Sugar….de de de de de de
Oh, Honey Honey.
You are my candy girl,
and you got me wanting you.”
Honey, sucrose, glucose, fructose, and lactose we see these listed on food labels but what are they? Well in very basic terms, they are all types of sugar.
At times public interest in these various “sugars” increases when stories about sugar show up in the news, mostly to tell us to avoid it or eat it. Which shall it be? How do we get through the maze of information? It seems fructose is the current “bad guy” in the media and there has been a lot in the news about fructose. Much of the information comes from one small research study published by the AMA and has been rehashed in an over-simplified way. This may have lead to further confusion and more people anxiously scanning food labels to avoid the latest (un)healthy ingredient.
Fructose is a natural simple sugar found in vegetables, fruits and honey, it’s not something to fear, and certainly fruits and vegetables are NOT the foods that we should be reducing or eliminating from our diets. On the other hand, highly refined concentrated forms of sugar such as those in overly processed foods containing fructose and high-fructose corn syrup should indeed be limited. All sugars are not equal — even though they contain the same amount of calories — because they are metabolized differently in the body. Many of the sugars that we eat are mostly calories. They contain few or no other nutrients. Americans take in nearly 150 pounds of added sugars per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Sugar is a general catch all name for a class of sweet-flavored substances used as food. It contains few or no nutrients, but provides lots of flavor to food, which makes it a popular culinary delight and has been since ancient times. Sugar makes our food enjoyable and our medicine tolerable and it also helps signify the end of a meal, we know when the dessert shows up the meal is about to end with a little something sweet.
So, what are we to do when we are concerned about eating “right”? Here are a few suggestions: Eat foods that do not have a label! Huh? Yes, buy the foods that have not been highly processed, they are the foods on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. This way you wont have to worry about reading the label! Or better yet shop at your local farmers market. Whenever possible cook more at home get your family and friends involved in food preparation. This way it isn’t a burden that falls on one person but rather an enjoyable activity that involves, friends, music, a little wine and great conversation. As much as possible limit processed foods and beverages containing fructose and high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar-sweetened beverages do nothing more than add extra calories. Drink more water instead. Flavor your water with some citrus, cucumber slices or fresh herbs. Eat more fruits and vegetables; in general, a plant-based diet is good advice for everyone. Try to have at least one meal a day that is vegetarian. And above all filter what you read, use your critical lens and ask yourself: is this another crazy diet fad or yet, another blown out of proportion consumer food ingredient warning? Turn off the news, pick up the phone & invite friends over for dinner & share a great plant based meal followed by a delicious bowl of fructose containing fresh fruit.