REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
I set out to write a post to tame the dramatic reference that sugar is poison. To start with, I looked up the official definition of poison:
Well, there went my plan. Sugar does in fact have the inherent property that can destroy life or impair health. I never really considered it poison. I always thought of it as an unnecessary, non-nutritive treat that is not particularly harmful when only consumed in small amounts. I stand behind my view. The definition of poison could actually be applied to a lot of things. In fact, I dare say, just about any “food” when consumed in excess, could potentially destroy life or impair health. After all, that’s why they say, “moderation in all things.”
Artificial food color, toothpaste (not really a food, but we put it in our mouths), tuna, water, and even broccoli. In fact, kale, green beans, beet roots, green cabbage, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, and watercress all absorb thallium from the Earth. Eating these vegetables typically means eating a small amount of thallium. What is thallium? It’s a metal these vegetable plants absorb from the Earth.
What are the dangers of high levels of thallium? Let me list some for you:
Please, please, please don’t start avoiding any vegetables over this, it would be very difficult to eat enough vegetables to the point you’d have high levels of thallium. In fact, it’d be very, very, extremely difficult! The point is, over-consumption of anything is bad for you. Anything! Excessive amounts of celery can cause excessive bleeding, kidney problems, and low blood pressure.
I could go on and on, but that’s not the point. If you’ve got some free time on your hands and are curious, pick some random foods, and google what can happen when you consume them in excess. Even the highly-esteemed coconut oil can cause diarrhea and other digestive distress when consumed in excess. So, have at it. Prove me wrong. I’m telling you now, no food is healthy in excess.
Let’s get back to sugar, shall we? Sugar can make so many nutritious foods more appealing. It can add taste, texture, aroma, and even color depending on the type of sugar. Most people can safely enjoy sugar in moderate amounts. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to enjoy it in moderate amounts. Many people choose to consume sugar in large amounts on a regular basis. The USDA recommends no more than 10 teaspoons (40g) of added sugar per day. The average American eats more than 20 teaspoon (80g) per day. Way too much! It happens so easily, though, when you aren’t aware of all of the sugar you’re consuming.
I’m sure orange juice, Cheerios, milk, and blueberries sounds like a healthy breakfast. Who would have thought that “healthy” meal actually consisted of 35g sugar! Granted, some of that is natural sugar, but still! 35 grams of sugar for breakfast! Sugar is not only in cheesecake, donuts, candy bars, and lollipops. Sugar is in breakfast cereals, canned vegetables, fish, salad dressing, marinades, pre-packaged dinners, and even baby food and formula. It’s so easy to overload on sugar because you can do it without even having dessert! The effects of excessive sugar consumption can be terrible, including:
Clearly, excessive sugar consumption can poison the body. Still, when eaten in moderation, it can be perfectly safe, and enjoyable. I mentioned earlier that the USDA recommends no more than 10 added teaspoons (40g) per day. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (37.5g) added sugar for men and no more than 6 teaspoons (25g) added sugar per day for women. These amounts are considered safe.
Sugar is no more of a poison than any other food. The problem with sugar is that it is everywhere. It is in everything. Everything. If you rely on convenience foods, it can be especially difficult to manage your sugar intake. Seriously, what can you do when your canned veggies and pre-seasoned chicken has as much sugar as you’d expect in a dessert?! The food industry is not on your side. You can drastically cut your sugar intake just by prepping your own food. Batch cooking and weekly meal prepping can be very useful for those with busy schedules. Many young people are not as experienced in the kitchen. Many don’t know how to cook from scratch. The internet is full of recipes and even videos to guide you. Take advantage of it.
Moderation is key. Unless your body has an intolerance or allergy to a food, you do not need to eliminate it. However, no food should be eaten excessively. Sweet treats can be uplifting for the soul. Overindulgences can be absolutely detrimental. Eat with a mindfulness. Eat with a love and genuine concern for your body, heart, mind, and soul. Eat to be happy, and eat to be healthy.