Now I’m back I’m catching up on some of the TV on my planner. In the big long list is a show on which there was an item about sugar in our food here in the good old UK. Some supermarkets are cutting the amount of sugar in their drinks but replacing it with artificial sweetener! Talk about “out of the frying pan and into the fire”. I sometimes have to just shake my head in disbelief Miss the point much?
The one thing that I have realised in the last 3 years, whilst trying to get myself healthy, is how a normal person’s palate becomes acclimatised to sugar. The more you have, the more you want. Many years ago, I stopped taking sugar in my coffee. For some unknown reason it didn’t last very long and I started again. Gradually, over the years, my consumption went up from half a teaspoon to two teaspoons. I realised something wasn’t right when two teaspoons of sugar didn’t seem to be enough and I started to add a bit more. “Hang on” I thought to myself and wondered why. As happens with a lot of things, my palate got so used to it that it got to the point that two teaspoons wasn’t enough. I made the decision to cut back down again. I’m currently on one small teaspoon and anything more is too sweet, but it took a lot of determination to get down that far. Occasionally I can go completely sugar-free but admit I’m struggling.
My point is that, rather than substituting something for the sugar, it should be cut down or eradicated completely. There’s a lot of controversy about artificial sweeteners – I’m not going to quote a load of research in this blog as that’s not my thing (yet) but suffice it to say that there is a mounting body of evidence that proves that both sugar and artificial sweeteners have an narcotic-like effect on the human brain meaning that the more you have, the more you want. So surely if the supermarkets and other manufacturers were being responsible they would cut down on the amount of sugar and not replace it with something else. Are they scared we’ll suddenly stop buying?
As for the added sugar in other foodstuffs, I really do just shake my head in disbelief that it’s been snuck in there without anybody really being aware of it. And they’ve found all sorts of fancy names to give the added sugar so that even those of us who read labels regularly get lulled into a false sense of security as not everyone keeps up to date with the shenanigans going on in the food industry. All the following are sugars:
Agave, Agave nectar, Anhydrous dextrose, Barbados sugar, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Brown sugar (light and dark brown), Buttered syrup, Cane juice, Cane juice crystals, Cane juice solids, Cane sugar, Cane syrup, caramel, Carob syrup, Caster sugar, Coconut sugar, Confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, Crystalline fructose, Date sugar, Dehydrated cane juice, Demerara sugar, Dextran, Dextrose, diastatic malt, diatase, ethyl maltol, Evaporated cane juice, Evaporated cane syrup, Evaporated sugar cane, Free Flowing Brown Sugars, fructose, Fructose crystals, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, Fruit juice crystals, Galactose, Glazing sugar, glucose, glucose solids, Glucose syrup, golden sugar, Golden syrup, Granulated sugar, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, Icing sugar, invert sugar, Invert syrup, King’s syrup, Lactose, Malt, Malt sugar, Malt syrup, maltodextrin, Maltose, mannitol, Maple sugar, Maple syrup, Molasses, Muscovado, Nectar, Pancake syrup, Panocha, Powdered sugar, Raw sugar, Refiners’ syrup, Rice syrup, sorbitol, Sorghum, Sorghum syrup, Sucanat, Sucrose, Sugar, Superfine sugar, Table sugar, Treacle, Turbinado sugar, White sugar, Yellow sugar
Scarey isn’t it? I don’t have the answers – all I do know is that I try to avoid added sugars wherever possible. I do like my desserts however and accept that nearly all of them are packed full of sugars and chocolate. When I eat them, it’s my decision to consume sugars. I admit to being a lazy cook at times and whereas I’d love to have the discipline to eat home cooked food from scratch all the time, there are occasions when I want to pick something because, quite frankly, I can’t be arsed and I really do object to having to read bloody labels all the time to ascertain how much crap has been packed into something and I’m not just talking about sugars. I know the world isn’t perfect but there really is enough going on without having to worry about the food industry trying to poison us all because they want to maximise their profits.
Nuff said. I’m going to climb down off my soapbox now. Just for a while.