Natural Alternatives to Sugar – Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD
Review by Atiya Khan as published in the BANT February newsletter (full newsletter available to members only)
Sugar is in the mainstream limelight, with more people waking up to its dangers, not least because of Jamie Oliver’s high profile efforts to tackle childhood obesity. Marilyn Glenville’s book, released in 2016, comes at a timely point where many people are asking questions, including what sugar actually does and what are the best alternatives. Marilyn, true to form as a leading nutritionist and author of 13 internationally best-selling books, skilfully tackles these questions head on: the first part of the book contains short, digestible (!) chapters, including a descriptive narrative on the dark history of sugar in relation to the slave trade, what it is, where the different forms are found and then goes into the health implications of sugar consumption. She covers weight gain, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s/dementia, cancer, stress and ageing with ample detail to describe the processes, yet conveys them in plain understandable language, and includes references.
She uses personalised pleas, strong language and images to strengthen her message, for example, “I cannot stress important it is to bring your blood sugar under control”, calling sugar “your enemy” and a study of a glowing tumour from the equivalent sugar from half a standard chocolate bar. The reader is enticed to read onto the next chapter, with a leading question or comment, appealing to our quest for health, such as “Is sugar the reason you often feel irritable, angry, depressed or forgetful? It’s quite possible.”
Marilyn thoroughly discusses the sugar alternatives with what they are, how they are sourced, their pros and cons and, most valuably – her view – and if favourable, a tip on how to use them. She gives practical advice on reading food labels, a 5-step guide to coming off sugar and addresses key questions when in the moment of a craving. She describes a five day sugar detox, succinctly giving advice on preparation, meal ideas, lifestyle and next steps over the next few weeks. The final two chapters include supplement advice and then a good range of sugar-free recipes, which are simple, accessible and include some savoury recipes to avoid shop-bought sauces.
Marilyn has, once again, produced a book which is readable and useful for everyone, including practitioners, as her dedication aptly sets out “To all those men and women who are taking responsibility for their health”.
BANT rating 5/5: Highly recommended!