Thursday, 5 June 2014

Sugar... in the news? Again?!

It's done it again! Sugar seems to be quite the A-Lister these days.

When I wrote my first book a few years ago, the number of articles highlighting the dangers of high consumption of sugars were few and far between, if they were visible at all. And almost always in the latter pages of the newspaper as, I should imagine, a side or filler to the main news at the time. However, now I can't seem to move for the number of health-related, sugar-vilifying news stories out there.

So when I found that I didn't even need to open the Sunday Telegraph to discover the most up-to-date sugar adventures, I though that sugar had metaphorically "arrived." It seems as though it's rather attached to it's spotlight and doesn't seem to be disappearing anytime soon.

... which seems to be the problem and point of discussion outlined in the article on page two.

The article discusses the voluntary Responsibility Deal, which aims to help people make healthier eating choices. The article in the Sunday Telegraph discusses the "Healthy Eating" pledge which certain food companies which have, apparently, voluntarily chosen to take part in this scheme but yet have, "failed to reduce the amount of sugar in some of their best-known brands."

It's worth reading through the article.

My take on it;

Personally, as I've mentioned, I've been aware of the sugar problem for years now (as I'm sure many of you have been!). I view this problem as being rooted in the fact that we have a plethora of high-sugar, high-processed foods which we eat as part (and often the basis) of our everyday diets.

This is a massive problem. We are, in my opinion, hooked on the stuff. We know excess amount of the stuff can encourage health problems and yet we can't stop ourselves.

So what to make of this?

I agree with and am fond of the suggestion that people should be informed and educated about the foods which they are eating and in a world where processed food is prevalent and viewed as necessity, I think the more information we have on these foods, so that we can make educated, healthy choices in what we eat, is incredibly important. As long as it's quality, useful information.

I don't necessarily entirely agree with reducing the sugar in certain products. Don't get me wrong. We need to cut down on high-sugar, high processed foods and I think using less sugar may well be a good idea. However, when I don't think this is a good idea is when this reduction of sugar completely changes the product.
When I create my foods I make them so that they taste good without the sugar as a main feature. Trying to replicate a certain product exactly to the T can often result in worse textures and flavors. Making something sugar-free and healthier when it is meant to be that way is different.
Plus, I like the control of knowing the ingredients I've put into something which I've made. (I do have a bug bear about eating healthily outside the house when cooking your own isn't an option though... sounds like a topic for another post).

Also, convenience encourages us to forget natural, whole foods, such as fruit and vegetables - remember those? This is what we should be eating most of the time. Other products should be a treat. A rare indulgence. So yes, we should be eating foods lower in sugar but maybe we should be focusing on healthier, more natural foods and a different  lifestyle rather than lowering the sugar in already largely artificial products - it might just be defeating the point, don't you think?

There still exist individuals who are able to eat small amounts of a true "treat-food" such as a naughty ice cream or other sweet food. Should we chastise these people their small weekly indulgence for the sake of those who are not able to control their sweet tooth? I just don't agree with a dictation on how to eat. I think people should be able to make their own choices.

Inform people? Yes.
Give them the freedom to make their own choices about their lifestyle? Yes.
However, make products completely unrecognisable across the board just to slightly lower the sugar content? I'm not so sure.

Conclusion;

Educate, provide options and eat naturally.

Short and minimally sweet ;)


What do you think??

Do you think that sugar should be lowered or eradicated across the board?
Do you think that having options is good enough?
How do you feel about education on foods?

Let me know in the comments! :)



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