Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Too Much Sugar in Our Food

Funny about Money brought up a good point in Gimme That Ole-time Real Food…, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sugar seem to be added to everything to make it more addictive.  I didn't even know that Hellmann's sixth ingredient is sugar.

As a true carb addict, I never thought I'd write these words, but maybe there is too much sugar in our food.  There really is no reason that HFCS needs to be in as many things as it is.  I even found it as an ingredient in a canned spaghetti sauce we have.  Sugar was listed in our Prego and the Kroger brand, but HFCS was the third ingredient in the canned no-name brand.  Weird.

I'm going to start paying closer attention since there's no reason to make weight loss even harder on myself.  If I can successfully cut out just a quarter to a half of the HFCS I usually consume every day, it would be healthier and will probably make losing weight a little easier.  I'm going to cut myself down to no more than 3 sodas a week and try to pick foods that have short ingredient lists that don't start out with a kind of sugar.

I'm not going to make any promises, but I'll make a valid attempt.  It may take me a while to give up my sugar-addict ways.

Do you already pay attention to the sugar in your food?  If sugar isn't your poison, what is?


  1. BFS, I have a HUGE sweet tooth. In fact, I used to eat a small cake every day in college. Now that I'm older, I've taken to baking a lot and using agave nectar (lower glycemic index) or honey. I mentioned before that I buy organic flour in bulk (25 lbs.). This is because I try to make our own bread. It's a lot healthier and cheaper than the cheap bread at the stores! Of course, I still cheat and buy the HFCS free bread when I am feeling tired and don't want to bake for the week. Arnold's has a type of bread sold at superWalmart for $2.50 a loaf or so which is HFCS-free.

    I have to say a lot of my habits come from my mom. She has a grain mill and grinds her own flour, eats sprouted seeds, and composts for her organic garden.

    I found this list: http://www.stophfcs.com/list.html. It might be a little outdated, though.

    If you told me if I'd rather have sugar or HFCS as an ingredient in something I'm eating, I'll tell you sugar. HFCS is not very digestible for the normal human body and can cause all sorts of issues.

    Also, if you crave something sweet, try eating some fruit. That craving is usually your body telling you that you need fruit.

    I hope this essay helps. :)

  2. I am a sugar addict. I love sweets. I thought when I was a kid that adults didn't like dessert and that it was a kid-only thing. I was wrong. I think my sweet tooth has grown exponentially since I turned 30. Why do foods with sugar have to taste so good?

    I too am trying to get rid of that pop monkey on my back. I never drink it at home anymore, just occasionally if I am out. (I cannot have pizza without coke, just my thing.) I will say though that my kids rarely drink it, and we really don't even have it in the house unless we are expecting company.

    The problem for me is, sugary foods are so darn convenient- they usually require no preparation. You are right, fruit is a great substitute. I also have been trying to eat nuts when I start to get hungry to try and curb some cravings.

  3. Everyday Tips - Try pears, berries, or grapes. Super-sweet and they don't need much prep-work. You just need to wash and eat!

  4. I have been noticing that I become nauseated after eating foods with high fructose corn syrup as one of the major ingredients, such as soda. I can drink a ton of McDonald's Sweet Tea (still not good, I know) w/o any problem, but the minute I drink soda or other HFCS products, I am nauseated for the remainder of the day.

    I really need to clean up my diet. I notice that I feel better/more energy when I consume less sugar.

  5. I too have really, REALLY enjoyed carbs...but am trying to cut back to the point of eating mostly healthy carbs - fruits, whole grains, etc. HFCS doesn't fit in there. Too much processed sugar is not exactly helpful for the health! I'm moving a similar journey as well, cutting out a sizeable percentage of this stuff.

    In the long run, health care costs will be lower too, so from personal finance perspective its a winner as well! :)

  6. This is a point I have been telling people for years now. It's disturbing how unhealthy a lot of our food is. As soon as I pick something up at the grocery store, the first thing I check is the nutrition facts. They can advertise anything they want, but the nutrition facts don't lie...

  7. When I'm having sugar, I want it to be in ice cream. Or cake. Or cookies. Etc.

    It does not need to be in savory foods. Supposedly it "cuts the acid" in tomato sauce. I just make my own now (tomato paste + tomato sauce + tomato puree + diced tomato (optional) + spices + half meat and half veggie protein stuff). I've been told that olive oil helps us digest the nutrients in the tomatoes, so I've been thinking of adding that back in.

    Sugar also does not need to be in cornbread or baked beans. And you don't need to add sugar to raspberry sauce (just put frozen raspberries in a blender plus enough juice of some kind to make that work--eat that with flourless chocolate cake or blintzes).

  8. Julie, yummy…cake…lol. I’m actually eating a bunch more fruit than I used to thanks to easy-to-pack bananas and easy-to-peel oranges. You’re right – it reduces my Twizzler and Skittles cravings.

    If my mom owned a grain mill, I think I’d be up to my eyeballs in fresh bread every day. :-)

  9. Everyday Tips, dessert is my favorite part most of the time. I’m with you, sugary foods are so convenient. I’ve just recently started buying bags of fruit and keeping it in my desk at work so the vending machine doesn’t get my weekly contribution anymore, lol.

  10. Young Mogul, I hope I start feeling some great effects…I love my new fruit habit, but I do miss the addictive candy that was my thing…I’ll try to remember to give all of you an update if I can keep this up for a while. :-)

  11. Squirrelers, good luck on your eating goals too! I do hope that the changes in my diet lead me to be healthier too…

  12. My Financial Objectives, yeah, nutrition labels are so helpful. Even my husband has started reading them more often.

  13. Debbie M, I agree, I still enjoy sugar in the desserts but wish it would be left out of the savory dishes. Hubby is cooking more from scratch for us, so that’s helped cut out quite a bit. Thanks for the raspberry sauce dessert idea!