Saturday, 19 October 2013

Just How Bad Is Sugar, Anyway?

I just finished watching The Fifth Estate's episode on sugar. I have to confess that I haven't watched it entirely--I didn't start recording it until a few minutes in, and I cut it off because of child-related noise levels, but I'm still going to sum it up for you.

Sugar has two molecules: glucose, which feeds you, and fructose, which kills you. A ton of processed foods have added sugars; and a lot of those are sweetened with fructose, which kills you. Sugar makes you fat, gives you Alzheimer's, diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and it makes you fat.

The food industry wants you to eat more of their food, so they're adding sugar which makes it taste great, but it also makes you want to eat more. You never feel full from sugar. The associations dealing with most of the above diseases aren't standing up to the big foodies. They need more research. More people have to get fat, I guess. And slip into diabetic comas. And talk about--what were we talking about, anyway?

The American Heart Association is taking notice (the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation hasn't come back from their coffee break at Tim Horton's yet). They believe people like Stanhope when they say that sugar--fructose in particular--will give you heart disease. So, the AHA is putting limits on how much sugar you should consume. Are you ready for it?

Women: 6 teaspoons/day.
Men: 9 teaspoons/day.

They aren't talking heaping, either. They're talking level measured.

Okay, I say, but the labels measure sugar in grams. How the many grams of sugar is a teaspoon? Four. That's right. A teaspoon of sugar is four grams. So the tablespoon of Kirkland chocolate chips I measured out right now has seven grams, or 1.75 (let's call it two) teaspoons of sugar in it.

How many chocolate chips are in a tablespoon? Twenty-six. 26. Twenty-fucking-six. That doesn't even cover the bottom of a glass prep bowl! I'd like to say that I put the chocolate chips back in the bag, but I don't want to lie to you. I probably sprinkled three teaspoons or more of coconut sugar on my oatmeal this morning. I get one more teaspoon of sugar today. It's not even ten a.m. I'm so fucked.

I'm going to have to start drinking my coffee with cream only, again.

Which, to be honest, if you do that for a long enough time (like while you're pregnant), when you can have sugar again, your husband's coffee, which was never sweet enough, is now really disgusting. You do get used to unsweetened foods.

Try it.

That's right, I said I'm challenging you to cut out some sugar.

Pick one thing that you eat or drink every day, and make it sugar free. I'm not talking about substituting one sugar for another--sugar is sugar is sugar (although fructose will kill you faster)--or about substituting sugar with a sweetener like aspartame or sucralose or even agave because those aren't any better for you (that's a topic for another day, but you can check out Food Babe and 100 Days of Real Food for more fun reading).

I'm challenging you to drink your coffee or tea black or creamy, but not sweet. I'm challenging you to eat an apple instead of drinking fruit punch. I'm challenging you to give up your favourite chocolate bar for a piece of fruit (I know, I know).

I'm challenging someone to find a food at Tim Horton's that doesn't have more than three teaspoons of sugar in it. That's twelve grams.

Hmmm. What gets culled....

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