Sugar seems pretty innocuous, but more and more research is showing that sugar (in all its forms) is really terrible for our bodies. Some researchers and doctors even say that it's one of the great public health epidemics of our time. Really...? Yes, really.
Finally there is a film that covers our sugar-laden lifestyles. Fed Up, set to release in theaters May 9 2014, is a documentary that focuses on how sugar has become an ingredient of obsession and even addiction. The film, by Laurie David, the producer of Al Gore's famous documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, looks at the scientific and medical evidence that shows why and how sugar has become a problem of epidemic proportions.
No doubt this is shocking news to some. As a chef and educator, I find that sugar is one of the foods to hardest to talk about. Most people know it's not good for you to sugar to their coffee or eat too many sweets, but what many people don't realize is that sugar is in EVERYTHING, and we're eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. This over-sweetening of our food system has drastic consequences. Just for starters, excessive sugar consumption is related to:
- Elevated blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes
- Weight gain (hidden calories in non-nutritive foods and drinks)
- Metabolic syndrome (linked to the most common lifestyle diseases)
- Moods (sugar leaves you high and low all day long)
Here are some ways to avoid excess sugar in your diet:
- Learn to like some bitter: learn to take your coffee, tea and other drinks without added sweetener.
- Buy everything unsweetened: plant-based milks, sauces, dressings, beverages, yogurt and more.
- Skip common breakfast foods like cereals, granola bars, and granola: these are all delicious, but all loaded with sugar, even those found in health food stores. Make your own granola with little sugar and make your own energy bars with healthy fruits, nuts and seeds.
- Read the labels on everything: sugar is almost always in bread, crackers, sauces like Veganaise, pasta sauce, dressings and more.
- Eat sweet foods in moderation, and when you do choose to enjoy them, make sure you have some fats and protein to help slow the absorption into your blood stream, keeping your insulin levels steady.
Here's the trailer for Fed Up: I hope it inspires you to look at sugar in a new way, and allows you to make some healthy switches in your diet.