Today, sugar in its natural and processed forms is available all year round. Fruit is shipped in from other continents when it’s not available here. Refined sugar is abundant, relentlessly added to processed foods and is made into what we call cereals. Sugar is found in massive quantities in places you would never expect it. One 1.5 ltr bottle of Volvic flavoured water, when tested, contained, amongst other things, no less than the equivalent of 16 cubes of sugar. It’s this year round availability and hidden sugar that is the problem.
In the 1930’s the average person consumed the equivalent of 2 bags of sugar per year. In 2009 this figure had risen to 72 bags, that’s a 36 fold increase in sugar consumption in just a generation or two. Is it really any surprise that we have rampant diabetes and obesity problems? It’s not just the 2 cubes of sugar you put in your tea that’s the problem, that’s sugar that you choose to eat. It’s the sugar that you don’t know about that’s the problem, it’s the 10½ cubes in the 500ml bottle of Coke you had with the 28 cubes in the 500ml tub of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream, it’s the 16 cubes in the McDonalds milkshake or the 9½ cubes in the Starbucks hot chocolate, all of which are sweet and we know they contain sugar, but not how much.
Sugar is everywhere, even in things that aren’t that sweet, what about the 6½ cubes in the Dolmio Bolognese sauce you serve up to your family on top of spaghetti, which is made from flour and acts exactly like sugar in the body. And swapping sugar for sweeteners is not a great move either. Sweeteners create a false feeling of satiety that fools the body into thinking it has had sugar by triggering physiological responses, but doesn’t fool the brain, which says, that wasn’t sugar, give me sugar now and creates an endless cycle of craving for more sugar.
The food manufacturing industry is all about adding “perceived value” to the cheapest ingredients, that provide little to no nourishment, to make a profit at the expense of your health. Sugar is one way they do this, the Volvic flavoured water is a perfect example, water is cheap and so is sugar, mix them together, bottle it and sell it for £1 or more. People on diets who are told to drink plenty of water, but don’t like plain water, may take a bottle of Volvic touch of fruit lemon and lime to work get through it at their desks during the day. Parents send their children to school with a small 50cl bottle in their lunchbox. Would they do this if they knew it contained 5½ cubes of sugar?
How do we avoid sugar? Well it really is quite simple, eat foods that are unprocessed and natural 80% of the time. You will then know what is in the food and you will be giving your body nourishment and minimal sugars and chemicals. Make sure you are choosing to be nice to yourself and nourishing your body.
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