I came across this book as part of my current study course. And while we mostly tend to think about fats as the evil weight gaining ingredient, sugar is right up there, too. And not only for weight gain but many other negative impacts on our body.
Having said that, this is not a blog about the evil sugar. I am not a person to condemn sugar. I love sweets, chocolate, cookies and apart from my own likes, I do not want to raise my children being afraid of eating “something wrong”. I do not want to make them worried about what to eat, what not to eat and overanalyse their food. I do not want to make them scared of eating.
But I do want to achieve that they are aware and are able to make good choices.
What is important to me is that kids grow up being aware of what is healthy and what and why some things are unhealthy. Yet knowing that it is ok to eat unhealthy things now and then or at special occasions as well to overindulge in food. In short, if kids like to snack on vegetables and fruits, enjoy home cooked meals, have a balanced diet, are active and realise that one does not have to eat a full bag of sweets but a small bowl will do, too, then I think – and hope – a good foundation is laid. To me everything in moderation is ok. (Obviously this is the case as long as they all stay healthy; any medical issues and it may all change!).
Having said that, I want to come back to the book. Initially I loved the idea of the book and the awareness of the danger of sugar. But on a second thought and reading more and more this book is too extreme for me. The author – the ‘sugar guy’ – is somebody who excluded sugar from his diet before the test already, he avoids it as much as he can, I would say he condemns sugar. This extreme, it may work for some, but not for me.
But what I do like about the book and what at times frustrates me is how often we get fooled by the industry with the hidden sugars. And how fake so called healthy food and snacks are, while we may think we make a good choice. The industry treats us like idiots! And this actually really pisses me off. There should not be a reason to add loads of sugar into muesli bars, fruit bars, low fat yogurts, kids yogurts, juices, crackers, bread, sauces, soy milk, almond milk, baked beans, ketchup, so called ‘diet drinks’ and at times even into cold cuts and so much more.
When we eat sweets, chocolate, cookies and drink sodas etc we make a conciouos choice and know we consume something that includes a lot of sugar. But it annoys me to see that sugar is added into almost everything today, and at times, in unbelievable amounts! Have you tasted the fruit snacks, muesli bars, cereals, kids yogurts, and whatever else is out there? Bah, it is just sweet, sweet and sweet. It annoys me to not be able to go out and be able to grab a health quick snack or cereal which is not filled with sugar.
And that is something I want to give awareness to, especially to my kids. And for this part I give a big credit to the book – the hidden sugars! Look at some cereals promoting their healthiness as they are made with wholewheat, oats etc etc – or so called ‘healthy’ drinks/sodas and then have a look at the sugar amount – bang! Every healthy part just goes down the drain. The industry is fooling us and there are a lot of people that will not be aware of the hidden sugar sources, respectively the disguised sugars just by naming it cane sugar, syrup, concentrated juice, fructose etc!
The book is based on the movie That Sugar Film. Would I watch the film with my kids? No, definitely not, it is too extreme. Do I want to take the core message about hidden sugars in so called healthy foods and snacks and make my family more aware of it? Yes, definitely.
One way, and as it seems the only way these days to avoid the hidden sugars is to cook and bake more at home. At least you then know what you put in and you can control the sugar amount. Even some recipes these days just list too much sugar, I often reduce that by half already. Especially quick snacks for on the way or school are an issue and I will try to add more of those under my recipes the next weeks. For now you can have a look into the home made granola bars and oats and apple muffins. Adjust the sugar to your liking, as I said I often reduce it by half already and instead spice it up with other flavours such as cinnamon. And please share if you have some good snack recipes on hand.
I do not want a ‘sweet-less’ world, but it would be nice if the industry would stop fooling us with hidden sugars! Stop adding more and more sugar to almost everything out there and stop spoiling the natural less sweet palate of babies and young children!
Make healthy snacks and food really healthy again!
In that regards,
Have a sweet day,