If you have known me for a while now, you probably know that I am a little cray cray when it comes to hidden sugars in the Western diet. Don’t get me wrong, I love sugar. I love me some bread and refined carbohydrates too. Just like you do. I am human after all and we are hardwired to crave the stuff for our own survival, so we can print away from predators and accrue belly fat over the harsh winters without food. You know? Just like now. The problem is, we were never meant to take in the amounts and levels that we do and it is wreaking havoc not only on our individual bodies but on our collective food and health-care system. It is quite literally killing us, through diseases that thrive on sugar; cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic disorders (obesity), heart disease, and its effects can and will quite literally bankrupt our health care system. If trends continue, this generation’s children will be the first to have a shorter lifespan than those of their parents and they will cost a lot more.
What keeps me up at night, what makes me sweat is not the sugar we are choosing you to eat. That, hopefully, is within our control to some extent (unless we are sugar addicted, or impoverished and the cheapest calorie is a calorie of sugar). If we aren’t addicted and can afford it, we can easily choose. We can choose to indulge in the sugary treat or the pasta or we can choose not to. In fact, right now I have Cinnamon Buns Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer. When I do it, I do it right. When I indulge, I get the good stuff.
What keeps me up at night is this. Most people have no idea how much sugar they are actually eating. They believe they are eating healthily because they believe there are some ethics or laws that govern the claims on their cereal or granola boxes. News flash here. These laws are seriously sub-par. Do not take health-claims at face value! What most people don’t realize could actually affect their lifespan and their quality of life, as well as those of their children. Right now, the average American eats between 22-34 teaspoons of sugar a day, around 3 pounds a week and over 130 pounds a year. Compare that to 200 years ago, where we at less than 10 pounds of sugar a year. Come on now!
Okay, I’m calming down. I don’t mean to get all drill sergeant on you here, but sugar is a tender subject for me. I’ve seen too much data, seen too much addiction and know too much at this point not to get passionate about it.
It is what you do most of the time that matters. Enjoy the cake, the ice cream, the cookie. Enjoy the croissant and the pasta, every once in a while. In the mean
time, get serious about educating yourself on the food system and what you don’t know about what you are putting into your body everyday. Because, what you don’t know, quite literally, can kill you.
In this vein, I’m going to share a couple of resources with you today. The learning starts now! Let’s get this party started.
1) Click here to read this short and awesome article.
(Credit to my friend Sam, who found this and sent this to me)
3) Share this with a friend, so, they too, can take control of the sugar. (Courtesy of you)
4) Start checking labels this week. Aim for 25 grams of added sugar a day or less (suggested by the American Heart Association).
What did you find most shocking? Share those thoughts below.
Rock On and Be Well,