Southeast Asia and southern China. By the sixth century AD, sugar cultivation and processing had reached Persia; and, from there that knowledge was brought into the Mediterranean by the Arab expansion. Source 

Nowadays, processed sugar, from sugar cane and beets and high fructose corn syrup have taken control over the entire world. From bread to pasta sauce, salad dressings to sodas sugar is everywhere. And if that wasn’t enough, you have substances such as aspartame and maltodextrin, created to enhance the sweetness taste without the caloric count. As if that matters in this scenario. Did you know that aspartame is 20x sweeter than sugar? The more these chemicals are added to foods, the more people want those foods, because they have an addictive nature and trigger your brain cells in similar ways to cocaine and heroin.

Here’s what you need to look after in the ingredients list on packaging to avoid processed sugars.
The 56 names under which Sugar hides
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We evolved on much lower doses and we’re not built to process this much sugar. You don’t pour yourself a cup of sugar and eat it with a spoon while rejoicing in the experience, do you? An increased intake of sugar interferes with basic metabolic processes, such as nutrient absorption, how the body burns calories or stores fat, leading to more serious and life threatening disease. 

By overindulging in sugar we disrupt the balance of wanting, liking and learning. When we’re hungry and only start eating, we get pleasure and satisfaction. We have a good signal that this is good for us, but naturally stop when we’ve taken what we needed from it. By consistently overdoing and overeating sweets (and not only) we’re destroying the signaling mechanisms and fail to know when to stop before the tank is too full. 


Science is only now starting to understand the basis of what happens from the moment sugar molecules touch your tongue and what that triggers in your brain and gut. One thing is clear, sugars should be taken in moderation and as much as possible in their natural form. No matter what type, a sugar is still a sugar.

Even though I speak and teach about raw desserts as a better option, it doesn’t mean you should over indulge in them on a daily basis. For starters it’s great replacing processed sugar with whole food sugar (fresh fruits, dates, figs, carob, lucuma). Once you rid your body of processed sugars you’ll already feel a sensible difference in your mood, cravings, energy fluctuation levels and sleep. As part of a balanced, real whole foods lifestyle, you’ll then naturally know what’s needed and when without binging on it. 

So, what’s the one thing that you’re having today and you know you could replace with a whole food, less processed version? Comment below.

If there’s something you’re struggling with to let go of and it keeps coming back, let me know if I can help in any way. And remember, if there’s something you’re looking to improve or deal with, you can book a free 20 min health coaching call to have a chat about that and see what can be done. 

Hope spring is treating you well so far! 
Until next time, keep shining!

Much love,
Denisa xxo




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