On the weekend I made chocolate ice cream. I then shared my creation with the world on Instagram and Twitter, taking a photo of its chocolate deliciousness with the dextrose used to make it and (hashtagging) #sugarfree.
Boy did some people on Twitter get cranky about it.
No I’m not a muppet, I understand that dextrose is powdered glucose which is one of the basic forms of “sugar” along with fructose and lactose. I wasn’t trying to trick or fool anyone, the ice cream was sucrose free thus why I #sugarfree since sucrose is generally known as “sugar”. Technically I could have used #sucrosefree but #sugarfree is much more widely used.
This got me thinking, would my tweet have got the same reaction had I pictured the ice cream with honey? Or what about maple syrup, coconut nectar, agave or even made it with bananas or dates? I suspect not.
And why the grumpiness about using #sugarfree? Every week we see hundreds of tweets, instragram photos and Facebook posts using the term “sugarfree” in varying ways. If we are going to be technical about it, the only posts that could be classified as sugar free are those that do not contain lactose (so no dairy products), fructose (so no to most fruits, no to a lot of veggies), glucose and no to variations of these three such as maltose. This would probably reduce the number sweet related posts that are correctly #sugarfree down to well… zero.
We’ve witnessed a whole lotta online anger towards people like David Gillespie and Sarah Wilson who continue to sit at the forefront of the ‘Quit Sugar’ movement so the reaction on Twitter didn’t come as an enormous surprise. What I don’t fully understand is – why the anger? Isn’t it a good thing to help people become conscious of their sugar intake, assist in reducing this intake, provide guidance on better food choices, yet still allow the occasional sweet (glucose or lactose based) treat now and then? Sounds pretty good to me.
Will we continue to #sugarfree? Yes! The positive responses we receive from our followers and lovers of our products completely outweigh the occasional negative kickback. So keep your #sugarfree tweets, instagrams and Facebook posts coming! We love each and every photo and message we receive.
Oh and if you’re now thinking about chocolate ice cream, the recipe is at the back of “The Sweet Poison Quit Plan” by David Gillespie. #delicious #fructosefree #SUGARFREE.
I suspect it may be different in Australia, which is where I mostly see online people using “sugar free” to mean “fructose free”, but in the U.S. “sugar free” is legally defined by the Food & Drug Administration of less than 0.5g of any sugar (fructose, glucose, sucrose, etc.) per serving AND contains no more than an dietarily insignificant amount of any sugar, AND is low or reduced calorie. (21CFR101.60) So I suspect that is a factor in the pushback you are getting.
To be perfectly honest, coming from that background, I tend to assume #sugarfree means “sweetened with nasty chemicals” and had to be pointed at your site multiple times to realize that your recipes were actually the kind of food I was looking for.