Sugar-Free

Not long ago I stumbled across an interesting article in The New York Times, and this accompanying Youtube video.

Our bodies run on Glucose, which is burned in the cells. Fructose, however, is burned in the liver and stored — and that is what is causing the twin pandemics of obesity and Diabetes. Table Sugar — the stuff we buy from the store — is half glucose, half fructose.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which is used as a sweetener just about everywhere, is two-thirds Fructose and one-third Glucose. This is the stuff that is vilified by everyone except the Corn Farmers and their Trade associations. They insist that HFCS is “natural” — so are strychnine, cyanide and Deadly Nightshade, says I. But I digress…

Dr. Robert Lustig tells us that it is not Fat or Sugar that is the problem — Fructose is. This, he postulates, explains why HFCS is dangerous… but so is sugar. He calls it “Poison”.

I don’t know whether what he says has any scientific validity; it makes sense — but then so do the pronouncements of other Doctors who all seem to blame different things. However, there are a few factors in his favor:

  • A century ago, the average American consumed two pounds of sugar a year. Now, the figure is more like a hundred.
  • HFCS has been popular in the US for about thirty years. During that time people here have been getting fatter and fatter.
  • People in other countries where HFCS is not used are thinner.

I am not going to make any authoritative comments on the merits or evils of sugar. Instead, I am going to do something expected.

I’m giving up sugar.

Of course, since it is ubiquitous in our sugar-laden culture, it is impossible to avoid sugar entirely — a website like sugarstacks certainly brings that into perspective — but I will avoid gratuitous sugar whenever possible. I will not be looking for substitutes; it is my opinion that those substitutes are an unacceptable trade-off.

Those who know me know that my sweet tooth is the subject of legend; as a boy I routinely had three teaspoons of sugar in a cup of tea, and even though I have reduced that to one, all those teas and coffees add up to 5-10 teaspoons of sugar a day.

I don’t know how long this will continue; I’ll keep you posted.

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