Birthday cake. Sugary cereals. Easter candy. Sugar is popular, playing a prominent cultural and social role as a form of celebration, a reward system and as an everyday sweetness fix. With recent research showing the toxic and addicting effects, some are declaring independence from sugar.
Once known for her cakes and pies, Bountiful resident Rhiannon Lawrence learned in 2009 she was gluten intolerant and pre-diabetic. Out of necessity, she embraced a new way of thinking about baking and cooking.
After experimenting with recipes for years, she shared what she found by writing the book "Eat free: No Gluten. No Sugar. No Guilt." Lawrence works with several non-profit organizations and is an advocate for health and nutrition.
Another advocate for avoiding sugar — Paul Stout of Kaysville, Utah — used to get headaches every day. A decade ago when he won a week's worth of milkshakes, he noticed the direct correlation between sugar and his pain. It's been 10 years since Stout gave up sugar, and he hasn't looked back.
"I tell everyone, and it's true: I feel better today at 53 than I did at 43, when I was still eating sugar," Stout said.
Lawrence and Stout offer tips for those who want to cut sugar from their diet: