Thursday, 2 February 2012

Is sugar the devil?

It's February.

Now renamed "Flaburary" due to the multitude of people giving up their new years resolution diets. Who needs a better excuse to start a fiery discussion on sugar? Not me that's for sure.

Occasionally I will try to delude myself that, hey, that cute little cupcake with the creamy icing and a sugar spun mouse perched on top won't do me any harm. I mean it's a mouse made of sugar - how could anything that cute be a bad thing? The mouse seems to wink and mischeviously beckon with its lightly dusted tail. I find myself being drawn closer and closer until my face is literally pressed up against the glass of the shop window.

In that moment I think a number of things;

1) mmm... cake

2) how did they spin sugar in the shape of a mouse?

3) I'm not allowed to eat that but really would it be that bad if I did?

Whilst I may continue to admire the artistry and ability of food producers to make unhealthy foods increasingly enticing (ok, so my example may be a little extravagant...) but the third thought is what most often crosses peoples minds when faced with a potential diabolical sugar disaster.

More often than not this question flits across the brain before disengaging from the shop window and drooling over the counter as you point to the alluring cake in question. However next time you find yourself in this situation, just stop. Stop and think.

The moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips might not indicate the only place that sugar load ends up causing unwanted effects.

Check this out;
This article talks about the toxicity of sugar (although I would have liked more information from the article...)

... and this...

I've got to admit I get a little too excited reading this last article. I just find it fascinating! Definitely read this one.

"When Glinsmann and his F.D.A. co-authors decided no conclusive evidence demonstrated harm at the levels of sugar then being consumed, they estimated those levels at 40 pounds per person per year beyond what we might get naturally in fruits and vegetables — 40 pounds per person per year of “added sugars” as nutritionists now call them. This is 200 calories per day of sugar, which is less than the amount in a can and a half of Coca-Cola or two cups of apple juice. If that’s indeed all we consume, most nutritionists today would be delighted, including Lustig.
But 40 pounds per year happened to be 35 pounds less than what Department of Agriculture analysts said we were consuming at the time — 75 pounds per person per year — and the U.S.D.A. estimates are typically considered to be the most reliable. By the early 2000s, according to the U.S.D.A., we had increased our consumption to more than 90 pounds per person per year."

"If you want to cause insulin resistance in laboratory rats, says Gerald Reaven, the Stanford University diabetologist who did much of the pioneering work on the subject, feeding them diets that are mostly fructose is an easy way to do it. It’s a “very obvious, very dramatic” effect, Reaven says."

"The second observation was that malignant cancer, like diabetes, was a relatively rare disease in populations that didn’t eat Western diets, and in some of these populations it appeared to be virtually nonexistent."

"Accordingly, magnesium deficiency combined with a high-fructose diet induces insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, endothelial activation and prothrombic changes in combination with the upregulation of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress."

After my own experiences I know that I feel awful when I eat sugary foods; dizziness, acne, weight gain, almost jittery to name a few effects. Sugary foods include (as mentioned in the second article above) not only the white granulated sugar but also anything containing sugars; cakes, pastries, ice cream, soft drinks etc. So I don't eat them. As I'm sure everyone else has experienced from time to time; I still find it difficult to pass shops I know would provide me with an immediate sugar hit. Yet why does this happen? Why do I want something, crave something which I know will hurt me later?

Through personal experience I think it's obvious that sugar, in it's many forms, has addictive qualities.  Anything which helps healthier foods to be made more avaliable to people is a great thing, however I don't think taxing foods higher in sugars will prevent people from buying them. I think that's underestimating the influence of sugar as an addictive substance and how prevalent it is in our society nowadays.

After taking another look at that cake and seeing it for what it is; not only an almost dead cert for immediate weight gain but the prospect of potential chronic toxicity, leading to a plethora of chronic diseases... that sugar spun mouse topped cake isn't looking so cute, in fact a bit more like sugar coated vermin.


  1. Hello, one of my friends sent me a link to your site, so i thought i'd say 'hello'. my reasons are a little different but i do the healthy eating thing on my blog too... the right foods make such a difference and really help you 'live' life!

  2. Hi Jo :)
    Thanks for stopping by to say hello and thanks to your friend for passing along the link to my site. The right type of nutrition and food can defnitely make all the difference in the world and enjoying food at the same time? I'm on board with that for sure! :) x


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