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HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/20/14 1:33 P

Don't have time for a long comment, just quickly wanted to say I'd never use Xylitol made from corn, only the kind made from birch trees, and yes, it is processed, but so is any cooked or ground food. Some processed foods are better than others.

GIPPER1961 Posts: 769
2/20/14 12:54 P

I think the previous questions are valid although in our society we are not very consistent on the implementation. For example we do limit/ban drugs but while we limit alcohol we don't ban it (the experiment with prohibition was a miserable failure).

The obvious contrast being the judgement that alcohol can be dangerous where heroin is believed to be always be dangerous.

I truly think the more third parties (read government) attempt to help us with protecting us from ourselves the more unintended consequences occur. I do see anything they do with sugar will most likely fall into that category.

Along the examples I gave I truly think sugar can be eaten by some people in moderation and not abused. Some unfortunate souls cannot. This is just like alcohol. But to leave it up to a third party to determine that is a good intention that will be disappointing or even disastrous.

We should however insist that the third party of government stop linking arms with junk food and sugar producers with their quid pro quo arrangement they maintain now. Deciding winners and losers in a market atmosphere is not their role.

For myself I must avoid sugar but if someone can eat it in moderation, more power to them.

Edited by: GIPPER1961 at: 2/20/2014 (12:55)
MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,583
2/20/14 12:53 P

It is so sad that people would be offended by something so lovely. I am sure it was lovely. I need to go to the tubey place and see if I can find it.


Mandieterrier, it was a joke. It looks like lots of people were offended hearing America the Beautiful in foreign language (I assume because they thought it was not patriotic, not sure) and posted online that they would boycott Coke.


MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,583
2/20/14 12:52 P

Bunnykicks, that is very sad. That just leaves me speechless. I would have loved to hear America the Beautiful in other languages. I think of America as this wonderful crazy quilt of nationalities and would have it any other way. And my family can be traced back to well before the Revolutionary War. Just after we took the land from the Native Americans.


"Perhaps I am tardy for the party, but how would singing America the Beautiful in another language curtail soft drink consumption?"

Well, here's the very sad answer. During the recent Super Bowl, Coca Cola showed an advertisement in which a mosaic of people sang America the Beautiful in assorted languages (while patriotically swilling Coke). Shockingly, a vocal group decided this was outrageous and "unpatriotic". -facepalm- In any case, they decided to express their displeasure by advocating a boycott of Coke. Well, at least they'll be healthier bigots

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/20/14 12:29 P

"If you want to consider sugar toxic because of its (to me) undoubted ill effects on people when consumed in large enough amounts, then you'd surely have to consider iron to be toxic, since it can kill you at so much lower amounts. "

Right. Also: salt. Necessary for life - AND we crave it. The craving for salt is exhibited in other mammals as well, ergo, "salt licks." But get lost at sea with nothing to drink but three billion bilion gallons of ocean water? And you die. Because, salt.

Also: arsenic. Toxic!!!! Highly toxic!!!! And not that we specifically "crave" it (pretty sure we do not), but, despite it's toxicity at extremely low levels, it is AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT: "Despite its potential toxicity, arsenic is also an essential element, necessary to our physiology. A level of 0.00001% is needed for growth and for a healthy nervous system."
Reference:> (halfway down the page).

See, if the discussion is going to be about the problems arising from the abundance of sugar in the modern environment, or the way food manufacturers manipulate our biologically-based urges that make us gravitate towards "sweet" - I'm in! I'm the biggest fan! But I am certainly NOT going to keep arguing whether "sugar = heroin" or "sugar = poison."

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 2/20/2014 (12:30)
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2/20/14 12:20 P

I think there's something to be said about the distinction between purified (refined, if you will) sugar and sugar as it is found in most of its natural sources (with the exception maybe of something like sugar cane that is almost entirely sugar). I don't believe there's much question that purified sugar is metabolized a bit differently and much more quickly than sugar that is bound up with lots of other stuff (especially fiber) in whole foods. That could mean a difference in the speed and extent of insulin response, and probably lots of other stuff I don't know about.

But that distinction aside, I do agree with you, and I wouldn't consider refined sugar to be toxic either; I think it's an abuse of the term. If you want to consider sugar toxic because of its (to me) undoubted ill effects on people when consumed in large enough amounts, then you'd surely have to consider iron to be toxic, since it can kill you at so much lower amounts. And that gets a bit absurd to me, and I think causes people to shut the whole discussion off.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/20/14 12:09 P

I find this whole idea of "sugar = toxic" to be ridiculous, I'm sorry, these recent threads are just really bugging me.

