The American food supply has been contaminated. We talk about things like MSG, animal hormones, BPA, heavy metals, and the like (all bad), but there is one particular contaminant that needs to be eradicated more than anything else… SUGAR.
I hate commercial sugar, all colors and kinds: white, brown, powdery and liquid. The only time we have it in our home is when we are making food for the hummingbirds. To be honest, I even feel a little guilty giving these little guys the stuff, but I so enjoy the summer entertainment, and let’s face it, their metabolism is nothing like ours!
It’s one thing to say that you are going to stop using extra sugar, stop buying it, and stop cooking with it, etc., and a totally different thing to say that you are going to blacklist all foods with added sugar from your diet. Be prepared to go to battle on this one. The food manufacturers are armed and dangerous!
As of 2015, there are over 600,000 foods in the American food industry… 80 percent of them contain added sugar.
Sugar, like many things consumed in excess, is a toxin. In America, the average person consumes between 150 and 170 pounds of the stuff each year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Just 100 years ago, the average person in America consumed only four pounds of sugar per year. Just how much is 150 to 170 pounds of sugar? This equates to about 30–34 five-pound bags of sugar each year. That’s a lot of sugar.
Much of this sugar is hidden in foods that you purchase at your local supermarket. Sugar is the driving force behind the trillions of dollars that North American food manufacturers generate annually. They couldn’t do it without their “sweet” and addicting friend. Don’t even get me started on Halloween. This one night alone generates over 4 billion dollars in profit for industry giants.
At one point in history, wars were fought over sugar, and sugar was at the heart of the American slave trade. Historians call sugar the oil of the eighteenth century. A hot commodity that ignited battles and was used as a negotiating tool. Today, machines do the work that slaves once did, and the sugar industry is more powerful than ever, making it possible for the deadly truth about the poison to be hidden from the American people. Like Big Tobacco, Big Sugar is in bed with both political parties, and this is what allows deception and the destruction of health to continue.
Obesity rates are skyrocketing… is this because we are eating too much and not exercising enough? Many experts say no way… something else is to blame, and that something else is sugar. According to many, sugar is the driving force behind all of the chronic metabolic diseases that we know about today. With all eyes having been on fat, sugar has been able to escape under the radar. If you are not aware of the bitter truth regarding this toxic nightmare, it is time that you found out.
Fat is NOT the problem
In the early 1970s, obesity and heart disease began to rise at alarming rates and we were told that dietary fats were to blame. The food industry sent a resounding message through powerful media outlets that what we needed was low-fat or even no-fat food. The fractured hypothesis of the day that eating foods with no fat could not make you fat was nothing short of a big FAT lie.
When you take the fat out of food, it tastes like… well… cardboard. So, guess what was added to the products to make them taste good? If you guessed sugar, you are right. Take for example whole-fat mayonnaise, it has just over two percent sugar. However, the low-fat version has six times more!
By the mid 1990s, sugar had been elevated to a place of high esteem and thought of as a healthy alternative to fat. The American Heart Association even recommended that snacks containing fat be replaced with high-sugar products such as juice, hard candy and spreads. This was the first time in human history that health organizations were actually advocating for people to choose sugar as a means for being healthy.
Clearly, with the horrifying truths we see today — over 60 percent of our population is obese, diabetes and heart disease on the rise — it is very hard to see that we were given the right advice. What is clear is that the sugar industry continues to be one of the most powerful forces in history at the cost of millions of lives.
Even today, with all of the education and awareness, health authorities such as the National Heart Association endorse things like cereal, which may be low in fat but contain up to 30 percent sugar. What is up with this — an endorsement to eat a box of sugar from a group that is supposed to be protecting our health?!
Engineered temptation (and they hide it)
Adding sugar to over 80 percent of foods found in the supermarket is how food manufacturers engineer temptation. Food tastes great, so great that you want more and more. You can’t just stop at the recommended one-cup serving of Lucky Charms — you have to have eight cups, and that means more and more sugar.
The food industry is sneaky, very sneaky. But, you say, you don’t see sugar listed as an ingredient on the label. Well, the food manufacturers have it covered — sugar actually has over 50 different names, meaning the food industry can easily pull one over on us by listing each of these ingredients separately. If ever you needed to be educated about something, this is it. I beg you to learn where the sugar hides.
Manufacturers use these different names to hide sugar on the ingredients list. Sugar may hide as ingredient number 3, 4, 7, etc., on the list. So even if sugar is not the first ingredient listed, when you total up all the different names it hides under, sugar is in fact the number-one ingredient. Pretty crafty, aren’t they?
Most of this sugar is probably consumed without the consumer even knowing it. If you eat packaged, bottled or canned foods with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you cannot pronounce, chances are, you are eating extra sugar.
