Why is it that every time I write about sugar, sweeteners and substitutes I have to take a deep breath before I start? It is a subject I tread lightly with because each of us has our go-to sweetener and many will defend the choice passionately.
I've successfully given up sweets and felt much better. I say successfully because I made it longer than a week. I’m not sure how long ‘giving up sweets’ lasted. I’d like to say 3 or 4 months, but I might be over-estimating.
And I've given up sweets successfully again and again and again. It was good while it lasted. However, I took one bite and then another and soon I was back to eating sweets regularly.
Not a problem since I believe the first step to success is trying. The next step is trying again.
So this week I’m looking at decreasing my “added sugar” intake by really looking at the processed foods I buy. This would have been a better idea if I’d done it BEFORE I bought my pudding snacks and found “sugar” as the third ingredient in my fat-free pudding and “maltitol” as my second ingredient in the sugar free one.
Just to give you an idea of the complexity of the issue, all of these (and some that I am sure I missed) are used as sweeteners in processed foods and beverages, and I’ll be looking for these on the label:
The usual suspects:
high fructose corn syrup
dehydrated cane juice
fruit juice concentrate
barley malt syrup
high fructose corn syrup
Substitutes (natural and artificial):
Sugar alcohols (-ol):
Which sweetener you choose is up to you. I’m not offering any suggestions, but I believe the best choice is the one you make with knowledge and intention. Make the one that supports your goals and needs.
Also be on the look out for "added sugar" by way of additional fruit, fruit concentrate, or fruit juice.
They've added pear concentrate to this can of peaches in peach juice. It may be better than sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but is it right for you?
Look and read the label to see what's in it and then you can make the decision with knowledge and intention.
My choice is to start eliminating processed foods that have a sweetener (any sweetener, not just sugar) in the first 3 ingredients. If I want something sweet, I can make it myself and choose all the ingredients (and be able to pronounce each one of them).
Will you decrease your added sugar intake this week?
P.S. I’ve learned a lot more about the history of honey and sugar than I ever thought I’d be interested in.
Honey bees are not native to North America and were imported to Virginia in 1622.
Sugar cane was probably first used in Polynesia and then spread to India before 500 BC. Sugar didn’t get to Europe until the 11th century.