Human beings are designed biologically, it's in our very genes, to seek sugar. From the time we are born, we seek the sweetness of mother's milk. Our attraction to "sweet" helped us find edible foods (as an example, sweet berries are usually not poisonous; bitter berries often are). And sugar provides energy - sure these days we can pick or choose our energy sources because ALL FOOD IS EVERYWHERE 24/7. We have an INCREDIBLE luxury of choice. It hasn't always been that way....

How could our species exist if, at the base level of our very genes, we were progammed to seek abundant quantities of something TOXIC to us?

"Refined sugar" is no different than "natural sugar" - it's just been distilled from the natural product, it's pure sugar without all the fibre and water and protein and whatever-else was in the original food before it was crushed and mashed and the sugar extracted.

If it is that PROCESS of distillation that causes offence, I will note that the lower-calorie sugar alcohols (ie xylitol) is extracted in exactly the same way - it comes from CORNCOBS that have been mushed and mashed and the xylan extracted. Extracting the "sweet" molecule from a pile of old corncobs doesn't make that molecule "toxic" now, does it? And neither does drawing sugar from a beet or a piece of cane or a chunk of roasted agave.

I really wish the discussion would stop tipping over the "Sugar is toxic omggggg" ledge. It isn't. Our USAGE of sugar is the problem. The OVERconsumption (which occurs because we are biologically programmed to desire it, and there are no longer any checks and balances that prevent us from being able to acquire too much - we used to be hindered by availability, seasonality, economics.... but we no longer are, it is cheap, plentiful and everywhere.).

So the problem is not the "toxicity" of sugar, the problem is the palatability of sugar - how are we as a species supposed to control and moderate our consumption of a substance that we find palatable and desirable, with the sheer will of our minds?

It's easy to avoid the donut that ISN'T sitting in the lunchroom. It's harder to avoid the one that's staring at you all day from the plate. We need to get the "excess" out of our surrounding environment. We need to have to "work for our sugar" more. But I do not have the first clue how to make that happen. Tell people they have to drink their soda from a smaller cup and all hell breaks loose.... so what are we to do?

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/20/14 11:58 A

Mandieterrier, it was a joke. It looks like lots of people were offended hearing America the Beautiful in foreign language (I assume because they thought it was not patriotic, not sure) and posted online that they would boycott Coke.


BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/20/14 11:56 A

"Perhaps I am tardy for the party, but how would singing America the Beautiful in another language curtail soft drink consumption?"

Well, here's the very sad answer. During the recent Super Bowl, Coca Cola showed an advertisement in which a mosaic of people sang America the Beautiful in assorted languages (while patriotically swilling Coke). Shockingly, a vocal group decided this was outrageous and "unpatriotic". -facepalm- In any case, they decided to express their displeasure by advocating a boycott of Coke. Well, at least they'll be healthier bigots.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/20/14 11:43 A

It looks to me that you overlooked the fact we are talking about sugar by itself (as table sugar, HFCS etc.) as toxic, not sugar contained in fruit and vegetables.
Also, while fruit and vegetables have always been part of the human diet, the percentage of the diet that comes from fruit has varied hugely by geographic region with subtropical and tropical areas often being higher in fruit consumption while northern climates having relied much more and sometimes almost exclusively on animal products.
Also, fruits and even some vegetables like carrots, peas and sweet corn have been bred for hugely increased sugar levels and size for about the last 50 years (maybe longer) so that the fiber to sugar ratio is completely different. This is why many people need to restrict even fruit. If all your fruit came from wild berries you probably wouldn't have to limit it (and you'd only have it a short season each year.)

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 2/20/2014 (11:45)
MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,583
2/20/14 11:40 A

Perhaps I am tardy for the party, but how would singing America the Beautiful in another language curtail soft drink consumption?

If something like that made people boycott, then there is always Pepsi and store brands.

One thing that made me stop drinking soda was when I saw a box of sugar cubes next to a 12 ounce soda. I was floored. That is way to much sugar to consume in one sitting. Now I might have a soda once a year and it is just not as good as I remember.

Once when I worked as a receptionist. I would go to the local cookie place and get a big gulp sized coke. Well that must have been the equivalent of three bags of sugar. And I wondered why my waistline was expanding.

