What's a "special occasion" food for you?

Icecream? Potato chips?

I seriously doubt anyone's definition of special occasion food is bananas, pineapple or apples.

Yet in the world of I Quit Sugar, this is what we're encouraged to think.


It's a shortcut to disordered thinking about food.

I Quit Sugar is a business empire started by journalist Sarah Wilson.

It attracted some flak this week on Instagram, after posting a "fruit pyramid" which demonstrated graphically "the fruits we love, and ones we like to keep for special occasions".

At the top of the pyramid (eat sparingly) were grapes, cherries, bananas, pineapple and watermelon.

Other fruit was divided into eat less and eat most categories; the latter including lemons, limes, coconut, avocado and most berries.

This is one of the silliest things I've seen about nutrition online in a while.

And I see a lot of silly stuff.

It's also really frustrating for anyone trying to spread a message of moderation around food.


There were many comments from nutritionists, dietitians and others on the IQS Instagram post expressing this.

"This is so irresponsible!" said one commenter. "You need to realise the effect you are having on vulnerable people."

"I work with clients experiencing overeating and bingeing and this is exactly the kind of nonsense that contributes to these kinds of problems," said another.

They're (rightly) concerned about these kinds of posts because, when viewed in isolation - as things are on Instagram - they lack context.

The whole I Quit Sugar diet regimen (and make no mistake: this is a diet, however much they call it a lifestyle) is based on the idea that one particular type of sugar, fructose, is uniquely damaging and should be avoided.

The evidence on this is far from established, but that hasn't stopped many from advocating we avoid all fructose, often in favour of other sweeteners such as rice malt syrup, which is really just another type of sugar.

If you're choosing a syrup-filled sweet treat instead of a banana as a snack, you're being misled, and you're missing out on many potential benefits, as the dietitians have pointed out.

All fruit contains beneficial vitamins, antioxidants and fibre that we don't usually get from other sweet foods.

Although there are good things about the IQS diet - it encourages whole, unprocessed foods, lots of vegetables, not counting calories - it is still a diet.

If you're going to follow the diet, you'll need to think at every meal about what you're allowed and what you're not allowed to eat.

As with all diets, there are foods that are restricted, and foods that are permitted.

Not many of us can live life like that forever.

Fruit and vegetables are vitally important for our health.

Most of us don't get enough.

It's recommended we have two servings of fruit a day, every day.

That doesn't mean going crazy, but it does mean a couple of handfuls.

That shouldn't cause us stress.

Whether it's berries or bananas, it's all good.