“Sugar, ahhh honey, honey. You are my candy girl and you got me wantin you.”
Sugar is one of the hardest things to walk away from in the American diet. It’s in almost every form of processed food available. Peanut butter has sugar, ketchup has sugar, and breakfast cereals, even the ones marked healthy have sugar. Most frozen meals have some amount of sugar added to them. I just checked two different brands of bread, one, a store brand whole wheat, and the other a name brand oatmeal bread, both have sugar listed in the first couple of lines of ingredients. White processed sugar is everywhere and we don’t even know it.
In the 1700s when the English abolitionists were doing their best to free the English slaves, they had a boycott on sugar. Sugar at the time was harvested and processed by slaves killing many of them during the production. But in the 1700s sugar was not used how we use it today. Food was made at home, breads were baked at home and meals were cooked at home. There was candy and cakes and pies but those were not central to the diet and most if not all of the food at the time was now what we call organic.
Sugar today, however, is in so much that you cannot escape it at all in your daily diet. I just watched a documentary titled Fed Up. If you have Netflix it is available there and you can rent it on Amazon. This was mostly about the amount of sugar that is in what we are consuming. It was said that soon a huge percentage of the population is going to become diabetic because of the amount of sugar consumed. The saddest part was watching the children who were embarrassed by their size, one a young teenager that underwent bariatric surgery to get the weight off. This both saddened me and frightened me.
Obesity is climbing to almost epidemic levels in the USA. People are going so far as to call it a non communicable disease, or virus. This is no longer just about self control and exercise, this is about how are food is produced and how we choose to eat it. This reaches into how families interact and even what’s on the menu for school lunch. One school I know of has a fully functioning McDonald’s on the premises. This could be looked at as good as the store is run by the students, but the food is also eaten by the students.
Families which are either traditional or non-traditional are highly impacted by processed food. Most parents work and most do not want to make a full meal when coming home, so processed food becomes second nature. Snip open a bag with prepared vegetables in a sauce, add another bag with prepared meat, pour it all into a pan or a large microwavable bowl and dinner is ready in minutes. It looks pretty; it can be colorful and full of vegetables but take a look at the ingredients on those packages. They are not what you think.
Obesity kills more people than cancer does. A recent study showed that 598,000 people are killed by obesity every year here in the United States, while cancer kills 575,000. The funny thing is that sugar feeds the growth of cancer cells and so, though the specific cause of death was cancer, what went into the person’s mouth played a part in the death too.
It has been proven over and over again that reducing the amount of processed sugar will slow cancer. It is also rare that cancer patients get adequate nutritional counseling according to some sources.
And what really ticks me off is we don’t really know this. How many people are aware that obesity is a major cause of death? How many people know it out ranks cancer? Stephen Amell, TV’s Arrow, works with a group called F____ Cancer when maybe his main concern should be F___ Obesity. I am not knocking Mr. Amell. In my opinion he is one of the very few celebrities that uses his status for the better good. He has worked and raised money for many organizations and loves his fans. Follow him on Facebook. He has taught me a lot. I do wonder though what he knows about the obesity statistics. That obesity is killing children. He would fight, at least I believe he would. We need to fight too.
I have been asked by my psychologist to go sugar free. I agreed to this and have begun the journey. I thought this would be easy. No soda, no cake, no candy, no chocolate, no pie, donuts ect… I began on the first day of January and as the month moved on I began to realize that this was not the walk in the park I thought it would be. (Ok I never thought it would a walk in the park, but I didn’t think it was going to be a trek across a never ending desert.)
I had been living on processed food. It was easier than cooking. Pop a dinner in the microwave and eat it. No fuss, no bother, no dishes. And I liked it. Boston Market’s Swedish Meatballs are really tasty. Hungry man friend chicken, Marie Callendar Lasagna are just a few of the things I enjoyed eating and they all had sugar in them.
I had become hooked on Coca Cola, I was going to say coke but that would have given the wrong impression. This was not too hard to get away from because I always liked fruit juices as well, but I came to find out that fruit juice, 100% juice, is not digested in the same way that whole fruit is digested and is just about as bad as sugar.
I also learned that 160 calories of fruit is not the same as 160 calories of chocolate, because they digest differently. The chocolate is going to go to fat the fruit is going to burn off. I am saying this quickly as I am not sure of the whole process. But the bottom line is 1 calorie of a certain food is not the same as1 calorie of another food. So the idea of burning off more calories than you take in is not always a working model for weight loss.
So what does it mean to go sugar free in the 21st century? It means taking a trip back in time. It means we simplify our diets. It means whole grains, real fruit, real meat and fresh vegetables. It means read the label of every canned, jarred boxed or frozen food you buy, to see what is in there. I like the rule of thumb that says that if there is an ingredient in a food label you cannot pronounce, you probably shouldn’t eat it. If there is sugar in it look for something else.
This is really brief. I don’t know all of the facts about sugar. I am just waking up to them and what I have written comes from a mind that is being opened to new thinking.
We don’t live in the 1700s where a cup of tea and a scone may be all the sugar you see all day. We live in a world where sugar has become a dangerous enemy. Where it is tearing the lives of our children apart and where it can kill. Be aware of what you put in your mouth. Read labels and back off of processed food as much as you can.
I am not saying this is going to easy. It will not be. For me it isn’t and walking away from sugar is giving me a kind of withdrawal which my doctor is guiding me through. But the benefits will be loss of weight and the hope that somehow it will help decrease the intensity of depression.
Research sugar on your own; ask questions at your local health food store. Most employees at privately owned health food stores are a fount of knowledge on this subject. One piece of sound advice, if you choose to read research papers on anything, check and see who funded the research. If Hershey funded the research on the benefits of chocolate you need to take the information with a grain of salt.
The post My Journey To Health, SUGAR also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.