sugar update

Kiss sugar good-bye.

Putting another nail in the sugar coffin, Gary Taubes has written a much-publicized book called The Case Against Sugar, published two months ago ($16.17). He argues the case for eliminating all refined, added sugar in our diets. He says that it’s sugar that is making us sick and fat. What got my attention above anything else is that he says sugar is toxic and is the tobacco of today.

sugar update

Here is what added sugar is doing to your health:

  • It is increasing your risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cancer, dementia and other chronic diseases.
  • Sugar is used as a preservative, and as an additive in cigarettes – all terrible!
  • Added sugar is the single most dangerous ingredient in our diets. It has many calories and absolutely NO essential nutrients.
  • Because it causes increased dopamine release in the brain, sugar is highly addictive.

The most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines say that no more than 10% of our daily calories should come from added sugars.   The American Heart Association is even stricter. Their guidelines are 100 calories per day or less from added sugars. That’s not much!  Most of our added sugar intake comes from two sources – sweetened beverages and desserts (cakes, cookies, candy etc.).

Many foods have fructose (naturally occurring sugars) like fresh fruit, carrots, beets, and tomatoes. Since you won’t overdo those foods, and because they have health benefits, experts say you do not need to worry about those sugars.

Sugar goes by different names in ingredients lists. Here are some words to look for in components of products – corn syrup, dextrose, agave and fructose. Sugar is hidden in many foods you wouldn’t think contain sugar. A few examples are salad dressings, catsup and low-fat yogurt.

What sweeteners are all right? Honey in moderation is OK because it’s natural in its raw form, and has health benefits. Stevia is a very sweet herb and is also a natural sweetener.   Other than that, the best defense is to lose your taste for very sweet things! It is actually possible, over time, but a lapse once in a while is OK. Even Gary Taubes says that if you fall off the wagon just start the next day sugar-free.

ASR earlier article –

WebMd has a useful slideshow of sources of hidden sugar from pasta sauce, energy bars and instant oatmeal to bread.