The main thing to know about sugar is, it's not good for us and we eat too much and we need to stop altogether. The naturally occurring forms of sugar IN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, have compounds in the produce that buffer and counteract the negatives of the sugar, and are protective to our bodies. Granulated and other forms of sugar, regardless of how healthy, how whole, how unrefined, how raw, or how organic they are, do not have those protective compounds.
The info on how much daily sugar we should limit ourselves to is widely available on SparkPeople, so I won't go into that here.
Hopefully in our SparkJourneys, we are learning to retrain our taste buds and use less, tapering off towards none. That being said, however, the reality is that most of us are still going to buy and use sugar in our homes, and stock it in our pantries. Thanksgiving is right around the corner . . .
So in that case, it is very important to know the difference between CANE sugar, and sugar.
In North America, we don't have the climate to grow sugar cane crops, with 2 exceptions: Florida has some sugar cane fields, and Louisiana has a tiny amount. Sugar cane is grown mostly in Florida.
Before 2008 that was no big deal, because in North America almost all of our sugar doesn't come from sugar cane to begin with. It comes from beets. Beets have a very high sugar content, are a crop that can be grown in the cold North (Minnesota, the Dakotas, Canada, and the Midwest, to name just a few), and are processed into granulated sugar. Beet sugar is usually a little less expensive because it's widely grown and readily available - not just grown in the tropical climate of Florida. It comes in the same 5lb and 4lb pkgs as cane sugar, and looks identical to granulated sugar made from sugar cane. Growing up in a frugal household, names like Domino and other brands of cane sugar, meant someone was being a dumbkoff and wasting money. Because sugar, was sugar, was sugar, so why would anyone buy the expensive brand unless they were being snobs, didn't have good sense, or had money to burn?
In the 2008 - 2009 planting year, however, the planting of beet crops took a dark and poisonous turn. Enter Monsanto, with GMO beet seeds and Roundup. Yes things have changed since I grew up, because sugar is no longer sugar is no longer sugar. Just like with corn, the crops of the minority of farmers who stood up to Monsanto and chose NOT to plant GMO beet seed, are still polluted with GMO beets, because the crops are mixed during post-harvest storage and processing. Organic and GMO corn is mixed together in the silos (unless you buy certified organic corn); and the same is true of beets.
Now all North American granulated sugar, except granulated CANE sugar, is polluted with GMOs, since 2008.
So "sugar", and "pure sugar", and "100% sugar", is not enough. It is important to read the label of your sugar, to verify if it is "CANE sugar". Which means it's not GMO beet sugar. Generic brands are never CANE sugar, in my experience. Pure CANE sugar DOES go on sale, and DOES have coupons - just watch for them and stock up. Domino and Dixie Crystals and Florida Crystals are brand names of PURE CANE SUGAR.
If you would like to reduce the amount of pesticides in your sugar, buy CANE sugar that is also ORGANIC. Domino and Florida also offers organic; not sure about Dixie.
There was a study done on the poisonous, cancerous nature of GMOs (yes I understand it's GMO corn not GMO beets). The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was presented at a news conference in London. Here are some of the shocking findings from the study:
• Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.
• Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.
• Rats fed GM corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.
• The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GM corn that's grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that's in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.
"Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females."
It goes on to say: "The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group."
"This research shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively - particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts." - Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist, King's College London.
"We can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health." - Dr Antoniou.
"This is the first time that a long-term animal feeding trial has examined the impact of feeding GM corn or the herbicide Roundup, or a combination of both and the results are extremely serious. In the male rats, there was liver and kidney disorders, including tumors and even more worryingly, in the female rats, there were mammary tumors at a level which is extremely concerning; up to 80 percent of the female rats had mammary tumors by the end of the trial." - Patrick Holden, Director, Sustainable Food Trust.
Read the abstract of the study yourself: