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May 8, 2010

We Are All Slaves to Refined Sugar

Filed under: diabetes,healthy diet,healthy food — Tags: , , , — dennisv @ 8:22 pm

refined sugar, white sugar, sucroseIn the modern day kitchen, refined sugar (or white sugar) is the evil bad guy who simply hides under an appealing vision of your best friend. White sugar has been present for centuries, with dark beginnings in its initial production at the center of the eighteenth century West Indies slavery, and has always had a permanent home in your mother’s, grandmother’s and likely your great grandmother’s sugar bowl. In 1997, studies show that Americans, as a whole, consumed over seven billion pounds of candy, which we all know to be directly produced from refined white sugar.

It’s estimated that, today, each person consumes their weight in white sugar each year, meaning that the average person devours about 50 kg of sugar per year. This nation-wide sugar consumption is reflected in our health. Since the turn of the twentieth century, diabetes is on the rise, affecting both children and adults alike, while once-rarely-occurring conditions such as hypoglycemia and gallstones appear in ten percent of the population.

In some circles, refined sugar is considered a drug. White sugar is produced through a refining process, which eliminates all components of the sugar’s nutritional value, leaving it as a carbohydrate-pure calorie. Molecularly, white sugar is a simple molecule that is made up of twelve carbon atoms, twenty-two hydrogen atoms and eleven oxygen atoms. It’s considered to be more pure than cocaine, which is made up of seventeen carbon atoms, twenty-one hydrogen atoms, one nitrogen atom, and four oxygen atoms. This makes it pretty easy to understand why we seem to be slaves to that sweet tooth.

Unfortunately, this news doesn’t bode well for the American culture. Our whole population has become addicted to a substance that if discovered now, could very well qualify as a drug. However, there is hope. Not all sugars are bad, just those that have been refined. You find most refined sugars in your local supermarket; the white sugar that you buy in bulk and also the brown sugar that you buy in smaller amount for baking. Natural sugars, that come directly from the sugar canes or beets that they were grown from are significantly better for your health than those that are refined. By purchasing unrefined sugars from your local health food store and reducing your intake of refined sugar, you can help to turn America’s health crisis around – for the better.

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