At last. The Experts have caught up with me!

Sugar-1

I have been saying for decades now  …

Well, I’ve been saying two things: firstly that foods like cakes and biscuits and desserts and drinks continue to get sweeter all the time, and secondly that manufacturers need to start giving us more choice in this.

Actually, I’ve been saying more than that, to as many people who’ll listen to me, and as often as the subject crops up.  I’ve said that the insidious increase in sugar content of so many foods is to blame for more health problems than high fat content, that feeding a sweet tooth seems to make it sweeter, that sugar is addictive, that the food manufacturers are fiendishly clever because they know this and try very hard to hook us young with overly sweet breakfast cereals, desserts, yoghurts etc aimed directly at children, and also that I would not be unhappy to see a tax put on sugar.  Nobody needs it in these quantities, and it’s positively dangerous for some of us.

I do have a sweet tooth, and it’s often my undoing when it comes to trying to keep my weight down, but I do wish I could buy a chilled coffee drink, for instance, with no damn sugar in it!  When I drink coffee at home I never add sugar, so why would I want an iced coffee with about four teaspoons of sugar dissolved in it when I’m out?  If you doubt how much sugar is in those things – and in ice lollies and ice creams – try letting one warm to room temperature and then taking a swig. You’ll be shocked at how sweet they really are.  Fact: the more you cool things, the less you can taste the sugar.

Sugar-4

Let’s think about the things which have sugar added – things which, if we made them at home, would usually contain none at all.    Bread, for instance.  It is not necessary to add sugar to bread.  OK, some recipes call for it but many do not. Those that do add it as a kind of short-cut to ‘feed’ the yeast and get it started more quickly, and it’s actually a lot more healthy to give bread a long fermentation time, which uses the yeast more effectively and more thoroughly and results in an ‘old-fashioned’ loaf instead of the playdough-textured Chorleywood1 type.

Have you ever noticed that the biscuits and fruit pies and cakes you buy are so much sweeter, and yet somehow less satisfying, than those you make at home? They are full of sugar and other refined ingredients, including glucose-fructose sugar which fools your body into thinking that you’re still hungry and encourages you to overindulge2.  Eat them quickly and you’ll feel slightly unwell because your poor body is trying to process  the overload of fat and sugar.  Homemade biscuits and cakes don’t do this – at least, not so quickly or so thoroughly: because there’s no glucose-fructose syrup, because you need to chew them more, and because they are simply more satisfying.

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Processed meats are difficult to find sans sugar.  Ham, pastrami, the so-called deli-meats, meat pies, meat patés, sausages and so on, go take a look at the ingredients lists if you don’t believe me.  Mayonnaise3.  Bottled sauces.  Gravies.  Even frozen chips.  Why the hell would anyone think of putting sugar in chips?

Then there are fruit juices and fruit ‘drinks’, which are often nothing more than flavoured sugar water. I make a drink called ‘ACE’ at home, which I discovered in Italy. ‘ACE’ stands for (vitamins) A, C and E, and it’s easy and quick to make using bottled carrot juice, and chilled, unsweetened, orange and apple juices. The original recipe calls for a dash of lemon, but the apple and carrot juices will have this added already. You do not need sugar for this drink, and it’s simply a matter of getting the proportions as you like them, so just experiment. Our taste runs to around one third carrot juice, and then the proportions of apple and orange depend on which brands I buy, but usually just a tad more orange than apple. If you’re not used to such an intense, pure-fruit juice, try adding sparkling mineral water to taste – or even simply tap water… but please, no sugar!

Sugar-2

Sugar is in all those things to ‘educate’ your tastebuds to keep coming back for more, and to make the food processing easier.  Does it do us any favours at all?  No.

So you can imagine how pleased I was to read this article, in which food experts are calling for a reduction in the amount of sugar allowed in processed foods.  Three bloody cheers!  Never mind vilifying obese people and telling us how we lack self-control, for fuck’s sake, how about beginning to point the finger at those really responsible for the increase in the population’s weight: the food industry?

Sugar-3

I admit it. I have struggled with my weight all my adult life.  I, along with all the rest of you who are unlucky enough to have succumbed to an addiction to sugar (and those who are genetically predisposed to put on weight4), have had to employ more self-restraint than most simply to avoid getting to the point where I can no longer walk due to damaging my joints with the extra avoirdupois.  We, unique among addicts, cannot go cold turkey.  We still have to eat to live, and must therefore suffer the torture of struggling with our addiction on a twice or three-times-daily basis.  It’s a bit like trying to give up smoking while allowing yourself two puffs of a cigarette three times a day – but while smokers are now offered help from their doctors, obese people are still blamed for their lack of self-control.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we are the last remaining group of addicts who are punished for their problem.

It really is about time that the government stopped telling us it’s all our fault and withdrawing vital health services5, and began to help us by bringing in legislation to restore our food supplies to something which does not continually poison us and scupper our best intentions.  We cannot all prepare all our own food from scratch, and that reminds me:

Who suffers most from being fed processed, pre-prepared food?

Sugar-5

Those who cannot help themselves by preparing their own food, that’s who.  Those in institutions of any kind: schools, nursing homes, respite homes, residential facilities for the elderly, prisons …

And hospitals, where we should be fed a diet conducive to regaining health, but far too often are not6.

 

<sup>1</sup> – See link: The shocking truth about bread

<sup>2</sup> – See links:

Effects of fructose on brain may promote overeating

Fructose effect on brain may explain link to obesity

Sweet poison: why sugar is ruining our health

Sugar, not fat, exposed as deadly villain in obesity epidemic

<sup>3</sup> – Whose ingredients, as all the purists will tell you, should be very simple: a good quality oil, plus egg.