I don't know how to make older people stop consuming so much sugar. I believe in free will. So until they get it in their heads they need to stop. It isn't going to happen.

I don't believe sugar is toxic. Rat Poison is toxic. When you consume it their is an obvious result. With sugar you don't get the same result, every time.

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 2/20/2014 (11:48)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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2/20/14 10:16 A

Well, I'd say that fruit in season has probably been a significant contributor to human calories (at the appropriate times of year) since pretty much forever; we also have close evolutionary relatives who eat tons of the stuff. I think it's pretty wrong, biologically, to suggest that sugar as such is something bad, much less toxic. (Heck if anything it's most modern vegetables -- not fruits -- that are completely new to the human diet in the volumes and types they are currently consumed.)

Toxic is the wrong word regardless when it comes to nutrition. Almost everything we eat is toxic in high enough amounts -- including protein, including most of our necessary vitamins, including iron, including plenty of micronutrients, including anti-oxidants even. Yet if we get none of it at all, we suffer for it or die. We can hypothetically live just fine with zero sugar, that's one thing you can say for (against) it, but in practicality it would restrict one's diet more than is desirable to do so.

I don't think it's helpful to a discussion of reducing the negative effects of too much sugar (especially sugar that's not attached to a whole food), to argue that it is toxic as such. That's clearly not the case when you are talking about a whole human being as opposed to a few cells in a petri dish or bunch of hypothetical rambling about enzyme pathways.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/20/14 9:54 A

If moderation while consuming toxic substances makes sense, then how much mercury or arsenic should we consume, if it makes us avoid greater amounts?

The difference between mercury/arsenic, and sugar, is that people crave sugar, and not the other toxic substances.

So we have to consider toxicity, and the fact that sugar is a carcinogen, and also whether it is addictive, or at the very least a substance that makes you crave more.

So sugar would be more like crack than mercury in reality. The average person doesn't want to consume a substance they know is harmful, but with sugar, or other addictive substances, they do, even if they know they are harmful.

If you want to see if sugar is addictive or not, try cutting it out for 3 months. See if you make it a week, and whether you get withdrawal symptoms.

If it is an addiction, then moderation is not the key.. abstinence is. You get all the sugar you should get in fruits and vegetables. There is no need to add sugar to anything except on special occasions, like birthdays, when you have a cake, or ice cream. If that cake or ice cream leads to more sugar, then you should probably not eat that either.

If you make your own food at home from scratch, there is no reason for there to be any sugar at all in it, besides the fruit and vegetables. I have a can of tomatoes, and a can of green beans, and that's 17.5 grams of sugar total for my day. Sugar isn't found in most foods naturally, because humans are not supposed to consume it in large amounts.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 2/20/2014 (10:04)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/19/14 1:37 P

I guess it all come back to the issue of whether sugar is addictive or not. I'm going to try to think this through as I go but anyone feel free to add as I'm just brainstorming:
If sugar is not addictive than the argument that moderation is better than having a lot makes at least some sense. It would be choosing the lesser evil, although if sugar is not addictive there is no strong reason to limit ourselves to those two options. We would want to at least consider several different levels of moderation.
If sugar is addictive then the question is whether moderation is possible. I do actually believe that it is, as I tried to describe below where I'm talking about the "safe" amount that is below a certain threshold. Of course for an addictive substance there are really two thresholds: The one at which the substance become addictive, and the one at which there is permanent damage of some kind (maybe unknown) to the body.
Then the question follows if there is any good reason to consume something below the addictive threshold.
I'll take cigarettes as an example. Even for a smoker who has quit there is technically a very low dose of nicotine that is not high enough to trigger a relapse, but this quantity is generally considered so low that there is no reason why anyone would want to play with it.
I find that many people who are concerned about sugar consumption make the same kind of choice: Some decide that the amount where they can safely consume sugar is so small that the benefit (satisfaction) of eating it does not matter any more.
Others try to push the issue a little to see how much they can have without negative effects on blood sugar or without getting cravings. You can see this on low-carb forums a lot. Some people will abstain forever (or at least plan to), others will find a sugar-free and/or low-carb alternative for each of their favorite sugar-laden treats. There are lots of people in both camps and some people start in one camp and eventually end up in the other.
I think experimenting may be the only way to find out what works for us.
I'm still experimenting with sugar substitutes at this point, but limit myself to just a few that I consider the healthier options.

