By Sienna Carlton
Who doesn’t love sugar!? People frequently find themselves craving something sweet, and sugar is consistently used to meet that yearning.
Sugar is addicting.
As addicts, I am sure you may have even been tempted to skip over this post and continue to down sugar by the pound…yes by the POUND. People often think they do not eat “too much” sugar because they try to only have a dessert occasionally. However, these people are usually not informed that sugar is found in products regularly consumed. Milk, bread, and a variety of other simple starches contain sugar.
All carbohydrates have different Glycemic Index (GI) levels. Glycemic Index refers to how quickly a carbohydrate raises a person’s blood sugar levels (“Glycemic”).
In The 76 Dangers of Sugar to Your Health, Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic physician, claims that people in the 1700’s consumed about 8 pounds of sugar a year, and in 2009 over 50% of all Americans consumed 180 pounds of sugar per year. So, it is obvious that we eat too much sugar!
However, I can picture you now, grasping your highly sweetened caramel frapaccino (yes that is my favorite) and wondering. “So, I love sugar! What’s the problem with it!??” There are many problems with it. Sugar negatively affects the body in various ways. People need to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets. A few of the effects I will be covering in my posts are: obesity, diabetes, heart and oral disease. I will begin by addressing the common belief that sugar is an alright option because it is “natural.”
But, sugar is “natural” isn’t it?!
Many people argue that because sugar is “natural” it cannot be that detrimental for the body, and is a better choice than artificial sweeteners. Honesty time here…I used to be one of these people – standing in the kitchen, generously heaping another cup of the sweet stuff into my chocolate chip cookie dough and confidently proclaiming to anyone around, “Hey, don’t judge me! At least it’s all natural!”
The article Real Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners: Which is Better? shares how people argue that because sugar has been around for so long and the body knows how to break it down using insulin, it has to be alright (Kutes). The fact that artificial sweeteners are harmful to the body is true. These sweeteners are chemically-laden and the long-term effects they might have on the body are unknown (Kutes).
Although these artificial sweeteners are not a good choice as a substitute for sugar, this does not make sugar acceptable to eat. William Dufty, who has written for the New York post, is a promoter of avoiding processed foods. In his book Sugar Blues, Dufty acknowledges the actuality that even if a person was starving, eating sugar is worse than eating nothing because,
“[sugar] drains and leeches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification, and elimination make upon one’s entire system” (137).
Anybody up for a chocolate chip cookie now??
Additionally, to think of the refined sugar people generally eat as “natural” is ridiculous. The chemical process and elimination of all protein and fiber, leaves the sugar cane with just about 10% of the natural plant (Dufty).
Before deciding to use sugar because it may appear as the healthiest “natural” option, a person should thoroughly analyze the negative effects sugar causes.
Up next we will discuss just what exactly sugar does to your body and how it’s killing Americans! Later in the series we will discuss some great sugar alternatives and yummy sugar-free desserts!
What is an easy step you can make to start eliminating sugar from your diet?