Maggie Beer weighs in on the great sugar debate 89



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She is responsible for some of the most decadent and delicious foodstuffs in Australia and will soon appear on a TV show dedicated to mind blowing sweet treats, so where does Maggie Beer stand on the debate about sugar?

The 70-year-old cook and restaurateur today was unambiguous in her comments to News Limited about the issue.

When asked how her new show, The Great Australian Bake Off, will sit with dietitians and nutritionists who are increasingly calling sugar “sweet poison”, Ms Beer said, “This is an obsession that I find very difficult to stomach.”

“People get so caught up, it used to be fat and now it’s sugar. It’s just part of life and it should be taken as part of life, and it gives joy, it brings people together around you. Just don’t overdo it,” she said.

In light of all the taste-testing she is required to do for the contest, Ms Beer admitted she had a personal trainer during filming of the show.

“Physicality is really important, that you have a trade off because you feel better when you’re alive and you’re alive when you do both — you eat well and you exercise.”

Ms Beer’s co-star Matt Moran agrees with her attitude that a reasonable amount of sugar is okay.

“It is a balance, a little bit of everything is alright,” said the TV chef.

“Everyone’s got their own philosophy and that’s fantastic, I’m not going to go into that but what I believe in is a little bit of everything is good.”

As for the cakes on the The Great Australian Bake Off, expect some pretty amazing creations.

“I could never have done what the best of the contestants did so for me it was a revelation,” says Ms Beer.

“I was blown away, I know that they have skills that I don’t in many cases. I learned every single day, which is one of the reasons why I did this show. There is nothing more seductive than when you come away thinking ‘wow!’”

What do you think of Maggie Beer’s stance on sugar? Have you given it up or have you considered doing so? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Everything in moderation. We have these fads then later we get told oh you shouldn’t have that. I like to have as natural as possible. As whole food as possible.

    3 REPLY
    • I agree. I remember in the 70s we were told not to eat eggs. Apparently they were bad for us. I can remember my mother restricting the the number of eggs we ate. I think fresh is best and everything in moderation. Also I think exercise is very important.

  2. How can you stand by what you say when there is so much sugar added to EVERYTHING we eat. I am a little younger than you and I was bought up on sweets every tea time and sweets on Sunday after the roast dinner, mum made cakes, biscuits, scones and lots of sweets for us….but we did NOT have any of the bottled, tinned and packet food with all the added sugar, it was all hand made from scratch. We were not over weight, no did we get sick….not like people today. Yes things in moderation is the way, but when it is SO large in everything we eat I feel there is a great problem. Love your cooking and your great spirit.

    9 REPLY
    • The diffence is that when we were kids we were outside running it off playing , our parents didn’t have all the mod cons and it was much hard work cleaning the house and many homes did not have cars and we walked to get buses. Today there is not a great deal of physical excersise going on, even the kids sit inside and tap away on phones and mobile devices

    • I remember we had two biscuits with a cup of tea and felt full, now people have a whole packet while they mindlessly munch in front of the television or computer. You give your full attention to your food by sitting as a family at the dinner table together, satisfy your hunger, so there should be no reason to want to eat rubbish lollies, cakes and biscuits an hour later. Besides the hidden sugars are in the packaged foods. Make everything from scratch, you will enjoy it more and it will taste much better.

    • I started work on the farm at 6.30, helped milk 250 cows, then hand fed 100 to 150 calves, then there was the dairy to clean, hay to put out and only then could we go home for breakfast. After breakfast there were electric fences to be moved, cows to be checked, fences to be checked and sometimes fixed, etc, etc, etc…then 3.30 came and we were back milking 250 cows and feeding 100 to 150 calves then home for tea then bed…..yes things were different in those days but still doesn’t change the fact that we are eating TOO much sugar each day….

    • same here, cakes, etc, were sweets and treats, we didn’t have crisps, Coca Cola etc. icecreams (home made) that sort of thing.

    • the only take aways we had was fish and chips once a month,and would not be seen eating on the street.

    • Diana Bittar Not so long ago my then 84 year old mother was visiting. On a shopping trip I realised we’d not eaten and were goign to be unable to do so for a while so I bought us a ‘mini’ pie and we sat on a bench to eat it. My mum commented that it was the first time she had eaten in the street. She found it challenging to do so.

