Take Back Your Sugar Bowl

Did you know that most sodas are sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar per ounce? That means the average 12-oz. can of soda (pop) contains the equivalent of 12 teaspoons of sugar. Excessive, to say the least.

Would you ever consider adding 12 teaspoons of sugar to your glass of iced tea? It seems absurd when asked this way, but people do it all the time when they choose a can of soda. So what’s the issue? We’re talking here about the crazy amounts of hidden sugar in processed items.

To me, it’s not necessarily the amount of sugar that people add themselves to the foods they eat, but rather the amount of sugar consumed inadvertently when eating something prepared by someone else, in this case something else, that something being the soft drink arm of the beverage industry. It appears that your sugar bowl has gotten into somebody else’s hands.

I once heard someone remark how different congressional appropriations would be if they had to count out each dollar by hand. That’s what I’m talking about, but this time with sugar.

If you glance down one of those ubiquitous lists of ideas for keeping a budget and getting out of debt, there’s always an entry for cutting up your credit cards and paying in cash. That’s because credit cards hide actual costs, making it easy to get what you want [or think you want] right now while making the real downstream costs invisible.

That’s how it is with the hidden sugar in processed edible items.

Sugar is a stripped carb, which makes it not food but FUN. Fun is fun, but it’s not food. I love going to the movies, but I don’t live at the movie theater. Food nourishes; fun entertains.

I’m going to go out on a little limb and say that, yes, I do believe we can all tolerate a treat now and then. A slice of key lime pie on Sunday, something warm and baked on Friday eve (yea, black bean brownies!), a mint after a special restaurant meal, a peach cobbler around about now, a cup of hot cocoa in the dead of winter after an afternoon spent building a snowman, a handful of kettle corn on a camping trip. A tray of homemade oatmeal cookies. There are hundreds of examples, and plenty of opportunities. They are not the problem.

These portion-controlled examples of sugar have mostly been measured out by you. There is nothing hidden about them. You know exactly how much sugar is in there because you added it yourself. If you add a teaspoon of sugar to a glass of iced tea, as opposed to the equivalent amount of sugar pop, you will reduce your sugar consumption by 92%. Add two teaspoons of sugar, and you will still reduce your consumption of sugar by 85%! The amount of hidden sugar in our food supply is beyond your imagination. 

Take back your sugar bowl, and see what happens.

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