2/19/14 1:01 P

" If sugar is toxic then it does not make sense to have it in moderation, same for trans fats, same for foods that you are allergic or sensitive to." said Houndlover.

It does make sense if having it 'in moderation' stops the person from eating it in excess.
This is what some experts say. If it's true, I do not know.

2/19/14 12:43 P

How to avoid over consumption of sugar: keep it under 100 calories per day for women or avoid it all together. That includes all added sugar or fructose in your diet that is found in juice, beer, wine, cookies, crackers, snacks, tomato sauce, sweetened coffee and tea, store bought fruit yogurts and whatever other place it is sneaked in by the food industry. Believe me: it adds up pretty quickly.
My opinion: sugar is wonderful and a treat. I just don't want it in my tomato sauce and yogurt. I would much rather go out and enjoy some ice cream instead.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/19/14 12:31 P

Ha,ha, that means we can use sugar as pest control? Just kidding!

The thing about the term "toxic". Anything, even water, will be toxic in extreme quantities. This seems on the surface to support the idea of consuming everything in moderation.
But we quickly realize that we can consume some things in much higher quantities than others. Just compare the known toxic dose for water to that for citric acid, both substances that are part of most people's diet, but in hugely different quantities.
This is not the only problem. There are also significant individual differences in tolerances for different foods and non-food substances. They may be the result of genetics, epi-genetics or the environment we live in as well as the total toxic load our body has to deal with at any given time and throughout our life time.
For instance some people may be able to get away with smoking into their 90's and then die of something unrelated to the smoking. That would be the one extreme.
Other people may die in their 20's of heart disease and it is never found out what the cause is. Just this morning I found out about someone in his 30's who died after an epileptic seizure while walking his dog. The person had no prior history. He may have ingested something toxic, but there is no way we will ever know in many cases, especially if exposure was long-term for many months or years.
So when we talk about a safe dose of either a food, a medication or any other thing our body is exposed to we need to keep these issues in mind:
1. Do I have a family history that might make me more vulnerable than the average person (like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, heart disease etc.) to some foods/substances?

2. Am I exposed to multiple sources that together may push my body over the limit like alcohol consumption and lots of sugar/HFCS for fatty liver, lots of toxins from polluted air plus smoking, residue from spraying fields in agricultural areas and eating the same residue on our vegetables (some farmers I know don't eat what they grow but eat organic)?

3. Is our thinking about what toxic levels are shaped by science or by popular opinion/habit?

4. Since toxic levels for each individual are hard to know exactly, how much safety margin do I want? Let's say I know that I think (put in your own figures) 10 grams of sugar is safe for me, 50 grams is not and 200 grams has almost immediate consequences, it might mean that I risk occasionally going over 10 grams/day but will stay stay well below that on most days. I will know that should I ever to over 50 grams that once will probably not kill me, but I'll never go anywhere near 100 grams.

5. All this is a matter of how rational we can be around a food. While I know that a large amount of 5% acidity vinegar (household vinegar) is not healthy for me (while small amounts are actually beneficial) I'm not exactly tempted to have far too much.
Sugar is different, whether you believe it's addictive or not, most people at least acknowledge to potential to overdo sugar and therefore the possibility to not be quite so rational about deciding our consumption of it.

Public policy needs to be made for whole populations, not individuals. The GRAS (generally regarded as safe) levels only look at averages and are limited the research that has been done. Once an item has been added to the GRAS list it takes a lot to get it off that list again.
I would be a lot happier if our government did not give out the GRAS label so quickly, giving people the illusion that something is safe in almost any quantity.


Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 2/19/2014 (13:22)
2/19/14 8:14 A

From what I can gather consuming up to a maximum of 25% of ones daily calories from added sugar is generally recognized as safe. Seems like a lot to me but whatever.

I found this study interesting.


Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice

"in which mice fed human-relevant concentrations of added sugar (25% kcal from a mixture of fructose and glucose, modeling high fructose corn syrup) and control mice compete in seminatural enclosures for territories, resources and mates—we demonstrate that fructose/glucose-fed females experience a twofold increase in mortality while fructose/glucose-fed males control 26% fewer territories and produce 25% less offspring."

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 2/19/2014 (08:19)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/19/14 8:09 A

Looks like it is okay for me to have 3,285 tsps. of sugar a year. Sorry ladies, you can only have 2,172.

