Sugar Isn’t the Problem

 In ALL, Healthy Habits

Sugar is sweet, and our tongues love it. We put it in our morning coffee, we add it to our stack of pancakes and pastries and dew-stud it on movie candy. It makes us happy.

It’s no accident that in nature the foods that are safe to eat typically have a sweet taste to them. Plants pack their fruits and berries full of sugars and birds and bees are enticed by the fragrant aroma of nectar-producing flowers. It’s nature’s way of reinforcing certain behaviors and assures that the timeless cycles of pollination and reproduction continue.

So you see, sugar isn’t the great evil that it’s made out to be all the time by health nuts and fitness magazines. In fact, sugar is an essential part of a balanced human diet. It provides us with carbohydrates, helps balance our insulin levels, and can give us an explosion of energy during or after intense physical activity.

So sugar isn’t the problem. Then what’s the big deal?

The problem isn’t that there is sugar in our foods or we use sugar for enhanced taste. The real culprit is HOW MUCH sugar we consume and HOW OFTEN we add that beautiful, crystalline goodness to our meals. In the mid 1800s, Americans consumed about 45g of sugar every 5 days. That’s like drinking a soda once a week. In 2012, the average American now consumes 765g of sugar a week. That’s 17x what it was only 150 years ago! Wow, not good. It’s no wonder 1 in 3 Americans are now considered obese.

Now before you think, “I can’t possibly add that much sugar to my food every week. I KNOW I don’t!”, consider this: Sure, you DON’T add that much sugar to your meals or beverages…’s ALREADY added FOR you.

According to French sugar market leader Sucres & Denrées, Americans don’t consume the most raw sugar of any country studied. That award goes to India, who consumes nearly 25 million tons of the stuff every year. By comparison, Americans as a whole only consume about 11 million tons of raw sugar.

So why do we lead the world in obesity!? Well, simply because there’s already an unnatural amount of sugar in our food that’s added during its processing. You don’t have to add anymore to already be beyond the threshold of what’s unhealthy. Now if that wasn’t startling enough, we add even MORE sugar on top of the gross amount already contained therein. This is a duel-sided problem. One is a food processing problem and the other is a food practice problem.

What can we do?

There are basic practices you can utilize to cut down your sugar intake and subsequently, your weight.

Read the labels on packaging.

Just because that can of fruit, smoothie, bottle of juice, loaf of bread, or yogurt seems healthy (they are right?) doesn’t mean they aren’t packed full of unnecessary, added sugars. We know sugars make things taste great  and you can get hooked on that hidden sweetness (even if it doesn’t taste THAT sweet) all the while thinking you’re making wise food choices.

Stop adding it.

Since we know the typical American diet already consists of unnatural levels of sugar added through processing (remember, CORN SYRUP is still sugar!) it’s a good idea to step back and evaluate your habits. How many packs of sugar do you add to that coffee? Are you used to having a pastry with it? When you’re thirsty, do you gravitate towards water or to a juice or soda? Making small cuts and not adding to the problem is a simple way to see results that will encourage you to take even greater steps towards a healthy diet.


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