Fat-Free! It's a slogan that has been touted at us for years, pasted on packages and dairy products. Since the late fifties and gaining steam in the 80’s, fat-free seemed to be the way to go. Because eating fat put on fat right?
Our exclusion of fat in our diets may have actually been a detriment to us, because, what was the fat replaced with?
Science has made leaps and bounds in many fields but is just now catching up in the food industry. And there’s a reason for that. The sugar industry paid for many of the “studies” that were done on sugar, they ran a campaign, not unlike the tobacco campaign in the 70’s. Telling American’s that sugar was ok, that in small amounts it could even help you lose weight (yes, that was an actual add). Some of these facts just coming to light in 2015 and 2016, such as proof that the sugar industry manipulated heart disease research in favor of sugar, placing the blame on fat. The list of grievances against the corporation is long and varied but we're here to discuss the culprit.
New studies are showing that sugar is the main culprit for America’s obesity rates, heart disease rates, and diabetes rates, which have been continuing to grow since the 40’s. Kid’s as young as four have been shown to have dense fat deposits not only under the skin, but around their organs (which is extremely dangerous) and thought to be caused by sugar and processed foods. Because of the sugar industry’s prolific campaign, sugar is in almost everything, and most certainly in everything processed. And here’s some subversion for you, they have over 61 different names that they can legally call it. So you may pick up a box of cereal, and see the second ingredient sugar, then a few more ingredients in you see rice syrup, or maltose, or dextrose; all different names for sugar. On some ingredient listings you can find sugar listed up to 10 times! And because it’s in processed food, most American’s eat 150 to 170 POUNDS of sugar a year. If that sounds like a lot to you, it’s because it’s a heinous amount, your body can’t process even a small amount of that. When it has sugar flooding in and the inability to process it, it turns it into fat, a lot of that fat the very harmful kind that surrounds your organs, hindering their processes and causing your body harm in the forms of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, organ failure, and even death.
So, we’re in agreement sugar is bad. Now what? Go find sugar free everything? No. Not quite. Because even the ‘sugar-free’ products are at times not sugar-free since technically a company can put sugar-free on their label and not actually have to follow through. There are many loopholes as of now, that companies can simply step through to put sugar into their products. The same companies, to overcome being sugar-free, jam more and more chemicals in it to make it taste better. Sugar-free and processed are at times synonymous when it comes to your health. But now that you’re aware, you can shop and eat smart.
Sugar is in natural foods as well, though moderate amounts of this sugar are easily converted into energy instead of fat stores. Mostly this consists of fruit, oranges, apples, and bananas, they all have sugar, so perhaps you can opt for the less sugary option, berries. Straw, blue, black, Boisen, most berries are low in sugar and high in goodness like antioxidants and vitamins. Vegetables and meats are often sugar-free if not processed, just check the labeling and ingredients. The group that is the most problematic is carbohydrates. These tend to be the most processed thing you can buy, made with bleached white flour with little to no nutrients, then sugar added to make it palatable. Choose ground whole wheat bread, made with honey or coconut. They are much more nutritious and filling.
At the end of the day, it’s a lifestyle choice. Sugar has been proven to be addicting, and we’ve all been eating it for years. Cutting it out won’t be easy, changing the way we look at food will absolutely be a challenge. But the rewards will be astronomical; making us truly healthy, living longer, and working harder.