October 26, 2013


Sugar: Consumption At The Crossroads (cover)Sugar used to be scarce but now we’re suffering from abundance. Here are alarming findings from the Credit Suisse Research Institute:
“… added sugar is in almost everything on the supermarket shelves.” 
“Today, the world daily average consumption of added sugar per person is 17 teaspoons — up 45% compared with 30 years ago. 
“The US is rated #1 in the consumption of sugar and caloric sweeteners with an average of 40 teaspoons per person per day. It’s not surprising that the country has the world’s highest rate of adult obesity (34%). “
Sugar: Sweet With A Bitter Aftertaste
This short video explores the effects of sugar around the world.

We pay for excessive sugar consumption with our own health and as a society.

sugar content of popular beverages (click to enlarge); from Sugar: Consumption At The Crossroads The Manufacturers

The manufacturers are tough to blame. Information about sugar is easily available online. They don’t force us to buy (but entice us as much as possible). They don't tell us how much to consume (but their packaging influences us).

Depending on your age, you may recall that soft drinks in Canada came in 10 ounce tough-to-crush steel cans. After the switch to the 12 ounce aluminum cans used in the US, we didn’t throw out the extra two ounces. That would be wasteful. Instead, we quickly learned to consume more. Children did too.

17 teaspoons a dayEven Worse

While normal sugar may be bad, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup look even worse.

Also manufacturers also play games with their labeling. To avoid showing sugar as the first or second item, the label, they may show different forms of sugar (e.g., brown sugar, molasses, concentrated fruit juice, dried cane sugar, hydrolysed starch, dextrose, maize syrup, honey). Sneaky, even for people who read the labels. We care about the amount of sugar, not the subdivisions designed to deceive.

How much sugar is too much?Strategies

Here are five ways to reduce your consumption of sugar.
1. Eat Less
You can't take sugar out of your dessert but you can take a smaller portion (no seconds!) or eat less frequently. You can share too. Sometimes we’ll pour a can of pop into two small glasses.
2. Add Less
We're used to adding sugar to foods such as coffee and tea. We might add hot fudge to our ice cream or sugar to our cereal. We may have ice cream with our apple pie or apple pie with our ice cream. We can cut back and perhaps eliminate some of the extra sweetness.
3. Buy Less
Since you can't eat what you don't have, a simple solution is to avoid buying sugary processed food. If you wouldn't buy a product at normal price, should you buy because it's on sale and you're "saving" money?
4. Buy Quality
In the quest for profits, companies switch to ever-cheaper ingredients with names we can't easily pronounce. Products with better ingredients usually cost more. Buy them and you're paying a tax for quality. That's a financial incentive to buy less, eat less and savour each bite.
Depending on your skills, you could even occasionally make treats at home. You’ll know how much sugar you're using, which can be disturbing.
5. Exercise
When you exercise regularly, you want results. Eating better helps. That means less sugar and likely less cravings for the wrong things. Besides, you have less time to eat.

click to read article on The Guardian websiteWhat About Oreos?

Sugar has been called “addictive and the most dangerous drug of the times”. Oreos are as addictive as cocaine for rats, according to a flawed study. Rather than argue over the headlines, let’s live better. Where there’s willpower, there’s a way.

What sugar do you consume daily? How can you cut back before your doctor tells you?

(new from TED-Ed)


Podcast 243

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PS Next week is Halloween …

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