It’s the Sugar

For a woman who grew up next door to a candy store, sugar has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember including when I’d return a glass soda bottle for 2 cents and could pick out two pieces of candy.

So, it was with great interest but trepidation when I saw a Granite State University class on “It’s the Sugar! Makes You Fat, Sick and Tired.” The class was full, and there was a waiting list.

After two hours of sugar 101, I came away with some interesting information, and what kind of blogging friend would I be if I didn’t share (and ruin your day as well)?

  • White wine is lower in sugar than red – that’s the only thing I’m doing right. 🙂
  • The average person eats somewhere between 1/4 – 1/2 cup of sugar a day adding up to a whopping 75-150 lbs of sugar per year. I couldn’t help but picture all those 5 lb. bags of granulated sugar stacked up together.
  • White granulated sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets while High Fructose Corn Syrup comes from Corn. A product labeled ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it is healthy, it just means it came from cane, beets or corn, and now they are marketing it under a ‘natural’ heading.
  • A ‘reduced sugar’ product has to have 25% less sugar than the regular item.
  • ‘No sugar added’ means no table sugar, but it can have other manufactured sugars.
  • Artificial sweeteners are man-made chemicals with Spenda being the #1 seller with 62% of the world market. Equal and NutraSweet come in second. Donald Rumsfeld was the CEO of NutraSweet and couldn’t get Aspartame approved until his friend Ronald Reagan got in office. Sweet & Low comes in last because Saccharin is made out of coal and tar. It had a health warning label on the box until Bill Clinton gave it a ‘food pardon’ as he was leaving office.
  • Trivia, Stevia, and Pyure are sugar alcohols which means they are half sugar and half chemicals.
  • Overweight is described as being 20 lbs. over suggested weight, and obesity is 30 lbs. over that weight. From 1940-1970, the obesity rate was around 12-14%. In 2015, 68% of the US population was either overweight or obese with 31% of our youth classified as obese.

It is recommended that a person should consume less than 2 tablespoons or 25 grams of sugar per day. I drink a large cup of coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon. I calculate that I use 16 grams just in my coffee.

If the amount of sugar in your daily diet concerns you, just google it and there is a wide range of information available for reading. Can anyone get rid of all sugar in their diet? It’s possible, but most people aren’t willing to go to that length.

I came away with a livable reality check. Look at ingredient lists and check the first three items. (Water doesn’t count.) If one of those first three ingredients is some type of sugar or sweetener, toss it out and get something else. That I can work on. But remember, my mother’s maiden name was Sweet. It may be a more challenging road for me than you or so I tell myself. 🙂

Karen Bentley, presenter, is an author, an adult educator and a sugar-free expert. She’s the creator of The Sugar-Free Miracle Diet and the founder of The Sugar-Free Institute.

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About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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47 Responses to It’s the Sugar

  1. pbmgarden says:

    This was helpful Judy. Thanks for taking time to write it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. joey says:

    Fascinating. None of the fake sugars agree with me. Much of that stuff and I get headaches that lead to migraines, PLUS muscle aches. Once I figured that out, I was much happier, but alas, I was thinner on Diet Pepsi, wasn’t I? (Well I was!)
    Of all the things, the one that kills me is bread. Why do we need sugar AND corn syrup in bread? For the love. I bake bread, and sure it has sugar, just a bit, to make the yeast work better. I cannot believe how sugary commercial breads are (and yeah, I mean the wheat too!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The history surrounding those commercial fake sugars is enough to send you to DC screaming all the way.I also don’t get why most can’t appreciate the ‘real’ taste of food without having to drown it in salt, sugar, condiments, etc. Cooking and baking at home where you can regulate the ingredients is certainly healthier every time.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Murphy's Law says:

    Good grief. I ate 3 dark chocolate candy kisses reading your blog!! I’m going straight to hell. Or the Fat Farm. Maybe both!!

    All joking aside, this is a great blog. Very informative. Also depressing how all this junk is in everything we eat. Too much sugar. Too much salt. Too much fat. Too many carbohydrates. Too many calories. And the foods with the least bad stuff in it costs the most. WTH?!!

