Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Not-so-sweet!



Did you know the average American consumes about 156 pounds of sugar each year? That's 3 pounds of sugar each week. That's an amazing amount, especially when you consider that 200 years ago, three pounds of sugar would have lasted a small family about a year.

We do not have to consume white, refined sugar to be consuming sugar. Sugar includes glucose, fructose (as in fruit sugar), lactose (as in milk), sucrose (as in table sugar), maltose or malts (as in rice malt and honey), jam (contains concentrated juice, which is high in fruit sugar), maple syrup, corn syrup, palm sugar (traditionally used in macrobiotic cooking), and the very deceiving organic brown sugar, which is not all that different from white sugar. Even alcohol is a sugar. All of these sugars are problematic in many different ways.

The sugar industry is not in decline and obesity is on the increase. Sugar is a major culprit in the case against obesity. For obese individuals, consuming even a teaspoon of sugar a day would cause metabolic imbalances that contribute to obesity. Sugar is to be avoided, not only by the obese but by healthy individuals.

[Excerpt from The Harmful Effects of Sugar and Choosing Healthy Alternatives]

All in all, we are accustomed to adding sugar to everything from pasta sauces to crackers. We pour sugary marinades on our meats and slather our American favorites into sugary ketchup. We're addicted, and the sugar industry knows it.

The major corn companies want us to feel like high fructose corn syrup is healthy because it comes from corn (nevermind it's GMO corn- a whole 'nother subject!), and we eat it up because we want to believe it.

Fact is, we don't want to change our lifestyle. Just look at all the major fad diets out there. Most of them proclaim you can eat what you want. You don't need to give up a thing! Instead of telling us to change what we eat, we're told to eat less of it. But poison is still poisonous to our bodies even if we consume it in smaller amounts. We can't expect to continue eating sugar-laden, chemically altered foods and have healthy bodies. It simply isn't possible. Chances are, you're feeling the effects of your diet now (maybe you don't realize it), but the real effects won't kick in until much later... and it might be too late to change a thing.

I'm not trying to be a party pooper. Believe me, I love sugar. I love candy. I love cake. I wish buttercream icing was one of the main food groups! While it's great to search out and use natural and healthier sweeteners, we also need to learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of our foods. Cutting back is not something Americans do well. Some of our favorite foods and snacks can be made with less sugar (or a better, natural substitute). Food companies are listening- that's why many products now are now reduced sugar, reduced fat, baked instead of fried, whole grain, organic, etc. Every time we purchase a product, we are voting. So, use your buck wisely and vote for healthier foods in our markets!

Links you might enjoy:

Natural Substitutes for Sugar

1 comment:

Pam... said...

You go girl! I've been reading many books on health. Currently this one Never Say Diet. Healthy is the key! Sugar is quite a problem. It feels good to not be addicted to it. It becomes a master.