Sugar is everywhere!
In most of the cases we are aware of its existence, as in sweets. Who doesn’t like chocolate cake at a birthday party, or ice cream on a hot day? But did you know that there is sugar in ketchup (4 grams per tablespoon)? In milk (12 grams per serving)? In salad dressings (10 grams)? Or in packaged bread (up to 3 grams per slice)?
About 80% of our food contains sugar!
Processed food in particular has a high amount of sugar, which is why the average person consumes way too much sugar every day. The recent trend of low-fat or fat-free products also plays part in this, since the missing flavor of the fewer fat is replaced with sugar.
The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of free sugars that is below 10% of our total energy intake to reduce the risk of overweight and obesity. With an intake of less than 5%, or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons), it would be even more beneficial to one’s health. Free sugars are monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose), disaccharides (sucrose or as we call it: table sugar), and sugars naturally existing in honey, syrup, or fruit juice. Hence, this recommendation does not refer to sugar we ingest with fresh fruits, vegetables, or milk.
So let’s think about a regular Tuesday of yours.
What do you think, how much sugar do you put into your body this Tuesday? Just consider, with drinking one single can of sugar-sweetened soda we already ingest 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of sugar, more than the total daily amount recommended. And what about the weekends? Don’t we allow ourselves some treats on the weekends? In reality, it seems like everyday is a cheat day just without us knowing about our excessive sugar intake.
But what if we reduced our intake of sugar to a minimum tomorrow?
Most of us would probably recognize a difference, and be in a bad mood. Why? Because even if it sounds harsh, we are addicted to sugar! Some of us less, some of us more.
Sugar is directly absorbed by the blood and we feel like it gives us fast energy, we can concentrate better, and it might even let us feel happier than before due to the stimulation of the reward pathway in our brains and an increased level of dopamine. However, this addiction might cause a lack of drive, fatigue, or maybe even depression, and over the years it can lead to serious illnesses like obesity or a fatty liver. To ”prevent” this, the industry provides us, the consumers, with various sugar substitutes like stevia, or other sweeteners. Even though there is no real evidence that those actually have harmful effects on the body, like weight gain, an increased blood sugar level, or even cancer, science knows much too little about the actual consequences.
So why do we expose ourselves to those artificial sweeteners at all, when there are also healthier alternatives?
The type of sugar the body really needs is the natural one we can find in fruits or veggies, not the noxious white sugar or any artificial sweeteners. So instead of replacing the refined sugar with other potentially addictive substances, why not grabbing an apple next time we crave sweets? Or drinking water with some refreshing lemon instead of Coke for lunch? Or harness the subtle sweetness of cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, and other natural foods? Or try our Tamarin Fruits Panela to sweeten your food.
White sugar is extracted from the sugar beet and due to refining processes, all nutritional value is lost. Panela, the sugar of Latin America, is extracted by boiling sugarcane juice. Since it is 100% natural, it retains vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, vitamin B1, vitamin B2. Potassium, magnesium, and thiamin aid better performance, energy, and concentration. And on top while we are accustomed to the taste of white refined sugar, Panela has a sweet caramel flavor. As with every food, moderation is the key, but it is a much healthier alternative to table sugar.
So what’s the upshot?
We know that our body needs natural sugars from fruits and vegetables, a high intake of refined sugar may actually harm the body, and if we don’t want to give up the chocolate cake from the beginning, there is a healthier alternative to sugar or any artificial sweetener.