Is Sugar bad? The simple answer is yes, yes it is! We all know it is! But why is it bad? and what does it do to make it so bad? And why does it feel so nice to eat!
I remember when I was travelling through Australia somewhere in Queensland, I came across a field with sugar cane in it and I thought that I had hit the jackpot! In my drunken state, I Quickly ripped one of the canes from the ground and pulled off the leaves. I was expecting it to be full of granules.
This was what I remember my Dad saying that this was what they were full of. I was 6 when he told me this story when he was growing up in Singapore and he used to do this as a kid. It was at that moment I realised he was winding me up all these years ago…
Still, It must be sweet, I thought as I tried to strip the outer skin off and shove it into my mouth to chew it. It wasn’t. It was bitter and horrible. I couldn’t tell you why perhaps it was because I was also eating the bark! I was drunk remember!
The cane certainly didn’t taste like the stuff you find in most kitchens! There is a lot of processing to get to the white granulated crystals. This is mainly to get rid of the molasses which have unwanted tastes!
The processes of Sugar cane to Granulated is as follows;
- Sugar cane is sent to a mill to and the juice is taken out.
- The pulp is thrown away and the juice is clarified.
- The juice is reduced further using heat, it is then crystallized.
- The sugar is now raw.
- The raw sugar is sent to a refinery where it is melted and then filtered to remove the molasses.
- It is then crystallized again and dried
- It is then packed up and shipped off ready to be eaten!
So why is sugar bad?
Well, we need to look back to the land that time forgot. We have visited this before in the blog post Junk food.
In the land before refineries. Men went hunting, while women gathered food as well as making sure little Jimmy doesn’t get eaten. We use to rely on high calories high energy foods. However, these were in short supply and didn’t contain nearly as much sugar as the foods on offer today 24/7.
So we naturally tuned into hunting these foods out and eating them. Things such as berries, apples and citrus fruits gave a burst of energy when they were eaten. While giving a happy feeling from the brain. This, in turn, meant the men could go out and hunt and the woman could gather more berries and fruits. While they look after little Jimmy that is.
fast forward a few thousand years this natural reward system is still with us. Our lives are very different these days. Companies have realised that we still have the reward system and have used it to make money.
Literally, every prepacked food item has sugar in it in one form or another. Or to put it another way, your brain will reward you, so you buy it again and these companies know it!
The effects of Sugar on our bodies
as we have just noted Sugar is addictive, because of the feel-good reward system in your brain. The problem lies within the amount of it we consume and how available it is.
It is in everything. Even the fresh fruits and berries although it is in a natural in these things. If this was all it was in this would be fine. The design of our body can deal with sugars eaten from these sources. The thing is though we can easily put more than this in our bodies, Much easily.
There are varying guidelines as to what is the recommended sugar intake levels. Ironically enough it’s America that says you should have the least (25 grams if you a woman). Followed by the UK (30 grams for everyone). Australia has the most lenient guidelines (55 grams of sugar a day). Just to clarify, this amount is for all forms of sugar including the sugars in fruits and berries!
This is all well and good but when you consider that a single 330ml can of coke contains 39 grams of sugar.
You quickly realise that everyone Except the Aussies has blown their sugar intake for the day! Which leads me to another important question, How come Aussies get to eat more sugar and more importantly do we get to eat more sugar if we visit Australia???
Your Body is amazing
We do need sugar, just not in these huge quantities. When you eat sugar, your body breaks it down and turns it into Glucose. In a healthy adult, the glucose level in your blood will be between 0.7 and 1.4 grams Per Litre. Your body will keep your glucose levels in between these amounts without you even thinking about it.
So If you eat more sugar, your body will turn this into fuel and store it. It does this to maintain the glucose levels in your blood. It does this by releasing a hormone called Insulin. The term for this is called Insulin response.
It has its Limitations
If you have ever wonder why children can eat what they like and ‘get away with it’, so to speak is because their insulin response is working well. As you get older, if you continue to eat sugars in high amounts then your insulin response slows down. No doubt you would of have put on weight. This is because your insulin response has been working overtime to take the excess glucose from your blood. If you keep eating large quantities of sugar, things go from bad to worse! Things like Type 2 diabetes, Heart disease and a lot of other nasty things may creep in as well!
So where do we start? We need sugar but the quantities that we have in our foods day to day mean we don’t really have to look for foods with it in like our
Eat fresh food prepared at home and not the sugar-laden ready meals you can buy in the supermarket. Check out my Eats category for recipes if
Cutting back on the sugars is going to give you a lot more energy, make you feel healthier and will help you out in the long run. You only get one body so you might as well care for it prperly!