Sugar, Sugar Everywhere

Dear Reader,

Once again, I’m going to write about sugar.

If you follow my blog, you may remember that I am trying to cut down on my added sugar intake (more here). That, like most things in life, is easier said than done. After a few weeks trying (to greater and weaker effect) to cut down on added sugar, I have come away with a few general conclusions about this added sugar business….

First, what is sugar?

Generally, it is a sweet tasting, soluble carbohydrate usually used in foods. Molecularly, “sucrose” is “12 atoms of carbon, 22 atoms of hydrogen, and 11 atoms of oxygen (C12H22O11).” Metaphorically, it is the paste capable of binding even the most mundane and tasteless of ingredients together into a sweet and scrumptious concoction. I enjoy sugar to an extent; for the more is not always the merrier.

Recently, I went on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard (more here). In addition, to being active in the outdoors (more here), I also had a lovely time trying all the great food (more here). I am not shy about wanting desserts and, in my opinion, sugar and dessert make great mates. However, one thing I refuse to abide is added sugar where it, perhaps, ought not be. For example, our hotel offered a small breakfast comprising, muffins, granola bars, and cold cereals. Every single item in the selection included added sugar (except for the black coffee that is).

  • Granola bars = ~11 grams added sugar
  • Muffins = ~22 grams added sugar
  • Cereal = 4 – 12 grams

Four grams of added sugar is not actually a lot (about 1 teaspoon), but the fact that all items contained added sugar was kind of eye-opening. Sugar is e v e r y w h e r e. So much so, that I honestly do not want to waste all of my energy trying to avoid it. For example, even a can of baked beans that I (somewhat mindlessly) ordered to be “healthy” surprised me when I read “11g Added Sugar” on the label — oops!

Cutting out the “hidden” added sugar from our diets, nixing the granola bars, breakfast muffins, and sugary cereals is, perhaps, easier than foreswearing all sweet treats. With this in mind, for breakfast, I lean toward eggy dishes, avocados, and even my “Fiber One” cereal (sugar free and flavorful, a miraculous find!). However, when it comes to desserts (where sugar rightly belongs, in my opinion), I have no qualms about ordering decadent cakes, extra whipped cream, or even ice cream on the side.

They say sugar can be enjoyed in moderation — they’re probably right! But, if we have sugar hiding in every meal and then a dessert to top it off, that is not likely the moderation they mean. If anything, it is perhaps best just to understand your own sugar intake, how sugar makes you feel, and take steps to change your diet to help you feel your best. For me, that means skipping the sugar in the coffee, cereal, and even less obvious places like some brands of peanut butter, dates, and protein bars (when I can help it) and ending the day with something sweet. That’s balance, n’est-ce pas?

Bon appétit!



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