Sugar: Own it or it will own you!
By: Quinton de Bruin
If you have recently read part three of this series on sugar, you may well be feeling somewhat uncomfortable. If you haven’t read it, please read that before you crack into this one. As with any process, in order for it to deliver the outcome that you are looking for, you need to start at the beginning and follow the method step by step. Try harvesting a crop without previously sowing the seeds!
The facts shared about the amount of sugar in a couple of fruits in relation to the recommended daily intake may have come as a shock to you, it sure did to me when I first heard it! Let’s have a closer look at the rather startling statement that sugar is simply sugar, there is no good or bad sugar, as well as the topic of fruit.
The ‘table sugar’ that we put into our coffee is called sucrose and chemically consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Other than ending up on our table as white sugar, it can also be found in some fruits, vegetables (I know, more shocking yet interesting facts!) and products that have been sweetened such as yoghurt, cereals, ice cream and baked deserts. Glucose is one of the body’s main sources of energy (which is stored in the muscles as glycogen) and is found in food such as pasta, whole grain bread, legumes and a range of vegetables. Fructose on the other hand is found in honey, some vegetables, fruit and fizzy drinks (who would have thought… fruit and fizzy in the same sugar discussion, side by side).
All added sugars provide empty calories – they have no vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre and as such do not nourish the body in any way. It contributes only unwanted calories for most people. Although the variety of sugars are all dealt with in the body in slightly different ways, there is no one type that is better than the next.
Fruits contain fibre, vitamins and minerals which is good – no argument there…. a bit like the misguided belief that red wine is good for you because it contains antioxidants (Oh I have an argument!) – bullpucky! IN BOTH CASES moderation is so critical. Let me take you back to the fact that two and one and a half bananas, men and ladies respectively, total your daily recommended intake according to the World Health Organisation. This is not for added sugar only, this is ALL sugar. Fruit has a place in our diet and more on that down the track.
When it comes to added sugar in our foods, and boy are you going to be blown away by just how much, the foods we assume have little or no sugar or are marketed as being healthy are in many cases clearly not so. We can just read the label Q, right? It is not really a case of “we can”, it needs to be a case of “we must” read these labels. What is potentially misleading is when there are in the region of 57 different names of sugar used on the ingredients list on food products and the food labels are not required to identify how much of the total sugar is added sugar… it’s going to get misleading and confusing! Here’s a list of those names, take a look.
It is time to take some action, let’s recap:
- You have made the decision to live sugar free (be that in full or to cut back on the amount you take in), correct? (remember, in “part 2 – Decision: It’s time to break up!” you made the commitment to end your relationship with sugar - you danced around the room singing the words of Over You by Daughtry into the bottom of your drink bottle.) If you don’t know what I’m on about, please go back and read part 1 and 2.
- You have read this series in full up to this point (just double checking!)
3. Next rung as we climb this ladder, are a few video clips for you to watch as part of your research. The more of them you get through the stronger your conviction – we are building leverage for lasting change:
- That Sugar Film (can also find it on Netflix)
- Fed Up (can also find it on Netflix)
- Nigel Latta: Is sugar the new fat?
- Sugar: The Bitter Trust (Dr. Robert Lustig)
- The Truth about Sugar - BBC Production
- The Secrets of Sugar - The Fifth Estate - CBC News
- What Does Sugar Actually Do To Your Body?
Take your time and watch these. Work your way methodically through them, all of them and you will feel how your emotional connection to sugar is altered. You may even feel ill as you get down the list - please know this is not an uncommon physiological reaction. Your body is coming to grips with what you have been putting it through based on this new-found knowledge. It is a lot of time in front of a screen so if the kids or your partner complain that it’s their turn, sit them down beside you – this is a game the whole family should play together. Go on, own it!