Sugar: Poison we love

Who doesn’t like sweet food? I love it. My kids love it.

Yet, I understand the dangers of too much sugar, as reported in a new study by U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. In a Hamilton Spectator article, it was reported that sugar not only makes us fat but has been shown to increase blood pressure and levels of unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides; and also may increase signs of inflammation linked with heart disease.

Yes, too much sugar kills us.

In the study of 30,000 American adults, it was concluded that adults who got at least 25% of their calories from added sugar were almost three times more likely to die of heart problems than those who consumed the least — less than 10%. Natural sugars from real food like fruit and veggies were not included in the study.

Recognize “hidden” sugar in your diet

You need to check your labels and understand what sugar is. Watch our for ingredients such as corn syrup, or corn syrup solids, dehydrated or evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, flucose or anything usually ending in “ose”. A lot of “Sugar Free” foods have ingredients called sugar alcohols in them such as maltitol and sorbitol. These are generally worse than real sugar.

If you want to enjoy fruit juice, go for it but realize that juice made “from concentrate” is processed in such a way that very little remains but the sugar. Juice that is often sold “fresh” in the produce department or in the refrigerated sections are actually often “from concentrate”. I encourage you to read the small print. I was really surprised when I realized that POM juice – which sells for a lot of money and looks like it’s fresh (sold cold near salads in grocery stores) is made “from concentrate”! If you want to pay $10 (for a larger bottle) go ahead if you just like the taste, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s healthy.

It’s surprising what foods have sugar! Here is a selection from my kitchen.Checking out the sugar!

Remember 4 grams = 1 tsp of sugar.

Adults, think about how sweet a cup of tea is with 2.5 teaspoons of sugar!

“Veggie” Snacks. 1 pouch serving includes 10 g (2.5 tsp) of sugar. Courtesy of ingredients: juice from concentrate, corn syrup and sugar.

Almond Milk. 1 cup serving size includes 12 g (3 tsp) of sugar. Courtesy of ingredients: Cane sugar – plus any natural sugars? I’m not really sure about this I must admit.

Pasta Sauce. 1/2 cup serving size includes 8 g (2 tsp) of sugar. Courtesy of ingredients: glucose-fructose and corn syrup – plus any natural sugar from tomatoes?

Soup. 1/2 cup serving includes 16 g (4 tsp) of sugar! Courtesy of glucose-fructose plus any natural sugar from the tomatoes.  For reference, one can of coke also has 15.9 g (so let’s call it 16 g) of sugar (but none of this will be naturally occurring from fruit or veggie ingredients. 🙂

So my friends, read your labels. Cut out sugar as much as possible by making informed choices, but savour the sweetness when you do indulge.