That works out to 100-150 calories a day from added sugar. Something we barely ate a century ago is now over 5 % of our recommended diet. We didn't need any at all several centuries ago, for all of human history, but now 6-9 tsps. a day is just right!

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 2/19/2014 (08:13)
2/19/14 8:00 A

Has a safe level of sugar ever been defined?

Going to google it.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 2/19/2014 (08:00)
NEPTUNE032701 SparkPoints: (7,490)
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2/19/14 6:06 A

But is sugar toxic? I had a hard time finding peer reviewed studies showing that it was dangerous except in high levels of consumption. Robert Lustig has gotten a lot of buzz lately for claiming that any dose of sugar is toxic, but then in his own article "The toxic truth about sugar" (Nature, Feb 2012) he says that "a little is not a problem, but a lot kills." The dangers of overconsumption are pretty well documented, but without a bigger body of evidence people will find it hard to believe that sugar is dangerous in small to moderate quantities.

Edited by: NEPTUNE032701 at: 2/19/2014 (06:37)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/19/14 1:57 A

when you say "everything in moderation you probably mean everything that is not toxic in moderation, right?
Because otherwise that sentence would not make sense. But this is where the disagreement starts: If sugar is toxic then it does not make sense to have it in moderation, same for trans fats, same for foods that you are allergic or sensitive to.


NEPTUNE032701 SparkPoints: (7,490)
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2/18/14 10:15 P

Racewife- not only was the soda ban ridiculous, it didn't really make sense. It banned sodas over 16 oz, but you could still get a refill, or a second soda. And it only applied to food carts, restaurants and sports venues. So you couldn't buy a huge soda in a restaurant but could go next door to the convenience store and get a 2-liter or a big gulp. The whole thing was pretty cobbled together.

There are two good things that came out of the (failed) soda ban, though. People started thinking, and talking about soda consumption and how much is the right amount. Being mindful of what you're eating is always a good step. Also, soda companies started packing in smaller bottles. I see more and more places with little 8 oz bottles and 12 oz glass bottles, much more reasonable than 20 oz-plus ones that are common in fast food restaurants, gas stations and vending machines.

Edited by: NEPTUNE032701 at: 2/18/2014 (22:42)
GZELLEFRO SparkPoints: (88,985)
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2/18/14 9:50 P

My motto is everything in moderation!

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/18/14 9:39 P

One thing we have to remember is that the over-consumption of sugar is relatively new. We started making soda's in the 1890's, and science was pretty raw on sugar problems, and we just ate more and more sugar, but at levels far below what we do today. In 1966 they invented HFCS in Japan, and sugar kind of leveled out, but combined HFCS, and sugar rose precipitously since the 1970's. This is the first generation or 2 that has had a huge obesity problem, so education has only been ongoing for a few decades.

People still smoke, but it is actually down among young people, and dropping, as the idea that smoking kills you gets accepted sooner, and by more people. The same will happen with sugar, but it may take another generation or 2.

The other concern is what they change in our foods when they lower the sugar, so let's just hope we don't jump from one bad thing to another. They did that when they cut fat. The added sugar, and salt.

You are thinking that they will cut sugar, and salt, and put the fat back in to make the food tastier, but who knows what they will come up with in a laboratory.

I prefer them putting sugar in 2/3 rds of my food, and knowing this, I eat the other 1/3 of the foods. I just got everything figured out, and don't want them changing things around, and messing up my plan.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/18/14 11:47 A

Education will reach a few and is great to start early in a person's life, ideally educating by example. But motivation is even more important. What makes it complicated is that we are all motivated by different things.
For me it's a mix of fear (of illness or disability in the future) and reward. Short-term reward is increased energy level, general great health, feeling good about my body, being able to move well, feeling attractive. Long-term there is the hope of good quality of life for longer, no medical bankruptcy etc.
Everyone's motivation is different but there are some that most of us share.


RACEWIFE Posts: 760
2/18/14 11:30 A

I simply don't agree with the government determining our diet and taxing sugar just because they think we over use it. NY Governor outlawing large/extra large soda sales was absolutely ridiculous and I've lost any respect I had for him. Our government has more important issues at hand!

Education, that's the answer. Education. Educate the people about over eating and over consumption. How to accomplish this I don't know, but it isn't passing laws or taxing products.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/18/14 11:12 A

Oh no, I'm not fooled with it at all. I was kinda apologizing if he does have to pay for me now!!