<sup>4</sup> – See link: Genetic mutation causes obesity

<sup>5</sup> – See link: Lose weight, or your operation is cancelled

<sup>6</sup> – See link: Hospital food: what’s the prognosis?

 

 

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “At last. The Experts have caught up with me!

  1. Carol 25th July 2015 / 1:15 am

    yep yep yep. Except chocolate. Chocolate gets a free pass.

    • Jay 25th July 2015 / 8:23 am

      Well, yes, and in fact, chocolate is one of the better-for-you sweets/candies. At least you KNOW there’s sugar in there, so it’s your choice.

      It’s especially OK if you choose the darker chocolate as I do. I like a little bit of milk chocolate occasionally, but mostly my taste runs to at least 60% cocoa.

  2. Secret Agent Woman 25th July 2015 / 3:23 am

    Sugars and other simple carbs. I’ve been saying the same thing. We’ve really done a number on ourselves with our reliance on heavily sugared and processed foods.

    • Jay 25th July 2015 / 8:24 am

      Funny how so many of us have known and nobody’s been listening, isn’t it?

  3. nick 25th July 2015 / 8:49 am

    Totally agree with you. There are absurd amounts of sugar in prepared and processed foods, most of it completely unnecessary and as you say intended to create addiction. I avoid as much sugar as I can but unless I made all my meals at home from sugar-free ingredients I have to accept some unwanted sugar. Luckily I’m thin and don’t put on weight that easily. Luckily also I’m able to resist chocolate and cake and biscuits quite easily, and only have them occasionally.

    • Jay 25th July 2015 / 9:19 am

      You are fortunate! I can resist cakes and biscuits if I never eat them and don’t have them in the house, but once I take a nibble, I’m sunk. That’s why I’ve been convinced for a long time that sugar is indeed an addiction, and now it seems that the experts are beginning to come to the same conclusion!

  4. Valerie Daggatt 25th July 2015 / 10:47 am

    Interesting and well-written post. I agree with you on everything although I didn’t know there was sugar in chips. Help! Hotfooting it to the freezer right now.

    • Jay 25th July 2015 / 11:46 am

      Only in some chips, Valerie! The ‘special’ ones with batters on them sometimes have sugar in them – and McDonald’s is famous for dipping theirs in sugar solution before frying them.

  5. Kathy G 26th July 2015 / 1:08 am

    I totally agree with all your points! I cut back on processed foods several years ago. I find that when my system is clear of sugar I don’t crave it, but give me a cookie or piece of candy and I have to have it every day.

    • Jay 26th July 2015 / 7:47 am

      That’s exactly what I’m like, Kathy. Takes me about three days, normally, to stop being fidgetty, and then perhaps a week …but after that I don’t crave sweet things. If i can get past that stage I’m OK. Unless someone brings cakes or sweet stuff into the house, then I’m sunk again!

  6. liz 27th July 2015 / 10:56 am

    My name is Liz and I am a sugar addict. I keep telling myself it’s not as bad as fatty foods (a lie I’m sure) – but then I eat both to excess!

    • Jay 27th July 2015 / 3:34 pm

      Well, I don’t think fats are as bad as sugar. At least with fats you know that your body does at least need some to function properly – good fats are obviously better, of course. Refined sugar has absolutely nothing to recommend it, as far as I can see!

  7. nick 3rd August 2015 / 3:01 pm

    I see food experts are now saying that many food labels are misleading because they don’t distinguish between natural sugar and added sugar. Added sugar is more dangerous because it isn’t locked into the food and gets into the bloodstream quicker. But food manufacturers still quote added sugar as a percentage of the RDA for natural sugar, which means a figure that’s far too low.

  8. genjiscorner 9th August 2015 / 10:31 pm

    When there was a crackdown on fats in processed foods, they just replaced it with sugar in the States. I’m glad I don’t have a sweet tooth, but processed food manufacturers could care less.

  9. Shae 24th August 2015 / 1:55 pm

    I gotta say this is one of the reason I joined it works! There are so many people who struggle with getting on a healthy lifestyle and I love having products to help people do that.

    I am someone who absolutely has a sweet tooth and it takes all my energy to have an Its Essential bar instead of a chocolate bar! Its a one day at a time thing but it can happen! Glad to hear the experts are catching up and starting to make our food healthier!

  10. Katherine 4th September 2015 / 1:18 am

    Food today SCARES me. And it is so hard to find organic, and when you do it is so expensive. If we had less processed crap in the world there would be less cancer, period. The salt thing is just as bad as the sugar…. there is so much salt in every single thing… add sugar to it and we are in so much trouble!

  11. Sandie Cowell 27th September 2015 / 8:17 pm

    Hi Jay,
    I stopped blogging when my lovely daughter died in 2009, and have since moved from Yorkshire to Wales to be near my son and young grandchildren. Please stop by when you feel like it. You were a regular visitor to me when I lived in Yorkshire. I am now 73 (today actually) but have decided to start blogging again.
    By the way, I have found that even the very low calorie chocolate drinks that we can buy, are so packed with sweetener (another no no) that it is impossible to drink them! Why can’t they sell one with no sweetener in at all, for those of us that don’t take sugar in our drinks? I agree totally, there is far too much sugar in our food.
    I have started making my own Kefir now and it is great! No sugar at all:0)

  12. Roger Green 30th September 2015 / 8:57 am

    Totally agree, though the HFCS seems more insidious.

  13. Gel 3rd March 2016 / 12:49 pm

    Hi Jay- Lovely to read your writing! I so miss visiting you regularly. Your writings are a breath fresh air, Obviously I have been out of the blog world, but I saved some connections so here I am. I visited your old blog and was transported here. Are you still writing? If so, where? Please connect with me. We writers and readers forge common bonds. Are you on facebook? I’m in the process of writing a blog again. I hope all is well with you!

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