Our society is in a love relationship with sugar. Sugar is the best friend we can’t seem to get rid of. We use it for all kinds of things:
Once our bodies crave the sweetness and get a taste of it, it craves more and more of it. Even though we love sugar, it is our bodies worst enemy.
Some of us might think that we don’t consume that much sugar, but let’s take a walk through a typical half day and see how much sugar you actually consume.
*For reference 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon.
Let’s grab the bottle of juice out for a glass in the morning. Even though juice is natural, it still contains a lot of sugar. One 8 oz cup size contains 7 tsp of sugar. Dentists and doctors are now trying to get parents to cut back on juice bottles and sippy cups to help prevent tooth decay in young children, you can see why.
Then lets grab some yogurt for breakfast. In one small individual container it contains 9 tsp of sugar! Can you imagine scooping out 9 tsp of sugar into your yogurt before you eat it?
Ahhhh, its mid morning snack time and you are dying to grab a glass of chocolate milk. Taste so yummy and so good for you–calcium right??? Wrong. One 16 oz cup has 13 tsp of sugar!!
Lunch time rolls around and look at the pasta, ketchup, fruits, corn, etc.—-they all have a similar content—SUGAR! Most people on average consume 1 cup per day which equals 180 pounds of sugar every year.
What shall we do then? Cut out sugar completely??? Seems impossible to do. Let’s try another avenue………
—we become informed of all of the sugar that we are putting into our children and ourselves.
- Take note that on drink containers, it usually only lists how much sugar is in one serving. But the container usually holds 2 or more.
- Even though juices claim to be juice, if you notice the fine print some could contain sugar and not be 100% natural juice.
- Beware of the “names” sugar goes by. Here are a few:
- high fructose corn syrup
- corn syrup
- beet sugar
- barley malt
- fruit juice concentrate
- brown sugar
High fructose corn syrup is one of the worst forms of sugar and is used more than any other sugars since it is so cheap. it has replaced regular sugar in nearly all product, and studies are now showing how detrimental to our health it is.
- The best thing to do is read,read, read. Don’t expect the stores to give you healthy, packaged foods. They are out to sell you a cheap product. Just because it is labeled as healthy and whole grain or natural, check the sugar content, it might just be loaded to give it a sweet taste.
What are some alternatives to white sugar?
This is a natural alternative, and when in its raw form it contains many vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. What this means is that it is not only a sweetener, but an actual food that our bodies will recognize and be able to use. Honey is a power antioxidant and may increase calcium absorption. Studies have shown that honey does not make blood sugar rise and fall as suddenly as white processed sugar does. It has more calories per teaspoon than sugar but it is sweeter than sugar, so less is needed. It adds moisture to baked goods. You can replace sugar in pizza dough, breads, cookies, baked goods, drinks, and soups with honey.
The best time to purchase it, is through your local source from June through October. If sold after October it is heated to prevent crystallizing. When it is heated at a high temperature, the healthy enzymes are killed. If you are using it only in baked goods you don’t have to worry about raw honey.
Commercially bottled honey will have the nutrients and enzymes killed because it was pasteurized to keep the honey liquid. It may also be mixed with corn syrups.
How do you keep honey from staying fresh throughout the winter months? Place in smaller quart containers and freeze it. It will not kill the enzymes and will keep it in it’s liquid form.
This is also considered a minimally processed food and is high in manganese, zinc, and other vitamins. Compared to honey, it is lower in sodium. Maple syrup has 15 times more calcium than honey. It is sweeter than sugar and more flavorful.
This is the most minimally refined cane sugar that you can buy. Back in the old days, this is the form of sugar people used. Sugar cane is cut, then crushed which extracts the cane juice. The juice is heated to reduce the water content, then allowed to cool and dry. During this process, granules are formed. The results are pure dried cane juice which retains all the molasses, the vitamins and minerals are not displaced during the processing. This gives sucanat the highest nutrient content of all forms of cane sugar. It has a strong distinctive flavor and is grainy rather than crystalline. It contains less sucrose since it is not purified: white sugar is almost pure sucrose. Sucanat is not as sweet as white sugar and it will not affect your blood sugar to the extent that white sugar will.
This is processed into crystals instead of granules by a commercial process.
Turbinado Sugar (sugar in the raw)
This goes through a further process of refining to remove impurities an surface molasses. It is not refined like white sugar. It contains some molasses content not as much as sucanat. It is lighter in color but tastes more like “white sugar.”
Evaporated cane juice
This is light brown, granulated, and close in taste and texture to white sugar. Evaporated cane juice skips the refining or bleaching process that takes place with white sugar.
This is white sugar with molasses added back into it. This adds to the flavor but does not add nutrients back into the sugar.
Why should we cut back on sugar?
Sugar is addicting. Try going without it and you will find yourself grabbing handfuls of chocolate chips to try and fix your craving.
Steps to cut back on sugar:
- Take one day at a time.
- Teach your children and yourself to grab one cookie instead of handfuls.
- Drink water with a dash of lemon instead of juices and sodas.
- Learn to enjoy natural sweetness of fruit instead of processed foods.
- Try and cut out white breads, noodles, etc.
The average person will eat 170 pounds or more of sugar this year compared to only 10 pounds 200 years ago. How do we begin the journey to consume less sugar? We change our eating habits and way of cooking. It may sound overwhelming, as with every new change in life, but one worth trying. It really is simple to cut out or cut back on sugar in our diets.