Can you remember the first time you tasted sugar? I can’t. It’s always been a part of my life. It’s likely always been a part of yours. Sugar has been deeply rooted in our culture for over a century. Since the 1970s, is has been entrenched in most of our food.
While sugar has always been a part of my life, it has not always been around. Especially not in such abundance. In fact, sugar, just a little over a century ago, was a very scarce thing. People’s primary source of sugar was from fruit, and then from occasional seasonal honey. Food then, in comparison, was awfully bland to the food we eat today. 150 years ago, people would get excited to eat an apple, for its sweetness. Today, apples are probably the blandest of our sweet food options.
Today, sugar for us is not a once-a-day thing. It’s an every meal and every snack habit! That is how abundant it is!
I don’t need to go into detail about the impact sugar has on your levels of insulin, or your brain chemistry. It is powerful stuff. And we are addicted to it.
Try giving it up for a week. It’s harder than you think. Added sugar is everywhere. Here’s a list (sourced from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/added-sugar/MY00845/NSECTIONGROUP=2) of ingredients that mean “added sugar,” not naturally occurring sugar:
- Brown sugar. Granulated white sugar with added molasses for flavor and color, commonly used in baking.
- Cane juice and cane syrup. Sugar from processed sugar cane. Further processing produces brown or white solid cane sugar.
- Confectioners’ sugar. Granulated white sugar that has been ground into a fine powder, sometimes with a small amount of cornstarch. Commonly used in icings and whipped toppings.
- Corn sweeteners and corn syrup. Corn sugars and corn syrups made from corn and processed cornstarch.
- Dextrose. Another name for glucose.
- Fructose. Sugar that occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables and honey.
- Fruit juice concentrate. A form of sugar made when water is removed from whole juice to make it more concentrated.
- Glucose. A simple sugar that provides your body’s main source of energy. Also called blood sugar because it circulates in your blood.
- Granulated white sugar. This is table sugar, or pure crystallized sucrose, made by processing raw sugar from sugar cane or sugar beets. It’s commonly used in baking or to sweeten tea or coffee.
- High fructose corn syrup. The most common sweetener in processed foods and beverages, this is a combination of fructose and glucose made by processing corn syrup.
- Honey. A mix of glucose, fructose and sucrose created from nectar made by bees.
- Invert sugar. Used as a food additive to preserve freshness and prevent shrinkage, this is a mix of fructose and glucose made by processing sucrose.
- Lactose. Sugar that occurs naturally in milk.
- Maltose. Starch and malt broken down into simple sugars and used commonly in beer, bread and baby food.
- Malt syrup. A grain syrup made from evaporated corn mash and sprouted barley.
- Molasses. The thick, dark syrup that’s left after sugar beets or sugar cane is processed for table sugar.
- Sucrose. The chemical name for granulated white sugar (table sugar).
- Syrup. Sugar comes in many forms of syrup, a thick, sweet liquid that can be made from the processing of sugar or from sugar cane, grains such as corn or rice, maple sap, and other sources.
- White sugar. Same as granulated white sugar (table sugar).
Sweetness is universally appreciated, and human beings are hard-wired to consume these quick carbohydrates every chance we get. Those chances used to be rare. Now they are everywhere, and too much of a good thing can make you sick.
Try giving up added sugar. No artificial sugars, either! See The 7-Day Test.