America and Sugar Sitting in a Tree

>> Thursday, April 15, 2010

Venezuelan sugar cane (Saccharum) harvested fo...Image via Wikipedia
America (and other countries where a Western diet has taken root) is in a very abusive relationship with sugar. Wherever we go, sugar is there with us, trying to be part of everything we eat, and in more and more quantities. But like a textbook case of an abusive relationship, we take our beating and just keep clinging on to the abuser. We can't seem to let go. Even after Michael Pollan, a veritable Robin Hood of food, appears on Oprah, one of the most popular talk shows ever, to discuss what's wrong with the food we eat, people continue to turn a blind eye to what they're eating and then wonder why they can't lose weight, or why their kids are sick all the time. 

Take it from someone who's been there: It's easy to gain weight. While sugar isn't the only culprit, if you take a look at what's in our food nowadays, it's definitely one of the main ones. It's in yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, and more - we see it in so many foods now that we're desensitized to seeing it in the list. That's a problem.

Not only are we oblivious to its presence, we also have to contend with manufacturers hiding sugar by using other names for it. While it is obviously true that organic cane juice is less-processed than agave syrup or high fructose corn syrup, and it is true that not all sugars act upon the body in the same way, when it's all said and done, sugars are addicting, empty calories that serve to tickle our taste buds. That is the reason why they are in so many food products; manufacturers want to sell what they make, so they use tricks like adding sugar to get people to buy them. Many people buy the kinds of foods that taste good, without thought to whether the foods are good.

The irony of all this is that once you train (or retrain, as it were) your tastebuds to prefer things that are not so sweet, the sweetened foods become far less pleasurable than they once were. It's a difficult milestone to attain considering the stranglehold that "sweet" can put on you, but it's very worth it. I don't know how many times friends and acquaintances have exclaimed how they can't believe they once drank pop after giving it up.

One Day Challenge

Considering all the positive health benefits associated with dropping sugar from your diet, why not try this "simple" challenge? Try to rid added sugar from your diet for one day. If you're already eating a diet consisting mostly of unprocessed foods, this should actually be simple - but if you rely on convenience foods that make up the standard diet, even doing this for one day may prove difficult.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday on

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3 comments:,  April 16, 2010 at 9:05 AM  

I enjoyed your post!  I have such a love/hate relationship with sugar!  The one-day challenge doesn't work too well for me.  I need to go three days and then I'm officially un-hooked.  Those three days are murder, though.  I find that once I'm "off sugar," the only dessert foods that are worth eating are those that are really special, with only the best ingredients.  The store-bought cookie won't do it for me anymore. 

Christy,  April 18, 2010 at 8:19 PM  

I got a little anxious just thinking about giving up sugar for a day. Methinks that perhaps I have an addiction?! Hi, my name is Christy and I am addicted to sugar!

Psychic Lunch,  April 26, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

Sugar is definitely one of those things that you won't even realize you're addicted to until it's too late. I think about this when trying to feed my kids; like them, we naturally want to eat things that taste better, and the world bombards us with sweetened products from a very early age.

I think, Ellen, you have a good idea there with the three-day challenge. That's much more likely to actually unhook you from eating it than just one. But getting people (who are previously unaware of the prevalence of sugar) to just drop it for one day might make them realize how important it is to get rid of it as much as possible.

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About Psychic Lunch

Psychic Lunch was founded in 2009 by a nerd and father who wants people to be healthy. The information on this site is researched, but should be considered opinion; that is, you should always do your own research and come to your own conclusions about what is and what is not healthy. Products endorsed on this site are actually believed in and used by the author.


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