Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On Sugar

So, I've blogged in the past about my attempts to "Health-i-fy" our lives. Specifically, in the food department, I've been quite fluctuating, because of the higher prices I encounter the more "pure" I go. Organic brands, local options, raw and fresh are all 2-10 times the price of run-of-the-mill grocery store items. One of the things I keep going round and round on is sugar. Ben is taking a nutrition course and has concluded (based on what he's read) that basically most sugars are processed the same way in the body (glucose being the basic concept for "sugar"). Raw sugars, organic sugars, unrefined turbinado sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar,'s all going to go to energy and out the body in heat in the end.

Up until now, I had been buying what I thought was unrefined, less-processed organic sugar at $.79 a pound from C*stco. Regular Wal-Mart white sugar is more like $.29 a pound. Then, I read an article by Sally Fallon (related to the Weston A. Price Foundation) which said that those ones you buy like "Sugar in the Raw" and "Cane Crystals" and what-not are all just regular white sugar with a spot of molasses poured back in to make it look browner and "healthier." Basically, they're just dyed white, refined sugar. She advocated (if you use sugar at all) using a product called "Rapadura" which is actually unrefined cane sugar. You can read about it here. However, it costs $6 a POUND. We used it mostly up in my birthday cake....which is a hard thing to take. I don't think that's a luxury we can afford, if that's the only healthy way to consume sugar.

Yesterday, I bought my first 5 pound bag of wal-Mart white sugar in 3 years. :( It looks so.....evil and glowing-ly white sitting in my glass canister on the counter. My teeth start to feel gritty and ache a little just when I look at it!!

At any rate...

I need to know what's what in the sugar world. I know random facts about sugar....and I know there are a lot of expensive and not-so-expensive options to sugar....but I'm not sure which way to go, yet. I'm not totally ready to give up sugar, either. Especially not with my new ice cream maker. :)

Tell me what you use in your kitchen, why you use it, and how you feel about it in terms of your family's health.


Hosanna said...

I love sugar. And try to consume it in moderation. My mom has some interesting info on sugars and sweeteners; check her facebook page for some recent links.

Denise said...

Personally, I have not researched sugars much at all.

I have come to the conclusion that sugars should be infrequently used/eaten. But as a treat, whether it be a birthday cake, a batch of cookies, mousse, hot cocoa, etc, well, I don't mind white refined sugar. Moderation?

But when used daily, BAD. I understand that stevia and agave (perhaps!) are both better options, calorie wise. Honey, that's natural (non processed). I think one fact is, if you HAVE to have sweetened tea, jam, whatnot, it's far better to sweeten with something that you'll use less of and that won't give your body the same sugar-crash later, that all the "ose" items do (fructose, glucose, sucralose, etc).

I personally am SUPER watchful and try VERY, VERY, VERY hard to have no sugar in ALL my ingredients and daily items. Here are items most people don't even think about, but they're using and then not counting these items as contributing to their daily sugar intake. I refuse to buy these with any kind of sweetener:

Peanut Butter
Dried Fruit
Instant Oatmeal

So, by cutting sugar out the "invisible" state it is in most store-bought foods, I am keeping my taste for it sharp (undulled), meaning I need less to be satisfied and when I do use it, it's with full awareness that it's a "treat."

*throws away half Reese's buttercup wrapper on desk*