    There’s a LOT of food for thought here (no pun intended). I know I need to cut back on sugar. This blog may be the catalyst that gets me started. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love chocolate and baked goods. That will never change. But, I did come home and start looking at the first three ingredients in various products, and I almost had to pour myself a glass of wine (white of course) to cope with the results. Grab a couple more Kisses and start looking in your pantry and your refrigerator. There certainly are a lot of opportunities to make small changes that might add up to something valuable. 🙂

      Like

  4. bikerchick57 says:

    I, too, grew up around sugar. My dad had a sweet tooth, so I blame him for mine. I’ve been staying away from anything with high fructose corn syrup for several years and avoid Splenda, Nutrasweet and Equal. I do use Stevia, but it is the pure stuff, not cut with any chemicals. As for regular white cane, beet or other sugars, I haven’t found a way to totally avoid them. I have always had an addiction to sweets – cakes, cookies, etc., even though I know they are not good for me. Thanks for the post, though, it reminds me to be careful with the amount of sugar I do consume. It really can add up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the sweetener topic is a very diverse, in-depth one that is right up there with our concerns about GMOs and pesticides, etc. There are such deep pockets impacting our food supply, and it takes a lot of vigilance to keep yourself healthy. And, doing whatever we can, however small, is always a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan Antion says:

    This was a very good summary Judy. Thanks for taking such good notes.

    I have no desire to even attempt ‘sugar-free’. I watch, I dial it back but it’s not leaving my life anytime soon.

    I’m sure that sugar isn’t good for you. But, we’ve been told for years and years that low-fat milk was better than whole milk and now, studies say the opposite is true. All things in moderation. I’ll stick with that (that and whole milk).

    Liked by 2 people

    • We all know from the hundreds of diets out there, that drastic food changes can only last so long. I think being informed, eating food our grandparents would have eaten, and seeking moderation is a good plan. (That bulleted list was just for you.) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion says:

        My wife focuses on the food our grandparents would have eaten. I like that too. It is important to be aware of the list. Being informed is always a good starting point, whether it’s eating or pruning blueberries 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t use any of the artificial sweeteners and avoid anything that has one as an ingredient. As bad as sugar can be, I know the effects. I don’t believe we know the effects of the artificial sweeteners. I’m fortunate because my family never drank pop/soda. I’ll have an occasional root beer, preferably with ice cream to add more sugar, one in a while. My chocolate of choice is very dark, so not much sugar there. My palate has never developed to tolerate lots of sweetness and I’d do poorly in the South, as I don’t use sugar in tea.

    I eat things with sugar in them sometimes, but avoiding a lot of processed food helps avoid sugar (and other bad stuff.) I had a homemade doughnut at the farmers market on Saturday and loved every second of it. 🙂

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  7. reocochran says:

    I am always interested in choices and trying to make healthy ones has been a part of my whole life. My Mom had eczema which reacted to certain nuts, soy and milk. She did try to teach us that vegetables should be our main food on our plates and this is funny, but she didn’t buy canned vegetables even when we were young, she insisted on frozen which cost more and cooking them until soft to make baby food. I loved sweet potatoes and yams the best due to their natural sugary taste. We were allowed treats only once a week so we collected bottles in our Red Flyer wagon and took them to a Polish delicatessen where we turned our bottles into money. We found them at new building sites in the suburbs of Cleveland. We always got our favorite penny candy. My dad loved donuts so on trips we usually had a few of them, while my Mom loved cheesecake and could made lots of yummy German streudel and other things, too. Only holidays and vacations but this kind of led us into being sneaky and in college I would buy Ding Dongs, Hostess Ho Ho’s and those pink coconut Snowballs. They were “rewards” for getting papers completed. This rambled on, if you want to edit, feel free to cut this up, Judy! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you just described your family, and we all have a story just like that only maybe a little different. My grandparents had a small dairy farm. My grandmother fried donuts a couple of times a week in lard, they drank real cream in their coffee, used real maple syrup on their pancakes, and ate pie with dinner. But, they also grew their own vegetables and fruit, processed their own meat, and did physical work all day, every day. I’m guessing the fact that we have all become so sedentary with the age of technology isn’t helping us either. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • reocochran says:

        Judy, I am glad you summarized this and made me feel better about rambling! 🙂 Your post had a lot of fantastic reminders to follow and change out food choices! My Mom’s best friend was our early childhood babysitter, from kindergarten up till third grade. We loved their farm.
        I really like how your grandparents blended healthy fresh food with treats. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    “If one of those first three ingredients is some type of sugar or sweetener, toss it out and get something else.” This is very helpful advice. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. joannesisco says:

    I’m hanging my head in shame. I admit I’m hopelessly addicted to sugar :/

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a terrible sweet tooth. I like cookies, cake, and especially pie. I use a lot of products with artificial sweetener. It’s dismaying to think about how bad for me this all is.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jan Schaper says:

    One of the great benefits I’ve experienced in cutting way down on sugars over the years is being able to enjoy more fully the natural sweetness of vegetables and fruits and even nuts such as almonds. Thanks for the very informative post, Judy . . . and for the reminder that in some cases those who are supposed to be safe-guarding our food supply really have other interests in mind.

