Sugar has been in the headlines a lot lately, accused of all manner of atrocities and labelled as the ultimate enemy. People instructing us to treat sugar as poison, claiming consumption of the seemingly sweet treat is worse than smoking, Jamie Oliver’s sugar tax in a mission to fight child obesity. If we don’t start getting the message soon, I don’t know what imaginative new ways they’ll conjure up in order to get us to ditch our beloved sugar.
GLUCOSE vs FRUCTOSE
First off, we must separate out the wide umbrella term of ‘sugar’ into good and bad. A quick google will leave you pondering over the differences between ‘glucose’ and ‘fructose’. The better type of sugar is called ‘glucose’, this is pretty much in everything, your body even produces it. Fruits, vegetables, grains, you name it, it’s a natural sweet substance that – so long as you don’t start drinking gallons of honey – won’t do the damage other forms of sugar will. Speaking of the bad kind, ‘fructose’ is the one to avoid. You’ll find it in almost all packaged and processed foods in some form or another. Camouflaged with labels such as ‘glucose syrup’ and ‘fructose syrup’, many don’t recognise that almost all of us have this diar poison lurking in our kitchen cupboards: the humble packet of granulated white sugar.
IMPACTS OF SUGAR ON HEALTH
Number one, which I’m sure your dentist has lectured you on the devastating effects of sugar on your teeth. Eating sugar is the same as feeding all those little bacteria on your teeth with an easily digestible energy to feed off. And who wants little bacteria growing on their teeth? Gross.
Secondly, sugar contains no nutrition. All those ‘108 calories’ in your KitKat are what nutrition experts like to call ‘empty calories’. You may as well be eating cardboard.
We’ve all heard sugar makes you fat. And it’s true. Basically, when you consume ‘fructose’ – the bad kind of sugar – it’s sent around the bloodstream and to your liver to be ‘dealt with’. In most cases, the liver is already full of glycogen, forcing it to turn your delicious Krispy Kreme doughnut into fat.
HOW TO CUT SUGAR
Going sugar-free is the ultimate goal but not always so simple, as sugar is sneaked into all sorts of modern staple foods, even less obvious ones such as bread. So called ‘low fat’ foods often have added sugar to improve the taste (there is an irony here, as you would almost certainly be better off eating the full-fat version without the added sugar!) Alternatives to sugar include honey, maple syrup, date syrup, agave nectar, stevia and coconut sugar. Here’s the thing: you don’t have to give up your sweet treats; I have plenty of sugar-free recipes on the blog including decadent fudgey brownies and toasty oat cookies.
Start by swapping utterly disastrous sweets for so-called ‘nature’s candy’: fruit. Swap out milk chocolate for dark. Stop taking sugar in your tea. Cook from scratch. Eat less packaged and processed foods. I promise you’ll feel so much better for it. It will take a little while for your palette to adjust, but stick with it, it’s so worth the effort.
So, sugar is not so sweet as we once thought (and to think it’s given to kids as a ‘treat’!) We must end this modern mentally that sugar is a ‘treat’ – many nutritionists and doctors across the globe see sugar as the next tobacco, requiring a total re-think in the way we perceive it and legislate its use. Giving your body a bucket-load of harmful chemicals is not giving it a treat.
Jump on the anti-sugar bandwagon and end the dreadful rampage of processed sugar.