Cityscape Wellbeing & Fitness
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Category Wellbeing & Fitness

The Good Life, with Dr. Libby

Dr Libby takes on sugar in her new book, Sweet Food Story.

The first way to debunk some of the confusion around sugar is to clarify the precise definition of the word ‘sugar’ as it is used loosely in the modern vernacular and given a variety of meanings.

Technically, sugar and starch are carbohydrates, with one of the main differences between them being the size of their structures. The term sugar refers to simple sugars, monosaccharides such as glucose and fructose, as well as disaccharides such as sucrose, lactose and maltose, which are two monosaccharides linked together. Starches are polysaccharides made up of long chains of monosaccharides. Starches are broken down into sugars during digestion.

Sugars are created by some plants to store energy, rather like the way animals make fat. For plants, periods of feast and famine are natural and plants have to be able to store fuel for lean times so they can survive and sugars are these fuels.

Plants make sugars via photosynthesis by taking in carbon dioxide from the air through pores in their leaves and absorbing water through their roots. These are combined to make sugar, using energy from the sun and with the help of a substance called chlorophyll which is green which gives the plants their colour and the ability to absorb the sun’s energy.

Phosphoglyceraldehyde serves as the starting material for the synthesis of glucose and fructose. Glucose and fructose may remain in this structure within the plant or they may combine to form sucrose and travel in solution to other parts of the plant, such as to the fruit and/or the roots. Isn’t nature amazing?

White sugar, otherwise known as table sugar is sucrose; glucose and fructose joined together. It is derived from sugar cane, which must undergo many processes of refinement to create table sugar.

The road from the juice within the sugar cane – the subtly sweet liquid rich in nutrients – to white refined sugar is a journey that concentrates sweetness, making us want sweeter and sweeter foods, concentrates energy (calories), and destroys nutrients, all factors that are highly undesirable for great health. Be sure to choose sweet foods made from wholefoods to nourish you this summer – like the below recipe from my new book Sweet Food Story.

Tropical Cheesecake



  • 1 tablespoon pysllium husk
  • 2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup dried dates, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


  • 1 ½ cups raw cashew nuts, soaked overnight and rinsed well
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ a large pineapple, core and skin removed and diced
  • Pulp of 2 passion fruit
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g cacao butter, melted


1. To make the base, combine all base ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined and sticky.
2. Line a slice tin with greaseproof paper and press the base mixture down firmly in the tin. Allow to set in the fridge or freezer.
3. To make the filling, combine all ingredients (except cacao butter) in a high speed blender and pulse until smooth and combined. Add the cacao butter by drizzling it in while the blender is still running on a low speed (this will take about 5 seconds - do not over blend).
4. Pour filling onto the base and return to the fridge or freezer until set.

  • Makes 15-20 slices
  • 30 minutes
  • Freezer friendly

Nutritional Information

This refreshing Tropical Cheesecake will leave you gloriously nourished. The fruit in this cheesecake is packed with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals all necessary to support a healthy immune system.

Children also love this cheesecake, so it is also a great way to provide them with a wide variety of nutrients and dietary fibre all at once!


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Guest 24 February 2018