    Like

  12. Interesting!!
    I have to look into the stevia situation. I think/thought what I was eating was leaves. Maybe not all are the same. They don’t taste the same….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for such an informative post. We’ve had to change our diet drastically as both my husband and youngest have digestive problems. Even some of our grandchildren have them, so we are all aware of how diet affects us. I also try to eat like our grandparents did and avoid most processed food. It takes more time but tastes so much better and you avoid the chemicals that way, too, especially if you can eat organic food. Cancer loves sugar, so that’s a good enough reason for me to keep my intake as low as possible and save it for treats only. I’m lucky that I don’t take sugar in tea or coffee and I much prefer savoury dishes to desserts. With a sweet tooth is must be so difficult to cut down on sugar and you have ‘Sweet’ in your blood to top it all. You deserve a medal for making the effort, Judy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You brought up another topic that was covered and that was the cancer connection as well as cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. I didn’t feel qualified to comment on those medical topics, but there certainly appears to be connections to our lifestyle and diet. Applause to you for the efforts you make to keep your family healthy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been worth the effort, Judy. My youngest still has a long way to go but I dread to think of how bad she might be today if we hadn’t taken her to someone who knew about nutrition and could point us in the right direction. Kudus to you, for going to that class.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m making an effort to reduce sugar, but I’m even more concerned about recent studies that show how dangerous non-sugar sweeteners are, especially to brain health. I’ve decided to eliminate them completely from my diet, even if it means I’m using a bit more “real” sugar.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Joyce says:

    Thank you for that excellent summary of what was obviously a valuable class on health improvement. I think I might actually begin the loss of weight I need to do by thinking back to this post when I next reach for my favorite chocolate covered almonds. No reason for them – just walking past the cupboard and reaching in is a habit I’ve developed – and it is beginning to show on the scale!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You probably could handle the delicious chocolate covered almonds (and enjoy them I might add) if they didn’t keep putting sugar in everything else that you didn’t ask for. Take a couple of minutes and look at some boxes and cans in your pantry and a few things in your refrigerator. It will just blow your mind. When you think about the sugar choices you make during the day that is one thing, but then all this added sugar that you didn’t really ask for added to it becomes the issue. I bought a couple of things today and specifically looked at the ingredients to make sure there was no sugar but then when I looked at the nutritional value there was sugar noted. What the heck is going on here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I can’t read the ingredients lists on packages. They have solved their consumer issues by using what must be about 2 point type. I literally cannot see it. It could say anything and would still look like a smudge to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now you’re talking my language because I have similar eye challenges. I bought a bag of organic non-salted nuts today. I checked the ingredients which was only nuts. But when I got home and was looking at the nutritional info, there are 13 grams of sugar in this bag of unsalted nuts. Someone please tell me why. I like my sugar to be where I can recognize it like in a delicious raspberry turnover not added to a bag of nuts.:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Grandma Kc says:

    It really is depressing how overweight our society is becoming — especially the children. I have no doubt that 31% of children are overweight. Based on what I see on Amara’s school yard I would have thought it would be even higher. I admit I am a sugar junky — better put I love dessert of any kind and dark chocolate! I’m really trying hard to give them up but like I said before it doesn’t get easier with time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love my dessert too. The thing that I find interesting after this class is how much sugar is in everything else. They’re putting sugar in everything so then when we sit down to eat that wonderful dessert we’ve probably already consumed twice as much sugar just from all the other stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. germac4 says:

    Thanks for this post Judy, pretty scary to think of just how much sugar is in our diet these days. As a teacher I noticed kids eating more and more junk food over time. How about the various politicians signing off on the sweeteners…what a world we live in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our food supply is not acceptable but there are so many lobbyists and so much money involved, we have to take the task on ourselves. I got out a container of greek yogurt and it was not listed under ingredients but it was under the nutritional info. I’m still trying to find something, just anything, that doesn’t have sugar on the label.

      Like

  19. germac4 says:

    Good luck! I think I’m going for ”moderation in all things”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You know, it’s funny….mid-afternoon I am hungry. Immediately I think of chips or crackers or something salty or perhaps two cookies….but I’ve been trying to eat more fruit. So I gobble down some grapes. Now GOING TO THE FRIDGE FOR THE GRAPES….I am sighing, Oh the sacrifice I am making here when Cheese Doodles would be more fun. 15 grapes later I am enjoying them and the hunger is gone until dinner. It’s not only sugar / it’s salt too.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Karen says:

    Good post! I’m glad you shared the information Judy…we all need to try to eat healthier. I spend as much time in the grocery store reading labels as I do the actual shopping. Why do manufacturers have to add sugar in things unnecessarily. If we want sweet cereals we can add it at the breakfast table. Have you ever looked at canned beans, why do they add sugar to beans unless they are the baked bean variety? I could go on and on. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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