“Sugar, Sugar, You’re Making Me Fat!” – An Exposé on the Dangers of Overindulging in Sweet Treats
To many people sugar is one of the greatest joys in life. It’s the key ingredient in all their favourite treats – cakes, cookies, ice cream, and the like. But, have you ever stopped to think about just how much sugar we’re consuming on a daily basis if we don’t pay close attention? It’s not just in the obvious places like candy and soda; sugar is also hiding in many low-fat processed foods, condiments, and even some “healthy” snacks.
Let’s take a step back and understand why sugar is so dangerous in the first place.
First of all, it’s highly addictive. Studies have shown that sugar triggers the same pleasure centers in the brain as drugs like cocaine. So, it’s no wonder we keep reaching for more and more sugary treats. Secondly, sugar is a leading cause of obesity. The World Health Organization recommends that we limit our daily sugar intake to just 6 teaspoons, yet most of us are consuming more than double that amount in a single soda.
And, if you’re thinking that switching to artificial sweeteners is the answer, think again. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to numerous health problems, including headaches, weight gain, and even an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
But, how exactly is sugar hiding in our diets? For starters, check the ingredients list on your favourite low-fat or diet food. You’ll likely find that sugar has been added to enhance the flavour, because let’s face it, low-fat food can be pretty bland. Even so-called “healthy” foods, like granola bars and sports drinks, are loaded with sugar. In fact, some sports drinks contain more sugar than a can of soda! And, let’s not forget about condiments. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and salad dressings are all notorious for their high sugar content.
Take this “No Sugar Added” muesli. Looking at the packet, it seems super healthy.
No Sugar Added is boldly plastered across the packet. Hmmm maybe we should take a look at the nutrition information on the back:
16.1% Sugar & 46.4% Carbs
It’s 16.1% Sugar! Then another 46% carbs which turn straight to sugar, so a mere 62% sugar eager to hop straight into the bloodstream. No wonder we’re all in trouble especially if the “Healthy Choices” are jam packed with sugar.
So, what can we do to avoid overindulging in sugar? First and foremost, read the ingredients list on everything you buy. Some misguided folk will advise you to look for products that contain natural sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup, instead of refined sugars. Ignore them, honey, maple syrup or the most pervasive sweetener HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) used by the food industry to sweeten just about everything contains the worst form of sugar, fructose. Fructose has no redeeming features and i’ll write about that soon.
In conclusion, sugar is a pervasive force in our diets, hiding in plain sight in many of the foods we eat every day. But, by being mindful of our sugar intake and making small changes, like reading ingredients lists and cooking more meals at home, we can protect ourselves from the dangers of overindulging in this sweet treat.
They say everything in moderation is key. I don’t agree. I chose to cut sugar cold turkey but I did have a backup plan. Natural sweeteners like Lakanto (monk fruit sugar) or xylitol can be added to cooking to make sweet treats you control. Using it with almond flour and cocoa to whip up a fairly passable brownie, or adding it to cream and egg yolks to make icecream are all great options if you have an incurable sweet tooth.
So, go ahead and treat yourself to that keto brownie or scoop of sugar free ice cream.
Your waistline and your health, will thank you.
Thanks for reading.