More Lies from the Food Industry

Dharma Diet – Post #5

Perhaps it’s appropriate that I address the specific lie named “sugar” on the week of Halloween, our day of ultimate sugar celebration.

What’s in a Name?

We all know that candy is primarily comprised of sugar. But you’d be surprised to learn just how prevalent sugar is in our every day food products. In many cases we aren’t aware of this because the food industry has cleverly created pseudonyms for sugar.

It’s so bad that the skeptics can’t even seem to agree on how many sugar pseudonyms are out there. In my research I found anywhere from 47 to 70 aliases for sugar. You’ve got your obvious sugar aliases like caramel, corn syrup, and honey, but there are just as many obscure sugars, like arabinose, inositol, jaggery, and treacle, just to name a few.

Many of these sugar types are considered “added sugars,” and they should be avoided above all else. Added sugars are those sugars that are added to foods and beverages during the preparation or processing of the items, or are added at the table when eating. They are added to give processed foods flavor (e.g. to make “low fat” foods taste better), texture, and color. Added sugars help to preserve foods and they aid in fermentation, among other non-nutritional reasons.

The takeaway from my research is to try to avoid added sugar at all costs. But good luck doing that, at least without a lot of conscious effort. One expert in the documentary Fed Up points out that 80% of the items for sale in the average U.S. grocery store contain added sugar. And it is not just in the obvious culprits, the candies, cakes, cookies, and pastries, but it is also found in items you would not expect to have added sugar: your bread, your tuna, your pasta sauce, your mayonnaise, your salsa, your ketchup, and much more.

Sugar gets really confusing if you try to figure out which of the many sugars are better or worse for you. After all my reading, I kinda threw up my arms in disgust and came up with my own simple rules of thumb to follow:

  • Fructose or glucose: I try to note whether the sugar I’m consuming is primarily fructose (really bad) or glucose (not as bad). If I must have sugared items, I try to have the ones containing more glucose. 
  • Overall quantity: I pay close attention to the amount of sugar an item has. I once heard a comparison of the amount of sugar we in the United States consume vs. the amount consumed in the 1800s. Back then the average daily consumption of sugar was just 15 grams versus 285 grams today. And we wonder why we have an obesity crisis.
  • General avoidance: The best rule of thumb for me is to try to avoid sugar altogether. As you will see when I outline the details of my Dharma Diet in a later chapter, I now try to avoid sugar entirely other than sugar that comes naturally in fruit.

And these are just numbers dealing with sugar. Imagine the same type of deception occurring with all of our other foods.

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

Confucius

#dharmadiet, #newyearsresolutions, #newyearnewme, #weightloss #intermittentfasting

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