Here are just a few of the names you may not be so familiar with:
- Barley malt
- Corn syrup solids
- Fruit juice
- Beet sugar
- Date sugar
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Invert sugar
- Brown sugar
- Buttered syrup
- Glucose solids
- Malt syrup
- Cane-juice crystals
- Golden sugar
Of course, one of the worst culprits of all time is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This loosely bound, highly unstable sugar forms compounds that damage cells and tissue, and is linked to diabetes. When products with HFCS are consumed, it causes a tremendous strain on the pancreas and, according to research, the risk of pancreatic cancer may increase.
Over half of all the sugar consumed today is found in foods that you may have thought didn’t even contain sugar. You may not know that tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, hamburger buns, hamburger meat, salad dressing and crackers all contain added sugar. In fact, if you were to spend a whole day doing nothing but walking the aisles in the grocery store and reading labels, you would find that most processed and packaged foods contain some form of added sugar. And if you only selected products with no added sugar, you would most likely be left with less than half a cart of groceries!
When sugar pairs with other substances, things go from bad to worse
As if adding extra sugar covertly to foods isn’t bad enough, the giants in the processed food industry have taken it a step further. They are combining sugar with other substances to increase profits and health risks at the same time.
Let’s take fat to start with. Is it the fat in a creamy milkshake or the sugar that we crave? Actually, it is the sugar that increases the allure of fat, making the combination irresistible. Food scientists work around the clock to concoct combinations of just the right amount of sugar and fat to drive our sensory pleasure zones off the charts.
Sugar and caffeine are another dangerous duo that are combined in any number of processed foods, from sweetened coffee beverages and sodas, to baked goods. Although it can be argued that moderate amounts of caffeine are harmless and may even be beneficial, excess consumption may lead to agitation, problems with sleep and disorientation, especially in individuals who are sensitive and children.
Large doses can stimulate the heart, dilate vessels, and increase gastric acid production and metabolic rate. Withdrawal symptoms can be horrific, as with any other drug, and can induce physical cravings.
When 10-year-olds are lining up at Starbucks, they are not there for a cup of black coffee, but for something entirely more dangerous. A short video posted online by the Toronto Star examined just how much sugar is in Starbucks’ famous Frappuccino beverages. The results were staggering. In addition to mounds of caffeine, these drinks contain way too much sugar.
What we know
What we know is that sugar is bad, very bad… it has absolutely no nutritional value and is a highly dangerous, toxic, and addictive substance. We know that the food industry has gotten fat with profits while the American people have gotten fat and sick from their selfish games. Industry officials and health organizations that promote, or don’t stop the production of sugar-filled foods, should have trouble sleeping at night as far as I am concerned.
Here are just a few of the dangers of consuming too much sugar:
- Excess consumption of sugar can lead to a fatty liver.
- Sugar can cause insulin resistance, which can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
- Sugar can destroy your immune system.
- Sugar disrupts digestion.
- Sugar elevates blood pressure.
- Consumption of excess sugar can lead to cancer.
- Sugar is the leading cause of obesity.
- Sugar consumption leads to hyperactivity, lack of focus, and cognitive difficulties.
- Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of dying from heart disease.
- Sugar rots your teeth.
What if I am not fat, can I eat sugar?
Many people have come to me for general health advice, with complaints such as brain fog, joint aches, headaches, fatigue, etc. These people are lean and look, for the most part, healthy.
When I tell them that their consumption of excess sugar may be killing them, they are astounded, sometimes even offended. “But, I am not even fat,” they say. To this, I say that what you can’t see under your skin could be the very thing that is killing you.
Obesity is a symptom of something gone wrong, and depending on a number of things, including genetic makeup, metabolism, lifestyle, etc., you may or may not become obese. This, however, does not mean you are out of the woods, nor is it a license to chow down on sugar-laden processed foods.
The scariest part of all is something called visceral fat, which is hidden fat around your gut and organs. Visceral fat releases pro-inflammatory hormones that cause inflammation in other parts of the body. You can be lean and metabolically unhealthy with a tremendous amount of dangerous visceral fat. Up to 40 percent of all seemingly healthy, lean people actually show signs of metabolic distress, and up to 20 percent of obese people are metabolically healthy. So, skinny people… you are not off the hook!
Rules to eat by
I tell those who are tired of being sick that making a change in their diet could save their life. It is time to get off the processed bandwagon and get back to eating as our ancestors did — a way that supports healthy bodily functions and allows us to be the best we can possibly be.
Here are six of my favorite rules to eat by:
- Don’t eat anything with five or more ingredients.
- Don’t eat anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Don’t eat foods that you see on commercials.
- Eat foods that will rot and spoil.
- Eat food that has been around for more than 100 years.
- Eat foods that are organic, local and sustainable.
Yes, it may seem overwhelming, but never forget that great health is a journey that you will be on for the rest of your life. Making even small steps forward now will result in measurable differences in your overall health and well-being.
Don’t become yet another statistic at the hands of a few very greedy individuals. Your life is worth way more than this – take control of your health starting today!
— Susan Patterson
Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan enjoys educating others on how to live healthy and sustainable lives. She presently lives off grid in the middle of the New Mexican high desert with her three children and numerous animals.