Someday will quit, sooner than later ;)

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/18/14 9:02 A

I just turned 40, and remember buying packs of cigarettes for my Mom at the post office fro $.75 a pack from a vending machine when I was 5. I also used to buy her cartons of cigarettes during my early teens for about $15 each. Taxation hasn't had the effect they hoped for, on alcohol, or tobacco.

Eelpie - It is a great thing to have health insurance. My mother had it all her life.. until she went into the hospital with emphysema, and later lung cancer. They cancelled it, and it would have had to be picked up by the state, if my Dad hadn't paid over $300,000 out of pocket. He ended up having a stroke because he couldn't pay for his own medication, and lives in a home. Don't be fooled by having private insurance. As soon as you have a problem, they will find a way to kick you off. I have no faith that Obamacare will prevent this.

As far as limiting sugar, I always believe that eating healthy is best done when you make food at home from scratch. That way you know that sugar isn't in the food, except naturally, which is not much. The average person consumes over 150 lbs of sugar, or almost 1/2 a pound a day. That is crazy.

NEPTUNE032701 SparkPoints: (7,490)
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2/17/14 4:04 P

The beauty of home cooking is that you pick what goes into a dish, including how much sugar. But when you buy prepared or processed foods the restaurant or manufacturer decides. And most prepared foods have sugar, even when the homemade version doesn't (or has far less). Like the salad dressing I mentioned earlier. Most store bought dressings have added sugar, but all you really need is oil, vinegar and spices. But sugar sells, so it gets added, and lots of people don't even realize it's there. As for sugar cravings, the effort involved in baking or going out to buy a treat is usually enough to overcome the temptation.

Edited by: NEPTUNE032701 at: 2/17/2014 (16:09)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/17/14 2:18 P

I think home-cooking definitely helps for people who don't get sugar cravings. For those who do, moderation is often much more difficult than eliminating sugar entirely. I found I have indeed a very low threshold for sugar and as long as I stay under that I will not get any cravings. That threshold for me is at about 5 grams/day, about 1/3 bar of 85% dark chocolate. I make a point to stay a bit below that threshold and on most days don't have any added sugar.

MEGAPEEJ Posts: 732
2/17/14 12:51 P

I agree with the suggestion to educate children and let it grow from there. When I was growing up in the 80s, there was a huge movement in schools that smoking cigarettes was bad and unhealthy, in the 90s it was seen more on tv (the shock ads that would show someone talking out of a hole in their neck), but it was pervasive. Even if kids had role models that smoked tobacco, we were still learning everyday at school that it wasn't healthy. Today, 18% of adults in the US smoke, vs 38% the year I was born.

Back to sugar, I also was a kid that grew up with less sugar than a lot of other kids - dessert was a special occasion treat at our house, as was soda. As an adult I still don't feel I need these things on a regular basis, and never really developed much of a sweet tooth - and I'm pretty sure my childhood development is related to that.

NEPTUNE032701 SparkPoints: (7,490)
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2/17/14 6:11 A

One way to cut back on sugar consumption is to cook your own food. Lots of processed foods have sugar even when you aren't expecting it (spaghetti sauce, salad dressing) and you can easily make your own without sugar. If you do eat foods with added sugar, measure it out and add it yourself- it will have a greater impact when you see exactly how much you're using. For example buy plain yogurt and add fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey- less then 1 tsp sugar vs. 5 tsp for premade fruit yogurt. Or make lattes at home using 3 tsp sugar vs. 8 tsp. in a small from Dunkin Donuts. Not only does home cooking cut back on sugar consumption, but you eat less fat, salt and preservatives too. I firmly believe that teaching people (especially children) to make simple, healthful meals is one of the most powerful tools we have in fighting obesity.

