Sugar as a Toxin: Do you have an opinion?
March 1, 2012 § 3 Comments
I know I’ve been missing in action for the past month or so, but the good thing is I’m learning – learning a lot. Enough about me, let’s talk about food. According to Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and professor at the University of California, “for the first time in human history, chronic non-communicable diseases such as Heart Disease, Diabetes [Metabolic Syndrome, Hypertension (high blood pressure), caner, and many others] and so on are a bigger world wide problem than infectious diseases”. In fact, according to Robert Lustig from the University of California, there are now more people suffering from health problems related with obesity than related to malnutrition. Oh wow.
The American Heart Association directive from 2009, points out that we should be consuming between 150-200 calories in added sugar per day, but instead we’re consuming about 450 extra calories. With 4 calories per gram, 150 to 200 calories is about 38-50 grams, or 6 to 9 teaspoons per day. Currently, we’re consuming about 115 grams, or 22 teaspoons per day. It doesn’t take a statistician to see that something is incredibly wrong here.
I don’t mean to preach but come on people. Sugar is great, it’s delicious, it’s fun, it’s incredibly seductive, and yes, I use it. Now don’t get me wrong; baking with sugar is not a problem, eating fruit laden with fructose (a natural sugar) is not a problem, but what is a problem is eating the processed stuff. According to Dr. Lustig, 80% of the processed foods in our food system are laced with ADDED sugars . That means “organic” processed foods, “natural” processed foods, “gluten-free” processed foods, “vegan” processed food and any other “food” that comes in a package is most likely laced with sugar that was not naturally occurring.
Sugar has a whole lot of politics and passion behind it: it’s subsidized, it’s linked to early aging, dementia, behavioral problems, obesity, and many other chronic diseases, we love it and we’re evolutionarily attracted to it. So, what to do?
Second, stop feeding the fire that’s killing you – don’t buy processed foods. You’ll be happier, you’ll feel better, you’ll get to experiment with new foods, and you won’t be supporting corporations that are drastically stretching the seams of our country (literally and figuratively).
Third, stop being lazy and get in the kitchen! There is nothing scary about the kitchen, and we should probably all slow down a little bit anyways. Visit your local farmer’s market and specialty stores, grab a bottle of wine, good oil, some sea salt and spices, vegetables, nuts and cheeses and get to it.
Last, have a homemade cookie, a brownie, a piece of pie, or an occasional dessert – but be mindful of what you’re consuming and how often you are consuming it. The occasional sweet is probably good for you, but the processed “food” (with added sugar) you constantly consume to fuel your body is what will kill you.
Good to be back.