Sugar- How Sweet Is It?

Mmmmmm, if there is one addiction that is legal-it is of Sugar. Many of us know that feeling, that urge, that craving, that sweet sensation of mmmmmm once we put it in our mouths……… Good???NO! A simple ‘No’ for all added sugars. Our bodies can very well do without them , thank you!

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate characterized by a sweet flavor , usually with generic names ending with ‘ose’ like sucrose, lactose ,fructose and representing such carbohydrates which dissolve in water.Sucrose is what we mainly talk about here which is made from sugar cane and sugar beet, it is the most common form of table sugar and is also a major cause of tooth decay amongst many other ill effects. The sugars to beware from are these white crystalline table sugars and high fructose corn syrup( used in sodas and other processed foods). All minerals, vitamins and other nutrients are stripped off these white sugars. To metabolize refined sugar, our body needs to take certain essentials from itself, which causes an upset in mineral balance. Now that just cannot be good for our bones. Auto immune diseases, skin problems, depression and even cancer aggravation have been linked to consumption of refined and processed sugars.

Most processed foods are also laced with simple sugars, so it’s time to read those labels. The basic reason that sugar is no.1 to jeopardize our health goals is that it is not natural. The juice of sugar cane/beet goes through processes that strip it off nutrients completely and what we are left with is nothing but a ‘processed food’ which we have learnt over these posts is not to be confused with ‘real’ food. Unnatural and refined foods are typically heavy on the body and may taste great but cause a lot of havoc inside.

A can of soda will typically have sugar equivalent to about 10-12 spoonfuls of sugar. Consuming cookies, candies, sodas, added table sugar in homemade beverages and other desserts are purely a matter of habit. In case we wonder why we look like our mothers /fathers and God forbid, tend to have similar diseases, it is time we look into how similar are our eating habits to theirs. I have seen numerous friends who see these sweet foods as big a temptation as they have been unknowingly taught by their parents.

Enjoy natural flavours of foods

Before I go further , I would like to make clear that sugar substitutes are a bigger NO. They are a chemical and cause greater havocs in our bodies. A lot of people fool themselves by taking sugar substitutes freeing themselves of the guilt. My opinion- they couldn’t be further from the truth. For such people, I would say, please have a half spoon of sugar but do not continue with these chemicals. Stevia or agave nectar are two exceptions as I have learned but personally never used as I don’t have the need for added flavours.

For those of us who like desserts and sweet flavor please be informed that sugar is an addictive substance. Yes, it’s like a drug which you are addicted to. Do observe yourself what it feels to think about it, to see it and then to eat it. Now, look at a drug addict. Difference? …..No? A good way to avoid intake is to keep them at bay. Most of us cannot look squarely at desserts and not get tempted. That takes time, but believe me , it is possible. I firmly believe “A temptation is a temptation only if you think it is a temptation.” Makes sense to you? Try another one and read slowly : ” A temptation is not a temptation if you think of it as hazardous.”
Know what’s good and what’s bad for the body. Deprivation is just a word when you are healthy and happy…it just doesn’t carry any meaning anymore. How we deal with stress goes a long way into reading our food habits.You want to go to an astrologer to predict your life, I say just keep a food journal for a week. :-)

There are various benefits of not having sugar( read white sugar, honey, high corn fructose syrup, brown sugar) but according to me , the most important one is that of realizing how naturally sweet certain foods are. I would never know that earlier. I used to be a soda addict once upon a time and would add one(yes, a “harmless” only one) spoon of sugar in my tea. But upon realization and learning of the bad effects of sugar, I now love and appreciate a simple snack of cottage cheese and grapes way much more than I ever did knowing just how sweet each grape is. I now know how sweet cucumbers or carrots are.That’s only because my palate is no longer loaded with extra unnatural sweet flavor anymore. If I go out now, and someone gives me a tea with even a bit of sugar, I am repelled by the extra sweetness in it. It is just no longer drinkable.

Sugars found in fruits are not to be scared of if we keep away from other refined foods like white breads, white pastas etc. and not have a habit of juicing our fruits. I am just not sure how good they are as substitutes for desserts after foods. Some nutritionists point out that eating fruits after meals helps in increasing triglycerides in the body. Personally, I think we need to work on that sweet craving after food, which is a form of addiction and we all know – No addiction can really ever be good.

Keep a lookout for next week’s blog which will give a list of refreshing unsweetened beverages because they are usually the reason that our daily intake of sugar goes on an overdrive. Meanwhile, check out the natural sweet flavor in vegetables and fruits this week. For that I have a suggestion : have a ‘raw foods as snacks’ week.

About Shaloo Dogra

Shaloo Dogra is a wellness coach and director at Epicurean Hospitality Services Pvt. Ltd. in Gurgaon, India. She has been part of the hospitality industry for almost 20 years providing food solutions to industries, institutions and for events. She is dedicated to structured consultation for individuals for fitness, nutrition, intermediate level yoga and meditation. For more on this, please see her website: www.shaloodogra.com She is married to Rajat Dogra and has two wonderful boys aged 16 and 13.
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