Another trick I use is to choose quality over quantity. If I really want something sweet I'll acknowledge that it's a treat and eat my absolute favorite in a tiny amount. For a chocolate craving I'll eat one square of Ghirardelli with caramel, but I only buy one so I'm not tempted to eat more. If I want soda I'll get a 12 oz Mexican coke (with real sugar in the glass bottle) and drink it slowly to really enjoy it. Or I'll get one fantastic cookie from the bakery instead of a bagful of mediocre ones. It really only takes a little bit to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Edited by: NEPTUNE032701 at: 2/17/2014 (06:13)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/17/14 12:36 A

Oh, just had an idea. One way to curtail soft drink consumption in America: Sing "America the beautiful" in foreign languages on a Coke ad during the Super Bowl. Or are the people who promised to boycott Coke already breaking their promise? emoticon


Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 2/17/2014 (00:38)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/17/14 12:26 A

I'm definitely not excusing people who should know better, but I do understand the very difficult situation that many nurses are in. Constant shift work makes it exceedingly difficult to get good quality sleep and lack of sleep and upsetting the biological clock/circadian rhythm can make it very difficult to have balanced hormone levels. This can cause abnormal eating patterns in many people. Stress and long hours contribute to the temptation to use food to stay awake. Even caffeine works by shuttling sugar into the blood stream and thereby increasing insulin levels.
In fact one could argue if knowledge about the consequences of eating unhealthy foods were the main answer the obesity epidemic would not exist.
I sometimes eat in the cafeteria of a local hospital and being carbohydrate-intolerant and gluten-intolerant I often can't find anything healthy to eat apart from cheese and on some days a few overcooked veggies in the hospital cafeteria where nurses would eat their lunch, too.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 2/17/2014 (00:28)
SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (257,017)
Fitness Minutes: (41,586)
Posts: 27,307
2/16/14 11:13 P

I find it astounding the number of nurses who work in the hospitals and deal directly with seriously ill people as a result of their poor lifestyle. Some of those nurses are humungous themselves, and many of them eat total crap. You just have to watch them chowing down at McDonald's, KFC or similar. For some reason, the penny doesn't seem to have dropped with them.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 11:06 P

thanks for adding your perspective. Maybe we all should get that perspective by reading up on diabetes. But maybe the visual is even stronger motivation. Maybe someone should make a documentary...

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 11:03 P

I really like the focus on infants and children and setting a good example for them plus giving them access to healthy foods.
I do think we need to go beyond that, simply because once all the baby boomers have retired medicare could would go broke if things don't change quickly.
Of course if we set a good example for the younger generation we need to change ourselves. But how can we make it easier?


2/16/14 11:03 P

Working in a hospital is one way to get serious about the effects of sugar over-consumption. Dying of diabetes complications is a gruesome death. I saw a woman a few weeks ago in a wheel chair who was diabetic and had already had both feet amputated. She was extremely obese and surprisingly young. Sure I respect her choice to eat whatever she wants, but it's almost beside the point. How bad to you have to give up to keep eating cookies and pie when your feet have been amputated?

I've fought my share of vices (currently winning the war, but there but for the grace of God ...) so I would definitely never condemn someone else. But the whole nation shares the cost of the numbers of Americans dying of degenerative, self-induced diseases.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/16/14 10:43 P

lol..well, thanks. The one good thing I have is that my son will never smoke. Never. And for that I am grateful. Because he has seen what happens....

But as far as sugar, yeah, I think if adults can lead the way, it would help a lot.

For a child to see someone looking at labels and discarding something due to too much sugar would help a lot - monkey see monkey do?.

Now, as far as smoking goes..I would say education in school helped my son - but the kids that approached me were my son's age....maybe cause his Dad was so anti smoking?

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,583
2/16/14 10:36 P

I think that if we start with feeding babies vegetables first. And if manufacturers would not add sugar to baby formula and cereal. I think that we could develop tastes early.

I remember a family member. She was told to feed her baby veggies before fruit. The doctor believed that if she tasted fruit first. Then she would not develop a taste for vegetables.

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 2/16/2014 (22:40)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 10:34 P

it can be done for those people who want to lose the sugar. Once it's out of your system things get a lot easier, although emotional triggers may still persist for a while.

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 2/16/2014 (22:35)
HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 10:29 P

I'd be the last one to throw garbage at you because as a former sugar-addict I do think I know how hard it is to quit and I also understand that you probably already get plenty of criticism.
The question of who pays depends on several factors. If you have private insurance that covers all those expenses that you can't pay for yourself then you don't burden the healthcare system. But many people are surprised that the percentage of cases where people go into bankruptcy over medical bills is very significant and not limited to people who don't have health insurance (I'm talking US here). While bankruptcy is certainly no fun, it does mean that someone does not get paid. In the case of hospitals and many other medical services the deficit is made up by charging everyone more.
Until recently many people did not have health insurance, even among those who could have afforded it. With national healthcare the situation may change soon, but insurance companies are not allowed to turn down people for pre-existing conditions, which drives up the cost. In fact I am not sure if people who have poor health have to even pay more for health insurance.
We have good health insurance but I've been in several situations where we had to pay very high medical bills that were not covered by insurance and if our income level were anywhere near the poverty line we could not have paid at all.
So now I guess we could say that if we are well off and can afford good private insurance then we don't have to worry about burdening society with our unhealthy lifestyle.
In the case of smoking we are still setting a bad example, same for sugar consumption, because children will do as we do, not as we say.
I guess in your case the cost of cigarettes was not enough of a deterrent. But the % of smokers has gone down a lot, so maybe for some people it did work?

