By Eden Walker HuffPost
There's an undeniable link between sugar and ill health, yet food and drink producers insist on sugarcoating everything to the point that they're actually adding it to water, and consumers can't get enough... because sugar can be addictive.
When I was a child I wasn't allowed sweets, which is probably why I don't have any fillings, why I don't drink soda and how I came to be the woman in the supermarket reading the back of the packet. I don't keep sugar in the house. Sugar is basically crack for kids, in my opinion. Now, I've done my fair share of chemicals over the years and every one of them with exception has induced a mind altered state (generally followed by a massive come down, but the weekend was never very far away).
When we take in sugar your brain rewards you with a lovely little hit of serotonin. It's one of the reasons we turn to it at low points. I, for example, live the cliché -- I have a half-liter tub of Madagascan vanilla ice cream in the freezer at all times. You get your hit and your body starts throwing out insulin to compensate, and too much means that you crash, ending up in some sugar coma, leading to a craving for sugar to balance it out and so it goes on your body riding the serotonin helter-skelter.
How can companies sell fructose in their products? It has been linked to heart problems. It messes with your appetite so you don't have that trigger telling you you're satisfied when eating. In high doses (at the levels contained in a lot of sodas), your liver can't even process it properly, and it becomes stored as fat.
Obviously I'm not saying I avoid sweet stuff completely -- everything in moderation, after all. I'm far too a big fan of fluffy pancakes, floating in butter and slathered in maple syrup, but really once you've eaten at the Good Stuff Diner my homemade pancakes pale in comparison. I like a drink, but I've had the same bottle of Grey Goose in the freezer for over a year now, and I have the choice to drink it or not. It's called personal responsibility. I'm someone that, for the most part, tries to lead a healthy well-balanced lifestyle, but when a cereal-based breakfast comes coated in chocolate and covered in sprinkles and it's passed off as healthy, I have to ask, how is this possible? Why is it cheaper to sell this stuff than healthier alternatives?
The food industry says that fructose is naturally occurring, and it is -- but that's like comparing a block of lard to the natural healthy fats that you find in an avocado. When you eat an apple you don't just get the sugar. There's other healthy stuff like vitamins and fiber, and you get oral satisfaction. Hence the phrase empty calories -- there's nothing to them apart from the ability to make you fatter, clog up your liver and send you on that slop to an early wooden overcoat.
The supermarkets tell us we want choice, when actually most of us shop on autopilot and generally speaking only have a range of a couple of hundred items that we buy on a regular basis. When the food industry starts adding sugar to water, what choice are they giving us? I'm all for choice (Martin Millers or Hendricks, super skinny or skinny are two of my favorites), but when the choice is fructose or high fructose corn syrup then what choice is there? They're both proven to mess with your cholesterol. The pro-sugar groups will say that we've been eating sugar for thousands of years, but there's a major difference between monks farming bees for honey and the way that sodas are manufactured.
Perhaps it's modern life. Perhaps we're so crushed by it, and the drudge of living on less money in an ever more expensive world, spiritually devoid, defining ourselves with what we have not who we are, that we need the crutch. I prefer caffeine, personally. My morning wouldn't be complete without my daily trip to my favorite shop, stopping off at the patisserie on the way home. I'm not saying I'm perfect by any means. But In a world where we're all supposed to be trying to become healthier, why do they have to make it so difficult?
I don't know if this is entirely scientifically accurate or not (perhaps you can correct me in the comments if I'm not), but I think of our bodies being so tied up processing sugar that they can't properly deal with the fats we ingest. Instead of using complex carbohydrates to function they're using simple sugars, and as they aren't using the complex carbs they can only be stored as fat.
Like I said, I could be wrong. After all, I design gardens.