Are you afraid of sugar? Over the past several decades, sugar has become a villain in the modern American diet. It’s not the sugar – it’s how it is used – or over-used, should I say.
Sugar is the original sweetener – it has been safely used for – um – a million years or so. All animals eat sugary foods, or better put, all animals eat foods naturally sweetened with “natural” sugar.
My grandparents ate sugar. Their parents ate sugar. The birds and the bees eat sugar. So, where did we go wrong?
- Humans discovered how to “refine” sugar for extended shelf-life;
- Manufacturers discovered sugar added to pre-packaged foods sells more products (especially in cereals, gum, and ice cream);
- Fake sugars took advantage of the market when the over-use of refined sugars started making people fat and sick.
A general “fear of sugar” has led to a sugarphobia, which can lead to a dependency on chemical sweetener substitutes, which then creates a craving for “simple carbs”, and that results in “over-eating” the wrong kinds of foods, and (one more) that leads to weight gain and obesity. Whew, that’s a mouthful (sorry for the pun.)
Sugar is blamed for causing many health problems including heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, fatigue, depression, hyperactivity, and even criminal behavior.
- Is this accurate information?
- Are we blaming the “right” form of sugar for our health problems?
- Has dis-information created a fear of sugar?
- Are you throughly confused by advertisers?
Don’t panic – I’m not advocating eating refined processed, “white” sugar. The key is to eat normal and moderate quantities of UNPROCESSED and RAW sugar. This avoids an even more dangerous issue – turning to artificial sweeteners as a solution! Of course, that’s what the marketers want you to do – forever.
What does the FDA say? According to a 2004 FDA Report from the Sugars Task Force, added sugar at current levels is not detrimental to health.
They state, “when normal or moderate quantities (of sugar) are consumed, sugar cannot be linked to any disease, nor does it create a dependency.” The key in this statement is: “normal or moderate quantities.”
Natural Versus Artificial
According to Consumer’s Research Magazine: “Refined sugars and chemical sugar substitutes benefit the corporations manufacturing and marketing them, but do not benefit the consumers.”
They write in a 2005 article: “Are such foods truly beneficial and desirable? Diabetics, weight watchers, and the general public might make better food choices by selecting basic, rather than highly processed foods; for example, apples rather than turnovers; or plain dairy foods rather than sweetened.”
By 1990, Americans were consuming an average of twenty pounds of artificial sweeteners. Yet interestingly, as the consumption of sugar-substitutes continued to rise, so, too, did the consumption of refined sugar.
Who’s To Blame For Obesity?
“Sugar, averaging fifteen calories per teaspoon,” states Andy Briscoe of the National Sugar Association, “is blamed for America’s obesity epidemic, a perception perpetuated by the artificial sweetener market.”
What do the artificial sweetener manufacturers say about this?
“A moderate coffee drinker who chooses sugar, consumes an additional 20,000 calories a year, and a heavy coffee drinker adds 80,000,” says Lael Edelstein, Manager of Nutrition Communication for Chicago’s Merisant Corp., manufacturers of Equal®.
So the debate continues, and no one wants to blame the consumer for over-consumption and poor choices … oops.
Safe, Natural Sweeteners To Choose
* Raw, unprocessed sugar (Sucanat®)
* Brown Rice Syrup
* Barley Malt
* Date Sugar
* Maple Syrup
* Agave Nectar
*Safe for diabetics. Stevia is similar to saccharin – use it sparingly or it is bitter – otherwise, it’s “naturally” delicious and a much healthier choice!
Secondary Natural Sweetener Choices (Use With Discretion)
* Fruit Juice Concentrate
* Juice Concentrate
* Sugar alcohols (Polyols)
* Turbinado® Sugar
Remember to make the right choices! Your great grandparents did.