    • Everything said above resonates with me. Never ate in the street. We had three good meals a day. We were so full when we got up from the table and never got fat. We also had a cup of tea and a slice of toast for supper and did not feel hungry nibbley ever. The big corporations need to sell products so the have poisoned everything that is packaged with fake everything. I bet cardboard is more nutritious, and it is all done to make you feel unsatisfied and hungry very quickly, then you have to diet or take supplements and feel guilty whilst putting on weight. That is another industry, the weight loss industry. What a merry go round with a huge dose of the guilts thrown in.

  3. Sugar is an acquired taste. In recent years bought foodstuffs in cafes have got sweeter and sweeter. Now they are generally so sweet I cannot eat them.
    Ever more sugar is a pointless exercise unless you are in the sugar selling business.

  4. It’s not the sugar we know about that is our main problem, it’s the sugar in things we don’t regard as sweet. Diabetics are warned not to eat at Subway due to the high sugar content in their bread. Years ago I gave up adding sugar to tea or coffee and find now I can better detect sweeteners in food. I often visit Canada and like the US everything savoury seems terribly sweet and sweet stuff extra sweet. This is occurring here more, sauces, pickles, salad dressings all very sweet and other savoury food too. If the only sugar I ever ate was what I add to food it would be one teaspoon of golden syrup in my breakfast mix.

    1 REPLY
    • Barbara, in bread it isn’t just the sugar it is also the starches in the flour. The same applies to rice, corn, fruits and most root vegetables.

  5. So true. The added sugar in our foods is the problem. Go back to pure natural ingredients ( in as pure a form as they can be purchased) and make everything at home from scratch!!
    All of us who got sucked in to the ” no fat, low fat” diet scam, have weight problems today!

    1 REPLY
    • Quite true because to get enough flavour you have to have high sodium or high sugars added. Makes it tricky doesn’t it.

  6. All cooks and chefs rely on large amounts of sugar and salt for their food they prepare, so they are not geared towards cutting these back at least. Today sugar is a real problem and these expert cooks etc would do us all a favour if they came up with healthier choices as an alternative at the very least.

    2 REPLY
  7. I have never had sugar in my tea or coffee, I was born a few years after the war but it was still to hard to get in the north of Scotland, I use stevia for any sweetening I need for cooking but I am still overweight, I don’t like fatty food and cut all visible fat from my meat, I exercise and watch what I eat, I don’t drink a lot, I don’t smoke but the weight still wont budge. Could this be the answer

    2 REPLY
    • Actually there was a show on the ABC last night about weight loss and why it is so hard. Catalyst, well worth watching, all about our famine response. I know every time I’ve dieted and lost weight I’ve put it back and always a little more. But first maybe we should all learn and speak another language.

  8. I am fed up of being told ,What to eat What not to eat ,it’s just life gone crazy ,now they want to put the coffee shops out of business ,My mum lived till 94 and loved her food ,and cooked the best baked dinners ever ,I and my brother are still surviving ,both in our seventies so what did we do wrong ,

    4 REPLY
    • So very true it’s all the junk food people eat I bake my cakes and slices and don’t buy the rubbish on the shelves Yes I grew up on the best home cooked meals

    • Thank you ,this is my bug bear ,do you really believe the governments care what we eat ,it just looks good for them ,

    • Those who lived a long life didn’t have access to all the processed food and they knew what went in the food they ate. Very different now.

    • Yes I agree ,because I also have grandchildren ,who are not allowed this or that ,but feel sorry for all the not allowed ,including activities and many things in life generally ,t think it is sad but true. Thank You ,

  9. This is always an interesting topic and we all have our own opinions. I do feel a lot comes down to our genes. My husband is a injecting diabetic so we check out the back of boxes. It hasn’t limited us like we thought it would but it makes you check it out. Subway NZ depending on your filling is ok and there are a couple of others that are fine. We watch our dressings and sauces but in small quantities are fine. But in saying this I love a piece of brownie with my weekly latte. Lol

  10. When are they going start discussing how bad to much salt is also

    3 REPLY
    • I totally agree with you. I believe that’s why my father had a heart attack early in his life. He had way too much salt with his food. And because he liked his salt, mum, unfortunately, used to cook with too much salt.

    • And after watching all different kinds of cooking shows, I think chefs need to rethink some of their advise, ie: meat loves salt & salt loves meat. It makes me cringe each time I hear it.

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