Have a great day - eat something healthy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 3 - Sugar

We’re getting into it now, and the more you know the better. So here’s some dirt I dug up on one of our favorite nasty foods …

Sugar. There’s no getting around it – we love it. And that should come as no surprise, considering it’s in almost everything we eat. But, aside from the taste – and the high – there’s nothing good about it.

For the purposes of simplicity, let’s look at sugar (in most cases) just like we’re looking at gluten – as a processed food. And in that sense, it’s something to be avoided.

To be sure, sugar occurs naturally in certain foods – and that’s a good thing because sugar (or glucose) is a natural fuel for the body. It’s when we start supplementing the naturally-occurring sugar that we get into trouble.

The average American eats 140 pounds – yes, I said POUNDS – of sugar in a year. That figure is from 2005 – it’s probably higher today. And that breaks down to 22 teaspoons a day (teens do an average of 34 teaspoons a day). “One can of soda has 10 teaspoons, and 10 teaspoons is the maximum amount of sugar we should be eating in an entire day to be healthy.”1

And here are a few things that sugar does to the body: “Refined sugar has been linked to hypoglycemia, yeast overgrowth, a weakened immune system, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, enlargement of the liver and kidneys, increase of uric acid in the blood, mental and emotional disorders, dental cavities and an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.”2

I’m no scientist, but here are some interesting facts I’ve found in my research about sugar:

“The refined sugar you buy off the supermarket shelves might be cane sugar that is bleached by filtering the sugar through bone ash. Brown sugar may be bleached sugar that has molasses added to it.” 3 Bone ash? During this cleanse we’re not eating ANY animal products – bone ash is definitely off limits! And disgusting!

“Sugarcane is treated heavily with pesticides and herbicides. It is environmentally destructive and exposes the laborers to these harmful chemicals. Most workers harvesting sugarcane in the United States are paid below the minimum wage.” 4 Nobody wants to eat pesticides, that’s a given. And the karma that comes with eating food grown by people who are being treated unjustly has got to be pretty awful.

“Refined sugar is 99 % pure crystalline sucrose. When eaten, it enters the blood stream very fast, quickly elevating your blood sugar level. The pancreas responds by releasing insulin. This lowers your blood sugar level, resulting in irritability and fatigue. A cycle begins where you crave more sugar to raise your blood sugar levels again.”5 And that’s where the mood and energy swings begin.

And finally, “One can of soda per day can put on 10 pounds per year.”6

So here’s the good news – eliminate sugar and you’ll probably level out a bit emotionally. Your belly will probably level out too.

1From the Splendid Table, January 16, 2010
2From Skinny Bitch, quoting from “Sugar Blues,” Natural Nutrition, livrite.com
3Excerpted from betterworldbaking.com
4 Excerpted from betterworldbaking.com
5 Excerpted from betterworldbaking.com
6 From The Doctors, February 3, 2010


  1. What do you and Karyn have to say about the sugar substitute Truvia?

  2. I'm not sure what Karyn would say, but I can tell you that I've tried Truvia and I prefer Whole Foods' 365 brand of stevia over it. The Whole Foods product is 100% stevia, while the Truvia product contains erythritol - a naturally-derived sugar substitute that looks and tastes very much like sugar - and "natural flavors." If a company does not specify what the ingredients are, I tend to steer clear. The other thing you might want to know is that Truvia is made by Cargill, a company that has been named in a number of beef recalls, and provides all of the eggs used in US McDonald's restaurants. Those eggs and how they come into existence were just called into question as an animal rights issue - apparently the laying hens are confined to 72" battery cages (the size of a sheet of paper) and are not able to move or stretch their wings. The Humane Society has asked for the practice to be halted but there has been no response of yet. So for me it's an issue of opting not to buy products from a company that does not specifically name the ingredients, has been a repeat offender selling tainted meat, and treats animals cruelly. That's a long-winded answer, but I thought you should know. And stevia is great without the "natural ingredients."