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 2/16/2014 (22:30)
ELLEMAC7 Posts: 2,366
2/16/14 10:28 P

I don't have the time to get political on SP but I will say that I am definitely addicted to sugar. If I get a sugary treat in my head, I can't shake it. If I try to talk myself out of it, I get angry. I'm addicted and it's kind of scary to know that sugar is in charge of some of my decisions.

The last time I was really active on Spark People was in 2008. Sure, exercise and eating better will help this time around, but back in 2008 I hadn't become addicted yet. So I'm wondering how much more difficult it will be to cut the sugar this time around. Best wishes to you.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (257,017)
Fitness Minutes: (41,586)
Posts: 27,307
2/16/14 10:18 P

I feel that one of the best ways to avoid over-consumption of sugar is to focus on young children. If they don't have the rubbish to start with, they don't have to learn to cut it out of their diet at a later date. Of course, it obviously means that the adults have to play a part in this. If you don't reward children with sugary treats, you can't be a hypocrite and reward yourSELF with them. It isn't a 'quick fix' but all good things take time.


EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/16/14 9:48 P

oh..and fyi..I remember when cigarettes were $1.50 a pack..due to raised taxes they are now about $6.00.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/16/14 9:47 P

I will go into this with honesty (please don't throw garbage at me, lol!!!!). I smoke. I know....

So, do you pay more for me in insurance? I have private insurance.

Sorry if you do.

I wish now I never started.

I've had kids approach me at gas stations trying to get me to buy them smokes. I always tell them "I wish I couldn't have gotten cigarettes at your age". Yeah, I'm the mean one who wont buy them for them....

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 9:39 P

" I can only hope that they die a quick death and I don't have to pay hundreds of thousands in health care costs due to their stupidity. "

And this is why I would rather be proactive than just hope. I really would not want everyone to have to foot the bill for those people who are making stupid decisions. Most of them will not die a quick death because modern medicine can keep people alive for a long time, although their quality of life may be rather low.
I do believe people can and are willing to change if they are given good reasons to do so and I do think that changing one's ways is empowering.
Low-fat diets have been tried for the last 50 years and Americans have only gotten much fatter and sicker. In the same time sugar consumption (all added sugars) has hugely increased.
The hope is to find constructive ways here for how we can encourage people to do better for themselves which will benefit everyone in the long run.

SONOFCZAR SparkPoints: (7,360)
Fitness Minutes: (5,205)
Posts: 49
2/16/14 9:28 P

I don't know why some people think they need to save the world and all the stupid people in it. If I don't want to eat excess sugar, I won't. If I don't want my kids to eat excess sugar, they won't. If people want to go and stuff their faces with garbage that is bad for them, I can only hope that they die a quick death and I don't have to pay hundreds of thousands in health care costs due to their stupidity.

I'm a big believer in free will, as well as natural consequences. If I want to smoke and get lung cancer, nobody should feel sorry for me. If I want to weigh 400 lbs and have to wash my back with a rag on a stick, again, my choice. People are capable of choice and can live (or die) with the consequences.

HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 8:46 P

I started this thread after another thread about sugar and my suggestion to tax sugar met with a lot of opposition for a variety of reasons.
It was suggested to start another thread that asks the more general question of how we can avoid over-consumption of sugar in our society and the resulting disease.
Any suggestions welcome, but be aware that others who may disagree with your suggestions may shoot them down.
This thread does start with the assumption that there is indeed over-consumption of sugar and that this does result in disease so if you don't share those assumptions please start another thread to discuss that issue separately.
I'm hoping for lots of different ideas that we can all learn from, primarily about how we can deal with this problem as a society, but also how we can successfully reduce our sugar-consumption as individuals. The primary focus is going to be added sugars (table sugar, HFCS etc.) not natural sugars like in fruit.

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