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The Sugar Debate

Marketing ploys can sabotage our efforts to eat healthy.

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

The Sugar Debate

Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins

Sugar from sugar cane was available in India for thousands of years.  Europe did not get a taste of pure cane sugar until the 1500s.  It was incredibly expensive, enough to prevent the average citizen from having much or any of it.  That sugar is addictive can be seen by the fact that the slave trade started in order to meet the rising demand for sugar in Europe.  But even with slave labor, cane sugar was still an expensive food item.  On top of that, between World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II there was a sugar shortage in America and Europe.  This meant that processed foods had relatively little added sugar.  After the 1950s, the processed food industry started growing.  In order to keep consumers buying, the price of products had to be reasonable.  This kept a check on added sugars which would increase the price of the product.  So yes, a manufactured cookie from 1960 WAS less sweet than one today.

Chocolate ganache and mixed berry pie

In the 70s, high fructose corn syrup was developed.  Since it came from corn, something grown in America (and lots of that too), there was an ample supply.  This meant that more could be added to all sorts of processed foods, making them sweeter and more tempting, increasing demand. 

If the fructose in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is chemically the same as the fructose in an apple, how could it be bad?  This is what the processed food companies want us to believe.  Their focus is all about “moderation”.  An occasional coffee drink loaded with HFCS is as harmless as an apple.  And yet they are opposed to calorie content postings in restaurants.  They change the wording on nutrition labels from HFCS to ‘maize syrup’ or ‘fruit fructose’.  Even if processed foods contained pure cane sugar, it would still be an added sweetener that spikes your blood sugars.  Many times sugar or HFCS is the second ingredient listed.  Check out your instant oatmeal packet.

All carbs are bad and the cause of obesity and diabetes.  Cut the carbs and stick to meat and dairy.  This is what the meat and dairy industry want us to believe. This has led to fad diets forcing people to stay away from things like wheat, apples and potatoes and to eat more meat and cheese.  Deli meats and cheese are promoted as wholesome, clean eating.  This way of eating increases fat consumption.  Keep in mind that the obesity and diabetes epidemic has been happening as Americans have increased their fat consumption not their fruit consumption.  No one ever got diabetes because they were eating too much fruit. The obesity and diabetes epidemic is due to increased consumption of added sweeteners, processed foods, oil, meat and cheese and far too little fiber. 

There are several things you can do to cut out the sugar in your diet.  First and foremost, stop buying processed foods.  If you want to have a pie, make it from scratch. 

(recipe for blueberry pie using whole grain crust and two teaspoons of agave nectar)

Try sweetening your food with unsweetened applesauce, bananas, dates, or agave nectar.  These all cause less spikes in your blood glucose levels than sugar.  Don’t be afraid of the sugar in fruits, vegetables, and grains.  These are fiber rich and are actually a remedy for obesity and diabetes.


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